Question Of The Week - From The Naked Scientists

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Synopsis

Each week we set out to solve one of the world's weirdest, wackiest, funniest and funkiest scientific puzzles. And along with the answer there's a brand new question to think about for next time...

Episodes

  • Will a can in the ocean float or be crushed?

    14/06/2021 Duration: 03min

    This week, Phil Sansom has been thinking deeply - or rather, sinking deeply - about this question from listener Richard. "Will a can of soda dropped in the ocean sink until it implodes, or float once it reaches equilibrium?" Here's the answer, with help from the Cambridge Science Centre's Mia Foulkes... Like this podcast? Please help us by supporting the Naked Scientists

  • Is every snowflake unique?

    07/06/2021 Duration: 03min

    This week, Charlotte Birkmanis is chilling out, as she answers Alan's cool question: "I have heard it said many times that no two snowflakes are the same. Given the billions and billions of them that have fallen to Earth, this really does seem unlikely. Since nobody has looked at them all, would you agree with me that the only thing to be said with any certainty, is that no researcher has ever found two the same?" Like this podcast? Please help us by supporting the Naked Scientists

  • Can overcooking junk food make it healthy

    24/05/2021 Duration: 03min

    This week, we're turning up the heat, as Adam Murphy's been looking into Kelvin's question: "We are told not to overcook our vegetables because this kills the nutrients. Now if that's the case, why don't we just overcook the food we enjoy and not run the risk of putting on weight?" Like this podcast? Please help us by supporting the Naked Scientists

  • Can dog wee dissolve rubber tyres?

    17/05/2021 Duration: 03min

    This week, urine for a treat - Phil Sansom tackles this question from listener Trent. "Every time I walk my dog, it pees on the tyre of a particular trailer. It got me thinking: urine contains uric acid. Is that strong enough to eat through the rubber of the tyre? If so, how long would it take?" Like this podcast? Please help us by supporting the Naked Scientists

  • Can flies survive the winter?

    10/05/2021 Duration: 03min

    Jeffrey got in touch to ask: "We've had a cold and snowy winter, and I've had to shovel my driveway every few days. We had a fly in our house, and I was curious if it survived the cold somehow, or recently hatched?" Adam Murphy got in touch with Erica McAlister, fly specialist and Senior Curator from the Natural History Museum in London to fly in an answer... Like this podcast? Please help us by supporting the Naked Scientists

  • How do ZIP files work?

    26/04/2021 Duration: 03min

    Listener Ellie wanted to know: "how do ZIP files work on my computer?" Phil Sansom unzipped the question - with an answer from research data scientist Peter Foster... Like this podcast? Please help us by supporting the Naked Scientists

  • Why are electrons never in between orbitals?

    19/04/2021 Duration: 03min

    Quantum hats on for this week's 'exciting' question! Listener Mejnun says: "I have learned at school that when an electron excites it jumps to another orbital around the nucleus. If an electron jumps an orbital you would expect that at that moment it can be found between the two orbitals. My teacher told me that this is never the case. I can not wrap my head around it. Does the particle just disappear in one orbital and appear in the other? Is this instant, is the particle in the other orbital the same? Can you please help me to understand this?" Phil Sansom asked physicist Ankita Anirban to... Like this podcast? Please help us by supporting the Naked Scientists

  • Why do chillies stay on your hands?

    12/04/2021 Duration: 03min

    Nancy asked: "Why does chilli stay on your fingers for so long after cooking with them, even after you wash your hands multiple times it can still hurt if you touch your eyes?" So what's the answer to this burning question. Adam Murphy asked chemist Tim Woodman, from the University of Bath... Like this podcast? Please help us by supporting the Naked Scientists

  • How did varying chromosome numbers evolve?

    29/03/2021 Duration: 03min

    Listener Mattie asked "If humans have too many or too few chromosomes it can cause them to be infertile. So how did different creatures get different numbers of them? For example, humans have 46 chromosomes, but mice have 40." Eva Higginbotham asked genome evolution expert Hugues Roest Crollius... Like this podcast? Please help us by supporting the Naked Scientists

  • Do animals get bored eating the same food?

    22/03/2021 Duration: 03min

    Listener Douglas asked us: "do animals get bored eating the same thing all the time? Like sheep - do they get bored of one type of grass?" Katie Haylor bored deep into the question, with help from neuroscientist James Danckert... Like this podcast? Please help us by supporting the Naked Scientists

  • Why aren't all batteries rechargeable?

    17/03/2021 Duration: 03min

    Listener Michael got in touch to ask "Why can't batteries, such as AA or AAA size, be recharged? What's the difference between regular batteries and rechargeables, especially lithium ones? Is this a 'big battery' conspiracy to sell more batteries, or are there valid reasons?" Like this podcast? Please help us by supporting the Naked Scientists

  • How can you make normal TV look 3D?

    01/03/2021 Duration: 03min

    Pavel got in touch to ask "Take sunglasses and remove one lens. Watch a normal television film with one eye darkened by a sunglass lens, and the other free. The film will appear in 3D. Can someone explain to me, how does this work?" After dusting off her sunglasses, Eva Higginbotham put the question to 3D vision expert Andrew Glennerster from the University of Reading... Like this podcast? Please help us by supporting the Naked Scientists

  • What are the impacts of an aristocrat's diet?

    22/02/2021 Duration: 03min

    James got in touch to ask us: "What were the health impacts of the vastly different diets and lifestyles of aristocrats and peasants? Would wealthy Roman patricians be much smarter than plebeians based solely on improved nutrition?" Hungry for answers, Adam Murphy spoke to University of Cambridge archaeologist Sam Leggett, and the University of Bristol's Julie Dunne... Like this podcast? Please help us by supporting the Naked Scientists

  • How would a foetus develop in zero gravity?

    15/02/2021 Duration: 03min

    Listener David asked: "Would a foetus develop differently in zero gravity conditions?" Adam Murphy found an answer with the help of reproductive biologist Adam Watkins, from the University of Nottingham... Like this podcast? Please help us by supporting the Naked Scientists

  • When will we run out of music?

    08/02/2021 Duration: 04min

    "Assuming there are a finite number of musical notes - chords, notes, octaves - at what point, how many years, would we use all combinations of musical themes such that no more music could be created?" Creative computing expert Rebecca Fiebrink from UAL totted up the answer to listener David's musical musing for us... Like this podcast? Please help us by supporting the Naked Scientists

  • Why do some people shiver when they pee?

    01/02/2021 Duration: 03min

    Listener Eleanora asked: "I want to know why my dad shivers when he pees." Phil Sansom managed to find the answer to this 'Question of the Wee'.... Like this podcast? Please help us by supporting the Naked Scientists

  • If Earth were heavier, would rockets work?

    25/01/2021 Duration: 03min

    "Is it true that if the mass of the Earth were greater, it would render our chemical rockets incapable of reaching orbit?" Listener Steven launched this question at us, and so Martin Khechara went to find the answer... Like this podcast? Please help us by supporting the Naked Scientists

  • Can you get DNA from crematorium ashes?

    18/01/2021 Duration: 02min

    Paul got in touch to ask: "I was wondering if it was possible to get DNA out of crematorium ashes. Could you get any information about the person such as weight or height, from their ashes?" Katie Haylor put the question to Charmaine Bale, from Anglia Ruskin University... Like this podcast? Please help us by supporting the Naked Scientists

  • Is sourdough bread a healthy option?

    21/12/2020 Duration: 03min

    Mervyn got in touch to ask "Is sourdough bread a healthy option?" Eva Higginbotham put the question to dietician Rebecca McManamon... Like this podcast? Please help us by supporting the Naked Scientists

  • Why are sperm made below body temperature?

    14/12/2020 Duration: 03min

    Jordan got in touch to ask ""Why do females produce eggs inside the body, at body temperature, but males have to produce sperm outside the body, at a lower temperature?" Eva Higginbotham put the question to reproduction expert William Colledge at the University of Cambridge... Like this podcast? Please help us by supporting the Naked Scientists

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