The Naked Scientists

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
The Naked Scientists

The Naked Scientists Radio Show & Podcast

The Naked Scientists, logo.png
Format Science talk radio / podcast
Running time 60 minutes
Country United Kingdom United Kingdom
Language English
Broadcast time Sundays, 6-7 p.m. UK time
Broadcast area BBC Radio in the East of England

Worldwide Online and as a podcast BBC 5 live across the UK ABC Radio National across Australia Radio New Zealand National Talk Radio 702 / 567 Cape Talk, South Africa

Frequency BBC 5 Live - 693 and 909 MW

BBC Radio Cambridgeshire - 96.0 & 95.7 FM

BBC Radio Norfolk - 95.1 & 104.4 FM 855 & 873 AM

Online - BBC Radio Player

As a podcast


The Naked Scientists is a one-hour audience-interactive science radio talk show broadcast live by the BBC in the East of England, nationally by BBC Radio 5 Live and internationally on ABC Radio National, Australia; it is also distributed globally as a podcast. The programme was created and is edited by Cambridge University Pathology Department consultant virologist Dr Chris Smith. He hosts the show with other scientists.

The present Naked Scientists line up includes scientist David Ansell, marine biologist Helen Scales, neuroscientist Hannah Critchlow, science broadcaster and harpist Kat Arney and producers Graihagh Jackson and Georgia Mills. In 2009 the group appointed the first official Naked Scientists PhD student, Diana O'Carroll, to examine the educational impacts of science broadcasting and new media. O'Carroll also set up a Naked Scientists spin-off podcast, Naked Archaeology, which launched in 2008. A second spin-off, Naked Astronomy, featuring Cambridge University-based space scientists and astronomers, has been podcast since December 2009 and is currently hosting the Space Boffins prodcast, produced by journalists Richard Hollingham and Sue Nelson. A combined video and audio programme, Naked Engineering, produced by Ansell and Senthilingam and supported by the Royal Academy of Engineering, launched in September 2010. For Christmas 2010 the group also showcased a new video podcast strand, the Naked Science Scrapbook and in 2013 launched the Material Chef video strand, to showcase materials science.

Naked Scientists show content[edit]

Each episode of the main Naked Scientists programme is one hour long and includes a digest of topical science news stories, audience questions answered live on the air and interviews with guest scientists. These individuals join the hosts in the studio to talk about their work and to take questions live from listeners. Previous featured guests include the discoverer of the DNA fingerprint,[1] Alec Jeffreys, the Astronomer Royal Sir Martin Rees, and the co-discoverer of DNA structure, James D. Watson.

The show also features on-location reports and interviews, and an interactive segment called Kitchen Science where listeners are encouraged to attempt a science experiment at home during the show. Kitchen Science experiments have included building a desktop trebuchet,[2] a chocolate teapot[3] and a Liver powered Bottle Rocket.[4] The Kitchen Science segment also hosts experiments that listeners may not be able to do at home, such as generating X-rays from Sticky Tape [5] with Dr Carlos Camara of UCLA and testing how much fat would stop a bullet[6] with researchers at Cambridge University's Cavendish Laboratory.

Awards and prizes[edit]

The Naked Scientists have won eight national and international awards for science communication since 2006. The show won the Biosciences Federation Prize for Science Communication, 2006,[7] the Joshua Phillips Award for Innovation in Science Engagement in 2007,[8] the Society for General Microbiology's Peter Wildy Prize 2008, the Royal Society Kohn Award for 2008,[9] the Best Radio Show Award at the Population Institute's 29th Global Media Awards, 2008,[10] the European Podcast Award for UK Non-Profit podcast,[11] the inaugural Royal College of Pathologists Furness Prize for science communication 2010 and the Society of Biology Science Communication Prize 2012.

The Naked Scientists was also in the five finalists in the 2006 World Podcast Awards and received two nominations, for "best produced" and "best science and technology podcast" in the 2007 awards. It was also a top five finalist in the 2008 and 2009 awards.

Bandwidth consumed by the programme's podcast exceeds 28TB (terabytes) of downloads per month and more than 40 million copies have been downloaded since 2007.

Other media[edit]

The Naked Scientists appeared on TV Channel Five's panel game The What in the World? Quiz and have contributed to the 2007 Channel 4 programme "The Farm Revealed". In September 2008, with the Open University, the Naked Scientists launched a new UK national radio edition of their programme, The Naked Scientists - Up All Night (subsequently renamed "Breaking Science") which was broadcast on BBC Radio 5 Live.

In November 2008, with the Royal Society of Chemistry, a series entitled "The Naked Scientists In Africa" began on Channel Africa, the international broadcasting service of the South African Broadcasting Corporation. The Naked Scientists in Africa, which is produced by Naked Scientist team-member Meera Senthilingam, incorporates international science news and a focus on science stories originating in, or pertinent to, African countries.

Since May 2014, the Naked Scientists have launched a new weekly one-hour programme with BBC 5 live called 5 live Science with a newly formatted version of the show, which airs nationally every Saturday morning and is repeated on Sunday evenings. The programme is also released as a podcast under the same name.

Scheduling changes[edit]

In August 2012, BBC East announced an impending change to the Sunday schedule, which would see the show discontinued. This was made public by the team in November 2012, and in response to a public outcry, the head of BBC East, Mick Rawsthorne, was interviewed on national radio about the decision to end the programme. Rawsthorne explained that the Naked Scientists did not fit the station's core purpose of providing "local radio".[12][13] Consequently the BBC reconsidered their decision to terminate the programme, and developed a proposal for its content to be integrated within the other mainstream mid-week outputs of BBC Cambridgeshire, significantly increasing the reach of the programme.

From January 2013, the programme began across Australia on ABC Radio National, initially on a Sunday morning. From January 2014 the first airing of the programme was moved to a Friday evening slot with a repeated on Sundays. The show is also released as the Naked Scientists Podcast.

Funders and supporters[edit]

The Naked Scientists have received funding and awards from the Wellcome Trust, the Natural Environment Research Council, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Cambridge University including the Isaac Newton Trust, the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Royal Society of Chemistry.


  1. ^ "Forensics, DNA Fingerprinting and Human Origins". The Naked Scientists. 2005-12-04. Retrieved 2013-07-08. 
  2. ^ "The Trebuchet". The Naked Scientists. 2008-11-16. Retrieved 2013-07-08. 
  3. ^ "How useless is a Chocolate Teapot?". The Naked Scientists. 2008-08-31. Retrieved 2013-07-08. 
  4. ^ "Fizzes from peroxide". The Naked Scientists. 2008-09-21. Retrieved 2013-07-08. 
  5. ^ "Glowing tape". The Naked Scientists. 2008-11-30. Retrieved 2013-07-08. 
  6. ^ "How fat would you have to be to stop a bullet?". The Naked Scientists. 2007-06-17. Retrieved 2013-07-08. 
  7. ^ Biosciences Federation Science Communication Award 2006
  8. ^ "And the winner is...". Manchester Science Festival. Archived from the original on 2009-02-18. 
  9. ^ "Royal Society Kohn Award". Royal Society. 
  10. ^ "29th Annual Global Media Award Winners Announced". The Population Institute. Archived from the original on 2009-02-24. 
  11. ^ "European Podcast Award 08/09 Winners announced". European Podcast Award. 2009-04-01. Retrieved 2013-07-08. 
  12. ^ Curry, Stephen (2012-11-20). "Radio Ga Ga: BBC axes popular science radio show". The Guardian. Retrieved 2013-07-08. 
  13. ^ "BBC Radio 4 - Feedback, 09/11/2012". BBC Radio 4. 2012-11-11. Retrieved 2013-07-08. 

External links[edit]