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Science Weekly

The Guardian

Twice a week, the Guardian brings you the latest science and environment news


London, United Kingdom


The Guardian


Twice a week, the Guardian brings you the latest science and environment news




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Why are we still struggling to get contraception right?

As the pill becomes available over the counter and free of charge in England, Madeleine Finlay talks to science correspondent Nicola Davis about the problems women in the UK face in getting access to appropriate contraception, and how unwanted side-effects and lack of support have led to a rise in the popularity of fertility awareness-based methods. She also hears from Katie about her own journey trying to find the right contraception for her body. Help support our independent journalism at


Everything you need to know about Cop28 as the summit begins

Every year the world’s leaders gather for the UN climate change conference, and after a year of record temperatures, this year’s summit has been called the most vital yet. As Cop28 begins in Dubai, Ian Sample hears from Guardian environment editor and resident Cop expert Fiona Harvey. She explains why this summit proved controversial before it even began, what the main talking points will be, and how countries can still collaborate to meet the goals set out in 2015’s Paris agreement. Help support our independent journalism at


Weight of the world – the climate scientists who saw the crisis coming

Science Weekly brings you episode one of a new mini-series from Full Story. Pioneering Australian scientists Graeme Pearman, Lesley Hughes and Ove Hoegh-Guldberg saw the climate crisis coming. Pearman predicted the increase of carbon dioxide levels, Hughes foresaw the alarming number of species extinctions and Hoegh-Guldberg forecast the mass coral bleaching events we’re seeing today. All three went on to become some of the country’s most respected experts in their fields, travelling the globe, briefing leaders, and assuming the world would take action having heard their alarming findings. In part one of this three-part series, these climate scientists reveal the moment they realised the planet was heading for catastrophe. What did they do when they found out? How did they think the world would respond? And how do they feel today, looking back on that moment of cognisance?. Help support our independent journalism at


What have we learned from the James Webb space telescope so far?

Madeleine Finlay sits down with science correspondent Hannah Devlin to discuss the amazing discoveries the James Webb space telescope has made in the year since it became operational. From planets that rain sand, to distant galaxies, Hannah explains how some of these discoveries could fundamentally change our understanding of the universe. Help support our independent journalism at


Superyachts and private jets: the carbon impact of the ‘polluter elite’

A new report from Oxfam has found that the extravagant carbon footprint of the 0.1% – from superyachts, private jets and mansions to space flights and doomsday bunkers – is 77 times higher than the upper level needed for global warming to peak at 1.5C. Madeleine Finlay hears from the Guardian’s Europe environment correspondent Ajit Niranjan, and from wealth correspondent Rupert Neate, about the highly polluting transport habits of the ultra-wealthy. Help support our independent journalism at


The mysteries of volcanoes: what’s going on beneath the ground in Iceland?

As Iceland braces for a volcanic eruption, Madeleine Finlay hears from volcanologist Helga Torfadottir about how the country is preparing, and why this is happening now. She also speaks to Cambridge professor of volcanology Clive Oppenheimer about how scientists predict volcanic activity, and what it feels like to stare into a smouldering volcanic crater. Help support our independent journalism at


CBD: what’s the science behind the wellness trend?

Last month the UK’s Food Standards Authority slashed the recommended safe daily intake of cannabidiol (CBD) from 70mg to 10mg. An estimated one in 10 people in the UK have used products containing CBD, and many users believe it can help with ailments such as insomnia, anxiety and pain. But is there any evidence for the supposed benefits, and what’s behind the FSA’s decision? Ian Sample talks to Dr Will Lawn of Kings College University, who has studied the health effects of CBD, to find out. Help support our independent journalism at


Why is the Amazon rainforest drying up?

Ian Sample talks to Guardian global environment editor Jon Watts about the withering drought currently devastating the Amazon rainforest. Jon explains the complex mix of factors that are driving the drought, and considers whether it might be a catalyst for more concerted climate action in Brazil and beyond. Help support our independent journalism at


Understanding the science of addiction

After Matthew Perry’s death was announced, a clip of the actor debating the science of addiction on the BBC’s Newsnight programme went viral. To find out where we’ve got to in our understanding of addiction, Ian Sample talks to Dr Nora Volkow, director of the US National Institute on Drug Abuse. She explains how brain imaging has advanced our understanding of this chronic disease. Help support our independent journalism at


Nuclear fusion, new drugs, better batteries: how AI will transform science

As the UK hosts the first global AI safety summit, Guardian science editor Ian Sample joins Madeleine Finlay to look on the bright side and consider some of the huge benefits AI could bring to science. Madeleine also hears from Prof Mihaela van der Schaar, an expert in machine learning in medicine, about how she predicts AI will transform patient care. Help support our independent journalism at


What could near-death experiences teach us about life, death and consciousness?

Seeing a bright light, floating above your body, being guided by an angel. All of these are common elements of reported near-death experiences, but what’s really going on? Ian Sample meets Sam Parnia, an intensive care doctor and associate professor at NYU Grossman school of medicine in New York City who has spent his career exploring the boundary between life and death. He tells Ian how he believes these experiences can be explained and what medicine can learn from them. Help support our independent journalism at


Black holes, but backwards: unlocking the mysteries of white holes

Ian Sample meets the Italian physicist Carlo Rovelli to find out about his cutting-edge research into white holes. A white hole is essentially a time-reversed black hole: a region of spacetime where matter spontaneously appears and explodes outwards. At the moment they are hypothetical objects, so Rovelli explains why he thinks they are worth exploring and reveals how they could explain one of the greatest mysteries of physics. Help support our independent journalism at


‘We’ve lost control’: what happens when the west Antarctic ice sheet melts?

Madeleine Finlay hears from environment editor Damian Carrington about a new study by the British Antarctic Survey, which shows Antarctic ice may be melting even faster than we thought. He also reflects on the life and career of former environment editor John Vidal, whose death was announced last week. Help support our independent journalism at


Could AI help diagnose schizophrenia?

Madeleine Finlay meets neuroscientist and psychiatrist Matthew Nour, whose research looks at how artificial intelligence could help doctors and scientists bring precision to diagnosis of psychiatric conditions. He describes his latest study looking at patients with schizophrenia, and explains how he thinks large language models such as ChatGPT could one day be used in the clinic. Help support our independent journalism at


Scarier than lions: how fear of ‘super predator’ humans is shaping the animal kingdom

Ian Sample meets the conservation biologist Liana Zanette, whose recently published research demonstrates that humans are now the super predator, inciting more fear in wild animals than even lions. She explains the ramifications of this knowledge for conservation techniques and the protection of endangered animals. Help support our independent journalism at


Inside the UK’s first gaming disorder clinic

In 2018 the World Health Organization formally included gaming disorder in its diagnostic manual for the first time. Nearly four years into running the only NHS gaming disorder clinic, Prof Henrietta Bowden-Jones tells Madeleine Finlay about how her team are learning to help those impacted, while a former patient explains how his gaming got out of hand, and how the clinic helped him to regain control. Help support our independent journalism at


What’s really going on with Paris’s bedbug crisis?

The Guardian’s Paris correspondent, Angelique Chrisafis, tells Madeleine Finlay about the explosion in bedbug sightings in the city, and how residents and officials have reacted. And Prof Jerome Goddard explains what makes the creatures so difficult to eradicate, and why the biggest threat they pose may be to our mental health. Help support our independent journalism at


All the news and science from the Nobel Prizes

Guardian science correspondents Linda Geddes, Nicola Davis and Hannah Devlin give Madeleine Finlay the lowdown on the Nobel Prizes for medicine, physics and chemistry that were announced this week. Help support our independent journalism at


Everything you need to know about the menopause

Madeleine Finlay meets menopause expert Dr Louise Newson to find out about some of the myths surrounding the menopause, how women can prepare for this stage in life, and why information and support can be so difficult to access. Help support our independent journalism at


Could we end migraines for good?

British minister Dehenna Davison recently resigned from government, explaining that chronic migraines were making it impossible for her to do her job. Her announcement coincided with a new drug for acute migraines being recommended for use in the NHS. Madeleine Finlay meets Prof Peter Goadsby, whose pioneering research underpins the new drug, to find out about the advances we’ve made in understanding migraines, and whether we might one day be able to wave goodbye to migraines for good. Help support our independent journalism at