The big questions: answering some of the biggest scientific mysteries of 2022

IFLScience Podcast Season 2 The big questions has come to an end and we couldn’t be more proud of the fascinating scientific mysteries tackled, from what happens in our brains when we drink alcohol to the literal end of the universe. Hosts Dr Alfredo Carpineti and Rachael Funnel were joined by international guest experts to investigate questions and issues at the edge of our knowledge. What have we learned? Find out below.

Episode 1 – How will the universe end?

Dr. Katie Mack, Hawking Professor of Cosmology and Science Communication at Perimeter Institute, tells us everything we wanted to know and more about the end times of the cosmos.

Episode 2 – Is the future of agriculture underwater?

In collaboration with BBC Earth, we talk to Luca Gamberini about Nemo’s Garden, an innovative approach to farming that takes plants from the earth below the surface of oceans, seas and lakes.

Episode 3 – Can Humans Live Forever?

With Dr. Andrew Steele, author of Ageless: The New Science of Aging Without Agingwe discuss the latest news on the medical fight against old age and whether humans could live forever.

Episode 4 – How do you know that a species is extinct?

When we think a species is extinct, is it gone for good? We tackle the complexities of extinction, and sometimes rediscovery, with Dr. Barney Long of Re:wild, whose mission is the conservation of endangered mammal species and ways to restore their populations.

Episode 5 – Why is the universe made of matter and not antimatter?

In this episode, we delve into an unsolved mystery of physics: why does our universe prefer matter to its mirror version known as antimatter? Professor Jeffrey Hangst, experimental physicist and spokesperson for Alpha, helps untangle this puzzle through what we know and what we have yet to discover.

Episode 6 – How does the imagination work?

Professor Tyler Marghetis of the University of California, Merced, takes us on a journey inside our brains to discuss the human capacity for abstract thought and how imagination shapes our experiences.

Episode 7 – Is Math the Greatest Subject in the World?

The most controversial episode tackles the polarizing topic of math. We are therefore joined by British mathematician, Professor Nira Chamberlain, listed by the Science Council as “one of the top 100 scientists in the UK” to make the case for mathematics as the pinnacle of human ingenuity.

Episode 8 – How does your diet affect the body’s ability to fight disease?

Dr. William Li is a physician, scientist, and author who has devoted much of his work to understanding the role diet plays in disease, not only to keep us healthy, but also to give us an edge against disease. We discuss this and much more.

Episode 9 – What are the limits of computers and supercomputers?

We talk to Professor Mazhar Ali from Delft University of Technology about the latest innovations and the limitations we might encounter when trying to make computers and supercomputers better and faster.

Episode 10 – What do alcohol and drugs do to the brain?

Neuropsychopharmacologist Professor David Nutt reveals how drugs and alcohol affect our brains with both positive and negative effects, and how he and others look at making alcohol without the negative consequences.

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