A podcast on science from scientists. Here we ask those seemingly straight forward questions that don’t have such straight forward answers. Each episode takes a tongue in cheek look at current research and research practises whilst lifting the veil on what is scientific truth. Mostly we nerd out about the crazy complexity of the world, with the occasional calling out of mischief in the research community. We try to give a full account of the topics under discussion but as always, further research is needed. Contact: Twitter @frnpodcast firstname.lastname@example.org url:frn-podcast.com
Does the myth of the maverick scientist help or hinder science? In this episode we take an in depth look at what makes a maverick scientist and the effect the trope has on scientists and the public perception of research.
Enough with the rants for now. Today, each of us is bringing an uplifting piece of science to the table, and shares his excitement with the others. In the end, we have an important announcement about the future of this podcast.
WHY IS SCIENCE SO SLOW? Today we are looking at science as a whole - talking about the things that drive us up the wall and things that are truly fascinating about the scientific research system. As always, we end on a positive note: Each of us makes a wish to the science djinn to improve the scientific system in the long run. All that is needed now is for us to go out there and make them come true...
How do we as scientists feel about science fiction? Do we get mad about incorrect depictions of science in scifi? Does it create unrealistic expectations towards scientific progress and potential? And who inspires whom anyway? We're diving deep today, and leaving the world of real science behind ... almost.
How do we know Nicolas Cage is (probably) not drowning people? Does eating ice cream make people drown themselves maybe? In this episode, we learn how to assess if there can be a causal link between two correlated phenomena. We find spurious correlations everywhere and having a toolbox to probe for causality is a must for every sceptic.
How is a biomolecule different from any other molecule? Are there artificial chemicals and natural chemicals? Should scientists be trying to make their work sound more "natural", "organic" or "biological"? In this episode we talk about this self-identification and how it may be harming science as a whole.
We end the decade of research with highlighting the supposedly biggest discoveries in science. Alongside those, we brought some other topics that we found interesting and worth chatting about. Stay excited for the best and worst enzyme on the planet, new directions for antidepressants, some practical tips for time travellers and car-driving rats.
Full list of time stamps and topics:
0:00 - Intro
3:16 - RuBisCO: the best and worst enzyme on the planet
13:15 - The 5 greatest discoveries of the last decade
51:25 - Quantum computing - yes or no?
57:40 - Genome-wide association replacing candidate gene studies
1:01:23 - Street drugs as antidepressants
1:14:46 - Science for time travellers
1:24:28 - Car-driving rats / Outro
1:26:56 - Additional: Bathroom break chat
Even though most scientists agree, there are significant flaws in the publishing system (and related to that: funding distribution, reproducibility and peer review) change is slow. This might be, because our careers depend on publishing in reputable journals, being a scientist basically requires it. In this episode, Chris, Ashley and I discuss issues coming from our current publishing system and propose alternatives for some specific aspects. If you share any of the ideas, then talk to your colleagues about it and share them online. On the Fey-Sci blog, you can find links to programs which can make a difference if we give them a change. After all, change has to come from within, and we, the scientists hold the power to change the system together. fey-sci.com
Let's dive deep into biochemistry!
Chris and I discuss our beloved biological marcromolecules, and how they are all synthesised in a linear fashion, as a chain of monomers. I was wondering why this is, since especially proteins function through their 3D structure and the linear nature of the chain can be a drawback. For example, many diseases are related to misfolding of proteins, like Alzheimer's disease.
We explore some ideas on pathway evolution and kinetic reaction control. In the end, Chris convinces me with an argument on information processing. As always: informal, unscripted, and highly subjective.
Read more on fey-sci.com
What a ridiculous and utterly obsolete question. It is the exact opposite!
That's what you would hear from most people. At closer look however, the habits in the scientific community resemble those in religious circles more than they would like. Ashley, Chris and I take on that question and discuss in which aspects the scientific institution exhibits hallmarks of a religion. Including: the sanctification by Nobel prize, Chris' blind belief in the electron, poop pills as lifestyle advice and many more topics that we touch on.
Why chemical separations are so difficult. Separating useful chemicals from our waste has become one of the world's biggest challenges. We discuss the scientific background of separation issues, and what it means for research and our day to day lives.
Chris Wood and I chat about some features of RNA that are generally not so prominent in biochemistry textbooks, but I find them really fascinating. Along these thoughts, we trash some ribozymes, take a stand on RNA's role in the origin of life and discuss a few issues and developments of the recently emerging RNA-based drugs.