The Cosmic Shed


September 23, 2020

Next up on The Cosmic Shed, we explore Alice Winocour's fascinating new film, Proxima starring Eva Green and we hear from Alice Winocour herself.

Eva Green's character is surrounded by men

Andrew, Ti, Tushna and Achintya gather in the virtual shed, wishing they were next to each other and not separated by a lockdown and virus. All rather fitting for the film which you'll know if you've seen it and you should.

Achintya, Andrew, Ti and Tushna discuss Proxima

Strap in, escape under a fence or blast off into space. Do what you need to do but make sure you download this first.

show notes
You can read Andrew's review of Proxima in Physics World
The Cosmic Shed is part of the Stimulus Network
You can subscribe to The Cosmic Shed podcast
Very special thanks to Achtintya Rao for editing this episode.

James Cameron’s Avatar

James Cameron’s Avatar

August 31, 2020

In this long in development episode, we look back at the ground-breaking, record-breaking and undeniably beautiful Avatar.

We see you, Cosmic Shed listeners.

Andrew, Ti and Steve are joined by the hosts of the For What it's Earth podcast Emma Brisdion and Lloyd Hopkins to discuss the science and storytelling of Avatar.

Steve, Andrew, Ti, Emma and Lloyd

You'll also hear from Christopher Conselice whose research revealed the likely number of alien civilisations out there. Christopher  is an American astrophysicist who is currently a Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Manchester.

The floating mountain of the Valley of Mo'ara is an inspiration for Avatar's Pandora.

Settle in under your favourite tree and listen to this brand new episode of the Cosmic Shed podcast. Oh and you might as well watch Avatar again too. It's been too long.

show notes

The Cosmic Shed is part of the Stimulus Network
You can subscribe to The Cosmic Shed podcast
Very special thanks to Achtintya Rao for his help in editing this episode.
Steve and Lloyd mention this

Sasha Sagan interview

Sasha Sagan interview

June 7, 2020

For Small Creatures Such As We is a wonderful book by Sasha Sagan. The title of the book comes from Contact, the science fiction novel written by her father Carl Sagan and her mother, Ann Druyan. Sasha's love for them, and vice versa shines throughout the book and she joins Andrew to discuss her life and work so far.

How can we find meaning in a secular world? Are traditions and rituals still relevant today? Just what made Andrew and Sasha laugh so much?

Find out in this episode of The Cosmic Shed podcast.

Sasha Sagan and our Andrew

For Small Creatures Such as We is part memoir, part guidebook, and part social history and sees Sasha exploring the world around us, searching for...and finding...meaning, romance and humour in the rituals and everyday that punctuate our lives. 

Sasha is an author and television producer and joins us for this special episode of The Cosmic Shed.

Carl Sagan's Contact is dedicated to Sasha. Have we?

Download to your favourite podcast app or simply press play on this page. 

Black Lives Matter

This podcast was recorded before the Black Lives Matter protests began and we, The Cosmic Shed, wish to add our voices and support to the protests.

There are so many wonderful podcasts on the topic, so many books, so many films. But our request to you, dear listeners, is that you don't let that be the sum total. Add your voice through whatever means you have. Donate if you can. Speak out if you can.

We can't put it better than Sonequa Martin-Green (Michael Burnham in Star Trek).

Sonequa Martin-Green is @therealsonequa on Instagram.

Black Lives Matter

show notes

The Cosmic Shed is part of the Stimulus Network
You can subscribe to The Cosmic Shed podcast
Very special thanks to Will Mountford of the Eureka Nerd podcast for editing this episode.
If you are interested in helping yourself to be anti-racist, there's another great list of things you can do here.

Assassin 33AD

Assassin 33AD

May 27, 2020

Assassin 33 AD is a Christian Science Fiction film in which a group of Muslim Extremist Terrorists go back in time to stop the Resurrection of Jesus (as reported in The Bible) from happening. We tracked down the writer/director Jim Carroll and talked to him about just why he made it.

Assassin 33AD - it's got Time Travel in it.

A Time Travel film about religion. The Cosmic Shed couldn't really avoid it so we invited Jordan Collver, former Creationist, to join us once again as we delve into the storytelling and science behind this...errm...compelling film.

Ti, Andrew, Steve, Jordan and Tushna discuss Assassin 33AD

A lot of fun. Thanks Jim.

show notes

Jordan first joined us to discuss the Spectrum between Science and Religion
Jordan's comic is free to read here
The Cosmic Shed is part of the Stimulus Network
You can subscribe to The Cosmic Shed podcast

Nicole Stott - Artist, Astronaut.

Nicole Stott - Artist, Astronaut.

May 22, 2020

Join NASA Astronaut and Artist Nicole Stott for this episode of The Cosmic Shed.

The first person to paint a watercolour in Space. The last person to return to Earth from the International Space Station in the Space Shuttle and now, the most recent guest on The Cosmic Shed podcast - it's been quite a life for Nicole Stott so far.

Nicole chats to Andrew for this very special episode of the Cosmic Shed as America prepares to launch people to the ISS once more. Nicole talks with Andrew about her Space missions, her art and what we can all learn from Astronauts as we find ourselves in this unprecedented lockdown. 

Download, listen and be inspired.

Nicole Stott on her Spacewalk outside the International Space Station

Nicole Stott was launched to the International Space Station with the crew of STS-128, participating in the a spacewalk that lasted over 6 hours. When Nicole returned on STS-129, she became the last Expedition crew-member to return to Earth via the space shuttle. Nicole completed her second spaceflight on STS-133.

One for the quiz buffs - STS stands for Space Transportation System or The Shuttle as it's more commonly known.

Nicole Stott painted the first watercolour in Space

Nicole served as a Flight Engineer on ISS Expedition 20 and Expedition 21 and was a Mission Specialist on STS-128 and STS-133

Nicole is also part of the wonderful Space For Art Foundation who put together large-scale community art projects to inspire and unite children in hospitals, refugee centers, and schools around the world. They have a new project called BEYOND which we'd recommend anyone who knows any children or is a child to get involved in. Go here to see how.

Nicole Stott talking to our Andrew

You can see Nicole's Artwork here and, if you are really clever, you'll notice that you can actually email to ask about how you might go about actually owning some...

The Cosmic Shed. Science Fact, Science Fiction and Everything in between.

show notes
Nicole Stott is also a founding director Space for Art
The Cosmic Shed is part of the Stimulus Network
You can subscribe to The Cosmic Shed podcast
Very special thanks to Will Mountford of the Eureka Nerd podcast for editing this episode.

The Wandering Earth

The Wandering Earth

May 14, 2020

On something of a locked down Planet Earth, we turn our attention to the massive science fiction hit film The Wandering Earth.

Set in the far future, The Wandering Earth follows a group of astronauts and rescue workers guiding the Earth away from an expanding Sun, while attempting to prevent a collision with Jupiter. The film was theatrically released in China on 5 February 2019 (Chinese New Year's Day), by China Film Group Corporation, followed by North America and Australia on 8 February 2019.

The film has  grossed $700 million worldwide. It is China's third highest-grossing film of all time and the third highest-grossing non-English film to date. Now it's the subject of an episode of The Cosmic Shed podcast.

The original poster for the Chinese Theatrical Release.

The film is loosely based on the 2000 novella of the same name by multi-award-winning author Liu Cixin, he of the Three-Body Problem. It stars Qu Chuxiao, Li Guangjie, Ng Man-tat, Zhao Jinmai, Wu Jing and Qu Jingjing. 


Andrew, Ti, Tushna and Steve gather in the virtual shed to discuss it and wonder just how plausible is taking the planet on a one way trip to Alpha Centauri, using Jupiter to get us there?

show notes

The Wandering Earth is on Netflix
The Cosmic Shed is part of the Stimulus Network
You can subscribe to The Cosmic Shed podcast
Very special thanks to Will Mountford of the Eureka Nerd podcast for editing this episode.

May the 4th be with Dr Rebecca Harrison

May the 4th be with Dr Rebecca Harrison

May 3, 2020

Dr Rebecca Harrison is the author of the BFI's forthcoming book to mark the 40th anniversary of Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, out in October 2020. Her project Decoding Star Wars explores the use of code, such as software and algorithms, to produce and distribute the Star Wars franchise. She is a Lecturer in Film and Television Studies at the University of Glasgow and a film critic for places such as Screen Queens and Sight and Sound.

Dr Rebecca Harrison's book on The Empire Strikes Back is out in October 2020.

Rebecca is the founder of the Glasgow Feminist Arts Festival, which launched in November 2018 at the Centre for Contemporary Arts. The biannual festival provides a platform for women (including non-binary people and trans women) to share film, performance (theatre, dance and spoken word poetry), music, and other visual arts in the city. 

This is the tweet by Rebecca which caught our attention:

Download this episode of The Cosmic Shed to your favourite podcast app and listen now to find out where The Rise of Skywalker comes in this list. The answer might just surprise you...

show notes

You can read Dr Rebecca Harrison's review of Rise of Skywalker here
Our episode featuring Joonas Suatamo (Chewbacca) is here 
Our episode on the Physics of Star Wars is here
Our episode featuring Cavan Scott (Star Wars author) is here 
C3PO is played (in this episode of the podcast) by Alfie Wearn
Our episode on some rather interesting Star Wars research is here

In other words, you might as well subscribe to The Cosmic Shed podcast.

The Cosmic Shed is part of the Stimulus Network

The Neverending Story

The Neverending Story

April 16, 2020

Riding our luck dragon all the way, we bring you a brand new episode of The Cosmic Shed from deep in the Coronavirus Lockdown. It's The Neverending Story.

The Luck Dragon will take you almost all the way through your expedition

We're joined by Professor Melanie Johnston-Hollitt, Director of the 60 million dollar Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) radio telescope which is operated by a consortium of 21 institutions spanning 6 countries and involving 270 individual researchers...which is nice but also exceedingly relevant as Melanie and her team have just discovered the biggest explosion in space since the Big Bang. The radio data which the scientists have been studying changes the way we think about Supermassive Black Holes.

The massive burst occured in the vicinity of the Ophicius Cluster

Andrew manages to spend most of the podcast pretending that this is the reason why he decided to do an episode of The Cosmic Shed on The Neverending Story. After all, Black Holes are pretty much as close to The Nothing as Nature gets...but later on in the episode we discover what might just have been his true reasoning...

Engywook would approve. We move in Scientific Circles.

In "the shed" are Andrew, Maddy, Steve, Ti and Tushna and Ben even drops in for a poem. It's been too long.

Download to your favourite podcast delivery system and listen in now...

show notes

See if you can pick out all the cameos in the Ivory Tower here
The Cosmic Shed is part of the Stimulus Network
You can subscribe to The Cosmic Shed podcast


Amy Bean - Moonwalker’s Daughter.

Amy Bean - Moonwalker’s Daughter.

March 30, 2020

We're delighted to welcome Amy Bean, daughter of Apollo 12 Astronaut Alan Bean to The Cosmic Shed for this special episode. 

When Alan Bean walked on the surface of the Moon, his daughter looked on from planet Earth.

What was that like for a young girl growing up in the Houston at the height of the Space Race? What was Alan Bean, the fourth man to walk on the Moon like as a dad? How does it feel when your dad's rocket is hit by lightning just after take off? All this and much more in this episode of The Cosmic Shed podcast.

Amy Bean and her Dad Alan Bean, 4th Man to walk on the Moon
Amy Bean with her Moonwalking Dad Alan Bean. Photo credit: Amy Bean.

Alan Bean was the Lunar Module Pilot of Apollo 12 and the fourth man to walk on the moon. He was the commander of Skylab 3, spending 59 days in orbit around the Earth and became an artist. Listen to his daughter share her story and the story of her father, the first artist to set foot on another world. 

Alan Bean - The First Artist in Space.

Show notes

Alan Bean's Art website is here
The Cosmic Shed is part of the Stimulus Network
You can subscribe to The Cosmic Shed podcast
Amy Bean was talking to Andrew Glester.

Women in Science Fiction and Fantasy

Women in Science Fiction and Fantasy

March 5, 2020

We're delighted to be able to bring you this panel discussion from Bristol's Festival of Ideas, in collaboration with Bristol's Women's Literature Festival and Handheld Press, recorded live in Foyles in Bristol.

The Panel


Emma Geen is a Bristol based author and lecturer in Creative writing. Her first novel The Many Selves of Katherine North was published by Bloomsbury. Several of her short stories feature in Stories of the Stranger, published by Bene Factum Publishing, Her articles have appeared in The Guardian, Lit Hub and The New Statesman. She is an associate lecturer at Bath Spa University.


Liz Williams is a British science fiction writer. The Ghost Sister, her first novel, was published in 2001. Both this novel and her next, Empire of Bones (2002) were nominated for the Philip K. Dick Award. She is also the author of the Inspector Chen series. She is the daughter of a stage magician and a Gothic novelist. She holds a PhD in Philosophy of Science from Cambridge. She has had short stories published in Asimov’sInterzoneThe Third Alternative and Visionary Tongue.


Cheryl Morgan is a science fiction critic and publisher. She is the owner of Wizard’s Tower Press and the Wizard’s Tower Books ebook store. Previously she edited the Hugo Award winning magazine, Emerald City (Best Fanzine, 2004). She also won a Hugo for Best Fan Writer in 2009. She is a Co-Chair of Out Stories Bristol and lectures regularly on both trans history and science fiction and fantasy literature.


Kate Macdonald is a literary historian and has taught and researched science fiction and fantasy fiction for many years. She reviews sff for Foundation and other critical organs, and has recently had some of her own sff short stories published. She runs Handheld Press, an independent publishing company based outside Bath, which specialises in the recovery of forgotten fiction, and has republished classic fantasy fiction by Sylvia Townsend Warner, and science fiction by Rose Macaulay and Vonda N McIntyre.

Download, relax and listen. Then buy all the books.

show notes

The Cosmic Shed was named as one of the Guardian's Favourite podcasts and you can subscribe here
The panel were talking as part of Bristol's Festival of Ideas
The event was also put on by Bristol's Womens Literature Festival
You can hear our interview with William Gibson here

Stanley Donwood’s Bad Island

Stanley Donwood’s Bad Island

February 12, 2020

Stanley Donwood's Bad Island is an extraordinary book. A Graphic Novel with no words. The story told only with pictures. Ideal for a podcast...

We're joined by artist Stanley Donwood, perhaps best known for producing all the cover art for all of Radiohead's albums, or perhaps for creating much of the artwork alongside the Glastonbury Festival or perhaps very soon to be best known for Bad Island.

Jess is not massive nor Stanley tiny: These are two different images

Jess Howard interviews Stanley for this episode, her first appearance on The Cosmic Shed podcast. Stanley tells Jess about working on Radiohead's album covers, working on the book and a whole lot more besides.

The frogs in the pond near the shed are enjoying the warmer, ice free weather this February

Settle in, download, pop on some headphones and press play.

show notes

You can get Bad Island here

William Gibson Interview

William Gibson Interview

February 5, 2020

The legendary author of the Neuromancer Trilogy, William Gibson joins us for this special episode of The Cosmic Shed. He gave us the term "cyberspace", is widely credited with inspiring much if not all of "cyberpunk". The concept of the Matrix is from his mind and he has won multiple awards for his science fiction writing.

He joins Andrew and Steve to discuss his new novel Agency and what goes into his celebrated works.

Andrew and Steve with William Gibson at Bristol's Festival of Ideas

You'll also hear William's thoughts on the forthcoming, big budget adaptation of his novel Peripheral for Amazon Prime.

show notes

William Gibson was talking to Andrew and Steve at Bristol's Festival of Ideas
They were in We The Curious, where we also tend to do our live events
You can buy William's books here.
Andrew mentions one of our episodes with Andy Weir.

Seven Worlds, One Planet - Chadden Hunter

Seven Worlds, One Planet - Chadden Hunter

January 22, 2020

There maybe seven worlds but there's only one Chadden Hunter, Producer/Director of landmark BBC Natural History series like Frozen Planet, Planet Earth 2 and the stunning Seven Worlds, One Planet.

On a very chilly evening in January, Chadden joined Andrew in The Cosmic Shed to talk about the wonderful news series from the BBC's legendary Natural History Unit. The series takes viewers on spectacular journeys through the seven continents on this planet of ours. It is currently playing out on TV screens across the world and on BBC iPlayer in the UK.

Chadden and Andrew were also joined in the shed by Emma Brisdion, host of the wonderful For What it's Earth podcast which is part of the Stimulus Network.

Emma's serious, and cold, face as Chadden tells us about his encounter with Polar bears

Chadden shares some of the secrets of the trade and just what goes into making a stunning series of films like the BBC's Seven Worlds, One Planet.

Chilly Chadden the Fortune Teller - it's actually an astronaut lamp

It really was a cold night so pour yourself a cup of tea, coffee or cocoa, sit back and let Chadden's tales take you to far flung lands in this episode of The Cosmic Shed podcast.

show notes

You can hear about Emma Brisdion's Arctic adventure on our Spirit of Apollo episode
Chadden Hunter came to the shed before for an episode on Planet Earth 2
You could and should subscribe to Emma's podcast For What It's Earth

Mission to Mars - Sensoria

Mission to Mars - Sensoria

January 16, 2020

We travel to Mars for this special episode of The Cosmic Shed as we hear from the crew of the Sensoria Mission to Mars. The crew are actually in a Martian Habitat as part of an analogue mission, paving the way for future missions to the red planet.

The crew have been largely stuck in the Habitat, thanks to the "Martian" weather, but recorded this podcast for us just before going out on an EVA.

One of the crew on an EVA on Analogue Mars

We hear about the mission goals and how its going so far. Of course, we also hear about the science fiction they have been watching and reading so far.

The crew take part in scientific research while they are on "Mars" which informs future space missions. 

Makiah Eustace, Habitat Operations Officer, inside the Hab

The crew are:

J.J. Hastings - Commander + Bioengineer
Erin Bonilla - Vice Commander + Medical Officer
Dr. Sian Proctor - Communications Officer + Geoscientist
Dr. Adriana Blachowicz - Science Officer + Microbiologist
Maraia Hoffman - Engineering Officer + Crew Training Manager
Makiah Eustace - Habitat Operations Officer + Aerospace Engineer

The Sensoria 6 before they entered The Hab to start their mission to Mars

So press play or download to your favourite podcast app and don some headphones as we travel to Mars in the capable hands of the Sensoria 6.

show notes
All photos (c) Makiah Eustace @astro_eustace on Instagram
You can hear our episode with Andy Weir chatting with us about Artemis here
You can hear Michaela Musilova talking about the Hi-Seas missions here
You can also hear Michaela on our Martian episode, with Andy Weir, back in 2015
You can hear our Contact episode with Jill Tarter here
You can find out more about Sensoria here

Tron - The Cosmic Shed Live in the We The Curious Planetarium

Tron - The Cosmic Shed Live in the We The Curious Planetarium

December 11, 2019

Last night, we gathered in the Planetarium at We The Curious and watched TRON. Before we settled in for the classic 80s sci-fi film, Ti and Andrew discussed TRON and the science of computer games with friend of The Cosmic Shed, Dr Pete Etchells. This is the recording of The Cosmic Shed presents TRON in the Planetarium at We The Curious.

Andrew, Dr Pete Etchells and Ti in We The Curious Planetarium

Such a fun night topped off perfectly with TRON on that wonderful domed Planetarium roof.

Previous Cosmic Shed Guest David Warner in TRON

The evening was in aid of the wonderful Special Effect.

show notes

You can get Dr Pete Etchells' book Lost in a Good Game here
You can get Ti's book Born to be Bad here

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