Science & Technology
For many years geneticists and psychologists have in worked in separate labs on factors such as our genetic codes and our experiences that they each thought were affecting our physical and mental health respectively. But it may be that our experiences are affecting our epigenetics which can then get handed down for generations to come, contributing to diseases and behaviors such as cancer and depression.
In this episode of What IF? Professor Jeremy Wyatt talks about the new frontier of “third wave” dexterous robots that combine the intelligence and unstructured mobility of second wave robotics with capacities for sophisticated manipulation and fine motor skills in unfamiliar situations.
Scientists are still trying to understand the mysteries of our slumber. Why do we sleep? What is its purpose? And what actually happens during sleep?
Many observers argue that economic forces are corrupting medical care and eroding the trust between patients and their doctors.
Planet Earth has faced five mass extinctions in its lifetime. Now we may be facing the sixth. What have we learned from the previous mass extinctions that can help us avoid a total collapse? Can humanity rescue the planet that it has imperiled?
What technological changes will be needed to power the renewable revolution? Sung-Young Kim has been studying the political economy of the new clean energy revolution. Maria Armoudian sat down with him to discuss his research and what needs to happen as we move towards renewables.
Sanitation and antibiotics have saved the lives of many, but are they also the culprits behind some modern diseases? Martin Blaser argues we might have gone overboard in killing our microbes and that may be causing some of today’s epidemics.
What will the cities of the future look like? Steve Matthewman and Stephen Knight-Lenihan discuss the urban future, looking at ecological resilience, biodiversity, living buildings, and floating suburbs.
What do we have to fear from the rise of robots, automation and artificial intelligence? Darl Kolb, a pioneering theorist on social and technical connectivity, argues that we should rethink the relationship between humans and machines as one of co-evolution and interdependence, rather than one of contest and competition.
Although it is the most important substance in our lives, many people hardly ever think about water, where it comes from, how it is used and its precarious future. Charles Fishman talks to Maria Armoudian about how water has shaped our past and how it will shape our future.
Neuroscience has uncovered so many clues about human attitudes and behaviours that have far-reaching consequences. But scholars and doctors disagree about what it does and does not tell us about what it means to be human.
What causes these sudden changes and how can society be better prepared for such events?
Yadira Ixchel Martínez Pantoja looks into whether the US Department of State promotes GMOs in Mexico.
Storms and fires are on the rise, in both quantity and severity, bringing disastrous consequences to lives and livelihoods. How do we deal with the storms, particularly with the loss of power?
Scientists have made fascinating discoveries about animals and how they communicate. For instance, bird songs are more than music to the ears of the forest; it turns out they are speaking a language understood by many species.
Human history has been drastically changed by our relationship with animals. Brian Fagan contends that it would be a different world if not for our intimate bonds with animals. How have they changed us and the world we live in?
Raising big money is a relatively new phenomenon in academia. How did science, government, and industry become so entwined with one another and what has it meant for scholarly research?
Throughout much of the world, bee populations have been declining, threatening food supplies that rely on the pollinators to reproduce. What is the latest research on the global health of bees and what are ways to prevent further collapses?
In this roundtable discussion, top scholars reveal and explain the realities facing our seas and the strides we are making to protect, restore and recover our oceans.
Anthropology Professor Simon Holdaway talks to Maria Armoudian about how we’ve changed, and how our ancestors have dealt with past disasters and changes in the climate.
With mass extinction upon us, some scientists are working on bringing certain species back from the dead. However, their ability to do so raises ethical and practical issues.
James Russell looks at the issue of introduced species in New Zealand and why distinguishing them from native species is important.
Shaun Hendy, Professor of Physics at the University of Auckland, discusses his nano-technology research and the complications in science communication and science funding with Maria Armoudian.
New scientific discoveries about x and y chromosomes are challenging what we know about what makes us male or female.
What does the melting of glaciers and ice sheets due to climate change mean for the world’s coastal cities? Will this ongoing issue cause problems in the future for urban populations?