Podcast banner


Our podcast - Never Lick the Spoon! -
 brings to life the teeny tiny world of molecules. It is presented by Kieran Brophy, the Institute's Communication's Manager. 

If you have feedback that you'd like to share or ideas for future editions, we'd love to hear from you.
Please contact Kieran; +44 (0)20 7594 2572.

You can also find the podcast on iTunes or Spotify.

In our first episode, Kieran finds out how social you are can influence how you feel about social media. We also hear how researchers in Imperial are developing smart tattoos capable of monitoring health by changing colour, which could tell an athlete when they are dehydrated or a diabetic when their blood sugar rises. 

Kieran hears how the efforts of a Physics postdoc for greater recognition for female scientist resulted in her being named in Nature's 10 scientists that mattered in 2018, and we speak to the next generation of female entrepreneurs.

Episode 3 - 3D printing and Brian Cox-ing

3D printing has evolved to the stage where we can now create aircraft parts, satellite components, medical implants and even copies of people’s faces. However, as Kieran finds out, this promising field also has potentially troubling aspects. Also, in the era of "fake news", we hear how science communication is more important than ever with the presenter of the BBC World Service programme "Digital Planet", Gareth Mitchel.

Episode 4 - Penicillin’s untold story

Every schoolchild will tell you that Penicillin, one of the great discoveries of the 20th century, was discovered by Alexander Fleming. But it was a young German refugee that brought Penicillin out of the scientific papers and into the hospital, his name was Ernst Chain. Kieran travels to University College London to speak to Ernst’s son, Benny, himself a pioneer in biochemistry.

Episode 5 - Sprouts and fatbergs, it must be Christmas!

Ever wonder why you hate Brussels sprouts? It turns out the answer could be in your genes! It's also the reason chemical in these controversial little vegetables was used as a paternity test! We also investigate an unintended side effect of our festive gorging - fatbergs - and how researchers in Imperial are exploring ways to use them as a biofuel. 

Episode 6 - Bacteria hysteria

From HG Wells to David Bowie, "is there life on Mars?" is one of the most iconic questions yet to be answered. We speak to someone who could be one of the first people to answer that question in the next year! Also, the recent coronavirus outbreak shows us just how quickly disease can spread. With the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance is it just a matter of time before now curable infections - like bubonic plague - make their return?

Episode 7 - Greenhouse mattresses

Carbon capture is muted by some as a key tool in the fight against that other huge challenge facing human kind, climate change. Kieran finds out more about this emerging field by going on a tour of Europe’s first educational carbon capture pilot plant, and discovers how recycled carbon could be used to make mattresses!

Episode 8 - Getting rid of Covid

Most of us have been in some form of lock down now for several weeks. The only sure way we can get back to the life we had before is with a vaccine, which is what researchers at Imperial College London are trying to develop. Kieran speaks to one of the team about what it’s like developing arguably the most urgent tool ever needed.

Music: Viral Counterpoint of the Coronavirus Spike Protein by Markus J Buehler.

Episode 9 - Getting rid of Covid (Part II) 

Continuing on from the last episode, Kieran hears about the work of a team at Imperial College who are now grappling with the next big challenge to producing a Covid-19 vaccine: how to make enough of the vaccine for billions of people. And since it's mental health week, we speak to the team about the pressures they face and how they are managing to cope.

Episode 10 - Getting rid of Covid (Part III) 

We have a returning guest with some exciting results from the initial tests of the vaccine! Anna Blakney gives us an update on vaccine trials, including when they now think it will be ready, along with her take on public health measures and the use of masks.

Episode 11 - Batteries included

From the humble AAs we stick into the back of our TV remote controls, to our phones, laptops, and increasingly, our cars, batteries are now everywhere to be found. We hear from someone who spends more time than most of us examining these magical capsules that power our lives, and looks at what exciting new ways we could use them.

Ethical and environmental battery brands: https://www.ethicalconsumer.org/energy/shopping-guide/batteries