The assignments students do in STS modules today are nothing like what they used to be. These days, they build portfolios with all sorts of things: short writing, long writing, posters, blogs, in-class presentations. Add to these, projects like podcasts, film clips, campaign strategies, briefing papers, debates, and full-on project proposals. Research of different kinds. They all require hard work, creativity, and rising to the challenge.
We diversify our curriculum because we know the future holds work as varied as we do ourselves each day. We want our students skilled up, practiced, and ready to go.
Today’s episode samples from this year’s student-made podcasts. You’ll hear projects from our undergraduate science journalism module, run by Dr Jean-Baptiste Gouyon. The assignment is straightforward: create a three-minute news feature about a recent piece of research at UCL. The piece must be suitable for use on as a news segment for radio or podcast. Students start with a recent press release, and they go from there. The piece must include a short interview segment with a researcher. They have a tight deadline, and they have to work pretty much with the tools they have through a laptop and their phone. This is real world work and pace as a freelance journalist.
For you, I’ve brought together eight of the ones I like a lot. They’re varied, and they deliver the assignment is different ways. We’ll take a quick break in the middle, but I want to leave the students to deliver their work as they presented it. Links to all the detail are in the show notes.
The whole syllabus for HPSC0107 Science Journalism
Search WeAreSTS for other episodes sampling student work in HPSC modules.
- Professor Joe Cain, UCL Professor of History and Philosophy of Biology
Intro and Exit music
- “Rollin At 5,” by Kevin MacLeod
- “Silly Intro,” by Alexander Nakarada
Both are available on the website: filmmusic.IO
Music in intervals is a loop created in GarageBand.
WeAreSTS is a production of the Department of Science and Technology Studies (STS) at University College London (UCL). To find out more, or to leave feedback about the show:
TRACK 1. People Over 50 Often Sleep Better | Lydia Yallop
This newscast is on the topic of sleep and is based on a UCL press release on a recent study which found those older than 53 to sleep longer than younger adults. In this newscast I interview sleep expert Jason Rihel, who reacts to the results of the study and helps decipher what they could mean for the listener. I am joined by a couple of members of the public who reveal whether their sleep aligns the study’s results.
Coutrot, A., Lazar, A.S., Richards, M., Manley, E., Wiener, J.M., Dalton, R.C., Hornberger, M. and Spiers, H.J., 2022. Reported sleep duration reveals segmentation of the adult life-course into three phases. Nature Communications, 13(1), p.7697.
- Jason Rihel
Professor of Behavioural Genetics, UCL Department of Cell and Development Biology
- Fiona Lang
- Oliver Wheatley
Full-time Amazon apprentice
- Clock ticking sound effect
- Alarm sound effect
TRACK 2. Natural Language Modelled and Printed in 3D | Daphne Sarkany
This newscast is based on the recent Nature paper titled ‘Natural language modelled and printed in 3D: a multi-disciplinary approach’, which was produced by UCL researchers Dr Alex Pillen and Emma-Kate Matthews. It seeks to explore the roots of the project, then explain the methods employed to construct the models and subsequently to 3D print them. My angle was to consider how “holding” a language provides a unique perspective, as new technologies expand the boundaries of traditional two-dimensional printed text.
Pillen, A., & Matthews, E. K. (2022). Natural language modelled and printed in 3D: a multi-disciplinary approach. Humanities and Social Sciences Communications, 9(1), 1-11. https://doi.org/10.1057/s41599-022-01089-5
- Dr Alex Pillen
Associate Professor, UCL Anthropology
- Emma-Kate Matthews
Lecturer, Bartlett School of Architecture
- Apple Sound Effects. (2019). Typewriter Electric.
- @harrisonlace. (2023). Harrison Lace freesound.org Collection Vol. 2. Freesound.org. https://freesound.org/s/670030/
- @lipatovroman. (2019). Bar Crowd Loop 01.wav. Freesound.org. https://freesound.org/s/476727/
- @mariannadeoliveira. (2020). Minor Arp Simple. Freesound.org. https://freesound.org/s/532299/
~ freesound.org materials are Public Domain, licensed under Creative Commons.
TRACK 3. Link Between Daily Active Movement and Better Cognition in Mid-life | Emile Stuglyte
Increasing daily moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) leads to better memorizing, planning and organization in the middle life. This is particularly relevant to the British population, facing growing rates of dementia. MVPA consists of different intensity activities – e.g., habitual behaviours, such as climbing stairs – therefore most of individuals are capable of partaking in MVPA themselves. Yet, as physical inactivity is a societal problem in the UK, MVPA increase will only result from both individual and structural changes, such as implementation of active workplaces.
Alzheimer’s Research UK (2022). Prevalence projections in the UK. Available at: https://dementiastatistics.org/statistics/prevalence-projections-in-the-uk-2/ (last accessed on 24th February).
GOV.UK (2022). Physical activity: applying All Our Health. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/physical-activity-applying-all-our-health/physical-activity-applying-all-our-health (last accessed on 24th February).
- Mr. John Mitchell, PhD candidate at UCL Institute of Sport, Exercise and Health
- “Loopster” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License
TRACK 4. We’re Ignoring Impact of Long Covid | Mandy Huynh
The topic of the newscast is Long Covid. Covid has impacted the majority of people in the world, yet, the long-term health effects of the virus, also known as Long Covid, is under-acknowledged by the public sphere. I speak with Dr. Banerjee about his recent study on Covid-effected multi-organ impairment at least after a year from initial infection. His study shows that the effects of Covid can be chronic, and it is still very important to protect oneself from Covid infection or reinfection.
Dennis A, Cuthbertson DJ, Wootton D, et al. Multi-organ impairment and long COVID: a 1-year prospective, longitudinal cohort study. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. 2023;116(3):97-112. doi:10.1177/01410768231154703
- Dr. Amitava Banerjee
Professor of Clinical Data Science, Institute of Health Informatics
- Golden Cage by Jimena Contreras (Music)
- Emergency Siren Approaching (Sound Effect)
- Outer Space (Sound Effect)
- Ambulance Sound Effect by Placidplace from Pixabay (Attribution not required)
From YouTube Audio Library, No Attribution Required Licence
TRACK 5. Importance of Breastmilk Bacteria for Healthy Gut in Babies | Omar Al Hashimi
This Newscast discusses the importance of Breastmilk bacteria in establishing a healthy gut microbiome in infants. This is crucial, for ensuring infants are protected from chronic diseases in the future. Unfortunately, breastfeeding is not always possible, or women just do not produce enough ‘good quality’ milk. BoobyBiome aims to tackle this issue by developing an infant supplement, that replicates the breastmilk microbiome. This ensures that all children can be set up with a healthy gut microbiome, for their immunity, digestion, and future health. This newscast discusses this research and development, taking place at UCL, and explains the many benefits it can have on the health of future generations.
Press release: Breast milk, super donors and BoobyBiome’s mission to revolutionise child gut health. 15 February 2023
- Dr Lydia Mapstone
UCL Institute of Children’s Health
- ‘Breaking News(1368654)’ from CapCut
TRACK 6. Time in Nature Can Improve Wellbeing | Isobel Hutt
This Newscast explores green social prescribing in response to new evidence that spending time in nature can have a range of benefits for our health and wellbeing. It begins by explaining how the new research supports green social prescribing, then moves on to highlight some of benefits of this new initiative, including environmental aspects and how it may reach groups who may otherwise be left out in traditional healthcare settings. Finally, it will discuss how the initiative could potentially worsen health inequalities.
Press release: Green social prescribing: time in nature can increase wellbeing. 19 December 2022
- Dr Rebecca Lovall
European Centre for Environment and Human Health, University of Exeter
- Background Music Credits: ‘birds chirping near the river’ from mixkit https://mixkit.co/free-sound-effects/nature/
TRACK 7. Fast-lived Invasive Species Pose Greatest Challenge | Federico Citterich
This newscast covers the topic of invasive species. In particular, it highlights how fast-lived aliens are more likely to settle in new areas due to their effective energy usage, which enables them to respond better to climate and land-use changes. Losing slow-lived species for fast-lived ones, however, damages the ecosystem. Moreover, invasive species can also impact the economics of the involved area. In general, the effects of alien invasions are serious and unpredictable, and conservation programmes are needed to control them.
Press release: Live fast, avoid extinction: fast-lived species more resilient to human influences. 28 November 2022
- Dr Gonzalo Albaladejo Robles
UCL Department of Genetics, Evolution & Environment (GEE)
- Forest Birdsong – Relaxing Nature Sounds – Birds Chirping – REALTIME – NO LOOP – 2 Hours – HD 1080p, by “TheSilentWatcher” YouTube channel.
- News Background Music For Videos, TV and Radio, by AshamaluevMusic YouTube channel.
TRACK 8. Doctors of the Earth: Seismologists Sense the Earth’s Pulse | Andrea Lekare
This newscast explores the recent UPFLOW project led by a team of seismologists in collaboration with UCL, which seeks to record the Earth’s pulse utilising seismometers, to furthermore improve our understanding of mantle upwellings, and how geographical features located in entirely different areas of the world might be interconnected. I explore this through a philosophical lens, drawing on the similarities and parallelisms of nature, the planet, and the human body to hook the audience in on a rather emotional level.
Press release: Deep-sea devices ‘hear’ earthquakes, singing whales and an exploding ship. 17 January 2023
- Professor Ana Ferreira, Professor of Seismology at the Dept of Earth Sciences, UCL, and PI of the UPFLOW project.
- Outward Made (Instrumental) -Missn Peace / Macrofying