The podcast is presented by Gareth Mitchell, a lecturer on Imperial's MSc Science Communication course and the presenter of Digital Planet on the BBC World Service, with contributions from our roving reporters in the Communications and Public Affairs Division.

If you have feedback that you'd like to share or ideas for future editions, we'd love to hear from you.
Please contact Hayley Dunning; +44 (0)20 7594 2412.

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COVID-19 vaccine trials, neurodiversity in focus, and poet in residence

In this edition: A participant in Imperial’s COVID-19 vaccine trial, a professor who set up a neurodiversity network, and our new poet in residence.

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News: AI and COVID-19 treatments, plus extreme driving – We find out about a new trial using artificial intelligence to improve ventilation for very ill COVID-19 patients, and what tracking the body and eye movements and brain waves of a Formula E driver can tell us about expertise.

Taking part in a COVID-19 vaccine trial – We catch up with a participant in Imperial’s COVID-19 vaccine trial after she receives her first dose, to see how she feels and why she decided to take part.

Neurodiversity network – We talk to Professor Sara Rankin, who was only diagnosed with dyslexia and dyspraxia as an adult, about her journey and why she helped set up a network for neurodiverse staff and students at Imperial and partner organisations in South Kensington.

Professor Rankin has also produced a series of Lockdown Lessons, talking to scientists at Imperial that have rapidly responded to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Poet in residence – We talk to Imperial’s new poet in residence Dan Simpson and researcher Dr Ans Vercammen about the poem they are working on together and how art and science really aren’t that different.

Their final poem will be unveiled at the Imperial Lates Online: Back to Nature, running online from 27 July to 2 August. You can also listen to Dan’s crowdsourced Back to Nature poem and some more of his quick-fire haikus.

(22 July)

Previous editions

Vaccine production, safety on public transport, and emerging economies

In this edition: How to make a billion COVID-19 vaccines, why women feel unsafe on public transport, and how emerging economies fare under COVID-19.

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News: Reacting to George Floyd’s death – We speak to Sarah Essilfie-Quaye and Dr Wayne Mitchell from Imperial as One, an advisory group made up of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) staff, about the response to George Floyd’s death and what should be done to tackle racism.

You can also hear an extended version of this interview.

Scaling up vaccine production – Once a COVID-19 vaccine has been successful in clinical trials, how can we make more than a billion doses in a matter of months? We hear about the challenges and how we might overcome them.

This feature is an excerpt from 'Never Lick the Spoon' – a monthly podcast from Imperial's Institute for Molecular Science and Engineering.

How safe do you feel on public transport? – A new study shows how women are more likely to feel unsafe on public transport. The effect is not just simple fear but can affect their working lives and career opportunities; so how can we design safer transport systems? Laila Ait Bihi Ouali explains.

COVID-19’s impact on emerging economies – Emerging economies like India face different challenges in lockdowns, but also potentially have some real opportunities for recovery. We find out more with economics professor Tarun Ramadorai.

You can also listen to an extended version of this interview.

(17 June)

Britain’s brains, COVID-19 at the GP, and a green economic recovery

In this edition: Britain’s intelligence and mental health, COVID-19’s impact on primary care, and a sustainable economic recovery after the pandemic.

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News: Compression stockings and tackling global challenges online – We discover how compression stockings do not lower your risk of developing blood clots after surgery, and how an online platform is bringing together scientists and innovators to solve grand challenges like COVID-19 or climate change.

Measuring Britain’s intelligence and mental health – We meet the makers of the Great British Intelligence Test, who are now turning their attention to the population’s mental health during the pandemic.

How COVID-19 impacts GP services – We talk to a researcher and practising GP about how services have changed – such as more phone and video interviews – and what people can do to look after themselves.

A green economic recovery – We hear about a report that suggests climate-friendly investment would boost the economy in the short and long term following the COVID-19 pandemic, and other ways the future could, and should, be greener.

(20 May)

COVID-19 vaccine development, patient data and isolation diaries

In this edition: We hear from researchers working on a COVID-19 vaccine and with patient samples, and how students are coping in isolation.

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News: University Challenge win and neutrino discovery – We celebrate Imperial’s spectacular University Challenge win and discover how neutrinos may hold the key to why the universe is made up of matter rather than antimatter.

On the frontlines of COVID-19 vaccine development – We speak to Dr Anna Blakney about what it’s like to work on a vaccine the whole world is waiting for.

This feature is an excerpt from 'Never Lick the Spoon' – a monthly podcast from Imperial's Institute for Molecular Science and Engineering.

Understanding and treating COVID-19 – We hear from Professor Peter Openshaw how thousands of samples from COVID-19 patients across the country are already providing valuable insights into the disease, including who seems to get it worse, and how the disease progresses.

Isolation diaries from around the world – We hear from the producers of a video capturing snippets from Imperial students now scattered across the world.

(22 April)

Counting coronavirus, a baby food entrepreneur and designing for Mars

In this edition: We hear from people tracking the spread of COVID-19, making better baby food, and designing for a move to Mars.

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News: Bee brains and tracking fireballs – We learn how certain pesticides are impairing baby bee brains, and how a network of cameras and volunteers across the UK are tracking fallen stars.

Counting coronavirus – How fast and how widely is COVID-19 spreading? We hear from epidemiologist Professor Azra Ghani about how they make sure they have the right data to build their models of the outbreak, and what that means for how we mitigate the spread.

Baby food entrepreneur – Business School alum Nadine Hellmann, who developed her idea for a new kind of baby food at Imperial, gives us tips on starting a business from scratch while studying.

Designing for Mars – Would you move to Mars? What do we need to do to make the move possible? Imperial scientists and students provide possible solutions, from space weather monitors to new materials for shoes.

(18 March)

Coronavirus vaccine, global progress report and fighting racism

In this edition: Join the race to develop a Covid-19 vaccine, check in on the Sustainable Development Goals, and discover how to argue with a racist.

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News: Solar Orbiter lift-off and cutting contrails – We follow Imperial’s instrument aboard the Solar Orbiter spacecraft as it takes its first data in space, and find out how altitude changes of just 2000 feet can cut the environmental impact of aeroplane contrails.

The race to develop a Covid-19 vaccine – We meet the Imperial team, headed by Professor Robin Shattock, developing a new kind of vaccine that could be available to people far faster than in previous viral outbreaks.

Progress in the Sustainable Development Goals – Dr David Nabarro, co-director of Imperial’s Institute of Global Health Innovation, helped set up the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. He tells us how much progress we’ve made, and where there is still work to be done.

How to argue with a racist – Geneticist and science communicator Dr Adam Rutherford explains how science has been misused to justify bigotry and racism, and how we can fight back.

(19 February)

Drug policy, Australian megafires and London fatbergs

In this edition: We discuss whether drug policy is working, why Australia is experiencing megafires, and what can be done about fatbergs.

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News: Miscarriage and PTSD, and a remarkable refugee professor – We find out how many women experience post-traumatic stress disorder after miscarriage, and learn about the remarkable life of a venerable maths professor.

Is drug policy working? – Former government adviser Professor David Nutt tells us how restrictions on tobacco are working, but that hard drugs policies have in some cases made problems worse, and what can be done.

Why is Australia facing megafires? – We find out what’s making Australia’s wildfires so bad they have become megafires, including the factors involved in their spread and how much climate change might be to blame.

The big, gross problem of fatbergs – Huge accumulations of fat and unflushable material can block drains and city sewers, but how do we work out the best way to prevent them and remove them?

This feature is an excerpt from 'Never Lick the Spoon' – a monthly podcast from Imperial's Institute for Molecular Science and Engineering.

(22 January)