Geography & the World

Explore Planet Earth’s diverse environments & ecosystems, from rainforests to cities

Why is Africa the cradle of humankind?

Dr. Emily Zawacki

During a process that lasted millions of years, the movement of tectonic plates split our continents apart. This process is still going on to this date. But why does it happen and how did it create the perfect conditions for life on earth?

Tue, 29 Nov 2022 7:30 pm UTC

Is Earth's magnetic field the reason we exist?

Dr Maggie Lieu

We have all used one of those little compasses to find out which direction is North. But what makes those needles move is something much bigger and essential for making life on earth possible. What is it and why do we need it?

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What secrets do volcanoes hide?

Dr. Samuel J. Mitchell

When thinking about volcanoes, you are probably imagining an enormous mountain with some fumes on top of it. But 80 percent of the volcanic eruptions on Earth take place in the ocean. Why are underwater volcanoes so active?

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Are we approaching an insect apocalypse?

Professor Dave Goulson

Insects are the most numerous species on Earth & play a critical role in the health of our ecosystem. But insect populations are on the decline. Are we approaching an insect apocalypse & can we reverse this trend?

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How was China born?

Bill Hayton

China appears to us as timeless and permanent, homogenous and unified - but how true is this? How did modern day China emerge?

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Why does the world need sharks?

Dr. David Shiffman

Sharks are often one of the more misunderstood creatures of the sea, for years demonised by movies. This talk explores why sharks are in fact an essential part of the ocean's ecosystem and how our own future is dependent on saving them.

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Why should we value refugees?

Professor Alex Betts

Wars, famines, persecution & economic inequality are creating forced migration across the world with millions displaced. But many aren't welcomed in their new home. How & why should we value refugees?

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Is economic inequality a problem?

Paul Johnson

Many societies have become more economically unequal over the last 50 years; the world’s richest 1% now owns nearly 50% of the world’s wealth. What has driven this increase in inequality, and is it actually a problem?

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Can we build a climate-resilient world?

Jonathon Porritt

Climate change is resulting in ever-more intense weather events of all kinds, from heat waves and forest fires to hurricanes and floods. If extreme weather becomes the new normal, can we survive it? And if so, how?

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How does where you grow up impact who you become?

Dr. Dorsa Amir

We often hear about nature vs nurture, but did you know that science can pinpoint specific personality traits that can be traced to the environment we grew up in? How much of our adult personality has its roots in not who we were born, but where?

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Does where you're from change how you dream?

Prof. Sidarta Ribeiro

The study of dreams is a fascinating journey through neuroscience, biochemistry, psychology, history and anthropology. How do dreams differ around the world, and what do they tell us about the world itself?

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What does bioluminescence tell us about life in the ocean?

Dr. Edie Widder

More than 75% of sea creatures produce their own light. How do they do it, and what can we learn from this incredible marine firework display?

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What is life like beneath the polar ice?

Prof. Antje Boetius

We know so little about the deep sea, and even less about what it's like beneath the ice of the Earth's polar regions. How does life flourish in one of the most inhospitable environments on the planet?

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How do cultures around the world think about property and ownership?

Dr Saskia Vermeylen

The Sharing Economy is challenging the West's traditional view of ownership, but other ways of thinking about property and possession have existed for millennia. What do they look like?

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What alien habitats exist on the bottom of the ocean?

Prof. Erik Cordes

The tech required to explore the deepest parts of the ocean is coming on in leaps and bounds. What bizarre habitats and organisms have we found, and what still remains to be discovered?

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Where does the oxygen we breathe come from?

Dr. Veronique Oldham

The oceans absorb nearly 1/3 of our carbon emissions; they are literally the world's lungs. How does the sea 'breathe', and why does it do it?

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How did oceans shape human history?

Prof. David Abulafia

Territory, food, commerce and conquest: what role have the seas played in the development of the nations we see today?

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