Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous fictional detective is renowned for his feats of memory, his observational capacity, tireless energy and an almost supernatural ability to solve the most perplexing crimes from seemingly unconnected facts.
CrowdScience listener Asghar wants to know whether the way Sherlock Holmes solves crimes goes beyond fiction. What does science have to say about the matter? We pit fact against fiction with a leading forensic expert, a sleep scientist and presenter Marnie Chesterton puts herself to the test under the guidance of memory champion Simon Reinhard.
She discovers that most humans are able to train their brain to rival the memory capacity of Sherlock Holmes. And who wouldn’t want that?
Presenter: Marnie Chesterton
Producer: Louisa Field
(Photo: A Sherlock Holmes hat and magnifying glass on a wooden table. Credit: Getty Images)
Can my migraines be cured?
The World Health Organization ranks migraines as the second most disabling neurological disorder in the world and in people under the age of 50, it is the single most disabling medical condition. With stats like that, it’s no wonder that so many CrowdScience listeners have got in touch wanting help with their headaches.
Peter from Germany askes what happens in his brain when he’s got a migraine, whilst Nika from Germany has found that changing lifestyle has dramatically reduced hers but she’s not sure why. What’s the link between diet, exercise and migraines, Nika wonders? Meanwhile, Judy from USA wants to know if there’s a cure, as her son gets chronic migraines and she wants to know what the future looks like for him.
Anand Jagatia and migraine sufferer Graihagh Jackson take a trip into the neurology of migraines, investigating some of the latest research in headache and migraine research to find some answers.
Presenters: Anand Jagatia & Graihagh Jackson
Producer: Graihagh Jackson
(Photo: A young man suffering from a migraine. Credit: Getty Images)
Are extroverts really happier?
Sociable, lively, outgoing people are highly valued in certain cultures - think of the stereotype of the hyper-confident American. And there’s even evidence that extroverts all over the world tend to be happier. But are the positive qualities that quieter types can bring to society being ignored or underappreciated? And couldn’t introverts be just as happy as extroverts, if only they lived in a more accepting culture?
These are controversial areas of personality psychology into which CrowdScience strayed earlier this year when exploring the question “Why am I shy?” It prompted a whole bunch of other questions from our listeners which we tackle in this follow-up programme, with the help of psychologist and shyness expert Professor Jonathan Cheek. We probe the links between happiness, personality and culture, and find out what makes introverts happy.
Presenter: Datshiane Navanayagam
Producer: Cathy Edwards
(Photo: A woman smiling with her arms spread out. Credit: Getty Images)
Do we need more space stations?
Satellites have transformed our lives, giving us digital communications, navigation and observations of Earth, and even an artificial place to live above the atmosphere: The International Space Station. CrowdScience listener Dana wants to know: would more of these satellites and stations help us get back to the Moon, as well as further into the solar system?
As we discovered in a previous episode, being able to mine resources such as fuel and water in space could be handy for extra-terrestrial exploration. Asteroids could perhaps one day become self-fuelling gas stations for spaceships, as many contain ice which you could turn rocket fuel (hydrogen and oxygen). But what else would astronauts need for living beyond Earth?
Marnie Chesterton asks the engineers working on the possibilities – from communications satellites that could transform lunar missions to a brand new moon-orbiting space station: The Lunar Gateway. These technologies could help humans get back to the Moon, and perhaps one day to Mars, for hopefully reduced costs – but funding missions beyond our planet still isn’t going to be cheap. Why might we need deep space-based infrastructure, and how could it help humanity back here on Earth?
Presented by Marnie Chesterton
Produced by Jennifer Whyntie for the BBC World Service
(Photo: International Space Station, orbiting Earth. Credit: The Science Photo Library)
How can I motivate myself?
Many of us struggle to motivate ourselves to carry out certain tasks, from hanging out the washing to writing a job application. How can we best motivate ourselves? And how can we avoid procrastination? Listener Moses in Uganda wants to find out. Presenter Anand Jagatia puts the science to the test as he trains and participates in an open water swimming race which Marnie Chesterton has kindly volunteered him for.
Presented by Anand Jagatia and Marnie Chesterton
Produced by Caroline Steel for the BBC World Service
(Photo: Yes you can, motivational message written on a sandy beach. Credit: Getty Images)