ALD22 Podcasts: Looking Glass: Climate Solutions, Gemma Milne

Looking Glass: Climate Solutions, Gemma Milne

Looking Glass is a podcast from the Institute of Physics which looks at some of the most pressing challenges we face as a society and explores the ways in which physics can help address them. Now in its third series, it is focused on the crucial role physics must play if we are to navigate the climate crisis. Science journalist, podcaster and author Gemma Milne speaks with physicists and other scientists to discuss what hope science has to offer as we face the prospect of a rapidly warming planet.

Recent episodes covered: 

  • How can physics help us to make our air cleaner?
  • Can the physics of how fire spreads help us stop wildfires? And can we use fire to our advantage?
  • How can physics help protect our soil, enable farmers to continue farming and allow communities to survive?
  • How can physics help keep water where we want it, and in a form we can access?
  • How is climate activism changing, and what role should physics and organisations such as the IOP play?

You can:

Listen on Spotify
Follow on Twitter: @PhysicsNews @gemmamilne
Visit their website:

ALD22 Books: The Matter of Everything, Dr Suzie Sheehy

The Matter of Everything: Twelve Experiments that Changed Our World, Dr Suzie Sheehy

Asking questions has always been at the heart of physics, our unending quest to understand the Universe and how everything in it behaves. How do we know all that we know about the world today? It’s not simply because we have the maths – it’s because we have done the experiments.

In The Matter of Everything, accelerator physicist Suzie Sheehy introduces us to the people who, through a combination of genius, persistence and luck, staged the ground-breaking experiments of the twentieth century that changed the course of history. From the serendipitous discovery of X-rays in a German laboratory, to the scientists trying to prove Einstein wrong (and inadvertently proving him right), to the race to split open the atom, Sheehy shows how our most brilliant, practical physicists have shaped innumerable aspects of how we live today. Radio, TV, the chips in our smartphones, MRI scanners, radar equipment and microwaves, to name a few: these were all made possible by their determination to understand, and control, the microscopic.

Pulling physics down from the theoretical and putting it in the hands of the people, The Matter of Everything is a fascinating expedition through the surprising, and occasionally accidental, experiments that transformed our world, and a celebration of the creative and curious people behind them.

Order the book on here and your purchase will support a local independent bookshop of your choice!

About the Author

Dr Suzie Sheehy is a physicist, science communicator and academic who divides her time between her research groups at the University of Oxford and University of Melbourne. Her research addresses both curiosity-driven and applied areas and is currently focused on developing new particle accelerators for applications in medicine. She was awarded a Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 fellowship and was a Royal Society University Research Fellow at the University of Oxford.

An award-winning public speaker, presenter and science communicator, Suzie is dedicated to sharing science beyond the academic community. Her 2018 TED talk has been viewed over 1.8M times and she has been an expert TV presenter for a number of Discovery Channel shows including four seasons of Impossible Engineering. In her talks and shows, Sheehy loves to bring real-life demonstrations and experiments, and has shared these with hundreds of thousands of audience members. She also designed Accelerate! a particle physics showed aimed at children, which ran in the UK and Germany.

You can follow her work here:

Twitter: @suziesheehy
Instagram: @drsuziesheehy

ALD22: Professor V Narry Kim, Biochemist and Microbiologist

V Narry Kim

Professor V Narry Kim

V Narry Kim, born in South Korea in 1969, is a biochemist and microbiologist at Seoul National University (SNU) working primarily with microRNA biogenesis.

She first became interested in science as a high school student and, in an interview, said she chose it as a lifelong career because of her fascination with “the simplicity of the principles underlying the complexity of life”. She completed an undergraduate degree in microbiology and a master’s degree in microbiology at SNU. She then graduated from the University of Oxford with a PhD in biochemistry on retroviral proteins.

After her PhD, Kim took a research assistant position at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at the University of Pennsylvania studying messenger RNA surveillance, the mechanism by which cells double-check the quality of their messenger RNA molecules. On completing her postdoctoral research, she returned to SNU in 2001 where she started working as a research assistant professor, eventually becoming a distinguished professor.

Kim founded the Centre for RNA Research at the Institute for Basic Science (IBS), where her research focuses on RNA-mediated gene regulation. Her lab has made significant contributions to the understanding of how microRNAs – small single-stranded non-coding RNA molecules that play a key part in regulating gene expression – are created and processed in animal cells. She and her colleagues developed a new technology to eliminate specific microRNAs which when applied to cancer cells led to a drop in their proliferation rate. This may result in new gene therapies.

Kim has received several awards including the L’Oreal-UNESCO Award for Women in Science, Ho-Am Prize in Medicine, Korean S&T Award, and was named Woman Scientist of the Year by South Korea’s Ministry of Science and Technology. She also has several patents for her work, such as an HIV-based gene delivery vector. She was elected a foreign member of the Royal Society in 2021.

Further Reading

ALD22 Podcasts: Ologies, Alie Ward

Ologies, Alie Ward

Volcanoes. Trees. Drunk butterflies. Mars missions. Slug sex. Death. Beauty standards. Anxiety busters. Beer science. Bee drama. Take away a pocket full of science knowledge and charming, bizarre stories about what fuels these professional -ologists’ obsessions. Humorist and science correspondent Alie Ward asks smart people stupid questions and the answers might change your life.

Recent episodes: 

  • Mountain goats are not goats. And there’s only one living species, Oreamnos americanus. WHAT?? Montana-based wildlife biologist and Oreamnologist Julie Cunningham talks about her work studying these animals. 
  • How many legs? Why so many legs? What’s a millipede versus a centipede? And again WHY SO MANY LEGS. Ologies has just the guy for that: Diplopodologist Dr. Derek Hennen.
  • How do societal structures affect the planet? Why should we get to know our neighbours? What’s the ecological price we pay for … stuff? Ologies chats with the founder of Critical Ecology: biogeochemist, National Geographic Explorer, researcher and plant nerd, Dr. Suzanne Pierre.
  • If you have a physical body, or know someone who does, this episode is for you! Hello, we’re all going to die. And we’re probably all going to lose someone we love. Ologies talks to thanatologist Cole Imperi. 
  • Cheloniologist Dr Camryn Allen met up with Alie on a tropical island (ok, in a hotel room on a tropical island) to chat about flipper slappings, turtle rodeos, nesting BBs, current surfing, endangered statuses, field work, sleeping under water, and more. 

You can:

Listen on Apple
Follow on Twitter: @Ologies @AlieWard 

ALD22: Professor Marie Maynard Daly, Biochemist

Marie Maynard Daly

Professor Marie Maynard Daly

Prof Marie Maynard Daly was a biochemist who co-discovered the link between high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and the clogged arteries that can cause heart disease and strokes.

Marie Maynard Daly was born in 1921, in New York City. Her interest in science was spurred in part from her father’s thwarted ambition to become a chemist and from reading about scientists in her grandfather’s library – in particular, the book Microbe Hunters by Paul de Kruif.

In 1942, she graduated magna cum laude from Queens College with a bachelor’s in chemistry. She finished in the top 2.5 percent of her class and earnt the honour Queens College Scholar. She got her master’s from New York University and, in 1947, her doctorate from Columbia University. She was the first African American woman to earn a PhD in chemistry in the United States, as well as being the first African American to earn a PhD in any subject from Columbia University. Daly’s doctoral research explored how the enzyme amylase acts during digestion.

She worked at Howard University for two years before moving to the Rockefeller Institute, where she spent seven years studying the composition of the cell nucleus and how proteins are made. She discovered direct experimental evidence that RNA is required for protein synthesis. The importance of her work was noted by James Watson and Francis Crick in their 1962 Nobel Prize speech.

In 1955, she went back to Columbia University where she studied the causes of heart attacks with Quentin Deming, before the pair moved to continue their work at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. Together, they discovered the link between high cholesterol and clogged arteries, or atherosclerosis, which can result in heart attack or stroke. Daly’s groundbreaking rat studies, where she measured their cholesterol levels, blood pressure and how damaged or clogged their arteries were, indicated a strong correlation between high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Her work has served as a foundation for research into atherosclerosis and related diseases.

Daly investigated the damage that cigarettes have on the heart and lung circulatory systems and collaborated on a study that found lesions in the lungs of dogs that were exposed to chronic cigarette smoke. She also studied histones, a type of protein that plays a key part in gene expression, controlling whether a gene is turned on, or “expressed”, carefully cataloguing histones’ properties and composition.

Outside her work, Daly was interested in supporting African American and other minority students in pursuing STEM careers. She started a scholarship at her alma mater, Queens College, to support minority students interested in physics or chemistry, in honour of her father.

She also assisted with the Martin Luther King Robert F Kennedy program run at Albert Einstein College, which provided advice and guidance on admission for minority students. Daly spoke about her experiences as a minority woman in science to the American Association for the Advancement of Science, culminating in the report, The Double Bind: The Price of Being a Minority Woman in Science.

Daly was included as one of the National Technical Association’s top 50 women in Science, Engineering and Technology in 1999. She died in 2003, aged 83.

Further Reading