Technically Speaking | a science and engineering discussion
How can you predict a volcanic eruption?

How can you predict a volcanic eruption?

September 29, 2022

At least twenty volcanoes are erupting as you read this but for many, it's not something we often think about. Laura, Antonia and Ellie discuss animals that live near volcanoes, what you would need to know to predict a volcanic eruption, how likely one is to erupt and whether we'd like to live near one. Just how does the galapagos land iguana sense that their volcano is about to blow?

What is toxic?

What is toxic?

September 15, 2022

There are loads of things that we eat and drink that can be harmful if you have too much, and lots of ways that plants and animals protect themselves using toxins. Laura, Ellie and Priyanka discuss venomous snakes, and how they differ to poisonous creatures, and talk about what exactly happens in our bodies. What’s the difference between a neurotoxin and chemotherapy? Are apple pips really poisonous? What happens if a venomous snake bites itself? Listen in to find out.

What is the future of driving?

What is the future of driving?

September 1, 2022

Trends show that an increasing number of people would prefer to drive cars with an automatic gear box. Is that because they're better to drive or because everyone will be driving electric cars which don't tend to need to change gears? Laura, Rwayda and Antonia discuss current advances in car technology, share their own experience of driving, and speculate about what the future might hold. Will we all be using flying cars in the future? What about self driving cars? And why do cars even need gearboxes anyway?

Want to learn more about electric motors and internal combusion engines? Read on to learn about how they work, what the gears really do for a car with an internal combusion engine, and why torque is so important.

What is cryptocurrency?

What is cryptocurrency?

August 18, 2022

You hear a lot about it, but what is cryptocurrency, how do you get hold of it and what's it useful for? Laura finds out from Aneeqa and Jennifer what things like blockchain and mining bitcoin are about and how you can own a non-fungible token (NFT). They also discuss whether this decentralised currency is sustainable or if its all really a pyramid scheme.

Read more about this in Laura's article.

Is science or engineering better?

Is science or engineering better?

August 4, 2022

Ever thought about changing your career path? Are you just starting your career journey? Wondering what the difference is between science and engineering? Antonia, Rwayda and Ellie talk about their careers in these different disciplines, how they got started and whether they've changed their mind about what they want to do. They share the highs and lows of exam results days and how they recovered from what seemed, at the time, to be a setback.

Recorded with a live audience from the Engineering Development Trust's Insight into University programme, this discussion definitely was not biased towards the host's own disciplines. Ellie does a great job of flying the flag for science while Antonia explains how her engineering experience helps her as a consultant in the energy industry and Rwayda reveals a childhood passion for architecture that led her to civil engineering.

Is space travel worth it?

Is space travel worth it?

July 21, 2022

With the expense of the James Webb Space Telescope and the ever worrying climate emergency, we're wondering what the benefit of space travel and space exploration is. Ellie, Antonia, Laura and Emma discuss this from the point of view of climate science, discovery, collaboration, what inspired us to become scientists, and space tourism. We talk about what the future might hold. What would you do if you were in charge of a planet's space programme?

Read a summary of this episode here.

Can we learn from the hunting strategies of animals?

Can we learn from the hunting strategies of animals?

July 7, 2022

We're finding out more about the natural world all the time! Laura, Ellie and Aneeqa are joined by Katya from Drunk on Porpoise to talk about hunting strategies used by animals, how zoologists have discovered these strategies, and how we could use this knowledge to engineer a better world. 

Technical Short: Sustainability

Technical Short: Sustainability

June 23, 2022

A stripped down version of our episode 'what is sustainability?' that provides a clear explanation of the topic without any of the distractions.

Technical short: electrocution and energy harvesting

Technical short: electrocution and energy harvesting

June 15, 2022

Our research for the episode on a house that stores electricity involved some kinda weird-yet-strangely-compelling conversation and we've pulled the best bits together! Antonia and Chris discuss many reasons why a cement-based battery is safe to handle, review research into wearable devices and energy harvesting, and question what the future might hold.

Can you build a house that stores electricity?

Can you build a house that stores electricity?

June 2, 2022

A recent discovery got the team speculating about the future. Laura, Antonia and Rwayda take a look at research where cement is made to store electricity and wonder whether this material could be used to build our future homes. How much electricity can it store and what can it power? Is there a futuristic way of using that power without the need for cables? What's next for this laboratory discovery?

Read about this episode here.

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