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Science & Medicine Podcast

E-cigs, Prehabilitation before surgery, Hospital safety
Inside Health BBC
access_time1 day ago
Why vaping is dividing public health experts causing a polarised split; prehabilitation before cancer surgery and the benefits of preparing for an operation; plus can hospital safety be compared to lessons learnt from the aviation industry?
California burning
Discovery BBC
access_time2 days ago
When Paradise burned down last year, it made the Camp Fire the most destructive and deadly in Californian history. A few months earlier the nearby Ranch Fire was the largest. In southern California, a series of chaparral fires have brought danger to towns along the state’s coast. And the statistics show that large, dangerous fires have been increasing for decades. But the reasons are not simple. Roland Pease meets some of the experts trying to work out what is to be done. Producer: Roland Pease Image: A man watches the Thomas Fire above Carpinteria, California, Credit: Getty Images
Volcanic activity in the Comoros Islands
The Science Hour BBC
access_time4 days ago
Since last May the Comoros islands in the Indian Ocean have been experiencing earthquake tremors and the island of Mayotte has sunk by more than 10cm. French geologists have set up monitoring equipment on land and the seabed to try to assess the extent of the continuing seismic activity. Our diet influences our language according to a new study on the evolution of the way we bite. Softer foods, eaten more commonly as we developed cooking and agriculture meant our teeth wore in different ways and over time this has led to our ability to pronounce f and v sounds which rely on how we bring our jaws together. Climate change is having a major impact on the ability of forests to recover after forest fires. If temperatures remain high and rainfall low trees have difficulty re-establishing. Over long time periods this could change landscapes, reducing forest cover. We head to Africa's biggest science festival for a panel debate in front of a live audience that takes us into space then back down to earth to solve listeners' questions. Marnie Chesterton and Anand Jagatia are joined by aspiring extra-terrestrial, Dr Adriana Marais, who hopes to travel to Mars, along with cosmologist Palesa Nombula and sustainable energy expert Dr Sampson Mamphweli. They all explain how solving challenges on the ground will eventually help us set up home in space. (Image: A white sand island in a lagoon, Mayotte Island. Credit: Getty Images)
Volcanic activity in the Comoros Islands
Science in Action BBC
access_time6 days ago
Since last May the Comoros islands in the Indian Ocean have been experiencing earthquake tremors and the island of Mayotte has sunk by more than 10cm. French geologists have set up monitoring equipment on land and the seabed to try to assess the extent of the continuing seismic activity. Our diet influences our language according to a new study on the evolution of the way we bite. Softer foods, eaten more commonly as we developed cooking and agriculture meant our teeth wore in different ways and over time this has led to our ability to pronounce f and v sounds which rely on how we bring our jaws together. Climate change is having a major impact on the ability of forests to recover after forest fires. If temperatures remain high and rainfall low trees have difficulty re-establishing. Over long time periods this could change landscapes, reducing forest cover. Water on the moon, we look at why it is there and what it does. Image: A white sand island in a lagoon, Mayotte Island Credit: Getty Images
CBD oil, Dental phobia, Gout
Inside Health BBC
access_time8 days ago
Cannabidiol or CBD oil has had a recent surge in popularity but is there any evidence for it having any health benefits? Dr Margaret McCartney reviews the research. Mark visits the Dental psychology service at Guy's Hospital in London and talks to Tim Newton about dental phobia, the treatment available and how successful it is at treating a phobia which affects 1 in 10 people in the UK. Also what causes gout and why has advice changed on the best way to treat it? Mark talks to rheumatologist, Dr Tim Tait at United Lincolnshire hospitals.
ShakeAlertLA - California’s earthquake early warning system
Discovery BBC
access_time9 days ago
Los Angeles is a city of Angels, and of earthquakes. Deadly earthquakes in 1933, 1971 and 1994 have also made it a pioneer in earthquake protection – for example with tough engineering standards to save buildings. Since 2013, with the help of scientists at the US Geological Survey, the city has been developing a resilience plan which culminated in the release of an app that should give residents precious seconds of warning when an earthquake starts. Roland Pease meets the scientists, the Mayor and the officials making the system work. Picture: An apartment after the Northridge earthquake in 1994 Credit: Getty Images
How Humans are Changing Chimpanzee Behaviour
The Science Hour BBC
access_time11 days ago
The world’s largest study of chimpanzee behaviour has come to the rather negative conclusion that interactions with humans decrease the range of chimpanzee behaviours and may interfere with the way in which chimp parents pass skills to their offspring. Chimps learn skills from swimming to digging for insects with sticks and exhibit a wide range of vocal communications. In environments where they may be living near human such skills or behaviours are displayed less and may be replaced altogether with more human related activities such as raiding crops or rubbish dumps. And in Mozambique the civil war of the 1990s had huge implication for animals in the Gorongoza national park, eliminating many of the large predators there. A study of a small deer species in the park has shown how prey animals can change their behaviour following a decrease in predators. In this case becoming less fearful. A racing heart, blushing, feeling sick - most people experience symptoms of shyness in certain situations. But some of us are much shyer than others, and if it gets on top of you, shyness can really limit what you get out of life. That’s why this week’s listener got in touch to ask why he’s shy: is it genetic, or more to do with his upbringing? Is there anything he can do to overcome his shyness – and on the other hand, could being shy actually have some benefits? (Photo: Chimpanzees in the Taï National Park, Côte d'Ivoire vocalise with another party nearby. © Liran Samuni/Taï Chimpanzee Project)
07/03/2019 GMT
Science in Action BBC
access_time13 days ago
The BBC brings you all the week's science news.
05/03/2019
Inside Health BBC
access_time15 days ago
Dr Mark Porter goes on a weekly quest to demystify the health issues that perplex us.
From the Crimean to the End of World War Two
Discovery BBC
access_time16 days ago
For more than a hundred years chemical weapons have terrorised, maimed and killed soldiers and civilians alike. As a chemist, the part his profession has played in the development of these weapons has long concerned Andrea Sella, Professor of Chemistry at University College London. In this programme he examines the motivation of chemists like Dr Fritz Haber, who first encouraged the German military to deploy chlorine gas in World War One for the sake of “The Fatherland” and of Dr Gerhard Schrader, who, in his hunt for an effective pesticide, accidentally discovered a new class of lethal nerve agents for Nazi Germany. From chlorine, phosgene and the mustard gases, to tabun, sarin, soman, VX and the novichok agents used to target former Soviet agent Sergei Skipal in England, Andrea weaves archive with interviews with key figures in the ongoing campaign to control and ban the use of such weapons and he asks how science educators can prepare young chemists for the moral hazard posed by this particular class of weapon. Picture: Mock up of Novichok agent (A-234), Credit: WoodyAlec/Getty Images
Rising Methane Levels Impact Climate Change
The Science Hour BBC
access_time18 days ago
By the year 2000, methane levels in the atmosphere were thought to have stabilised. But just a few years later in 2007 these levels suddenly started to rise. Research suggests that the spread of intense farming in Africa may be involved, in particular in tropical regions where conditions are becoming warmer and wetter because of climate change. The awe-inspiring Japanese Hayabusa 2 space mission achieved another milestone on the other side of the Sun. This remarkable craft touched down on the asteroid Ryugu, firing a bullet into the surface, and collecting samples of rock for eventual delivery to Earth. What can singing mice from the depths of the Costa Rican cloud forests tell us about vocal interaction? Through these tiny mammals, with their operatic song, we are being taught about how we humans coordinate speech and how the brain accomplishes this. The goal is to design new therapeutic methods for those suffering from conditions which limit vocal interaction. We turn our gaze skywards to tackle three questions about what’s going on above us. Three year old Zac from the UK wants to know what clouds feel like – if they’re supposedly like steam, then how are they cold? Listener Agnese is looking beyond the cloud base and up to our nearest neighbour. She’d like to know why it is that we can see the Moon during the day. And we head out to one of the longest-running and largest steerable telescopes in the world: The 76-metre Lovell Telescope at Jodrell Bank Observatory in the UK. Here, she finds out the answer to Sandeep from India’s extra-terrestrial question: Could aliens find us? (Photo: Thai swamp buffalo in peat swamp around lagoon with sunset background. Credit: Getty Images)
Home fetal heart monitoring, Deconditioning in hospital, Alcohol harm paradox, Pre-eclampsia feedback
Inside Health BBC
access_time20 days ago
Regulation of Home Fetal Heart Monitors prompted by concerns that the burgeoning use of these devices could be harmful. Deconditioning - there is a popular adage that spending 10 days in hospital can age people 10 years, but is this backed by evidence and could it actually be worse? Mark Porter visits Warwick Hospital to meet the team working to combat deconditioning in the elderly. Plus the Alcohol Harm Paradox - why do less affluent drinkers tend to develop more problems than their better off peers even if they drink exactly the same amount.
Rising methane levels impact climate change
Science in Action BBC
access_time20 days ago
By the year 2000, methane levels in the atmosphere were thought to have stabilised. But just a few years later, in 2007, these levels suddenly started to rise. Research suggests that the spread of intense farming in Africa may be involved, in particular in tropical regions, where conditions are becoming warmer and wetter because of climate change. The awe-inspiring Japanese Hayabusa 2 space mission achieved another milestone on the other side of the Sun. This remarkable craft touched down on the asteroid Ryugu, firing a bullet into the surface, and collecting samples of rock for eventual delivery to Earth. The world famous American Museum of Natural History in New York has been touring an evolution roadshow around the United States. They are trying to engage the religious communities to show that the human origins narrative is not a threat to religion. What can singing mice from the depths of the Costa Rican cloud forests tell us about vocal interaction? Through these tiny mammals, with their operatic song, we are being taught about how we humans coordinate speech and how the brain accomplishes this. The goal is to design new therapeutic methods for those suffering from conditions which limit vocal interaction. Presenter: Roland Pease Producer: Jack Meegan (Picture: Thai swamp buffalo in peat swamp around lagoon with sunset background. Credit: Getty Images)
From the Crimean to the End of World War Two
Discovery BBC
access_time23 days ago
In the first of two programmes he looks back to the first attempts to ban the use of chemical weapons at the end of the 19th century. Heavily defeated in the Crimea, Russia succeeded in getting unanimous agreement at the 1899 Hague Convention that poison and poison weapons should be banned from warfare. But chemicals such as chlorine, phosgene and mustard gas were heavily used in the First World War by both sides. More substances were developed in the 1930s and 1940s but weren’t used in the Second World War. Andrea Sella tells the stories of the chemists behind these developments. Picture: GB Army soldiers train for biological and chemical warfare, Credit: BBC
Race and Racism in Science Teaching
The Science Hour BBC
access_time25 days ago
This week’s programme comes from the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual conference, in Washington DC. With over 9,000 attendees it’s the largest gathering of scientists in the world. We look at the issue of race and racism in science. The mapping of the human genome showed there was no significant genetic difference between people around the world. However cultural ideas with a racial dimension continue to influence the way science is taught and hence, many argue, the outcomes of scientific research. We also look at how satellite data is helping botanists map deforestation and afforestation. Using a laser device mounted on the international space station they plan to identity the species and size of individual trees from space. The size of brains in the animal kingdom is wildly different, from melon-sized in blue whales to pea-sized in shrews. But does a bigger brain mean a more powerful one? CrowdScience listener Bob wondered just this as he watched various sized dogs running amok in his local park: the Great Dane has a much larger brain than a Chihuahua’s, yet the job of ‘being a dog’ surely requires the same brain power. So why have a big brain if a small one would do? A search for the answer takes Geoff Marsh to dog agility trials, behind the scenes at London’s Natural History Museum and a laboratory that studies bumble bees. It turns out that size does matter, but not in the way you might think. (Photo: Biology books. Credit: Getty images)
Race and Racism in Science Teaching
Science in Action BBC
access_time27 days ago
This week’s programme comes from the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual conference, in Washington DC. With over 9,000 attendees it’s the largest gathering of scientists in the world. We look at the issue of race and racism in science. The mapping of the human genome showed there was no significant genetic difference between people around the world. However cultural ideas with a racial dimension continue to influence the way science is taught and hence, many argue, the outcomes of scientific research. We also look at how satellite data is helping botanists map deforestation and afforestation. Using a laser device mounted on the international space station they plan to to identity the species and size of individual trees from space. We ask how near are we to getting commercially available quantum computers? And we see how virtual reality is being used in disaster management. (Photo: Biology books. Credit: Getty images) Presenter: Roland Pease Producer: Julian Siddle
Pheromones
In Our Time: Science BBC
access_time28 days ago
Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss how members of the same species send each other invisible chemical signals to influence the way they behave. Pheromones are used by species across the animal kingdom in a variety of ways, such as laying trails to be followed, to raise the alarm, to scatter from predators, to signal dominance and to enhance attractiveness and, in honey bees, even direct development into queen or worker. The image above is of male and female ladybirds that have clustered together in response to pheromones. With Tristram Wyatt Senior Research Fellow at the Department of Zoology at the University of Oxford Jane Hurst William Prescott Professor of Animal Science at the University of Liverpool and Francis Ratnieks Professor of Apiculture and Head of the Laboratory of Apiculture and Social Insects at the University of Sussex Producer: Simon Tillotson
19/02/2019
Inside Health BBC
access_time29 days ago
Dr Mark Porter goes on a weekly quest to demystify the health issues that perplex us.
Tracks across time
Discovery BBC
access_time1 month ago
In a dry creek bed in the middle of the Australian outback is a palaeontological prize like no other: 95-million-year-old footprints stamped in a sandstone slab by three species of dinosaur. One of the beasts was a massive, lumbering sauropod that measured 18 metres from nose to tail. But the precious trackway is in danger of being damaged by the next floods, so must be moved. In the final episode of the four-part series The Chase, science journalist Belinda Smith from the ABC in Australia discovers what footprints can tell us about the ancient beasts that once roamed this land, and follows a team racing against time and the elements to save this once-in-a-lifetime find. Because even though these tracks have lasted the best part of 100 million years, they may not survive another one. Picture: Footprints made by a sauropod as it walked across a mudflat 95 million years ago, Credit: Australian Broadcasting Corporation/Belinda Smith
Detecting Earthquakes with Fibre Optics
The Science Hour BBC
access_time1 month ago
Los Angeles is famously earthquake prone, but it is also known for its technological advancement, being close to the heart of the computer industry. Seismologists have developed a new system which uses redundant capacity on fibre optic networks across the city to detect earthquakes. Also in the programme the end of Opportunity – the legacy of the Mars Rover designed to have a working life of just 3 months, which continued to explore the Martian surface for 14 years. And we look at fish and coral. How best can coral reefs be encouraged to regrow after destructive extreme weather events and why fish farming may be a useful conservation tool as well as a lucrative business. And what if there are viruses trapped deep in Antarctic ice that could wreak havoc on humans? Alex Lathbridge puts on warm gloves and meets the scientists venturing into the icy wilds. He wants to answer listener Tony’s question - can viral life exist in such inhospitable climes and if so, might it pose us a danger? Alex meets teams who venture to the Antarctic to find out about how their work to understand climate change leads them to drilling and analysing ice cores that are tens of thousands of years old. He then visits a dynamic husband and wife duo in France who are extracting viruses from 30,000 year old Siberian permafrost and bringing them back to life. He discovers that - rather than killing us all, - their findings of novel giant viruses might contribute to medicine and our understanding of evolution. (Photo: Los Angeles, California: Earthquake Aftermath. Credit David Butow/Corbis via Getty Images)
Detecting Earthquakes with Fibre Optics
Science in Action BBC
access_time1 month ago
Los Angeles is famously earthquake prone, but it is also known for its technological advancement, being close to the heart of the computer industry. Seismologists have developed a new system which uses redundant capacity on fibre optic networks across the city to detect earthquakes. Also in the programme the end of Opportunity – the legacy of the Mars Rover designed to have a working life of just 3 months, which continued to explore the Martian surface for 14 years. And we look at fish and coral. How best can coral reefs be encouraged to regrow after destructive extreme weather events. and why fish farming may be a useful conservation tool as well as a lucrative business. (Photo:Los Angeles, California: Earthquake Aftermath. Credit David Butow/Corbis via Getty Images) Presenter: Roland Pease Producer: Julian Siddle / Deborah Cohen
Migraine, Iron overload, Redefining low-risk cancers
Inside Health BBC
access_time1 month ago
A new handheld device for migraine is being pioneered at Guys and St Thomas's Hospital in London. Using single pulses of transcranial magnetic stimulation the device is helping prevent and treat migraines in people who haven't responded well to other treatments. Dr Anna Andreou, director of headache research, and nurse specialist, Bethany Hill talk Mark through how it works. Some people, particular of North European and Irish ancestry have the faulty genes that mean they are unable to get rid of excess iron in the body. This can lead to symptoms ranging from tiredness, joint pain, and diabetes to skin discolouring and liver disease. New research has shown the condition is far more common than has been previously thought and is often missed as a diagnosis. Haematologist at Gartnavel Hospital in Glasgow, Ted Fitzsimons and epidemiologist, David Melzer of the University of Exeter, talk testing and treatment for iron overload, or haemochromatosis. Cancer is an umbrella term which covers a spectrum of disease. Some cancers, like lung cancer grow and spread rapidly. But others like some forms of breast, thyroid and prostate cancer have a less than 5% chance of progressing over twenty years. So should we redefine low risk cancers? GP Margaret McCartney and consultant histopathologist, Murali Varma of University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff discuss this question.
Trouble in Paradise
Discovery BBC
access_time1 month ago
Science isn't just about pursuing knowledge. Some researchers literally chase down their findings across land, sea and sky. This four-part series of immersive radio documentaries, made for the BBC World Service by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, is where science meets adventure. Each story follows a different group of scientists on a fascinating, high-stakes journey. The audience will travel deep into the outback and far across the Pacific Ocean. This is science on the run. The four documentaries are presented by four of Australia's best young science journalists. Each one takes the listener somewhere they would never otherwise get to visit, in the company of memorable characters – from Indigenous elders and researchers to retired air-force pilots and fossil-loving farmers. Programme Three: Trouble in Paradise The atoll of Tetiaro is a string of tiny islands in French Polynesia, about 60km away from Tahiti. The islands – known as ‘motus’ to local Polynesians – are unique ecosystems that are crucial nesting sites for native seabirds. But invasive species threaten to disrupt these fragile environments – a fate seen across many islands in the Pacific. Rats arrived with early human settlers and have driven bird species off some of the islands. Meanwhile introduced mosquitoes have thrived in the warm conditions, and now act as vectors for diseases such as the Zika virus. Rat eradication experts have travelled to one of the uninhabited islands in the atoll, called Reiono, to attempt an experimental eradication of thousands of rats with one mammoth poison bait drop. They’re also using this as an opportunity to better understand why eradication attempts have been less effective on tropical islands. At the same time, on another island in the chain called Onetahi, researchers are releasing swarms of sterilised male mosquitoes to try to rid this motu of the disease-carrying pest. Join Carl Smith from ABC Australia for the third episode of The Chase: a special four-part series about science on the run. Picture: The Pacific rat (Rattus exulans) is smaller than many other invasive rat species, but it’s still been linked to localised extinctions of island birds, Credit: Carl Smith
Why Speed Matters in Earthquakes
The Science Hour BBC
access_time1 month ago
Last September’s earthquake in Indonesia hit the Sulawesi city Palu and caused a tsunami – yet conventional analysis suggests it simply wasn’t powerful enough to cause the damage it did. A new analysis shows that the quake was fast, about 4 times the speed of sound and unusually wasn’t slowed down by the objects in its way. The narrow shape of the Palu bay also contributed to the tsunami, amplifying its effects. Researchers in France and Australia have taught honey bees to do simple addition and subtraction. Bees seem to be capable of a number of mathematical feats, the researchers think such abilities might help them negotiate their environment, e.g. the best nectar is past the 3rd tree on the left. More than half the daily food input of all people on the planet comes from just 4 crop species. All of these are affected by pests. It’s a particular issue for places where food is in short supply and people rely on imported food. Attempts to scale up local production are accompanied by a huge growth in local pest species. And in places with food surpluses, there is a lack of focus on targeting pests. Temperature regulating clothes. US researchers have invented a new kind of material which adjusts to the temperature requirements of the user, fibres within the cloth can tighten to increase warmth ore loosen to allow cooling and evaporation. The system works automatically. It’s the sort of plot you would expect from a classic sci-fi movie; what if there are viruses trapped deep in Antarctic ice that could wreak havoc on humans? Alex Lathbridge puts on warm gloves and meets the scientists venturing into the icy wilds. He wants to answer listener Tony’s question - can viral life exist in such inhospitable climes and if so, might it pose us a danger? Alex meets teams who venture to the Antarctic to find out about how their work to understand climate change leads them to drilling and analysing ice cores that are tens of thousands of years old. He then visits a dynamic husband and wife duo in France who are extracting viruses from 30,000 year old Siberian permafrost and bringing them back to life. He discovers that - rather than killing us all, - their findings of novel giant viruses might contribute to medicine and our understanding of evolution. (Image: Aftermath of the Indonesia quake-tsunami in Palu. Credit: Getty Images)
Why Speed Matters in Earthquakes
Science in Action BBC
access_time1 month ago
Last September’s earthquake in Indonesia hit the Sulawesi city Palu and caused a tsunami – yet conventional analysis suggests it simply wasn’t powerful enough to cause the damage it did. A new analysis shows that the quake was fast, about 4 times the speed of sound and unusually wasn’t slowed down by the objects in its way. The narrow shape of the Palu bay also contributed to the tsunami, amplifying its effects. Researchers in France and Australia have taught honey bees to do simple addition and subtraction. Bees seem to be capable of a number of mathematical feats, the researchers think such abilities might help them negotiate their environment, e.g. the best nectar is past the 3rd tree on the left. More than half the daily food input of all people on the planet comes from just 4 crop species. All of these are affected by pests. It’s a particular issue for places where food is in short supply and people rely on imported food. Attempts to scale up local production are accompanied by a huge growth in local pest species. And in places with food surpluses, there is a lack of focus on targeting pests. Temperature regulating clothes. US researchers have invented a new kind of material which adjusts to the temperature requirements of the user, fibres within the cloth can tighten to increase warmth ore loosen to allow cooling and evaporation. The system works automatically. (Picture: Aftermath of the Indonesia quake-tsunami in Palu. Credit: Getty Images) Presenter: Roland Pease Producer: Julian siddle
Aristotle's Biology
In Our Time: Science BBC
access_time1 month ago
Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the remarkable achievement of Aristotle (384-322BC) in the realm of biological investigation, for which he has been called the originator of the scientific study of life. Known mainly as a philosopher and the tutor for Alexander the Great, who reportedly sent him animal specimens from his conquests, Aristotle examined a wide range of life forms while by the Sea of Marmara and then on the island of Lesbos. Some ideas, such as the the spontaneous generation of flies, did not survive later scrutiny, yet his influence was extraordinary and his work was unequalled until the early modern period. The image above is of the egg and embryo of a dogfish, one of the animals Aristotle described accurately as he recorded their development. With Armand Leroi Professor of Evolutionary Development Biology at Imperial College London Myrto Hatzimichali Lecturer in Classics at the University of Cambridge And Sophia Connell Lecturer in Philosophy at Birkbeck, University of London Producer: Simon Tillotson
Genes and confidentiality; sore throats and cancer; diet for epilepsy; shaving for hospital drips
Inside Health BBC
access_time1 month ago
Genetics and confidentiality; a fascinating legal case where a woman is suing the hospital trust that looked after her father with Huntington's disease for not warning that she too could be affected. And a well established use of very low carb diets that isn't so well known - to treat complex childhood epilepsy. Plus cancer of the voice box and persistent sore throat. And should hairy arms be shaved for a hospital drip? This question has prompted a transatlantic spat when Sir Andy Murray posted a photograph after his recent hip operation.
Back from the Dead
Discovery BBC
access_time1 month ago
Science isn't just about pursuing knowledge. Some researchers literally chase down their findings across land, sea and sky. This four-part series of immersive radio documentaries, made for the BBC World Service by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, is where science meets adventure. Each story follows a different group of scientists on a fascinating, high-stakes journey. The audience will travel deep into the outback and far across the Pacific Ocean. This is science on the run. The four documentaries are presented by four of Australia's best young science journalists. Each one takes the listener somewhere they would never otherwise get to visit, in the company of memorable characters – from Indigenous elders and researchers to retired air-force pilots and fossil-loving farmers. Programme Two: Back from the Dead It was supposed to be extinct and became a legend among birdwatchers in Australia: a fat, dumpy, green parrot that lived in the desert and came out at night. The last bird seen alive was promptly shot dead in 1912. The desert went silent. Over 90 years later, a decapitated Night Parrot was found beside a fence in outback Australia, and the hunt for a living bird was on. Ornithologists descended onto the arid plains of Australia’s vast arid interior – but it took another seven years for a single photograph of a live bird. Incredibly, a population of night parrots had survived. Their exact location is kept secret, and people are still looking for more – or more precisely, listening for more, using acoustic traps to identify calls. Dr Ann Jones from ABC Australia takes a huge microphone for a spin in the desert to join the hunt for the legendary Night Parrot. Picture: Ullala Boss is a Birriliburu Indigenous Ranger, Elder and Traditional Owner and knows the dreaming stories of the Night Parrot. (Credit: Dr Ann Jones)
Brazil’s Mining Disaster
The Science Hour BBC
access_time2 months ago
A ‘tailings dam’ collapse in Brazil has killed many people, burying them alive. We ask why and how such dangerous structures are built and discuss the humanitarian and environmental risk they pose. Denisovans, a Siberian cave is revealing more about this early human species, a range of dating techniques show evidence that ancient tools and jewellery found there go back to the era before modern humans dominated the earth. And going back further, 550 million years to a moment in time when the earth’s magnetic field seemed to temporarily weaken dramatically. Intriguingly this coincides with an evolutionary explosion – could the two events be connected? Waste, trash, garbage – whatever you call it, unwanted materials have become a major presence in many of our lives and our environment. Every year it is estimated that humans around the world produce 2 billion metric tonnes of waste. Listener Clare from Devon in the UK wants to start tackling this herself. She would like to know if she can not just sort but process all her own recycling at home. (Image: Members of a rescue team search for victims after a tailings dam owned by Brazilian mining company Vale SA collapsed. Credit: Reuters)
Brazil’s Mining Disaster
Science in Action BBC
access_time2 months ago
A ‘tailings dam’ collapse in Brazil has killed many people, burying them alive. We ask why and how such dangerous structures are built and discuss the humanitarian and environmental risk they pose. Denisovans, a Siberian cave is revealing more about this early human species, a range of dating techniques show evidence that ancient tools and jewellery found there go back to the era before modern humans dominated the earth. And going back further, 550 million years to a moment in time when the earth’s magnetic field seemed to temporarily weaken dramatically. Intriguingly this coincides with an evolutionary explosion – could the two events be connected? And we look at a plane called SOFIA, its actually a flying telescope, but why put a telescope on a plane? Presenter: Roland Pease Producer: Julian Siddle (Photo: Members of a rescue team search for victims after a tailings dam owned by Brazilian mining company Vale SA collapsed. Credit: Reuters)
Unproven IVF add-ons; Running injuries; DNA analysis on the NHS
Inside Health BBC
access_time2 months ago
Warnings that expensive, unproven 'add-ons' are being offered by IVF clinics ; Keen jogger Margaret McCartney asks whether rest helps running problems such as stitch, shin splints and plantar fasciitis. Plus DNA testing on the NHS to anyone prepared to pay for it with the results contributing to research. But what exactly is the aim of such testing and are there hidden implications?
Eye in the Sky
Discovery BBC
access_time2 months ago
Science isn't just about pursuing knowledge. Some researchers literally chase down their findings across land, sea and sky. This four-part series of immersive radio documentaries, made for the BBC World Service by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, is where science meets adventure. Each story follows a different group of scientists on a fascinating, high-stakes journey. The audience will travel deep into the outback and far across the Pacific Ocean. This is science on the run. The four documentaries are presented by four of Australia's best young science journalists. Each one takes the listener somewhere they would never otherwise get to visit, in the company of memorable characters – from Indigenous elders and researchers to retired air-force pilots and fossil-loving farmers. Programme One: Eye in the Sky SOFIA is a very unusual observatory. It’s a 747 aircraft with a hatch in the side, which opens in flight to reveal a large, custom-built telescope – carefully engineered to work inside a moving jet plane. Its full name is the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, and it’s a joint project of NASA and the German space agency, DLR. On this mission, SOFIA is setting out to study Titan, Saturn’s biggest moon, by flying into the faint shadow that it casts as it blocks the light from a faraway star. It’s a phenomenon called an occultation, and if the mission succeeds, it will reveal new details about Titan’s atmosphere. The catch? That shadow is moving across the earth at 22 kilometres per second. Join Dr Jonathan Webb from the ABC in Australia for episode one of The Chase: a special four-part series about science on the run. Picture: SOFIA is a heavily modified 747SP which was acquired by NASA in the mid-1990s after spending 20 years as a passenger jet. (Credit: Wayne Williams)
A Path to Malaria Eradication
The Science Hour BBC
access_time2 months ago
Through a country wide programme involving education, drug treatment and the mass distribution of bednets and insecticides, Zambia has reduced malaria infections by 96 percent. However getting down to zero is proving elusive. We look at how mosquitos have adapted to thwart efforts and how visitors to Zambia might now be part of the problem. And we learn how new information from the human genome is challenging widely held views on older mothers. The study shows that genetic mutations are more likely to be passed on from older fathers. The researchers say such mutations are not necessarily harmful, but they do increase with the age of the father. We also look to Mexican salamanders for some genetic clues on regeneration, could understanding how they can grow back limbs and digits help human neuroscience? When CrowdScience listener, Grady, crashed violently on his motorbike in the desert, he thought he was going to die. Years later he still can’t remember the dramatic seconds just before the impact. Where did the memory disappear to? Did the hard hit to the head knock his memories out or are they still in his brain somewhere? CrowdScience turns to brain science to find out if those last few seconds are lost for good or if the brain tells a different story. (Image: A single mosquito, Credit: Getty Images)
A Path to Malaria Eradication
Science in Action BBC
access_time2 months ago
Through a country wide programme involving education, drug treatment and the mass distribution of bednets and insecticides, Zambia has reduced malaria infections by 96 percent. However getting down to zero is proving elusive. We look at how mosquitos have adapted to thwart efforts and how visitors to Zambia might now be part of the problem. And we learn how new information from the human genome is challenging widely held views on older mothers. The study shows that genetic mutations are more likely to be passed on from older fathers. The researchers say such mutations are not necessarily harmful, but they do increase with the age of the father. We also look to Mexican salamanders for some genetic clues on regeneration, could understanding how they can grow back limbs and digits help human neuroscience? Globally we all use data from weather forecasting and are used to getting this for free. Could paying for such information become more common, and what kind of problems could that cause for those who can’t pay? Picture: Mosquito, Credit: Getty Images Presenter: Roland Pease Producer: Julian Siddle
Emmy Noether
In Our Time: Science BBC
access_time2 months ago
Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the ideas and life of one of the greatest mathematicians of the 20th century, Emmy Noether. Noether’s Theorem is regarded as one of the most important mathematical theorems, influencing the evolution of modern physics. Born in 1882 in Bavaria, Noether studied mathematics at a time when women were generally denied the chance to pursue academic careers and, to get round objections, she spent four years lecturing under a male colleague’s name. In the 1930s she faced further objections to her teaching, as she was Jewish, and she left for the USA when the Nazis came to power. Her innovative ideas were to become widely recognised and she is now considered to be one of the founders of modern algebra. With Colva Roney Dougal Professor of Pure Mathematics at the University of St Andrews David Berman Professor in Theoretical Physics at Queen Mary, University of London Elizabeth Mansfield Professor of Mathematics at the University of Kent Producer: Simon Tillotson
Conflict of interest, Living with a stoma, Diet books
Inside Health BBC
access_time2 months ago
Concerns about conflict of Interest and reputational damage. Should policy making organisations in the public health arena form partnerships with charities funded by industry? And living with a Stoma. Mark goes to Addenbrookes hospital in Cambridge to meet Michael, who explains what life is like after having his large colon removed. 1 in 500 people in the UK - children and adults - live with some form of bowel stoma, where part of their gut has been brought out through their abdominal wall to empty into a bag. But how does it all work, and what it’s like living with one? Plus Margaret McCartney on diet books and why they are rarely discussed on Inside Health.
2018 – The Warmest Year on Record?
The Science Hour BBC
access_time2 months ago
Is 2018 the warmest year on record? We look at the evidence behind that claim. What part do the global oceans play in regulating the planets temperatures and what are the prospects for future extreme weather. We look at how climate change is ocean systems affecting storms and ocean waves, and the implications this could have for those of us living in coastal regions. And wild coffee species are facing extinction. This could affect commercial production of the coffee we drink. However rediscovering the coffee of the past might offer a solution. When CrowdScience listener, Grady, crashed violently on his motorbike in the desert, he thought he was going to die. Years later he still can’t remember the dramatic seconds just before the impact. Where did the memory disappear to? Did the hard hit to the head knock his memories out or are they still in his brain somewhere? CrowdScience turns to brain science to find out if those last few seconds are lost for good or if the brain tells a different story.
2018 – The Warmest Year on Record?
Science in Action BBC
access_time2 months ago
Is 2018 the warmest year on record? We look at the evidence behind that claim. What part do the global oceans play in regulating the planets temperatures and what are the prospects for future extreme weather. We look at how climate change is ocean systems affecting storms and ocean waves, and the implications this could have for those of us living in coastal regions. And wild coffee species are facing extinction. This could affect commercial production of the coffee we drink. However rediscovering the coffee of the past might offer a solution. (Photo: Getty images)
Drug shortages, Eye drops for myopia, Is muscle more dense than fat? Sarcopenia
Inside Health BBC
access_time2 months ago
An unprecedented number of medicines are in short supply, according to NHS England. Doctors, pharmacists and patients all over the UK are finding common drugs like naproxen are more difficult to get hold of. Why is there such a problem with supply of medicines that are normally cheap and easy to get hold of? And why a 'severe shortage protocol' due in the next few weeks should give pharmacists more power help ease the situation. Mark talks to Ash Soni, president of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and pharmacist, Ben Merriman to find out more. The number of children with short-sightedness, myopia has doubled in the last 50 years. Mark finds out why atropine eye drops, which are widely used in China and Singapore, are being trialled on children in the UK to help prevent the progression of myopia. Professor Augusto Azuara-Blanco from Queens University Belfast explains. And is muscle more dense than fat? Jason Gill, professor of cardio metabolic health at the University of Glasgow discusses how even a small amount of fat loss can have hugely significant health benefits. Elaine Dennison, professor of Musculoskeletal Epidemiology at the University of Southampton explains why muscle is an under researched part of the body and how we lose muscle mass and strength in middle age and what we can do to prevent it.
Kepler's Snowflake
Discovery BBC
access_time2 months ago
The Six Cornered Snowflake, a booklet written by Johannes Kepler as a New Year's gift, sought to explain the intricate and symmetrical shape of winter's tiny stars of snow. His insightful speculations about minerals and geometry were the beginning of the modern understanding of crystals. Philip Ball tells the story of how Kepler became a key figure in the scientific revolution of the 17th Century. He was a precocious mathematician who became an adviser to Emperor Rudolf II in 1600. Although he contributed to the idea that the sun, not the earth, was the centre of the solar system, his role at the court was to be an astrologer. Philip brings the story of the shape of the snowflakes up to date. It was only 20 years ago with the development of the maths of fractals that we got to understand the formation of the myriad patterns of snowflakes.
Trump’s Hubble Trouble
Science in Action BBC
access_time2 months ago
As federal employees many US scientists have been affected by the US government shutdown. They are not being paid, can’t talk about their work or go to scientific conferences. We look at how this US political stand-off is affecting scientific research. One of the casualties is the Hubble space telescope, in need of repairs, which cannot start until its federal employed engineers can get back to work. Meanwhile, in Antarctica a US led team have extracted microbes, water and rock samples from a subglacial lake covered with kilometre thick ice. Their live samples may have evolved in the depths and dark of the lake, hidden from view for thousands of years. And just how are we to feed the world in the future? One team of scientists have successfully increased the yield of their experimental plants by 40 percent. They are hoping to repeat the technique with food crops. This comes at the same time as an investigation into China’s future food needs. While demand is going to increase, researchers offer an optimistic view, more efficient farming methods might mean China could be self-sufficient in food in years to come - and even use less land to grow it on than they do currently. (Photo: Hubble Space Telescope, Credit: NASA) Presenter: Roland Pease Producer: Julian Siddle
Trump’s Hubble Trouble
The Science Hour BBC
access_time2 months ago
As federal employees many US scientists have been affected by the US government shutdown. They are not being paid, can’t talk about their work or go to scientific conferences. We look at how this US political stand-off is affecting scientific research. One of the casualties is the Hubble space telescope, in need of repairs, which cannot start until its federal employed engineers can get back to work. Meanwhile, in Antarctica a US led team have extracted microbes, water and rock samples from a subglacial lake covered with kilometre thick ice. Their live samples may have evolved in the depths and dark of the lake, hidden from view for thousands of years. And just how are we to feed the world in the future? One team of scientists have successfully increased the yield of their experimental plants by 40 percent. They are hoping to repeat the technique with food crops. This comes at the same time as an investigation into China’s future food needs. While demand is high, more efficient farming methods might mean China could be self-sufficient in food in years to come. Magma is the hot, molten rock found beneath the Earth’s crust. It’s so plentiful that it got Greek listener Dimitrios wondering whether we could harness this heat. Could we drill directly into the magma and use it to power our homes? And from Ghana, Madock also got in touch with CrowdScience to ask why there are lots of volcanoes in some areas of the world, but then none in others? We visit Kenya - a country that is one of the biggest providers of geothermal energy in the world and home to East African Rift system. At 4,000 miles long, a string of volcanoes sits along this fault line. CrowdScience travels to a geothermal power plant to get to grips with how conventional geothermal energy works. But can our equipment stand such temperatures? (Image: Hubble space telescope. Credit to NASA)
08/01/2019
Inside Health BBC
access_time2 months ago
Dr Mark Porter discusses High Blood Pressure, a silent threat that isn’t well managed, with only a third of those affected being diagnosed and treated as advised in the latest guidelines. Dr Margaret McCartney and Professor of Medicine, Bryan Williams help unpick areas of confusion including lifestyle and treatment with the latest thinking in the UK, on who should be offered what and when.
Lucretius, Sheep and Atoms
Discovery BBC
access_time2 months ago
2000 years ago Lucretius composed a long poem that theorised about atoms and the natural world. Written in the first century BCE, during a chaotic and frightening time when the Roman Republic was collapsing, Lucretius encouraged people to feel free through contemplating the physics of the Universe. He said that despite living through a time of bloody civil wars and dictatorship people should not believe they were sheep who had to follow those in power. Naomi discovers that the poem is an epic, beautiful and persuasive piece of work. It begins with a discussion of atoms. Lucretius, like Epicurus, followed the Greek tradition in believing that the universe is composed of tiny, indivisible particles. De Rerum Natura asks us to consider that all that really exists in the universe are these atoms and the void between them. Atoms are indestructible, the number of atoms in the universe is infinite and so is the void in which the atoms move. What Lucretius is saying here was revolutionary then – and still has the power to surprise. He’s saying that there are no supernatural forces controlling our lives, no fate pulling the strings, if there are gods they’re made of atoms just like everything else. There is nothing else. Naomi discusses the life of Lucretius and his poem with classicist Dr Emma Woolerton of Durham University. And she talks to particle physicist Professor Jonathan Butterworth of UCL about which of his theories still holds water today. Picture: Gathered sheep, Credit: Chris Strickland, Getty Images
Beyond the Planets
The Science Hour BBC
access_time2 months ago
It’s been years in the planning and involved a tiny window of opportunity. NASA’s New Horizons mission launched in 2006 has reached its far flung destination, a couple of outer space snowballs known as Ultima Thule. The mission aims to shed light on the formation of our solar system. And just days later an unmanned Chinese mission has landed on the moon, on the far side, they’ll be examining rocks and also seeing if simple plants and animals survive in a biosphere there. We also look at the Indonesian Anak Krakatau volcano, which has erupted recently. Just why did it collapse into the sea creating a tsunami, and why is it so difficult to predict the impact of volcanic eruptions? And we celebrate the periodic table,150 years old this year, this chart of chemical elements found on the walls of classrooms around the world still has much to reveal. Birds are dinosaurs, but did their extinct relatives move, look, or even sing like their avian relatives? From revealing the hidden information within fossilised dinosaur footprints, to reading the messages left by muscle attachments on fossil bones and seeing how modern palaeo-artists have started to draw fluffy feathered Tyranosaurs, CrowdScience starts to reimagine dinosaurs as living animals. Listener Malcolm asks about hopping dinosaurs while on a fossil finding mission with world expert Dr Peter Falkingham, we explore the vaults of the Natural History Museum with Dr Susie Maidment and meets palaeoartist Dr Mark Witton’s pet dinosaurs in his living room studio. (Picture: The first high-definition picture of Ultima Thule, Credit: NASA)
Beyond the Planets
Science in Action BBC
access_time3 months ago
It’s been years in the planning and involved a tiny window of opportunity. NASA’s New Horizons mission launched in 2006 has reached its far flung destination, a couple of outer space snowballs known as Ultima Thule. The mission aims to shed light on the formation of our solar system. And just days later an unmanned Chinese mission has landed on the moon, on the far side, they’ll be examining rocks and also seeing if simple plants and animals survive in a biosphere there. We also look at the Indonesian Anak Krakatau volcano, which has erupted recently. Just why did it collapse into the sea creating a tsunami, and why is it so difficult to predict the impact of volcanic eruptions? And we celebrate the periodic table,150 years old this year, this chart of chemical elements found on the walls of classrooms around the world still has much to reveal. Picture: The first high-definition picture of Ultima Thule, Credit: NASA Presenter: Roland Pease Producer: Julian Siddle
Eddington's Eclipse and Einstein's Celebrity
Discovery BBC
access_time3 months ago
Philip Ball's tale is of a solar eclipse 100 years ago observed by Arthur Eddington, a British astronomer who travelled to the remote island of Principe off the coast of West Africa and saw the stars shift in the heavens. His observations supplied the crucial proof of a theory that transformed our notions of the cosmos and turned a German physicist named Albert Einstein into an international celebrity. But this is also a tale of how a Quaker tried to use science to unite countries. The reparations imposed on Germany after the war extended into science too as many in Great Britain and other Allied nations felt that German science should be ostracised from the international community. As a Quaker, Eddington wanted just the opposite: to see peaceful cooperation restored among nations. Picture: Image of the 1919 Solar eclipse taken by Arthur Eddington (1882-1944), Credit: Science Photo Library Producer: Erika Wright
A Year of Space Firsts
The Science Hour BBC
access_time3 months ago
The Parker Solar Probe has flown nearer to the sun than any other mission. The probe is now sending back data on the behaviour of electromagnetic waves emitted from the coronal mass. Fluctuations in these waves can lead to solar flares ,which in turn can have a huge impact on earth, including the potential to knock out global communications. The Japanese space agency’s Hayabusa mission successfully landed two robots on an asteroid 4 years away from earth. Next year the mission will return to mine rock samples from beneath the asteroids surface by shooting a ‘space cannon’ to blast samples from within the asteroid. NASA has a similar mission planned again to collect rocks from an asteroid, their method is to use kind of ‘space hoover’ to suck up samples. The engineering challenges of creating a spacecraft that could eventually take us all the way to Mars. Then there are the challenges of engineering the humans for that momentous journey. In space, no-one can hear you scream, which is probably a good thing if you’re going to be trapped in a metal box for two years with the same people, as you cruise through the void on your way to the red planet. So how do astronauts prepare for the physical and psychological impacts of long-term space travel? We also discover how space travel can be made greener and cleaner and test a space harpoon designed to tackle the millions of pieces of space debris floating around our planet that potentially, could impact a mission before it even leaves Earth orbit. Picture: The surface of the sun, Credit: NASA
A Year of Space Firsts
Science in Action BBC
access_time3 months ago
The Parker Solar Probe has flown nearer to the sun than any other mission. The probe is now sending back data on the behaviour of electromagnetic waves emitted from the coronal mass. Fluctuations in these waves can lead to solar flares ,which in turn can have a huge impact on earth, including the potential to knock out global communications. The Japanese space agency’s Hayabusa mission successfully landed two robots on an asteroid 4 years away from earth. Next year the mission will return to mine rock samples from beneath the asteroids surface by shooting a ‘space cannon’ to blast samples from within the asteroid. NASA has a similar mission planned again to collect rocks from an asteroid, their method is to use kind of ‘space hoover’ to suck up samples. Picture: The surface of the sun, Credit: NASA Presenter: Roland Pease Producer: Julian Siddle
Venus
In Our Time: Science BBC
access_time3 months ago
Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the planet Venus which is both the morning star and the evening star, rotates backwards at walking speed and has a day which is longer than its year. It has long been called Earth’s twin, yet the differences are more striking than the similarities. Once imagined covered with steaming jungles and oceans, we now know the surface of Venus is 450 degrees celsius, and the pressure there is 90 times greater than on Earth, enough to crush an astronaut. The more we learn of it, though, the more we learn of our own planet, such as whether Earth could become more like Venus in some ways, over time. With Carolin Crawford Public Astronomer at the Institute of Astronomy and Fellow of Emmanuel College, University of Cambridge Colin Wilson Senior Research Fellow in Planetary Science at the University of Oxford And Andrew Coates Professor of Physics at Mullard Space Science Laboratory, University College London Produced by: Simon Tillotson and Julia Johnson

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