Things you can't live without

Things you can't live without

Phones, cars, saucepans, reading glasses… These are everyday items that we often take for granted. But how did these items come about? What goes into creating them? How did they become so vital to us? And what is the impact of living with them, now and into the future?

Hosted by material scientist Dr Anna Ploszajski, each episode of Things You Can’t Live Without welcomes a well-known name and a selection of panelists, including a Rio Tinto scientist or expert, to discuss the reliance on the earth’s resources and to look at what needs to happen to create a sustainable future for the everyday items we have come to rely on.

Listen to the latest episodes at Spotify, Apple, Amazon and YouTube.

Trailer: Things you can’t live without


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Susie Dent’s dictionary

Episode 1

World-renowned lexicographer and viral tweeter Susie Dent joins Dr Anna to wax lyrical about her favourite thing - her dictionary.
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Rudy Garcia-Tolson’s prosthetic legs

Episode 2

Paralympic gold medallist and ambassador for the Challenged Athletes Foundation Rudy Garcia-Tolson joins Dr Anna to share the one item he can’t live without - his prosthetic legs.
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OJ Borg’s e-bike

Episode 3

BBC broadcaster and cycling obsessive OJ Borg joins Dr Anna to share the item he can’t live without - his e-bike.
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Shelley Roden’s Trash

Episode 4

Award-winning Foley artist Shelley Roden joins Dr Anna on the podcast to explain why she can’t live without trash.
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Cerys Matthews’ climbing equipment

Episode 5

Singer, songwriter, author and broadcaster Cerys Matthews joins Dr Anna this week to share the items she can’t live without – her climbing equipment.
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Ali Ward's insulated flask

Episode 6

Daytime Emmy Award-winning science communicator, podcaster, TV presenter, writer and food buff Alie Ward joins Dr Anna to share her unquenchable love for the item she can’t live without - her insulated flask. 
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Buddha Lo’s salt

Episode 7

Thanksgiving turkeys, open water swimming and a material fundamental to our survival
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Dr Rosa Vásquez Espinoza’s field microscope

Episode 8

Boiling rivers, ancient Chinese water microscopes and working with communities to ensure ecosystems into the future.
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Dr Leah Alconcel’s lasers

Episode 9

Dr Leah Alconcel’s Lasers: Missions to Jupiter, space junk and the future of communications
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Hod Lipson’s Graphics Processing Unit

Episode 10

Hod Lipson’s Graphics Processing Unit: AI, robots eating robots and the unsung material that helps power our computers