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Further Research Needed

Further Research Needed

By Further Research Needed
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 or
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The unexpected wonders of the cell membrane
We have Erdinç Sezgin with us today, and he is telling us about the wonders of the cell membrane, and how biophysical methods help to understand them from a whole new angle.  Find Erdinç on Twitter  and his group's website
February 09, 2022
Can viruses get sick?
Today we ask the question can viruses get sick? And can you get sick if your aren't even alive? We take a look at giant viruses and their arch nemesis, the virophage. 
January 26, 2022
Does evolution inform morality?
On this weeks episode we tackle the really big question of the morality of reproduction. Should we be obligated to have children because of evolution?
January 12, 2022
Solar foods: protein from thin air
This week we are discussing the future of protein production. Is there a hard limit to how many people we can feed on this planet and if yes, are we going to reach it soon? Can we create food from scratch without a dependence on soil? Stay tuned for answers to these and many more questions!
December 29, 2021
Why did alchemy die?
Why can't I turn lead into gold and surely I can drink something to live for ever? Today we talk about alchemy; what it promised, who was practising it and ultimately why did chemistry supersede it. 
December 15, 2021
Do we need to worry about extinction level events?
This week we are discussing disaster on the highest level. Do we have to prepare for extinction events that would kill all of humanity? And if yes, which ones are the ones we should focus on?
December 01, 2021
Beyond the double helix
The double helix structure of DNA is probably the most famous biomolecular structure out there. In this episode, we are exploring other structures that our genetic code is forming, and what role they might be playing in the processes of life beyond mere sequencing information. Be prepared to dive into the many shapes of DNA.
November 17, 2021
Is scientism anti science?
Is scientism on the rise? Today we are discussing what exactly we understand under the term scientism, and how it affects the public perception of both scientific findings and the academic community. 
November 03, 2021
The FRN origin story, and how we go from here
After we had a longer summer break, we're introducing the new season, our slightly modified approach to the podcast and tell the story how we got here. 
October 20, 2021
Transhumanism - Is it okay to change our own genes?
In the second part of our transhumanism feature, we look permanent germline modifications. Is anyone allowed to change their share in the human genepool, and do we have a wider responsibility than only our own offspring? 
June 23, 2021
Transhumanism - Is it inevitable?
This week on Further Research Needed we tackle Transhumanism! We discuss how we understand the term and get into the weeds on how feasible it is. Join us to see if Transhumanism might already be here or whether it is just around the corner. As always, further research is definitely needed.
June 02, 2021
Why should we measure scientific quality?
Part of academic publishing is the prestige of the journal, measured by previous citations. We are diving into this system, why we have it and what the future of quality assessment of academic publishing could look like.
May 19, 2021
Can scientists have opinions?
On this week's episode of Further Research Needed we discuss: Can scientists have opinions? Scientists are being trained to report data without intermingling their personal opinion. However, voicing one's opinion and having the freedom to talk freely is as valuable in science as it is everywhere else. Today we critically look at the available outlets, that are available for opinion pieces - from journals to Twitter. Join us for a quick rant about "peer-reviewed" opinions and some constructive criticism. Though as always, further research is definitely needed!
May 05, 2021
Engineering vs Science
Is science just engineering? or vice versa? In this episode we pick apart the two and try and work out if it's a problem that they are so intertwined. 
April 22, 2021
Are universities businesses?
This week on Further Research Needed we tackle the question: Are universities businesses? Changes in how universities behave will have far-reaching consequences for education, research and public services. We discuss if unis are getting more commercial than in the past and why they would want to in the first place. 
April 07, 2021
Is the big bang soon to be superseded?
Which scientific theories do you know, that are no longer accepted today? Academic consensus is changing slower than any of us could really notice. Sometimes it's a good idea to look back at the theories we left behind over the centuries; and this is exactly what we do in this episode. We each bring one superseded theory to the table, and discuss them with respect to past and current scientific consensus. The natural conclusion follows: which theory is next?
March 24, 2021
Are antibodies overpowered?
This week on Further Research Needed we try to answer the question: Are antibodies overpowered? Joining us is Sebastian Ols, expert in vaccine research and first time guest on the show. We discuss how our bodies manage to produce a truly astonishing diversity of antibodies, why antibodies get better over time and what innovative strategies are being used to make even better vaccines. Whether you haven't thought about your immune system in ages or consider yourself well prepared for a fierce discussion about antibodies, this episode will blow your mind. Just as it has blown ours! Strap in, get ready for some hard science and as always, remember, further research is definitely needed. 
March 10, 2021
What else happened this year?
The 2020 science recap is here! Featuring life on Venus, a plane without moving parts and some deep protein folding. Sit back and relax while we share our favorite breakthroughs and meme the grumpy scientist about each other's choice. Guaranteed 99% virus free! 
January 13, 2021
Are we ready to change peer review?
This time, Pedro Veliça (creator of Pedromics) is joining the show. Peer review is a cornerstone of academia and scientific publishing, but certainly not beyond improvement. Can private companies ensure the quality of research through free labor, or do we need reform of the peer review system. We're presenting a few alternatives and discuss potential implications for us as scientists, but also our truth standard in general. 
December 16, 2020
Which is worse - paragliding or steak?
Join us for the second installment of the guessing game. This time we will guess about our risk of death, the power of the sun and vaporizing all bodies of water. Find out who takes the guesstimation crown and compete with us for the best estimate. 
December 02, 2020
Are scientists being censored?
And are there any circumstances where this would be justified?
November 18, 2020
Does winning the Nobel prize cause scientists to go mad?
Would you accept a Nobel prize if the cost was your sanity? In this episode we look at whether receiving the most prestigious award in science causes scientist to propose crackpot theories and even descend into madness.
November 04, 2020
Is science education fit for purpose?
What is the purpose of science education at different stages of school... and are we doing a good job delivering? 
October 21, 2020
What would turn us into supervillains?
Let's leave the realm of the scientifically possible behind for a bit, and plan ahead for when our time comes. 
October 07, 2020
Does the maverick scientist narrative bypass the scientific process?
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.
September 23, 2020
Who takes the guesstimation crown?
We're putting our scientific minds to practical work and try to make an educated guess on a completely unknown number. Can you beat us?
September 09, 2020
Can a biologist fix a radio?
We are doing a journal club episode on the paper: Can a biologist fix a radio? (Labeznik, CANCER CELL, 2002). 
August 26, 2020
Is pivoting research towards the crisis good for science?
The podcast with straight forward questions that lead to not so straight forward answers is back for another season. 
August 12, 2020
Further Research Needed Trailer
The podcast with straight forward questions that lead to not so straight forward answers introduces itself.
August 09, 2020
Science to make you happy
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.
April 25, 2020
A djinn for science
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...
March 20, 2020
Scientist and sci-fi: a fickle love affair
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.
February 23, 2020
A guide to causality
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. 
February 10, 2020
Stop saying biomolecule!
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.
January 23, 2020
What has Matthew McConaughey ever done for us? A recap of the last 10 years in science
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
January 11, 2020
Should the publishers perish?
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.
December 08, 2019
The linearity of life
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
December 01, 2019
Is science a religion?
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.
November 21, 2019
Chemical separation: Costing the earth
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.
November 11, 2019
RNA and the world
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.
November 10, 2019