Zwittering On Podcast

The Zwittering On podcast explores the chemistry of our common human experience. Each week hosts Mariama and Sam are joined by a guest expert and student to explore the chemistry of a different topic and to uncover how chemistry affects our everyday lives.

We break down the science so anyone can learn more about the chemistry that is all around us. Listeners learn about how chemistry influences our present and how it can help bring positive social change now and in the future.

The world needs chemists more than ever. Will you join our conversation?

Meet Our Hosts

Meet Our Hosts

Host

Mariama Ifode-Blease

Meet Our Hosts

Host

Mariama Ifode-Blease

Mariama is the Head of Education at the Salters’ Institute and the Salters’ Company. Prior to this, Mariama worked in secondary and tertiary education, and community outreach. She has worked in the public sector for more than 15 years.

Mariama is a modern linguist, having completed her degrees at the University of St Andrews and University of Cambridge. Mariama is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, a Fulbright Scholar and a qualified career guidance professional. Outside of education, she is also a priest in the Church of England and is committed to equity and inclusivity and working to enable all to fully flourish and thrive.

Meet Our Hosts

Host

Samuel Dada

Meet Our Hosts

Host

Samuel Dada

Samuel Dada is a PhD student in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Cambridge, generously funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). His research delves into unravelling the molecular origins of Parkinson’s disease. Samuel is captivated by the interdisciplinary nexus of chemistry and biology, viewing it as the gateway to innovative scientific discoveries.

Beyond the laboratory, Samuel is dedicated to ensuring that science and research are accessible to everyone, irrespective of their background, age, or level of understanding. He is actively involved in various initiatives advocating for inclusivity in science and runs a YouTube channel documenting his PhD journey.

Meet Our Hosts

Guest Student

William Terry-Wright

Meet Our Hosts

Guest Student

William Terry-Wright

William Terry-Wright graduated with an MSci in Chemistry from the University of Bristol in 2023 and was awarded the Richard Dixon prize for the best student on his course. He is currently studying for a PhD in Technology Enhanced Chemical Synthesis at the University of Bristol. His research focuses on the use of new technologies such as AI and robotics to accelerate the synthesis of small molecules with useful properties, for example pharmaceuticals and agrochemicals. Outside of the lab William is outgoing and loves to connect with people as well as spending time outdoors and going to the gym.

Meet Our Hosts

Guest Student

Nitola Islam

Meet Our Hosts

Guest Student

Nitola Islam

Nitola is a 3rd year of studying Chemistry at Queen Mary University of London. She has developed a keen interest in inorganic and physical chemistry, and particularly enjoys the hand-on nature of practical chemistry. Nitola serves as an Outreach Ambassador for the Salter’s Institute. She loves sharing her enthusiasm for chemistry, inspiring others to explore and pursue it. She is looking forwards to continuing her studies and is excited about the prospects of contributing to the scientific community in the future through a career in research.

Series 1

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Episode 1

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Episode 2

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Episode 3

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Episode 4

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Episode 1

People with mental health challenges were for a very long time completely misunderstood, but science is changing our knowledge of the brain. What causes issues with mental health in young people? How can chemistry contribute to treatments for mental health problems? We speak with Professor Sarah-Jayne Blakemore leader of a research group at the University of Cambridge, about current research on mental health and the adolescent brain.
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Episode 2

PFAs are extremely resistant ‘forever’ chemicals that have found their way into many of the products we use on a daily basis. Their strong carbon bonds make them difficult to break down, endangering our environment. How can we reverse the damage done by persistent pollutants? Do we have enough time to leverage natural processes to eliminate PFAs before it’s too late? We speak with Professor Andrew Tanentzap, researcher at Trent University and University of Cambridge, about how we can utilise natural microorganisms to break down carbon-based pollutants.
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Episode 3

From the gadgets in our pockets to the wheels on the road, we need batteries to help the world go round. In this episode we examine the chemistry behind how batteries function, eco-friendly alternatives, and what materials we might need to offer more sustainable options for everyday consumers. We speak with Dr Ieuan Seymour, a researcher at the University of Aberdeen, to discuss how vital batteries for our present and our future. What might we do when we run out of the elements that we need to make batteries? How can we reuse existing materials instead of mining more?
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Episode 4

Colour is everywhere! From the sky to our feet, and leaves on trees to paint on our walls, we can’t get away from colour. But what is colour and where does it come from? And how do we experience colour? We speak with Professor Stephen Westland of the University of Leeds to explore the chemical structures that create colour, how it affects us, and what we need to know about the future of colour chemistry.