Planet Earth 2 - The Science

December 19, 2016

As promised in our Planet Earth 2 - The Producers episode, this is Planet Earth 2 - The Science.

Steve met with Professor Rich Pancost of the Cabot Institute to discuss the Planet Earth 2 series and the science of climate change.

Is the Earth still warming? What causes the warming? Is climate change real? You know the answers really. It just depends whether you wish to deny them or not. Either way, here's the science.

You can listen to our chat with the producers of the Planet Earth 2 series here

show notes

Rich mentions Skeptical Science as a good way of learning about the real science of the climate.

Planet Earth 2 - The Producers

December 18, 2016

The BBC's flagship Natural History Series Planet Earth 2 has broken all records. More than that; It's undyingly wonderful. As such, it was with no little excitement that Andrew, Maddy and Steve welcomed two of the show's producers into the shed for an exclusive chat. Exclusive in the sense that only 5 of us can fit in the shed. Anyone can actually listen to it here.


Emma Napper and Chadden Hunter sit back in the shed and we talk about what it takes to make such a landmark television series. We talk about that cayman, that iguana, that fieldmouse, that music...and so much more.


Did Andrew enjoy it? To quote John Motson. "Look at his face! Just look at his face!"

Our second episode Planet Earth 2 - The Science is now available here.

The Day the Earth Stood Still

December 15, 2016

We gathered in At Bristol's wonderful planetarium to watch and discuss The Day the Earth Stood Still (Klaatu, not Keanu). We were raising money for Age UK for this, our third live Cosmic Shed recording.

Andrew, Maddy, Ti and Steve were delighted to be joined by Professors Francesca Stavrakopoulou and Bruce Hood.

As we've discussed SETI and life in the universe quite a bit recently, we thought we'd look at Supernatural Belief this time...following on from our Ghostbusters episode. A revelation about R2D2, Moses and a fair bit about Jesus followed.

show notes

Francesca mentions animals appearing to have rituals attached to an "afterlife" belief. As it happens, the BBC's Emma Napper was in the audience (and in the shed the next day) and has filmed an elephant funeral which you can see here.



Andrew didn't mention this in the episode but had this song in his head for most of the evening...particularly when Professor Francesca was speaking.

Steve mentions Stop Killer Robots, Deep Mind and Tay, the racist, sexist, misogynist AI who only has humanity to blame.

Francesca mentions Ex Machina which we also loved


December 7, 2016

On a cold, frosty night in December a skeptical ghosthunter, a physics expert and a science communicator who believes in ghosts gathered in a crumbling garden shed somewhere in surburban Bristol where they found Andrew keen to chat to them about all things ghostly.

Andrew was delighted to be joined by Hayley Stevens, a paranormal investigator, Harriet Croome, a science communicator and Tushna Commissariat of the Institute of Physics to discuss the 2016 reboot of Ghostbusters....but mainly just ghosts.

Will we end the night joining Harriet in her belief in ghosts? Will Harriet be swung by the weight of evidence against them? There's only one way to find out. An ESP monitor...

Ti appears and Ben pops in for a poem.

So much fun. Thanks everyone.

show notes

Hayley Stevens hosts the Spooktator Podcast

Hayley also mentions and recommends Richard Wiseman's Paranormality book and Michael Shermer's Why people believe weird things.

Andrew and Tushna also feature on the December episode of the Physics World podcast, recorded in the Cosmic Shed.

The Day the Earth Stood Still - The Cosmic Shed Live in the Planetarium is on December 13th. Get your tickets here.


Arrival and The Story Of Your Life

November 24, 2016

Arrival and the Ted Chiang short story The Story of Your Life join forces for this episode of the Cosmic Shed.

Just as the story in both film and book focus on Louise Banks (Amy Adams), a linguistics expert who has her worldview changed by experiencing the language and culture of an alien race, we're joined by Professor Dan Everett, a linguistics expert who has his worldview changed by experiencing the language and culture of an alien tribe. You can read Dan's book "Don't Sleep, There are Snakes" for the whole story.

We're also delighted to be joined by SETI astronomer Seth Shostak to discuss life in the universe and much more...including what makes him throw up all night long.


Joining Andrew, Steve and Ti in the shed is Antony Poveda of I'm a Scientist Get Me Out Of Here.

In the episode, Ti mentions the Q&A podcast which we highly recommend and Andrew mentions these episodes of the Reasonable Doubts podcast on Determinism and Free Will. Again, we highly recommend them and all other episodes of the Reasonable Doubts podcast but don't wish to waste any more of our lives worrying if we have free will or not.

Ti has an event coming up called Cancel The Trumpocalypse where you can join him in a pub in Bristol to watch 24 hours of monster movies to raise money for charity.

Antony mentions his event when you get to meet a real Artificial Intelligence and we all do our best to say how much we love both the film and the short story...which we erroneously call a "book" throughout.

The Stormtrooper who banged his head

November 23, 2016

Andrew catches up with Laurie Goode, a stormtrooper in the original Star Wars film.

Laurie claims to be the stormtrooper who banged his head. If you don't know what that means, you can see the clip here.

Laurie also appeared in many other wonderful films and shows including The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and Doctor Who.

Laurie in Doctor Who

Andrew and Laurie were chatting after a screening of Elstree 1976 a documentary film which features Laurie and other extras and actors from the original Star Wars film.

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: Klaatu barada nikto!

October 27, 2016


December 13th 2016
. 7pm in At Bristol Planetarium. Doors 6.45pm.

BUY TICKETS Sorry. The event is SOLD OUT

A warning about mankind's self-destructive nature? A Christ metaphor? Or simply a sci-fi classic?

After the success of our 50th anniversary Star Trek screenings, Bristol Sunset Cinema and The Cosmic Shed podcast are teaming up again for another sci-fi spectacular at At-Bristol's Bristol Planetarium, which will include a special HD screening of The Day the Earth Stood Still.

After the film, there will be a special live recording of the Cosmic Shed podcast. Obviously, we'll release that audio afterwards.


On the panel
 will be special guest Bruce Hood, Professor of Development Psychology in Society at Bristol University who will be discussing the psychology of supernatural belief. Professor Hood first joined us for our episode on Inside Out


Update: We're delighted to announce a second special guest. 
Professor Francesca Stavrakopoulou will be joining us for this special event. Professor Stavrakopoulou is Professor of Hebrew Bible and Ancient Religion at the University of Exeter. You may have seen her on a number of television series including the BBC series The Bible's Buried Secrets.

There will also be an audience Q&A and several surprises!

Get your tickets here now Sorry. The event is SOLD OUT
Adult: £9
Student: £7
Children: £5

All profits from the night will be going to Age UK

Furry Logic - The Physics of Animal Life

October 13, 2016

Matin Durrani and Liz Kalaugher join Andrew in the Cosmic Shed to talk about the way animals use Physics and their new book Furry Logic - The Physics of Animal Life


We hear about turtles using the magnetic field to navigate the world and find their way back to the very beach they were born on, why an octopus will change its colour in the dark depths of the oceans and how a grown man can never have seen Star Wars...No, seriously!

show notes

Close Encounters of the Third Kind

October 12, 2016

Close Encounters in the Cosmic Shed as we consider what turns out to be one of Ti  and Andrew's favourite films of all time...and left SteveMaddy and Ben a bit less enthralled.

We are delighted to be joined by NASA's Lynn Rothschild, an evolutionary biologist and astrobiologist. Lynn spoke to Andrew about astrobiology, synthetic biology and life in the universe...and at NASA.


Ben pops in for a poem, Steve brings us news of the new Space Race and Maddy find parallels between the work she is doing on proto-life and the work taking place at NASA.

In other words, it's our first full, not live, proper Cosmic Shed episode since June. We're back!

show notes

In the show we chat about Yuri Milner, having misheard Lynn Rothschild when she was talking about Urey-Miller experiments. Fortunately, over on our Facebook page, one of our listeners pointed out our error. Thanks Rusty.

Gravity Fields

September 27, 2016

Andrew reports back from the Gravity Fields Festival 2016 where he spoke with Simon Singh about maths in the SimpsonsMarek Kukula and Simon Guerrier about the Scientific Secrets of Doctor WhoDallas Campbell about conspiracy theories and a host of other people about topics as varied as storytelling, illustration and how the LHC at CERN is searching for Dark Matter.

Mara Menzies joined Andrew for breakfast and a chat about the other side Isaac Newton while Marcus du Sautoy tells us what we can't know.

Andrew was at the festival with Tom Adams for their show The Apollo 11 Campervan

Tom and Andrew got to float around in the Anti Gravity Box...well, Tom did. He is an astronaut, after all.

show notes

Gravity Fields Festival takes place in Grantham in the UK and celebrates local lad, Isaac Newton.

First Contact - The Cosmic Shed Live

September 22, 2016

It's First Contact for our second contact episode and our second Cosmic Shed Live podcast.

We were again delighted to join forces with Bristol Sunset Cinema to screen First Contact in the wonderful At Bristol Planetarium and were then joined by the audience for a live version of the Cosmic Shed podcast.

Our panel was Andrew, as always, and Steve BullockMaddy Nichols and Timon Singh. Joining the shed for the second time was Tushna Commissariat of Physics World.

Also joining us for a second time was Dr Erik Stengler, an astrophysicist who specialises in Time Travel. You may remember Erik from our first episode about Interstellar

We cover exoplanets, life on other planets and, of course, time travel.

We were also beyond excited to be joined by Jim Moray who performed his new song The Sounds of Earth from his album Upcetera

Erik refers to this Minute Physics video in the podcast. 

Show notes

The Cosmic Shed live was recorded live in At Bristol Planetarium and raised over £1200 for LGBT Bristol and SARI. Thank you so much to all of you who joined us.

We joined forces with Bristol Sunset Cinema and plan to do so many times again in future. We hope to have some very exciting news for you soon about Christmas...but don't stand still...

The Wrath of Khan - The Cosmic Shed Live

September 19, 2016

In this episode we boldly go where we've never gone before...our first ever live episode.

We were delighted to join forces with Bristol Sunset Cinema to screen The Wrath of Khan in the wonderful At Bristol Planetarium and were then joined by the audience for a live version of the Cosmic Shed podcast.

Our panel was Andrew, as always and Steve BullockMaddy Nichols and Timon Singh. Joining the shed for the first time was Tushna Commissariat of Physics World.

Joining us for a very special demonstration, the world's first in fact, of the Sonic Tractor Beam was friend of the shed, Professor Bruce Drinkwater. You may remember him from our Doctor Who episode.

Here's a video of the good professor's demonstration recorded live as part of the Cosmic Shed Live in At Bristol Planetarium.

Show notes

The Cosmic Shed live was recorded live in At Bristol Planetarium and raised over £1200 for LGBT Bristol and SARI. Thank you so much to all of you who joined us.

We joined forces with Bristol Sunset Cinema and plan to do so many times again in future.

What’s the Matter?

September 6, 2016

In this positively charged episode, Andrew is joined in the shed by Sidney Robb and Tristan Green of The Last Baguette theatre company to talk about their latest play What's the Matter?

What's the Matter? is a theatre show described as "A quantum comedy about love in the subatomic world". In July of 2016, Tristan and Sidney performed the show at The Wardrobe Theatre in Bristol and joined Andrew in the Cosmic Shed beforehand to talk about science and storytelling.

You'll also hear from Alasdair Price and Euan Allen from the University of Bristol as they spoke to the audience after the theatre show about how quantum mechanics is involved a real word computing system right now.


Visit our Patreon page to see a video of us in the Shed, and think about supporting us. Many thanks to everyone who is already supporting us. Goodies coming soon!

Go to for a month's free trial of Audible, and a free audiobook of your choice. 

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Blue Dot Festival

July 25, 2016

Andrew reports back from the first ever Blue Dot Festival at Jodrell Bank.

We hear from Professor Danielle George on the eve of her Robot Orchestra taking to the stage, Professor Angela Taylor and Ben Shaw about the SKA and radio astronomy, Dr Beth Healey about her trip to Antarctica to learn about long duration space travel and plenty more.

Andrew also got to have an Apollo love-in with Moondust author Andrew Smith and cosmonaut geek out with Sky at Night producer and film maker Michael Lachmann.

Somehow Dr Rebecca Cunningham also manages to make ylang ylang smell like floods...
As Andrew mentioned in the episode, we are delighted to announce The Cosmic Shed Live in At Bristol Planetarium. 

We're celebrating 50 years of Star Trek with two special screenings at Bristol Planetarium. We're teaming up with Bristol Sunset Cinema to put on two special screenings at the Bristol Planetarium. 

As Star Trek famously supports Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations, profits from the two screenings will be going to two charities that fight prejudice – LGBT Bristol and SARI.

Inside Out

June 21, 2016

In this animated episode, Andrew is joined in the shed by 5 people who, at times, seem to be driving the show as we discuss the 2015 Pixar film Inside Out.

Joining Andrew are Maddy and Ti (as will hopefully become usual) as well as Andrew Knight of At Bristol, Bristol's Science Centre and Rachael Baker, studying for a PhD in neuroscience at Bristol University.

Andrew was also fortunate enough to meet up with Prof Bruce Hood, Professor of Developmental Psychology in Society whose specialism is Cognitive Development. Bruce is planning his own podcast soon but joins Andrew to discuss the science of the brilliant Inside Out, a film about the brain and emotional life of an 11 year old girl.

In the episode, we share our emotional response to the film and Rachael and Bruce delve deep into the science of what we know about the brain. 

We also find out whether it is normal to cry at the end of Terminator 2.

Ben even pops in for a poem. Thanks Ben.