Never Lick the Spoon

A quirky podcast from the Institute for Molecular Science and Engineering at Imperial College London, that brings to life the teeny tiny world of molecules.

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Thursday Jul 21, 2022

In the last few decades, thousands of acres of rainforest have been cleared for palm oil plantations in southeast Asia, with a consequent loss of biodiversity. Currently in Africa, coconut palm production is industrialising. Can this be done more sustainably than in Southeast Asia? I talk to two PhD students at Imperial who are using DNA sampling to explore biodiversity in coconut agriculture, and its links to ecosystem resilience and also economic resilience for farmers.  

Tuesday Jun 14, 2022

We're all being urged to reduce, reuse, recycle our plastics these days. But some types of bacteria have already evolved to be able to eat some kinds of plastic. Could these organisms help solve the plastic waste crisis?

Tuesday Mar 30, 2021

Last time we heard about some of the positive aspects that wearable tech has been bringing to modern life, now we hear about its dubious side. From big tech trying to guess if you're happy or sad so they can sell you stuff, to healthcare apps that monitor much more than they should. One thing is for sure - by the end of the episode you’ll be checking every T&C on every app or piece of tech you have at home - if you don’t do so already!

Friday Feb 26, 2021

In a two part special on wearable technology, we are joined by experts that look at this booming industry from completely different perspectives. In the first episode we look at wearable tech's exciting potential, including how mass consumer devices, that previously simply nagged you to walk more, are becoming more like sophisticated medical devices. And since heart rate data from Fitbits were able to predict infection outbreak, could this lead to a better understanding of disease transmission in the community?

Thursday Dec 17, 2020

We take a break from our usual molecular bread and butter and look at the recent American presidential election. After all, American presidents are made of molecules too, right? We begin our story back at the 2016 presidential election, where Russia (and others) tried to influence the outcome of the result by spreading misinformation through social media channels. But what happened in 2020? We find out!
Blog on misinformation:

Episode 13 - Lucky for some

Thursday Oct 29, 2020

Thursday Oct 29, 2020

It's our 13th episode! Far from being Triskaidekaphobes - that is of course the phobia of the number 13 - we’re lucky enough to have a returning guest who brings some much needed positivity on the Covid-19 vaccine search. We also hear how a chance fishing trip off of Seattle could provide scientists with the answer to just how many antibodies someone needs to fight the virus successfully - another piece of luck!
Link to the #TeamHalo home page:
Anna Blakney's TikTok account:

Episode 12 - Snail fever

Thursday Oct 01, 2020

Thursday Oct 01, 2020

Turning our attention away from Covid, we look at a different disease that has plagued humanity since the time of the ancient Egyptians - and still claims 280,000 lives every year. What’s all the more tragic, is it's curable by modern medicine. We hear from 2 researchers who are part of a multinational, multidiscipline team who are trying to finally eradicate it.
WISER: Water Infrastructure for Schistosomiasis-Endemic Regions

Tuesday Sep 01, 2020

From the humble AAs we stick into the back of our TV remote controls, to our phones, laptops, and increasingly, our cars, batteries are now everywhere to be found. We hear from someone who spends more time than most of us examining these magical capsules that power our lives, and looks at what exciting new ways we could use them.
Ethical and environmental battery brands: 

Friday Jul 03, 2020

We have a returning guest with some exciting results from the initial tests of the vaccine! Anna Blakney gives us an update on vaccine trials, including when they now think it will be ready, along with her take on public health measures and the use of masks.

Friday May 22, 2020

Continuing on from the last episode, Kieran hears about the work of a team at Imperial College who are now grappling with the next big challenge to producing a Covid-19 vaccine: how to make enough of the vaccine for billions of people. And since it's mental health week, we speak to the team about the pressures they face and how they are managing to cope.

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