Science Actually Podcast
A podcast by staff and students at Imperial College London. In each episode we interview Imperial’s experts to untangle myths around the human body.
We are tackling misconceptions and finding there is not always one answer. During the first season we will dive into different aspects of student life: food, partying and studying.
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Episode 1 – Brain and memory: Do you have a maximal capacity for memory?
In this episode of Science Actually we discuss our memory. Linda van Keimpema interviews our guest Professor Simon Schultz. Simon is the head of the Neural Coding Lab at Imperial. With a background in Engineering, Physics and a PhD in computational neuroscience, Simon combines neuroscience and engineering to study the brain in his lab. In this episode, Simon tells us more about his research, including his recent paper describing how old memories are reorganised when you learn something now. Simon explains to us how the memory palace technique and an older Aboriginal story telling technique can be used for studying, and reveals other tips for how best to learn something new. He also answers our main question: Do you have a maximal capacity for memory?
Episode 2 – Food and Nutrition: Can food be used as a medicine?
In this episode Ali Al-Sikab dives deep into how food impacts day to day life and how it can be used to maximise our own happiness! Jozef Youssef is a professional chef, working in Michelin star restaurants who uses his interest in gastronomy to benefit his own design studio - Kitchen Theory. Jozef tells us about his own research, including how the different senses can be used to improve the taste experience, and how we can use food to improve performance. He also discusses what exactly is the best way to start cooking in the kitchen as a student.
Episode 3 – Sleep and memory: Is a good night’s sleep crucial to do well on exams?
In this episode of Science Actually, Eva Bremnes discusses sleep and memory with our guest, Dr Giorgio Gilestro. Giorgio is a senior lecturer at Imperial and he is at the head of his research lab that focuses on the enigmatic functions of sleep. With a background in medical biotechnology, he outlines how genetics and the fruit fly helped us explore the mysteries of sleep, consciousness and the nervous system. In this episode, Giorgio tells us more about his research, and about how sleep and memory are linked. He also answers our main questions: do we need sleep? Is a good night’s sleep crucial to do well in exams?
Episode 4 – Alcohol and cannabis: can drugs of abuse have health benefits?
Dr Christopher John, Senior Lecturer in Pharmacology at Imperial, will untangle with Elena Torrell the most common associated myths with drugs of abuse associated with student life such as alcohol and coffee. From his academic background, we cover drug regulation from a scientific point of view and how it impacts research with drugs of abuse. Can we trick our bodies boosting our academic performance? Do drugs of abuse kill your brain cells? Is CBD oil as good as it is marketed?
Episode 5: Engineering and Food: Does engineering hold the secrets for healthy foods?
In this episode Hendrik Vogt explores how to engineer food to make it healthier. Professor Maria Charalambides is a professor of mechanics of materials at Imperial College London University. Maria’s work on food focusses on making chocolate healthier, collaborating with the biggest global food and beverage company Nestlé. Maria discusses her current findings on chocolate in addition to her other research projects which investigate the digestive system. These pioneering revelations potentially hold the key to transforming your dietary intake without compromising enjoyment.
Episode 6: Science and Drugs: Can drugs of abuse have health benefits?
In this episode of Science Actually, Katie Addy discusses drugs of abuse and their potential health benefits with our guest Dr Balázs Szigeti. Balázs is a researcher at the Centre for Psychedelic Research at Imperial College London. He has a background in computational neuroscience and started a collaboration with the Global Drug Survey to quantitatively compare the dose of recreational users of various drugs such as MDMA with the scientific literature. Balázs tells us a bit about his research into MDMA and psychedelics. He explains the difficulty of researching drugs of abuse, their potential benefits to people suffering with mental health disorders and the difficulty in regulation of such drugs. He also tackles our main question: can drugs of abuse have health benefits?
Meet the team
Linda van Keimpema
I am a teaching fellow with a background in cell biology and neuroscience. I love spreading my love for science and inspiring people with interesting scientific knowledge. For the podcast, I worked on the Memory episode interviewing Simon Schultz, and I am involved in the communications and marketing of our podcast.
I am a medical doctor and teaching fellow with a curiosity for the human body. Linda and I launched this podcast to work with students to showcase Imperial’s amazing research and inspire listeners to get involved in scientific research. For this podcast, I interviewed Balazs Szigeti about psychedelic science.
I am fascinated by the way humans work and love to share that with others. I am proud to be part of this podcast that helps separate the truths from the myths! I participated in the brainstorming for this podcast and I am part of the web page design team. I oversaw the sleep episode where I interviewed Dr Gilestro.
I was drawn to this podcast as it fills a vital void in science that needs to be addressed: misconceptions. I'm proud to be part of the brainstorming, recruiting of lecturers along with editing and producing music soundtracks for the podcast. I worked on the food episode and led the interview with Maria Charalambides.
I’m interested in using my large range of media skills I gathered as a teenager to produce content to bridge the gap between scientific research and the public. I created the logo for the podcast and worked on the food episodes, in particular interviewing Jozef Youssef.
Clara Tillous Oliva
I'm passionate about science culture. Being an avid podcast listener, I was enthusiast to join this project which I hope will allow people to have a good time while debunking myths around our bodies. I was involved in the memory episodes and manage our social media. You can hear my voice at the start of every episode!
I have a huge interest in health policy and science communication. As part of the Science Actually team, I have been involved in the brainstorming and social media. I interviewed Dr Chris John exploring the myths and facts on drugs of abuse such as alcohol and cannabis in the context of student social norms.