Futureproof with Jonathan McCrea
Futureproof with Jonathan McCrea
About Futureproof with Jonathan McCrea
Jonathan responds to your texts and tweets, is joined in studio for all the latest science stories for Newsround and speaks to one of our two guests featured on the show. Listen and subscribe to Futureproof with Johnathan McCrea on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. Download, listen and subscribe on the Newstalk App. You can also listen to Newstalk live on newstalk.com or on Alexa, by and asking: 'Alexa, play Newstalk'
Despite being in an environmental and biodiversity crisis, there are a number of animals that have come to the brink of extinction. So what can we learn from them, and are we being optimistic by thinking we can bring more species back? Joining Jonathan is Dr. Christopher Preston, Environmental Philosophy Professor at the University of Montana and author of 'Tenacious Beasts: Wildlife Recoveries That Change How We Think about Animals'.
Settling in space might seem like a fun otherworldly concept, but it could also bring a number of practical realities to consider like what would space prisons be like? How would we monitor labour laws? And how could we control population growth? All of these are themes and considerations in astrophysicist Dr. Erika Nesvold’s book "Off-Earth: Ethical Questions and Quandaries for Living in Outer Space", and she joins Jonathan to discuss.
When ChatGPT came on the scene late last year, it was seen by many as a novel and fun piece of new technology, to others like Nick Cave, "a grotesque mockery of what it is to be human". But as new generations of AI come online in the weeks and months ahead, what exactly does that mean for us? Will we look back to this year and say this is when it all changed? Joining Jonathan to discuss where we are with AI technologies and where we are headed is Dr. Benjamin Cowan, Associate Professor at UCD's School of Information and Communication Studies and Co-Principal Investigator at The ADAPT Centre & Naomi Harte, Professor in Speech Technology in the School of Engineering in Trinity College.
This is a special episode on 'Face Blindness' & 'Super Recognition' featuring Fiona Newell, Professor of Experimental Psychology at the Trinity Institute of Neurosciences, and Meike Ramon, Cognitive Neuroscientist and Assistant Professor at the University of Fribourg. Together they explore 'Prosopagnosia' aka "Face Blindness", a neurological disorder characterised by the inability to recognize faces. First aired on May 25th, 2021
When we’re happy, our bodies become flooded with dopamine and serotonin, two types of neurotransmitters in the brain; our hearts might even beat faster and maybe, we even muster a smile. But does it work the other way? Can contorting our faces into a smile give us that chemical hit that actually makes us feel good? Nicholas A. Coles from the Center for the Study of Language and Information at Stanford University joins Jonathan to discuss.
Roughly 10% of murders in New York are motivated by revenge. But what exactly is revenge and why are some people consumed by it? Jonathan McCrea speaks with psychology PhD student Katie McGaughey from Queen's University Belfast, who is conducting research on revenge and its impact on crime victims. Joining Jonathan for Newsround is physicist Dr Shane Bergin and science communicator Catherine McGuinness.
How far away are we from actually inhabiting the Moon? Professor Mahesh Anand, Open University Professor in Planetary Science and Exploration, has been among those testing lunar rocks to see if we can both extract and produce water up there. He joins Jonathan to discuss this as well as the primary challenges currently preventing us from making the lunar surface our home.
It’s estimated that 1 in 8 to 1 in 5 people have depression, but it’s mostly those at the moderate to the severe end who turn to antidepressants. This week, we wanted to delve into how exactly antidepressants work and the scientific impact they have on the alchemy of the brain. Joining Jonathan to discuss this is Dr. Christelle Langley, Cognitive Neuroscientist at the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Cambridge. Dr. Oran Kennedy from the Dept of Anatomy & Regenerative Medicine and the Tissue Engineering Research Group at RCSI & Dr. Susan Kelleher from DCU also joins Jonathan for Newsround.
When it comes to contraception it seems women have the lion's share of options. This is perhaps down to the fact that society has decided that they, not men, must bear most of the burden of preventing pregnancy. But men’s birth control options — and, therefore, responsibilities — could soon be expanding. So how far away are we from seeing the likes of a non-hormonal male contraceptive pill in our pharmacies and why is it taking so long to develop? Dr. Gunda Georg, is Regents Professor & Director of the Institute for Therapeutics Discovery and Development at the College of Pharmacy at the University of Minnesota - she joins Jonathan to discuss.
It takes a special kind of person to be keen to conduct an autopsy and this week's guest is taking that interest to a whole new level this month as she performs a live demonstration for an audience at the Northern Ireland Science Festival - albeit on an actor playing a dead body. Joining Jonathan to discuss the scientific process of what exactly is involved in a postmortem is Dr. Louisa Miller, specialist registrar in histopathology. Note: Louisa’s event at the Crescent Arts Centre in Belfast on 16th February is sold out but some tickets remain for the event at The Playhouse, Derry / Londonderry on Friday 17th February.
At this stage, we are all pretty familiar with the circular way in which nature works. If we think of the hydrologic cycle for instance we know there are four main parts Evaporation, Convection, Precipitation and Collection, etc. But there are still, even to this day, aspects of the earth's cycles that we are only beginning to understand and, in some cases, finding out they exist at all. My next guest is one researcher who is looking at the phenomena known as Turbidity currents and the complex relationship they have with our deep oceans. Peter Talling is a Professor in Submarine Geohazards in the Department of Earth Sciences and Department of Geography at the University of Durham - he joins to discuss.
When we’re happy, our bodies become flooded with dopamine and serotonin, two types of neurotransmitters in the brain; our hearts might even beat faster and maybe, we even muster a smile. But does it work the other way? Can contorting our faces into a smile give us that chemical hit that actually makes us feel good? Nicholas A. Coles from the Center for the Study of Language and Information at Stanford University joins
For years we have wondered what the purpose of sleep really is, and while huge strides have been made regarding our understanding of the function of sleep, much more remains to be uncovered. Joining Jonathan to chat through some of the theories we have on why we sleep and have dreams is Robert Stickgold, Professor of Psychiatry at the Center for Sleep and Cognition, Harvard Medical School.
Semiconductor devices are everywhere, with almost 80% of the Irish population having a smartphone - not to mention any number of other computer devices. And not only is their presence in modern life ubiquitous, but the way in which these devices are produced is also astonishing - being created through a painstaking process requiring single atoms to be removed one by one. Joining Jonathan to discuss the challenges and solutions involved in making semiconductors is Michael Nolan, Principal Scientist at Tyndall National Institute, where he leads the Materials Modelling for Devices activity in the MNS Centre.
Severe period pain, infertility and even depression - living with endometriosis can have serious effects on quality of life. Will new technologies finally yield therapy for those with the condition? Joining Jonathan to discuss this is Dr Kate Lawrenson, associate professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in LA.
An injury to the spinal cord can be hugely traumatic and life-changing. While currently, there are no proven treatments that protect against the consequences of SCI work goes on to change that. Aleksandra Serafin, a Ph.D. researcher at the School of Engineering at the University of Limerick, is involved in one line of research that looks to be a part of that change - she joins Jonathan to discuss.
The Africanized honey bee has earned itself the nickname of ‘the killer bee’, but how much truth is there to the suggestion that the species was created by an experiment gone wrong? Joining Jonathan to discuss this is Mark L. Winston, Professor Emeritus and Senior Fellow at the Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue at Simon Fraser University, in British Columbia, Canada. Catherine McGuinness, Zoologist and Educator & Dr Jessamyn Fairfield, University of Galway physicist join us to go through the top science stories from the week in Newsround.
Think of those greatly-preserved Roman structures like the Pantheon and you might marvel that they are still standing after all these centuries. So what’s so special about this ancient construction that leaves us with these marvelous buildings? Linda Seymour, a former MIT doctoral student with a background in civil engineering – alongside researchers from MIT, Harvard, and labs in Switzerland and Italy – has been examining what made Roman concrete so durable - she joins Jonathan to discuss.
The notion of human beings getting to and settling on Mars has been a staple of science fiction for decades. But what are the social, scientific, and engineering constraints for establishing a colony, and what are the current blueprint and design concepts for the settlement of an entire Martian city? Justin Hollander, Urban Planning Professor at Tufts University and the author of ‘The First City on Mars: An Urban Planner’s Guide to Settling the Red Planet’ joins Jonathan to discuss. https://jholla03.pages.tufts.edu/
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