Technically Speaking | a science and engineering discussion
Is plastic a good thing?

Is plastic a good thing?

October 14, 2021

We've heard a lot about single use plastic and pollution from microplastics but are there any benefits to this material? Laura, Ghalia, Antonia and Ghinwa discuss plastic in the water industry, some chemistry and plastic engineering, and recycling.

Questions? Comments? Email us techspeak.podcast@gmail.com 

Why can’t we suck carbon dioxide out of the air?

Why can’t we suck carbon dioxide out of the air?

September 30, 2021

We may have stopped hearing about the carbon dioxide shortage, but its not gone away and its curiously at odds with what we hear about having too much of it in the atmosphere. Laura, Antonia and Ghinwa discuss some chemistry behind separating carbon dioxide from other gases, some industries that produce carbon dioxide and why they don't make use of it, buses that run on methane, home-brewed beer and popping candy(!)

Can we engineer a future of zero waste (part two)?

Can we engineer a future of zero waste (part two)?

September 16, 2021

Continuing from the previous episode, Laura, Cara and Antonia discuss zero waste as one idea behind a concept known as the circular economy. The discussion dives straight into what might happen to a product once its no longer useful and then broadens out to talk about the need for a profound shift in how we do things. Are businesses and policy makers asking the right questions of scientists and engineers?

Can we engineer a future of zero waste (part one)?

Can we engineer a future of zero waste (part one)?

September 2, 2021

In a ideal world, everything that is no longer useful is given a new life. Laura, Cara and Antonia discuss this as one idea behind a concept known as the circular economy. In this two part episode, we introduce some ways in which we see waste being repurposed and talk about the first two stages in the life of a product: manufacture (and resource gathering), and; product use by the consumer. Can something be infinitely recycled? What is recyling anyway? How is our behaviour as consumers influenced by design, marketing, and  science?

How do we talk about things we can’t see?

How do we talk about things we can’t see?

August 20, 2021

Why should you believe a scientist when they talk about climate or sustainability and how should they convey their expertise in a way that makes sense to you? Laura, Aneeqa and Rwayda discuss some aspects of science and engineering that you can't see with your own eyes and therefore can be difficult to describe.

Recorded over zoom with an audience from The University Of Manchester's Dalton Nuclear Institute supplying comments via the chat function, the team also come up with some ideas for how science communication could be improved. They don't have all of the answers, but its an interesting conversation.

How has science and engineering changed our lives?

How has science and engineering changed our lives?

August 4, 2021

Transport has shaped society, and society has shaped how we travel and connect with each other. In this chicken-and-egg story Laura, Rwayda, Amina, Cara and Antonia share stories about what transport means to them and look at how our transport options have evolved since ancient times. They look at some history and decision making, how atoms feature in materials science and engineering, and consider the future of space travel.

This special episode was recorded with an audience from the Engineering Development Trust's Insight into University summer programme.

How do you build a bridge that lasts a long time?

How do you build a bridge that lasts a long time?

July 22, 2021

Movies often use bridges to represent something, and they're often destroyed in the process. Antonia, Laura, Rwayda and Alex discuss the engineering behind some of the most iconic bridges as well as some of their favourite movie scenes featuring bridges: Spiderman, Indiana Jones and Shrek.

We explain how engineers consider the dynamic forces acting on a bridge and we mention this video of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, an example of what happens when the forces aren't fully taken into account.

 

Alex also produces her own podcast - Embracing Diversity: Diversity Diaries - all about how diverse engineering can be, how you can be an ally for diversity and celebrate our differences.

 

Continue the conversation with Technically Speaking on Twitter @TechnicallySp11

What’s the science behind fire safety?

What’s the science behind fire safety?

July 8, 2021

How are building materials chosen and what makes some materials fire-resistant? Aneeqa, Laura and Rwayda discuss some aspects of fire engineering and share a few personal stories where they have used science to their advantange. True to form, they also throw in some pop-culture references; hello Vin Diesel!

Is battery technology ready for widespread use in electric cars?

Is battery technology ready for widespread use in electric cars?

June 24, 2021

Have you ever thought about where we get the lithium from for Li-ion batteries? Laura, Antonia, Aneeqa and Amina discuss trends in car ownership, where we get lithium from, how difficult it is to recycle these batteries, what the ethical implications of lithium mining are, and how this fits in with UK government plans to tackle the climate emergency.

Celebrating International Women in Engineering Day 2021

Celebrating International Women in Engineering Day 2021

June 23, 2021

The team share stories about their individual career paths, talk about the women that inspire us, and what engineering means to us.

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