Science Friction

Science Friction

www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/sciencefriction
Science, culture and everything in between. Feel the heat. All species welcome.


Click-Sick: Part 2 The hidden political forces pushing pandemic conspiracies
Sep 20 • 33 min
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Kathrin’s friends have been sending her a range of wild theories about the virus.
Click-Sick: Part 1 Why sharing isn’t always caring. On the trail of COVID-19 misinformation
Sep 13 • 36 min
Two families, two posts…and two stories of how seemingly benign shares on social media can turn bad.
The rise of vaccine nationalism – should we be worried?
Sep 6 • 41 min
A vaccine arms race is on to get us out of this pandemic, but could we all lose out if we don’t do things differently?
Introducing… Patient Zero
Sep 1 • 5 min
Even big diseases start small…PATIENT ZERO is a new podcast that tells the stories of disease outbreaks: where they begin, why they happen and how we found ourselves in the middle of a really big one.
This river is a Person – Maori knowing meets Western science
Aug 30 • 29 min
When Whanganui River in New Zealand was declared a legal person, Maori scientists knew exactly what they meant. But how do you unearth the science hidden in ancient oral stories?
The In/justices of A.I
Aug 23 • 36 min
The algorithms are out to get you and to protect you. Meet the directors of two films that will shock, surprise and move you, Welcome to Chechnya and Coded Bias.
The Leadership film - Do Women Scientists Lead Differently?
Aug 16 • 37 min
Seventy-six women and a boatload of spin and soul-searching on the way to Antarctica. What happened next?
Was Einstein’s wife the hidden contributor on his most famous works? Part 2 (Repeat)
Aug 9 • 33 min
How much did Einstein’s first wife contribute to his work? Mileva’s supporters and skeptics go head to head over the evidence in Part 2 of this Science Friction series.
Who was Einstein’s first wife? Part 1 - Debate heats up over Mileva’s role in Albert’s science (Repeat)
Aug 2 • 26 min
Who was Einstein’s first wife? Muse or collaborator? The plot thickens. The battlelines are drawn.
Medical misinformation, COVID-19, Big Data and Black Lives Matter
Jul 26 • 37 min
COVID-19 is a pandemic of medical misinformation. But could it also provoke a revolt in ivory tower culture? Two scientists talk big data, big visions and Black Lives Matter.
Climate in the Courtroom Part 3: Big Energy, big typhoons and a big fight for justice
Jul 19 • 25 min
Artist A.G. survived. Now the fossil fuel industry is in the cross-hairs. Correction: The President of the Philippines in 2013 was Benigno Aquino III.
Climate in the Courtroom Part 2: A fossil fuel company is sued. Now it speaks.
Jul 12 • 38 min
A giant energy company is being sued. Now it speaks. So does the scientist who’s become a thorn in their side over fossil fuels. Is the courtroom the new frontier for climate action?
Climate in the Courtroom Part 1: Why is this Peruvian farmer suing Germany’s largest power company RWE?
Jul 5 • 30 min
In this playground of adventurers and mountain home to Peruvians, they don’t know if or when it will happen. But they want fossil fuel companies to pay.
The Animals: Laura Jean McKay, James Bradley, Chris Flynn’s wild re-imaginings of other species
Jun 29 • 51 min
A Neanderthal girl lives amongst us. A mammoth narrates history. The animals speak to us. 3 novelists with surreally timed stories.
From chaos to calm…and a whole universe in between
Jun 28 • 25 min
A sonic adventure into the minds of scientists
When fake facts go viral: Islamic science, Medieval medicine and the history police (repeat)
Jun 21 • 25 min
Don’t believe everything you see. Art, science and the curious making of fake news.
The mystery of two millionaires and two IVF embryos: The Trouble with Embryos (repeat)
Jun 14 • 30 min
A mystery about two Californian millionaires and two “orphan” embryos at the very beginning of the IVF revolution.
The carnivorous woman – a saga from Charles Darwin to Wheatbelt Western Australia (Part 2)
Jun 7 • 37 min
A flesh-eating botanical saga. Outside the hallowed halls of science, revolutions are made.
A wild and whimsical world of flesh-eating plants (Part 1)
May 31 • 25 min
From Day of the Triffids to Little Shop of Horrors, meet a most sagacious animal. What the hell is a plant doing eating flesh?
The Gendered Brain - Gina Rippon and myth shattering neuroscience
May 24 • 35 min
Girls. Boys. Brains. Biology. Society. The game of Whac-A-Mole that is the science of sex differences.
The Scientist and the Spy - China, the FBI, espionage, and racism
May 17 • 31 min
A shady story about seeds, China, the FBI, and industrial espionage. Mara Hvistendahl delves into America’s pursuit of ethnic Chinese scientists.
The Big PhD Pause - postgraduate students, COVID-19, and the next brain drain? (Science Interrupted Part 3)
May 10 • 33 min
Doing is a PhD can screw with your mind at the best of times. Isolating and exciting all at once. What’s happening to PhD students locked out labs worldwide right now? What will their options be as the clock ticks towards D(eadline) Day?
The Ruins of Science - a story of misdirected medical power
May 3 • 26 min
In the 1960s, when gay sex was still treated as a crime in Australia, science intervened in shocking ways.
PREVIEW RN Presents — Hot Mess: Why haven’t we fixed climate change?
Apr 30 • 4 min
What do we know, what will it take, and why have we struggled to effectively act on climate change? Don’t miss the compelling new series, Hot Mess.
The astrophysicist Survivor star and immunologist dropping everything to help save you from COVID19 (Science, Interrupted Part 2)
Apr 26 • 36 min
Exploding stars and killer cells. Then comes a pandemic. Drop everything. Head into the battle-zone. It’s Survivor but not as you know it.
Science, Interrupted Part 1 - lives, loves, labs upended by COVID19
Apr 19 • 37 min
Extraordinary scientists doing extraordinary things. Then came the pandemic.
If we can mobilise around a pandemic, what next? Meet two revolutionaries already flouting the rules
Apr 12 • 35 min
After the pandemic, what else can we make work better? Here are some dumb things to start with. We flush fresh water down our toilets. We throw out perfectly edible food by the tonne.
COVID-19, China’s wild wet markets, pangolins, and bats - is it US not THEM?
Apr 5 • 31 min
Why do deadly viruses love bats so much, why don’t bats get crook, and what’s with China’s wild wet markets? The curious making of a pandemic.
Rules of contagion - meet a mathematician at the frontline of the COVID-19 fight
Mar 29 • 30 min
At the frontline of the COVID-19 fight right now, Adam Kucharski is author of The Rules of Contagion: Why Things Spread - and Why They Stop. He sees patterns of contagion everywhere – in viruses, memes, markets.
Acclaimed Beasts of No Nation author Uzodinma Iweala - on science, power, and race
Mar 22 • 31 min
The stories we construct about biology, viruses, and beyond can reshape the course of our lives. When the world suddenly feels very small, connected by a virus that’s porous to people and borders, let’s consider the power and porosity of science.
Your 3D printed body
Mar 15 • 30 min
If you could 3D print a new body part, what would it be? For marine scientist Pia Winberg that question was about to become intensely real. The science and the ethics of a wild frontier for medicine.
School gate racism, education reclaimed, and family found (Part 2)
Mar 8 • 34 min
Three generations with powerful, personal stories of family lost and found, racism, and the right to education reclaimed. This is not your average Science Summer School.
How to be Two Ways strong: Dreamtime science and finding yourself (Part 1)
Mar 1 • 29 min
Pack your pyjamas, we’re heading to camp! From Arnhem Land to Adelaide, Caboolture to Coffs – let’s gather from far and wide to meet on Kaurna country. A scientific and cultural odyssey in two parts.
EVACUATE NOW - wildfires and why Will stayed in bed
Feb 23 • 25 min
How would you react if you received this SMS? BUSHFIRE WARNING. LEAVE NOW. When we evacuate from a bushfire, we fall into one of seven types of evacuee; from Threat Deniers, to Worried Waverers, to Experienced Independents. This is the story of a bad…
Wildfires with wild numbers: fact checking a catastrophe
Feb 16 • 25 min
This Summer’s overwhelming bushfires have produced overwhelming numbers - hectares burnt, animals killed, carbon dioxide emitted. But who’s fact checking the numbers? We are.
The radical experimenters: a rapper, a poet, and a biological artist
Feb 9 • 39 min
The poetic cosmos drips with mango juice. Pigs might fly when porcine cells are your paint and wings your canvas. Rap lyrics that challenge science denialism. Artists pushing at the boundaries of the imagination and the possibilities of science.
Of Mice and Men: This top cancer scientist thought he knew a lot about cancer. Then he got it.
Feb 2 • 28 min
You’re a top cancer scientist. And then you get cancer. Suddenly you become “A Cancer Patient”, and one of your colleagues is wielding the (robotic) scalpel. A story about science, knowledge, and vulnerability.
The predatory publishers sucking science’s blood — Updated audio
Jan 26 • 32 min
In pursuit of a predator. A sting operation. A black list. Big law suits. Is this the biggest threat to science since the Inquisition? This audio has been updated due to technical glitch. Science Friction’s fresh season for 2020 kicks off next episode.
Do genetic ancestry tests know if you’re Palestinian? A cautionary tale of race and science (Summer Season)
Jan 19 • 34 min
Palestinian-American cartoonist and illustrator Marguerite Dabaie thought she understood her ancestry. But then she had a genetic test and things got messy. It’s not her DNA, it’s the technology
The Hollow Bones: the weird world of Nazi ‘science’ meets mysticism on the road to Tibet (Summer Season)
Jan 12 • 30 min
A young ornithologist. A Nazi expedition to Tibet. A Faustian pact in the name of science, but at what cost? This story gets very weird, very fast. But the animals are watching.
Faith challenged - 21 and searching for science in the land of Trump (Summer Season)
Jan 5 • 33 min
One Amish childhood + one strict Christian upbringing = two 21 year olds questioning everything they were ever taught. On the afterlife, evolution, and making your own way. (Summer Season highlight)
Lolita and Linda’s uterus transplant - an ethical, emotional, and scientific minefield (Summer Season)
Dec 29, 2019 • 37 min
Lolita had one of the world’s first uterus transplants - then what happened? (Summer Season highlight)
The ultimate designer accessory - an artificial womb? (Summer Season)
Dec 22, 2019 • 30 min
Who needs to get pregnant anymore when you can use a baby pouch? FullLife has the product for you. The sci fi imaginings of Helen Sedgewick. Utopia or the ultimate dystopia? A Science Friction mini-series that takes a womb’s eye view of the future of…
Science Friction’s End of the Year quiz show!
Dec 15, 2019 • 28 min
It’s boys against girls. Unleash the nerds and mischief. Play along.
Discover your dark side - the science, psychology, and philosophy of evil
Dec 8, 2019 • 41 min
Are you a little bit evil or a lot?
Selfish by nature? Two scientific renegades who looked for kindness and paid a price
Dec 1, 2019 • 30 min
The selfish gene. The selfish ape. Survival of the fittest. Remarkable stories of two renegades who challenged a scientific orthodoxy about selfishness.
A whole lot of POO!
Nov 24, 2019 • 35 min
On poo, pooing and all that palaver. A children’s author, a colorectal surgeon, a psychologist walked onto stage…
“A perfectly normal girl - although she likes computers” Hidden stories from Australian computing
Nov 17, 2019 • 30 min
In the 1950s computers were so big they filled whole rooms. Women were employed in big numbers to work with them. But then something weird happened.
The Ladies’ Log: Who (not what) were the first computers?
Nov 10, 2019 • 25 min
Hidden amongst astronomy’s nineteenth century effort to map the stars, is a tale about some of the first women working in computing in Australia.
Searching for Doggerland: stones, bones and a world submerged by climate change
Nov 3, 2019 • 26 min
It’s there if you look…under the sea. But how would we know? Join Science Friction on a journey into the lost heart of Doggerland.
Matty’s Story - donor conception and the cost of secrecy
Oct 27, 2019 • 25 min
What if you suddenly found out you aren’t quite who you thought you were? Matty and family’s story will move you.
The conundrum of unused IVF embryos: The Trouble With Embryos Part 2
Oct 20, 2019 • 25 min
What should you do with the embryos you have left over after IVF treatment?
The mystery of two millionaires and two IVF embryos: The Trouble with Embryos Part 1
Oct 13, 2019 • 31 min
A mystery about two Californian millionaires and two “orphan” embryos at the very beginning of the IVF revolution.
Pulsar woman: It’s not a bird, it’s not a quasar, it’s…
Oct 6, 2019 • 36 min
The signals were weird. But was what happened afterwards even weirder?
Broad Band - the untold story of the women who made the internet
Sep 29, 2019 • 59 min
Have you heard these stories of what was and what could have been? You’ll want to. If we CARE enough, could the internet be way, way better?
Bioerror to bioterror - does synthetic biology give new tools to terrorists? Part 2
Sep 22, 2019 • 29 min
Will bioterrorism become more targeted with the help of new tools in biotechnology and synthetic biology? From your cells to crops, pandemics to plagues - are the risks real or far-flung? Natasha Mitchell was the only journalist in a NATO security…
Bioerror to bioterror - what if a human-engineered virus escaped the lab? Part 1
Sep 15, 2019 • 28 min
Scientists can now ‘engineer’ biological organisms never before found in Nature. What if they make a mistake, and a synthetic virus escapes the lab? Or a rogue mind turns to synthetic biology to wage bioterror? Is anyone watching?
Lovers in the Lab: when your passion for science becomes passion for each other
Sep 8, 2019 • 25 min
Meet three couples who have taken their romances way further than most. Frank, passionate, hilarious stories of making it work.
Tai Asks Why - the seventh grader with a cult science podcast and mind for big ideas
Sep 1, 2019 • 29 min
Meet a 12 year old scientist who’s got a whole lot of questions…enough to take you to the moon and back.
Only technology will save us from ourselves - Science Friction’s Beaker Street Great Debate
Aug 25, 2019 • 31 min
The battlelines are drawn, brains tuned, arguments sharpened and teeth gnashing as two teams go head to head at the BeakerStreet@TMAG festival at Hobart’s Tasmanian Museum & Art Gallery for National Science Week. Your fearless adjudicator, Science…
This famous physicist wants to solve a big mystery – cancer
Aug 18, 2019 • 28 min
Why is a famous physicist and cosmologist usually interested in Big Questions about the Universe now diving into the deep history of cancer?
Artists on the loose at the Large Hadron Collider - Science Friction at the CERN
Aug 11, 2019 • 27 min
88 metres underground, in the labyrinth of chambers and corridors of the world’s large particle accelerator, art and science collide in wild and wonderful ways.
A mind on the move - Nobel winner Venki Ramakrishnan on being an outsider, borders and Brexit
Aug 4, 2019 • 25 min
How can a Nobel Prize winning scientist feel like an outsider?
Brexit gets personal: borders, brains and science
Jul 28, 2019 • 29 min
A whistle-stop tour into the lives of adventurous young European scientists and their wunderlust. For them Brexit is deeply personal. Moving stories of lives shaped by bitter politics.
The Apocalypse Part 3: A supervolcanic winter
Jul 21, 2019 • 25 min
Could one volcano cause global carnage? Making sense of a mystery. Your DNA and the archaeological record are full of surprising clues.
The Apocalypse Part 2: The next almighty asteroid
Jul 14, 2019 • 25 min
They’ve struck before, and they’ll hit again. Can we save our skins in time, or will we go the way of the dinosaurs?
The Apocalypse Part 1: A supercharged Sun storm
Jul 7, 2019 • 30 min
A storm strikes from space, with little warning, and electrifying impact. Put away your umbrella, it won’t help one iota.
China, freedom, science: The personal is political for this particle physicist
Jun 30, 2019 • 31 min
Born just months after the Tiananmen massacre, Yangyang Cheng grew up in the shadow of those shocking events. Now this young particle physicist has found a potent voice - her own - on history, human rights, science, and freedom.
Sum of All Parts - The sound of seizure
Jun 23, 2019 • 25 min
Brant Guichard has heard The Music for as long as he can remember.
Sum of All Parts - The Infinite God
Jun 16, 2019 • 25 min
A musician gives up the rock n’ roll dream for number theory, and a glimpse of the infinite.
Sharks, devils, wombats: three homosapiens saving what we’ve got
Jun 9, 2019 • 35 min
Meet three homosapiens who are passionate about preserving the future of other species.
The CRISPR gene-edited babies and the doctor who made them - what really happened?
Jun 2, 2019 • 33 min
Wall Street Journal journalist Preetika Rana has unearthed extraordinary new information about the Chinese scientist who created the world’s first gene-edited babies.
Does genomics know if you’re Palestinian? A cautionary tale about genetic databases and ancestry testing
May 26, 2019 • 34 min
Palestinian-American cartoonist and illustrator Marguerite Dabaie thought she understood her ancestry. But then she had a genetic test and things got messy. It’s not her DNA, it’s the technology.
Let there be ROCK: science in the moshpit
May 19, 2019 • 25 min
Pull on your black t-shirt or spandex. Turn up the volume. A heavy metal loving professor with guitar in arms and physics in his soul. [From the archive]
Are scientists scared of politics? Science Friction Election Special
May 12, 2019 • 28 min
Are science and politics alien to each other? From climate change to coal mines, are scientists cutting through in policy debates?
The crisis of predatory publishers sucking the blood of science
May 5, 2019 • 31 min
In pursuit of a predator. A sting operation. A black list. Big law suits. Is this the biggest threat to science since the Inquisition?
Lise Meitner and the bittersweet story of a nuclear genius
Apr 28, 2019 • 25 min
Nuclear fission. That Nobel Prize. The Nazis. Lise Meitner’s story has it all and more.
Was Einstein’s wife the hidden contributor on his most famous works? Part 2
Apr 21, 2019 • 33 min
How much did Einstein’s first wife contribute to his work? Mileva’s supporters and skeptics go head to head over the evidence in Part 2 of this Science Friction series.
Who was Einstein’s first wife? Part 1 -Debate heats up over Mileva’s role in Albert’s science
Apr 14, 2019 • 27 min
Who was Einstein’s first wife? Muse or collaborator? The plot thickens. The battlelines are drawn.
Who owns your DNA? Ancestry services, solving crimes and your privacy
Apr 7, 2019 • 33 min
Genetic profiling of persecuted Muslim people in China. Forensic investigators using popular ancestry services to solve crimes. Who owns your DNA? And who protects your privacy? Think before you spit.
The ups and downs of ‘Chemsex’
Mar 31, 2019 • 26 min
One-on-one, casual hook ups, group sex parties…the illicit drug Ice is being used to enhance sex. Is there a fine line between pleasure and pain?
Will sex robots have no taboos?
Mar 24, 2019 • 31 min
The sexbots are coming. How will it change our sex lives - for better and worse?
The Hollow Bones: the weird world of Nazi ‘science’ meets mysticism on the road to Tibet
Mar 17, 2019 • 29 min
A young ornithologist. A Nazi expedition to Tibet. A Faustian pact in the name of science, but at what cost? This story gets very weird, very fast. But the animals are watching.
The wild science of artificial wombs and 3D printed ovaries. Future Uterus Part 3
Mar 10, 2019 • 25 min
From artificial baby bags for preemies to 3D printed ovaries – the future of the uterus is here.
The extraordinary story of Lolita and Linda’s uterus transplant. Future Uterus Part 2
Mar 3, 2019 • 36 min
Lolita had one of the world’s first uterus transplants - then what happened?
Could this designer baby pouch allow men to have babies too? Future Uterus Part 1
Feb 24, 2019 • 30 min
Who needs to get pregnant anymore when you can use a baby pouch? FullLife has the product for you. The sci fi imaginings of Helen Sedgewick. Utopia or the ultimate dystopia? A Science Friction mini-series that takes a womb’s eye view of the future of…
The drug trial that went wrong…very, very wrong
Feb 17, 2019 • 28 min
Who protects the human guinea pigs? (Repeat)
Faith challenged - finding science in Trumplandia
Feb 10, 2019 • 33 min
One Amish childhood + one strict Christian upbringing = two 21 year olds questioning everything they were ever taught. On the afterlife, evolution, and making your own way.
Extreme art adventures: will this be first artist-in-residence in space?
Feb 3, 2019 • 28 min
Meet a water baby turned aquanaut turned astronaut candidate. Sarah Jane Pell is an astronomical performance artist. Will artists make life in space more humane?
The biggest butterfly of all
Jan 27, 2019 • 29 min
A search for a beguiling beauty. And a saga about people power.
The father of climate science, my Foote!? A mystery revealed
Jan 19, 2019 • 30 min
You won’t believe your ears. A hidden herstory in the history of science.
The Long Now: what will life be like in 10,000 years?
Jan 12, 2019 • 26 min
If a clock ticks for 10,000 years will anybody be there to hear it? Long term thinking…come on…let’s do this.
The Lost Boys
Jan 5, 2019 • 28 min
The hidden story of a very weird psychological experiment. The guinea pigs are kids. But they have no idea what they were in for. Neither do their parents. Who were the lost boys?
Robbie and the DNA detectives
Dec 29, 2018 • 30 min
Science Friction returns with a medical mystery story like none other. A genetic lottery. A chance encounter. A global quest. Science at the cutting edge. And one gutsy young guy.
Insect Armageddon!!?
Dec 22, 2018 • 25 min
Is it happening…or not?
Ancient Ink: Unearthing the secrets of the ancient flesh
Dec 15, 2018 • 33 min
History can be skin deep. If you dig.
Back from the Dead - will extinct animals ever walk, swim, fly again?
Dec 8, 2018 • 38 min
Stories of resurrection and revival. If you could bring an extinct animal alive again what would it be? Should we if we could?
World’s first CRISPR gene edited babies born - are we ready?
Dec 1, 2018 • 29 min
The world’s first gene edited babies - twin girls - have allegedly been created. It happened in China in secret. Rogue scientist or pioneer?
Frankenstein’s Monster: writers on scientific hubris
Nov 24, 2018 • 26 min
A chimp raised as a human child; machine algorithms that govern your life’s trajectory; a dystopian Australian thriller about science, power and plague. What happens when scientists and technologists pursue their curiosity without consideration of the…
When fake facts go viral: Islamic science, Medieval medicine and the history police
Nov 17, 2018 • 25 min
Don’t believe everything you see. Art, science and the curious making of fake news.