Ben Valsler

Ben Valsler

While teaching science in north east Thailand, I realised just how exciting and interesting communicating science could be. Taking the opportunity to produce and present the 'English hour' on Thai local radio, it dawned on me to combine the science with the radio, and I’ve never looked back.

A zoologist by training with an MSc in science communication, I have become something of a jack of all trades.  I specialised in astronomy and materials science during my tenure with Cambridge University’s Naked Scientists, before taking on the online and multimedia editor position at Chemistry World.  Far from a disadvantage, being a generalist allows me to revel in learning new aspects of science, and has given me a real interest in the boundaries – the edge effects where one specialism meets another, where theory meets application and where science meets engineering.

  • Black and red processed liquorice
    Podcast

    Glycyrrhizic acid

    2020-10-30T15:59:00

    A sweet treat with a deadly trick for Halloween – glycyrrhizic acid is found in black liquorice and sweeter than sucrose, but can cause heart problems and even prove fatal if consumed in excess

  • A crowd of people walking in night shopping street at Dotonbori, Osaka, Japan
    Podcast

    Favipiravir

    2020-07-31T22:10:00

    Originally developed to treat flu and marketed in Japan as Avigan, promising Covid-19 trial results have seen countries stockpiling this medication by the millions

  • A piglet beside a feeding trough
    Podcast

    Ractopamine

    2020-07-17T19:26:00

    Common in the US but banned in the EU, this animal feed additive makes for muscular pigs and beefy international trade disputes.  

  • Dexamethasone tablets
    Podcast

    Dexamethasone

    2020-06-26T19:02:00

    News that this cheap, ubiquitous steroid drug may reduce deaths in Covid-19 cases has been greeted with cautious optimism

  • Doctors examining a CT scan
    Podcast

    Interferon beta

    2020-05-01T15:44:00

    An immune-modulating compound used to reduce the symptoms of multiple sclerosis and now showing potential against coronaviruses

  • An image showing coronavirus particles
    Podcast

    Lopinavir

    2020-04-17T12:34:00

    How a drug that prevents HIV from donning its protective ‘coat’ now makes up one arm of the World Health Organisation’s Covid-19 trial

  • Remdesivir
    Podcast

    Remdesivir

    2020-04-03T14:30:00

    Will new clinical trials for Covid-19 give remdesivir a second chance? Ben Valsler introduces the broad-spectrum antiviral that didn’t quite make it as the Ebola drug it was originally planned to be

  • A mosquito, a bottle of hyroxychloroquine tablets and social distancing advice
    Podcast

    Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine

    2020-03-27T16:30:00

    The Covid-19 pandemic – and some very high profile backing – has led to malaria drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine hitting the headlines worldwide.

  • An assortment of foods rich in vitamin K
    Podcast

    Vitamin K

    2020-02-21T12:00:00

    Ben Valsler on vitamin K – the blood clotting factor that is likely to be the first supplement you ever receive

  • Viva la vegan sign outside a restaurant in London
    Podcast

    Vitamin B12 or Cobalamin

    2020-01-10T15:33:00

    If you’re trying out a vegan diet, you’re likely to be told to make sure you get enough vitamin B12. But what is B12, where do we get it from, and how can we be sure we’re getting enough?

  • A composite image of Tom Lehrer, Helen Arney and the Waterbeach Brass band
    Article

    The Elements Song 2019

    2019-12-10T10:38:00

    For the international year of the periodic table, we’ve worked with Helen Arney and the Waterbeach Brass Band to update Tom Lehrer’s Elements Song

  • Thanksgiving dinner spread with a roast turkey
    Podcast

    Tryptophan

    2019-11-29T09:13:00

    Ben Valsler tackles ‘zombie facts’ and the tenuous connection between tryptophan in turkey and your post-Thanksgiving dinner doze

  • A man sits on a Nepalese mountainside with his head in his hands - apparently suffering from altitude sickness
    Podcast

    Hypoxia-inducible factors – HIFs

    2019-10-18T12:14:00

    The oxygen sensors that help life react to changing conditions, key to the 2019 Nobel prize in physiology or medicine

  • An image showing Nobel Prize medal shaped chocolate
    Article

    The data behind the Nobel prizes

    2019-10-07T11:11:00

    We’ve looked at over 100 years of data behind who and what wins the Nobel prize

  • Several pills of MDMA (Extasy) on white table
    Podcast

    2C psychedelics

    2019-06-28T10:44:00

    A class of hallucinogenic phenethylamines, explored by the 'godfather of psychedelics' Alexander Shulgin and sadly implicated in a tragedy at a 2017 music festival

  • Cambridge pride 3
    Opinion

    Pride and prejudice

    2019-06-26T12:08:00

    Cambridge’s first official Pride event stood in contrast to the everyday experiences of some LGBT+ scientists, but a new report shows how things are improving

  • XOPCAJ - CSD's millionth strutcure
    News

    The Cambridge Structural Database hits one million structures

    2019-06-06T10:31:00

    Warning! Contains extreme crystallography

  • A Bureau of Customs (BOC) personnel displays confiscated ecstasy at a press conference in Manila on September 14, 2016
    Podcast

    Pentylone

    2018-09-21T10:17:00

    The latest in an alarming trend of novel psychoactive substances being mis-sold at festivals as traditional street drugs, putting users at risk

  • Corrugated asbestos cement roofing
    Podcast

    Asbestos

    2018-08-17T14:30:00

    How the ‘world’s most wonderful mineral’ became one of the world’s biggest health hazards

  • CBD oil - cannabis oil containing cannabidiol
    Podcast

    Cannabidiol

    2018-07-13T11:30:00

    The story of Charlotte Figi, Dravet syndrome and the cannabis compound controlling her condition

More by Ben Valsler