show episodes
 
Oxford Sparks is the place for engaging with exciting science taking place across Oxford University. Whether you are a school student, teacher, parent, interested member of the public, or a scientist, there is something for you from all the physical, life and medical sciences. There are hundreds of resources, including videos, science trails, activities to try at home, mobile phone apps, games, podcasts, virtual tours and plenty more! This series takes a broad theme and enlists experts at th ...
 
In this series of lectures, various presenters outline key energy issues. All presentations were part of events organised by the UK Energy Research Centre's conference team, the Meeting Place. The Meeting Place brings together diverse people within the energy community to bring benefits to UK energy researchers.
 
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show series
 
One way to delve deep into the ancient history of the Earth - or other planetary bodies for that matter - is to examine the magnetism recorded by rocks. Kind of like a fossilised magnetic fingerprint. But trying to do this in an environment where another magnetic field exists (i.e. everywhere on Earth!) is pretty challenging. Enter the 'magneticall…
 
"Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer, had a very shiny nose..." Many of us will be very familiar with Santa's famous antlered friend. But did you know that many reindeer actually do have red noses? But why? In this festive episode of the Big Questions Podcast, we ask Oxford polar biologist Ignacio (Nacho) Juarez Martinez to share some of the reasons we …
 
Online communication channels are popular, to say the least. For instance, there are 187 million active Twitter users per day alone. Sadly, these open channels of communication also open up the potential for harm, through online hate speech. The problem is so large that we require AI to help detect it. But what about when it comes to emoji? Accordi…
 
In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic there was a lot of confusion, as we all tried to figure out what we should and shouldn't do to best protect ourselves and others. Fortunately, we now have more definitive answers to some of our most pressing questions - which are backed-up by data - including "umm...should I be wearing a mask?". As COVID c…
 
Satellites have been orbiting our planet for the past few decades. We might be familiar with how they can be used to track weather, or beam television and phone signals around the world. But did you know, that by capturing images of the Earth outside the visible spectrum, they're able to offer a unique perspective of the ground beneath our feet? Th…
 
From California to Greece to Australia, it seems like every time we switch on the news there's another wildfire report. Some fires are natural - in fact, they're a fundamental part of many ecosystems - but the severity and frequency of the wildfires we are now witnessing is beyond natural levels. Human-ignited "megafires" are causing devastation ac…
 
Chocolate. It’s rare to find anyone who isn’t partial to a square or two of this delicious treat. But is its very existence in danger? (*Cue worried faces.*) In this episode of the Big Questions Podcast we chat to chocoholic and researcher Acheampong Atta-Boateng, who studies the relationship between cocoa trees and their micro-pollinators. We hear…
 
How do you fit in to a new country with a different culture from your own? How can we develop a sense of belonging while celebrating our differences especially when we are migrants or expats trying to make a home in a new place? On today’s Creative Conversations podcast, host Yang-May Ooi is joined by cross cultural consultant and expatriate coach,…
 
How has the pandemic and restrictions on travel affected place-based tourism? What is a destination city like Oxford doing to face the post-pandemic challenge of bringing people back to the city centre - both tourists and local residents alike? Our guest on Creative Conversations today is Oxford City Councillor Mary Clarkson who is the Council Labo…
 
Nowadays, the idea of encountering robots in our daily lives isn't pure science fiction. Many of us interact with AI every day, and the use of robots in, for example, healthcare settings, is already on the horizon. But what if something goes wrong? The RoboTIPS team at the University of Oxford is developing an innovative feature - an 'ethical black…
 
Do you remember when the price of fizzy drinks in the UK went up slightly a few years ago? Soda fans, perhaps you remember all too clearly...! Well, this was because the UK government introduced a sugar tax (or the Soft Drinks Industrial Levy, to be precise), requiring manufacturers to pay a tax on sugary drinks - a cost which was then passed on to…
 
Actor Janet Behan and writer Damian Le Bas join Creative Conversation host, Yang-May Ooi, in today’s show to talk about Telling Family Stories in the context of their respective Irish, Gypsy and Chinese backgrounds. Along the way they explore language, stereotyping and identity. Damian Le Bas is a writer of Gypsy and Irish descent. His book The Sto…
 
An arboretum could be described as a "living library". A beautifully curated collection of woody plants from across the globe, each one carefully labelled and managed. In this episode of the Big Questions Podcast we chat to Ben Jones, Arboretum Curator at the University of Oxford Botanic Garden and Harcourt Arboretum, about what makes an arboretum …
 
Lockdowns, social distancing, restrictions on 'normal' activities - we've all been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. But how has it impacted on our mood and mental wellbeing? We chat to Dr Maxime Taquet from the Department of Psychiatry about 'mood homeostasis' (the interplay between people's activities and the way they feel), and how this has bee…
 
In a world dominated by Youtube videos and Instagram images that can take you anywhere in the world, is there still a place for travel writing? How can the different types of writing about travel tell us about where we come from and who we are? Travel writer and Oxford resident Callum Ruddock joins Creative Conversations host Yang-May Ooi in a wide…
 
Their distinctive 'teacher teacher' call is synonymous with British gardens, but great tits are facing a big problem - climate change. As our springtime becomes warmer and begins earlier, peak caterpillar abundance is also shifting earlier. As a crucial food source for great tit chicks, this is cause for concern. In this episode of the Big Question…
 
Remember those days when it was possible to climb aboard a plane and jet off around the world? Well, while we might be yearning for foreign shores, there's no denying that air travel comes with a big ol' carbon footprint. But is it possible to make aeroplanes 'greener'? We chat to Dr Chiara Falsetti, a researcher at the Oxford Thermofluids Institut…
 
The moon may be the closest planetary body to us, but we still have a lot to learn about it. For example, what is the water-cycle like on an airless body such as the moon? How much water can be found there, and could we one day utilise this water for space exploration? In this episode of the Big Questions Podcast, we chat to Dr Katherine Shirley, a…
 
We're over a year into the coronavirus pandemic, and it's affected our lives in many ways - including, for many of us, how we sleep. You may have experienced changes to your sleep pattern (particularly if you waved goodbye to your commute last March), your quality of sleep, or even had some very weird or vivid dreams! If so, you're not alone. Join …
 
Theatre is not limited, says Hillary May, founder of The Michael Knight Theatre Company. It is open to everyone to take part, it is part of the community, theatre gives a voice to those who would not normally have a chance to tell their story. In today’s episode, Creative Conversations host Yang-May Ooi talks with Hillary May and some of the member…
 
If you've ever been lucky enough to hear a lion roar (whether that's at the zoo or in the wild - hopefully at a safe distance!), you'll know that it's a truly bone-shaking experience. But do lions have a unique roar, or do they all sound the same? How could knowing this help with conservation efforts? Join us for this episode of the Big Questions p…
 
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