Star Trek Discovery: Prof Ethan Siegel

September 27, 2017

You had me at the Vulcan Hello.

Star Trek Discovery has launched and we're all a bit excited in the shed. That excitement reached fever pitch when Prof Ethan Siegel beamed into the shed using the very latest in Treknology, perched on top of a Borg Cube to discuss the opening two episodes; The Vulcan Hello and Battle at the Binary Stars.

IMG_20170926_210031210-2.jpgEthan is a Professor of Cosmology and the author of the forthcoming book Treknology. He also writes the very wonderful Starts with a Bang on Together with Andrew, Maddy, Ti and Steve, Ethan explores the themes, joy and concern coming out of the season premier of Star Trek Discovery.

There was a lot of love in the shed.


Show notes

Andrew mentions this TED talk from Reshma Saujani which seems to fit well with the opening of this stunning new Star Trek series.

Ethan has two books. Beyond the Galaxy and Treknology

Astronauts: Does Tim Gregory have what it takes?

September 14, 2017

Yes. Well, we think so anyway.

Tim Gregory is currently charming us all on the BBC Two series Astronauts: Do you have what it takes and is our guest for this episode of The Cosmic Shed.

Tim had joined Andrew for the radio show he does with Malcolm Love; Love and Science.

Andrew popped a recorder in the room and so here is that interview for your listening pleasure. Thanks Tim.


Andrew, Maddy, Steve and Ti will be back in a couple of weeks with a special Star Trek:Discovery episode...with very special guest Prof Ethan Siegel. Subscribe now.


War for the Planet of the Apes

August 14, 2017

Dr Ben Garrod
spent months living with primates and an evening with us in the Cosmic Shed as we turn our gaze to War for the Planet of the Apes, directed by Matt Reeves.


Sophie Pavelle, who was just back from completing the 300 miles of Sophie's Wild Cornwall, made her first appearance in the shed along with regulars Maddy, Ti and Andrew.

Ti, who is a huge fan of the Planet of the Apes series of films, gives us a fan's eye view of the trilogy before we all sit back and marvel as Dr Ben regales us with tales of the apes (mainly the non-human ones) he has known and loved, and not liked very much at all.


We had a lot of fun recording it. We hope you enjoy listening to it. As always, thank you so much for listening.

Sorry it's been so long!

Show notes

Sophie's Wild Cornwall is on YouTube here
Dr Ben Garrod's Rise of the Robots is on BBC iPlayer here
Dr Ben Garrod's BBC Radio 4 series Bone Stories is here
Ti's latest adventures are here

Nichelle Nichols, Warwick Davis and Eugene Simon

June 20, 2017

Nichelle Nichols, Warwick Davis and Eugene Simon. That's Star Trek, Star Wars and Game of Thrones. Andrew and Ti report back from MCM Comic Con London and bring interviews with these three stars for starters.


You can actually watch part of the interview with Warwick on our YouTube channel.


Eugene plays Lancel Lannister in Game of Thrones and Eduard Einstein in Genius, the story of Albert Einstein's life.


Please note the signs behind us. That's our very own field of wheat, right there.

Hannah Peel talks music, science and a shed.

June 7, 2017

Andrew met the wonderful Hannah Peel at the, also wonderful, Cheltenham Science Festival. Imagine his joy when Hannah said her new album is all about travelling to space from a shed!

You can explore Hannah's work here. We really, really recommend that you do. Beautiful stuff.

The first track to be released off her forthcoming album is entitled "Sunrise Through a Dusty Nebula" and you can hear it now on Hannah's SoundCloud page. Yes, that's right. "Sunrise Through a Dusty Nebula"

Roll on September, we say!


'Mary Casio: Journey to Cassiopeia'
OUT Sept 8th 2017
PRE-ORDER Limited Edition Metallic Space Vinyl and CD:

Hannah Peel's third album is a seven-movement odyssey composed for analogue synthesizers and full, traditional 29 piece colliery brass band!

"We have a hundred billion neurons in our brains, as many as there are stars in a galaxy" Theoretical physicist and author, Carlo Rovelli.

1st July - Hull - Capital of Culture - excerpts Live on BBC Radio 3
8th July - Bluedot Festival
9th July - Southbank London - excerpts - Music Biennial with PRS
29th July - WOMAD Festival
5th August - Edinburgh Festival
23rd Sept - Liverpool - Liverpool Philharmonic
30th Sept - Stockton - The Arc
21st Oct - Barnsley - The Civic Theatre
28th Oct - Basingstoke, The Anvil Concert Hall

With only a year following on from the release of her second album ‘Awake But Always Dreaming’ to widespread acclaim (Voted No.1 Album Of the Year – Electronic Sound Magazine), ‘Mary Casio: Journey to Cassiopeia’, explores one person's journey to outer space, by recounting the story of an unknown, elderly, pioneering, electronic musical stargazer and her lifelong dream to leave her terraced home in the mining town of Barnsley, South Yorkshire, to see Cassiopeia for herself. With artwork by Grammy award winning designer Jonathan Barnbrook (David Bowie collaborator on albums ‘Blackstar’ and ‘The Next Day’ ) and the complete brass band and rhythm section recorded live on location in The Barnsley Civic Theatre with Peter Gabriel’s Real World studio team, this exclusive album combines Peel’s detailed, analogue synth layered production and her expressive flair for performance with ‘Tubular Brass’, featuring the top UK championship brass band players. It’s a wholly unique, collaborative sound and seemingly, a first of it’s kind both live and on record.

At the close of the album’s final song ‘The Planet of Passed Souls’, tutti brass jostle with the hiss and crackle of a 78rpm record. An emotionally charged, scratchy sample taken from a 1928 recording of Peel’s own choirboy grandfather in Manchester Cathedral leaves the listener questioning the reality of Mary’s connection with the stars… Did she ever make it to Cassiopeia? Is this all a daydream as she sits in a back garden shed tinkering with electronics and her telescope? Or maybe this is her final breath as her mind and body pass into another realm of life? Is this science or fantasy? And how much is there really a division between the two?


Warwick Davis, Lou Ferrigno and Scott Adkins

June 5, 2017

We've found a use for our YouTube channel!

Ti and Andrew headed to MCM ComicCon in London last week and met up with a host of wonderful people. More of that in our audio podcast coming soon...including Nichelle Nichols.

But, backstage at ComicCon, there are plenty of conversations to be had and Andrew and Ti recorded some interviews for our new YouTube channel which you can now see here.

Scott Adkins is star of a host of martial arts and action movies and, of course, Doctor Strange.


Scott Adkins interview

Warwick Davis is Warwick Davis.


Warwick Davis Interview

Lou Ferrigno is The Hulk


Lou Ferrigno Interview

You may also note our YouTube channel has a new intro and theme. That's composed by the wonderful Colin McGinness. Thanks Colin.

October Sky (pt.2) Searching for our Sputnik

April 7, 2017

Andrew and Ti are joined in the shed by Tushna Commissariat of Physics World and Achintya Rao of the CMS experiment at the LHC at CERN as they discuss their reaction to the wonderful October Sky film and the interview with Homer Hickam which appeared in part 1 of this October Sky double bill.


We are somewhat besides ourselves with excitement to say that also joining us for this episode is Karsten Becker of PTScientists. You know...the people landing rovers on the Moon next year. You'd better believe it..Karsten has no time for consipracy theorists. Karsten is on the right in this photo with one of his lunar rovers.


In our search for our Sputnik, we venture across particle physics and gravitational waves, ponder the impact of the shuttle programme and so much more.


Left to right: Andrew, Tushna and Achintya.


One of Karsten's rovers appears in the Alien Covenant trailer

LIGO is a Gravitational Wave observatory which famously detected gravitational waves coming from colliding black holes in space billions of light years away.

PTScientists' wonderful mission is documented here

October Sky (pt.1): Homer Hickam - Rocket Boy to Dinosaur Man

April 5, 2017

Andrew and Ti are joined by the wonderful Homer Hickam; author, NASA engineer and the subject of the 1999 film October Sky.

We hear all about the writing of the book, the making of the movie, the impact of Sputnik and a revelation about dinosaurs which caused this reaction:



A very special episode. Sit back and enjoy.

Thanks Homer, you're a legend.

Hidden Figures

March 24, 2017

Hiding in the shed this episode are Andrew, Maddy, Ti and Steve as we try to express our delight at the wonderful Hidden Figures. The only thing more exciting than such a wonderful film being released is that NASA's Dr Renee Horton, currently working on the Space Launch System, joined the Cosmic Shed for this, our 40th episode.


Renee Horton tells us just how it feels when the phone rings and it's NASA calling to tell you that you've got a job there, how NASA compares now to the one we see in the film and so much more.

Quite apart from all the wonderful science and engineering Dr Horton does, she's busy writing children's books about Dr H and friends and is the president of the National Society of Black Physicists. Oh and she's just bloody wonderful.

Dr H's adventures are now available. Get your signed copy of the book (and plenty of other exciting options) here

Steve and Maddy also recommend running the solar system, narrated by Dallas Campbell who featured on the Cosmic Shed a few episodes ago

We also mention the fact that The Cosmic Shed is a finalist in the Bristol Life Awards. Thanks so much to everyone who has contributed to the shed and whoever it was who nominated us.

The Core

March 16, 2017


In a bit of a departure for the shed, today's episode comes to you courtesy of Bristol Science Film Festival.

Shed regular Ti Singh was on the panel for a special screening of the 2003 film The Core. Joining Ti were Beth Cotterell, Katie Cooper and Chris Dunford.

They split into teams to defend or destroy the film, ably hosted on the night by Robbie Kornitschky.

Bristol Science Film Festival continues until March 19th 2017.

Ti was there in his capacity as Bad Film Guru (a title, we've just given him) due to his love of Bad Films and his Bad Film Club.


Left to right: Ti, Chris, Katie and Beth.


Trappist 1: Seven Worlds straight out of Science Fiction

March 2, 2017

NASA made the most stunning announcement they've made for some time when they told us they'd found seven potentially Earth-like planets orbiting the star Trappist 1, just 40 light years from Earth.

The lead scientist on the discovery was Michael Gillon. He describes the system as something straight out of science fiction so we were somewhat delighted when Michael agreed to join Andrew for a very special episode of the Cosmic Shed.


Michael tells us which science fiction he likes to chill out to and why he finds it such an inspiration for the amazing science he is doing looking for habitable exoplanets around ultracool dwarf stars in our stellar neighbourhood. He describes what we might see if we stood on the surface of one of these stunning planets and gives us a real insight into what it is to be a scientist, like him, at the forefront of discovery.

Andrew tries to excuse the lack of a Cosmic Shed episode for a few weeks by saying he's been recording episodes of the Physics World podcast. It actually turns out to be true, believe it or not and you can listen to them here. In fact, the April 2017 episode of that podcast explore the Trappist 1 planets yet further with our Andrew having his mind blown every minute or so.

As always, thank you for listening. Don't forget to give us a review over on iTunes, we'd very much appreciate that.

Women in Science - Rachel Ignotofsky

January 18, 2017

Rachel Ignotofsky's new book Women in Science highlights the contributions of fifty notable women to the fields of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) from Hypatia in ancient Alexandria to modern day science like the discovery of the Higgs Boson by the team led by Sau Lan Wu.

Rachel is an illustrator, designer and author with a passion for science fiction, comics and fantasy as well as science and history.

Andrew caught up with Rachel and they talked about Rachel's work, inspiration and some of the amazing women featured in the Women in Science book.

Rachel Ignotofsky1.jpg?format=1000w

Rachel tells Andrew about her work for including these infographics on the Hunger Games and The Hobbit. Click on the images to see them in full on Rachel's website

Bilbo's Journey The+Districts+of+Panem+Final+72+dpi+1500

Andrew asks Rachel about the designs she did for this Ray Bradbury collection, sadly not for sale, and her Ecosystem infographics and, of course, her work on the Avengers infographics. Again, click on the images to see Rachel's work in its full glory on her website.

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Buy the Women in Science book now and make your life better. Alternatively, buy 2 copies and make someone else's life better too.


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