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Preview: Material World

Material World

Weekly science conversation, on everything from archaeology to zoology, from abacus to the antipodean rodent zyzomys, by way of meteorites. Presented by Quentin Cooper, and airing every Thursday, 4:30 pm.


Inside Science:Bovine TB:Coral Sunscreen;Space Junk

Thu, 04 Jul 2013 17:03:00 +0100

The government have announced a plan to rid England of bovine TB within 25 years. Corals could save us from sunburn in summers to come. Why we need to tackle the problem of space junk.

Media Files:

Material: Ancient Horses; Uncertainty; Cutlery and Taste

Thu, 27 Jun 2013 17:40:00 +0100

How 700 000 year old horse DNA could change the way scientists study evolution; why scientists are seldom certain of their findings and how cutlery changes the taste of food.

Media Files:

MRC; Snails; Applause

Thu, 20 Jun 2013 19:44:00 +0100

Pioneering work in the treatment of TB set the gold standard for future clinical trials. Geneticists at the University of Nottingham have confirmed a unique and close relationship between the snails of Ireland and those of a small region in the Pyrenees. When the curtain falls, what determines the length of the rapturous ovation?

Media Files:

Digital spying;Dornier 17;Germination;Cheetahs

Thu, 13 Jun 2013 17:55:00 +0100

Monitoring information has become much simpler in the digital age. Encrusted sea-life helped protect the Dornier 17 from the worst ravages of the sea. Understanding the process whereby seeds control germination might one day help in the battle against malaria. Cheetahs rely more on manoeuvrability than maximum speed when out hunting.

Media Files:

Cheltenham Science Festival

Thu, 06 Jun 2013 16:45:00 +0100

Professor Elspeth Garman commemorates a century since the publication of an idea that made discovering protein structures possible: The Bragg Equation. How can we better understand and perhaps control the spread of drug-resistant HIV? FameLab, started in the UK in 2005,is a world-leading science communication competition. Why is the model so successful. Do media portrayals of crime reflect the real-life people and real-life science involved?

Media Files:

Multiverses;Culture-driven Evolution;Lee Smolin-Time

Thu, 30 May 2013 18:04:00 +0100

Have Planck’s observations proven that there could be millions of universes beyond our own or is the evidence far from proof? Could culture, rather than random genetic mutations, have driven the evolution of humans? Throughout history the concept of time as an illusion has been commonplace. Relativity reveals that time is not absolute. Lee Smolin argues that this denial of time is holding back both physics, and our understanding of the universe.

Media Files:

Tornado;Tree health;Vaccine;Radar

Thu, 23 May 2013 17:24:00 +0100

What is it about Oklahoma's geographical location that causes increased susceptibility to tornadoes? How can residents of ‘tornado valley’ better protect themselves against these rampant acts of Mother Nature?The Tree Health and Plant Biosecurity Expert Taskforce have just issued their first report with recommendations to combat what they call an “unprecedented threat” from non-native pests and diseases. The Veterinary Medicines Directorate has issued the pharmaceutical company MSD Animal Health a provisional licence to provide the new ‘Bovilis SBV’ vaccine to UK farmers. They will be the first in the EU to access the vaccine.Professor Hugh Griffiths, the winner of the Institution of Engineering and Technology's A F Harvey Prize, is receiving his prize tonight - £300, 000 to continue his work on bistatic radar and using FM radio waves and TV signals as radar. He joins Quentin Cooper in the studio. . .

Media Files:

Quantum computer; Ancient water; Stem cells; Dambusters

Thu, 16 May 2013 17:45:00 +0100

One of the world's most powerful, commercially available, "quantum" computers is to be installed at NASA's Ames research centre.Scientists have discovered the oldest fluid water system in the world, buried deep beneath Ontario, Canada.A technique known as somatic cell nuclear transfer, which involves transferring the nucleus of a donor cell into that of a female egg cell, has been successfully applied to humans cells.To mark the 70th anniversary of the Dambusters mission, Material World is taking a look at some of the spectacular, yet largely unknown engineering achievements of World War II.

Media Files:

EU science funding;Pear-shaped nuclei;Hyades

Thu, 09 May 2013 17:18:00 +0100

With scientific research in the UK receiving an estimated 4.9 billion euro from the European Research Council’s FP7 program, what would happen to this funding if the UK were to leave the EU altogether? The discovery of pear-shaped nuclei in radium isotopes hold huge promise in furthering our understanding of nuclear structure and also, testing the standard model of particle physics. By examining White Dwarfs stars in the nearby Hyades Cluster, we can gain invaluable insights into the fate of our own solar system when, as predicted, the sun ceases to exist in 5 billion years.

Media Files:

Bees;Petal Shapes: Heart gene therapy

Thu, 02 May 2013 18:18:00 +0100

EU states have voted in favour of a proposal to restrict the use of certain pesticides that have been linked to causing serious harm in bees. Patients in the UK have begun being enrolled into trials to see if an engineered virus can be used to heal their damaged and struggling hearts.Petals get their shape from a hidden molecular map within their buds that tells them how to grow. Scientists from the John Innes Centre and University of East Anglia discovered that these concealed maps are made up of patterns of arrows that act as instructions for how each cell in the bud should grow.

Media Files:

Bovine TB; Big Cat; Shark teeth

Thu, 25 Apr 2013 17:30:00 +0100

Scientists at the Royal Society discuss future strategies in controlling bovine TB. Proof that a non-native Big Cat prowled the British countryside at the turn of the last century.Researchers think that clues to marine biological diversity over millions of years may be locked up in sharks’ teeth.

Media Files:

Iranian earthquake;Zebrafish;Curiosity driver Paolo Bellutta

Thu, 18 Apr 2013 17:40:00 +0100

Iran has been struck by its most powerful earthquake for more than 50 years, with tremors felt across Pakistan, India and the Middle East.The genome of the tiny zebrafish has been sequenced in great detail, but why is this animal of such biological significance to researchers?Curiosity driver,Paolo Bellutta, drops by to talk to Quentin.

Media Files:

Science publishing, Transatlantic turbulence, Rapid evolution

Thu, 11 Apr 2013 17:25:00 +0100

Victor Henning is joined by Jason Priem of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, author of a recent horizon scanning feature in Nature, to discuss the future of science publication and how this wealth of research will be managed in the future.New research, published in Nature Climate Change, suggests that turbulence could double by 2050. And changes to our environment are effecting evolution much quicker than we thought.

Media Files:

Chemical weapons,Nuclear weapons,BRAIN,Foot and Mouth

Thu, 04 Apr 2013 17:30:00 +0100

With representatives of the 188 nations that have signed the Chemical Weapons Convention about to meet in the Hague, how can we make it more effective and reactive? Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) is the formal name for the $100 million dollar initiative just announced by President Obama. What kind of difference could this make to research? Researchers have engineered an entirely new vaccine for foot and mouth. Recent nuclear tests by North Korea along with this week’s announcement of plans to restart their plutonium reactor have led to international condemnation, and raised fears they could engulf the world in nuclear war. How scientifically credible is that threat?

Media Files:

Edinburgh's International Science Festival

Thu, 28 Mar 2013 17:30:00 +0000

Quentin Cooper talks about ideas which are "dangerous" to Professor Colin Blakemore and Professor Chris Rapley. Plus, what is the lasting value of science festivals?

Media Files:

Planck, Elusive Giant Squid, Emotive words

Thu, 21 Mar 2013 17:51:00 +0000

Adam Rutherford discusses new science results from the Planck space telescope and the surprising family tree of the Giant Squid.

Media Files:

Clay on Mars, Neanderthals, Cholera,Tapeworms

Thu, 14 Mar 2013 17:51:00 +0000

Researchers have mapped the genomes of tapeworms to reveal potential drug targets on which existing drugs could act. Tom Koch-discusses John Snow who famously identified a pump as being the source of a cholera outbreak in 1854. NASA has reported that its Curiosity rover has made another significant discovery on Mars and a study of Neanderthal skulls suggests that they became extinct because they had larger eyes than our species.

Media Files:

Deer,Herschel,Facial contrast,Potatoes

Thu, 07 Mar 2013 17:30:00 +0000

Is culling the only option for controlling deer? What makes the potato such a successful vegetable that it can grow in many different climates? Why facial contrast can make us look younger and the Herschel space telescope loses it's sight.

Media Files:

Junk DNA, Mine fires, Homer

Thu, 28 Feb 2013 18:15:00 +0000

Is junk DNA really rubbish? Scientists dispute recent findings about our genetic code. What causes spontaneous combustion in mines. And dating of The Iliad by Homer. With Quentin Cooper.

Media Files:

Material: DNA,Identical Twins,Dark Energy, Viruses

Thu, 21 Feb 2013 17:30:00 +0000

Why does a virus manage to infect us and make us ill so quickly? And how on earth do we see the invisible dark energy that makes up most of our universe? Also with the recent case of the French identical twins who have been implicated in serial rape, Quentin asks forensic geneticist Gill Tully how DNA helps the police to find perpetrators. Plus, Tim Spector, a genetic epidemiologist, suggests that identical twins might not actually be as similar in their genes as we previously thought.

Media Files:

Material: Coronavirus, Horsemeat, Blackbirds, DNA

Fri, 15 Feb 2013 14:43:00 +0000

The new coronavirus; can it be transmitted between humans? How to trace the source of processed horsemeat. Using DNA to store data. And city blackbirds mating early.

Media Files:


Thu, 07 Feb 2013 17:53:00 +0000

Failures in science and lessons learnt; new TB vaccine trials and drilling in Antarctica. Also mobile phones in space. Presented by Quentin Cooper.

Media Files:

Material: Rail, Radioactive, Universe, Quantum Biology.

Thu, 31 Jan 2013 17:29:00 +0000

This week we discuss the engineering of high speed rail, the storage of radioactive nuclear waste, how our evolution is linked to that of the universe and quantum biology.

Media Files:

Material: Noise & plane design, Birdflu, Dogs, Mackerel

Thu, 24 Jan 2013 18:15:00 +0000

Are ever stricter noise and energy consumption restrictions making plane design harder? Controversial birdflu research. Dog domestication. And why mackerel is off the menu.

Media Files:

Material: Smog,Exploding Stars,Animal Replacement

Thu, 17 Jan 2013 18:00:00 +0000

Air pollution in the Chinese capital Beijing has reached levels judged as hazardous to human health. An international team of nuclear astrophysicists has shed new light on the explosive stellar events known as novae. The UK’s leading humane medical research charity, the Dr Hadwen Trust (DHT), and Queen Mary, University of London, have joined forces to lead the global development of human-relevant methods and alternatives to animal use in diverse areas of bio-medical research.

Media Files:

Material: Kepler,Arctic Drilling,Apophis,Brain Science

Thu, 10 Jan 2013 19:07:00 +0000

Will the Nasa Kepler mission become one of the Space Agency's most famous and significant achievements? Quentin Cooper speaks to William Borucki, Principal Scientist on Kepler, who believes it will be. Also Dr. Stephen Lowry from the University of Kent describes how data collected from the fly by of the asteroid Apophis will help scientists track its course - and determine if it will hit the Earth. Dr. David MacInroy from the British Geological survey talks about the difficulties of Arctic drilling and Dr. Tim Behrens from University College London on why some areas of the brain are proving very popular with neuroscientists.

Media Files:

Material: Norovirus, superheroes and army underpants.

Thu, 03 Jan 2013 18:00:00 +0000

Winter vomiting, superhero physics and why military scientists design underpants.

Media Files:

Material 27 Dec 12: Unsung Heroes of Science

Thu, 27 Dec 2012 18:00:00 +0000

Recorded in front of an audience Quentin Cooper and guests Adam Rutherford, Mark Miodownik, Vivienne Parry, Kevin Fong and Dallas Campbell, debate their unsung heroes of science.

Media Files:

Material: IQ tests, life on Mars, Santa up a chimney

Thu, 20 Dec 2012 18:32:00 +0000

Why IQ tests don't test intelligence, how a broken boiler control is hampering the search for life in Antarctica, why that frozen continent is a good model for life on mars and how Santa gets down a chimney courtesy of children’s presenters Dick and Dom.

Media Files:

Material World::Prizes, Hobbits, archaeology+maths.

Thu, 13 Dec 2012 18:40:00 +0000

The 3 million dollar physics prizes - but is giving science prizes fair ?How scientific is the home of Hobbits, Maths for the future of computing and solving the mystery of Piltdown man, who was really behind this 100 year old archaeological hoax?

Media Files:

Material World: Climate Talks; James Watson

Thu, 06 Dec 2012 20:16:00 +0000

With the on-going climate talks in Doha not hitting the headlines Quentin Cooper asks whether such large scale and largely incomprehensible meetings are effective at delivering anything worthwhile on climate change. Can science take the initiative from the policymakers and present the subject in a way which interests and inspires the public? We also interview James Watson the co-discoverer of the structure of DNA on the reissue of his classic work on the subject 'The Double Helix'

Media Files:

Material: Energy;Rats;Olive Oil;Romantic Chemistry

Fri, 30 Nov 2012 16:00:00 +0000

Dr Dave Reay analyses the latest statement on Energy delivered by the Energy Secretary.The world’s largest ever rodent eradication project is taking place in South Georgia. Olive oil could be used to preserve ancient stone buildings and there's a Romantic Chemistry exhibition at the Royal Society.

Media Files:

Material: Books, Intelligent roads, Old computers 22 Nov 12

Thu, 22 Nov 2012 17:48:00 +0000

How to write award winning Science books, building intelligent roads to conserve energy and make our journeys safer and restoring a sixty year old computer.

Media Files:

Material World; Wood burning for energy;Super Symmetry;;Drones;Sweat

Thu, 15 Nov 2012 17:44:00 +0000

Can burning biomass in the form of wood appear to be a better idea than it really is? Can emotions be transmitted between humans via Chemosignals in people's sweat? Are reports of supersymmetry's demise highly exaggerated? Plus Lambert Dopping-Hepenstal of consortium ASTRAEA talks to Quentin about the testing of civilian applications for Unmanned Aircraft, AKA drones. .

Media Files:

Material: Bird deaths, Coffee, Ancient Tools

Thu, 08 Nov 2012 17:57:00 +0000

Why are birds migrating to the UK falling out of the sky and dying? Loss of the wild Arabica coffee crop could have significant implications for the sustainability of high quality coffee and a haul of stone blades from a cave in South Africa suggests that early humans were already masters of complex technology more than 70,000 years ago. . .

Media Files:

Material World 1st Nov: Trees,1000 Genomes,Energy

Thu, 01 Nov 2012 17:20:00 +0000

John Loughhead and Malcolm Wilkinson discuss the various challenges and possible solutions to storing electrical energy. Scientists have sequenced the genomes of 1,000 people to help researchers understand indicators of disease or medicinal effectiveness. And Ash dieback may be in the headlines but many other trees species are also being affected by disease. .

Media Files:

Material World 25 Oct: Earthquake, Ancient Tablets, See-through Soil

Thu, 25 Oct 2012 17:15:00 +0100

Reaction to the six-year prison sentences handed to seven Italian scientific advisors for inadequate L’Aquila earthquake risk communication.Dr Jacob Dahl is trying to decrypt one of the oldest known written languages, proto-Elamite.And Dr Leonel Dupuy describes his breakthrough in the development of a see-through soil.

Media Files:

Material World 18th Oct: Badgers, Ants and New Planets

Thu, 18 Oct 2012 18:00:00 +0100

Lord Krebs, architect of the previous badger culling trial, on the scientific evidence surrounding the controversial policy. Plus Chris Lintott on the discovery of a new planet, Adam Hart talks about flying ants and Stuart Clark with space stamps.

Media Files:

Material World 11th Oct: Nobel Prize Winners

Thu, 11 Oct 2012 18:00:00 +0100

Quentin speaks with three of this year's winners of the Nobel Prize; Prof. Sir John Gurdon for Physiology or Medicine, Prof. Serge Haroche for Physics, and Prof. Brian Kobilka for Chemistry.

Media Files:

Material World 4th October 2012: Retractions

Thu, 04 Oct 2012 18:00:00 +0100

Retractions: what happens when published research is wrong? And ecologists ask the public to help them identify 2 million bat calls and test tube spiders

Media Files:

Material World 27th September 2012: Gravity Fields

Thu, 27 Sep 2012 18:00:00 +0100

Quentin Cooper visits the "Gravity Fields" festival in Grantham, Lincs., which aims to celebrate the legacy of the town's most famous son, Sir Isaac Newton.

Media Files:

Material World 20 September 2012: Climate computer modelling, flies and bumblebees

Thu, 20 Sep 2012 18:00:00 +0100

This week on Material World; how climate computer modelling is being used to determine future UK energy policy. Also how flies could help feed the world and bees find their food.

Media Files:

Material World 13 September 2012: Social Media, Engineering, Voyager, Botany

Thu, 13 Sep 2012 18:00:00 +0100

Material World this week is full of record breakers: an experiment involving 61 million people, an update on what is happening with the furthest-flung man-made object from Earth; the Voyager space craft, the largest botanical project ever completed - the Flora of Tropical East Africa and the biggest award for engineering - The Queen Elizabeth Prize.

Media Files:

Material World 6 September: British Science Festival

Thu, 06 Sep 2012 18:00:00 +0100

Quentin Cooper features some of the highlights of the British Science Festival in Aberdeen, including research into foods that could make us feel full for longer.

Media Files:

Material World 30 August: Piano tuners' brains, exoplanets, and chimp justice

Thu, 30 Aug 2012 18:00:00 +0100

Piano Tuners’ brains change over the course of their career, a solar system with two suns is discovered, geological unconformity on Mars, and chimps don’t do justice.

Media Files:

Material World 23rd August: Mars; bomb-proof make-up; toilets of the future; hearing loss & bird song

Thu, 23 Aug 2012 18:00:00 +0100

Quentin Cooper puts the peregrine among the pigeons and asks whether age-related hearing loss means birds with high song are missed off the all-important British bird surveys

Media Files:

Material World 16th August 2012: Parkinson's disease, brain controlled suit

Thu, 16 Aug 2012 18:00:00 +0100

How a child with total paralysis could kick a football using a brain-controlled suit and the study of radiation impact on animals and plants in Chernobyl and Fukushima.

Media Files:

Material World: 06 Aug 12: NASA's Curiosity

Mon, 06 Aug 2012 21:30:00 +0100

Quentin Cooper reports on the latest surface rover mission to Mars - NASA's Curiosity - twice as long, twice the science, and five times as heavy as its famous forebears.

Media Files:

Material World 2nd Aug 2012: Phonics and neuroscience, mythical networks, and do animal have empathy?

Thu, 02 Aug 2012 18:00:00 +0100

We take a look at phonics and neuroscience, find out what mathematics can teach us about the historical basis of the oldest classical texts and discuss whether or not animals have empathy.

Media Files:

Material World 26th July 2012: Simulating a whole bacterium, UK tsunamis, melting Greenland ice, and herd behaviour.

Thu, 26 Jul 2012 18:00:00 +0100

Scientists simulate the behaviour of the simplest bacterium; UK faces potential tsunami threat from underwater landslides; rapidly melting ice in Greenland causes a stir; Selfish herd behaviour in sheep.

Media Files:

Material World 19th July 2012: Crowd funding

Thu, 19 Jul 2012 18:00:00 +0100

We take a look at crowd funding as a new means to fund scientific research. Matt Salzberg has set up to connect scientists and potential donors. Science communicator Alice Bell will join Quentin in the studio to discuss potential ethical pitfalls.

Media Files:

Material World: Latest Airport Security Tech

Thu, 12 Jul 2012 18:00:00 +0100

With long queues expected at Heathrow during the Olympics, Angela Saini visits the Farnborough International Air show to find out how technology could be used to speed up airport security.

Media Files:

Material World: 5th July 2012: Higgs-like particle discovered and exciting new science presented at the Royal Society

Thu, 05 Jul 2012 18:00:00 +0100

Scientists at CERN have discovered a Higgs-like particle. Also, show & tell at the Royal Society: a new method to read fossils, the sound of bubbles and the genetic spread of peoples in the UK

Media Files:

Material World: 28th June: Science publishing, science in social policy, science wins prizes and science in packaging

Thu, 28 Jun 2012 18:00:00 +0100

The arguments for greater access to information in Science publishing. Why science methodology has a place in assessing social policy. Science wins prizes and the role of science in future packaging.

Media Files:

Material: Material World 21 JUN 2012, SWYTBAS, The Final

Thu, 21 Jun 2012 14:53:00 +0100

Adam Rutherford presents the final of So You Want to Be A Scientist.

Media Files:

Material World:14th June The Influence of Mathematician Alan Turing, and more from ‘So you want to be a Scientist’.

Thu, 14 Jun 2012 18:00:00 +0100

How the ideas of mathematical genius Alan Turing formed the digital age, and more from ‘So you want to be a Scientist’.

Media Files:

Material World 7th June 2012: Legionnaires’, Venus and stripes

Thu, 07 Jun 2012 18:00:00 +0100

Why the bacteriology of Legionnaires’ disease makes it so hard to detect, why the Transit of Venus is good for science and the truth behind the illusion of stripes.

Media Files:

Material World 31st May 2012: 80 years of Neutrons & the horrible noises we love to hate

Thu, 31 May 2012 18:00:00 +0100

80 years of Neutrons, why helium gas is no laughing matter & the horrible noises we love to hate

Media Files:

Material World 17th May 2012: Pollen and war crimes, art and emotion science versus politics and underground railways

Thu, 17 May 2012 18:00:00 +0100

Why pollen provides the key evidence in the Bosnian war crimes trials, experimenting with arts and emotions and why all tube networks are fundamentally the same.

Media Files:

Material World 10th May 2012: Alchemy, hormones and Afghan astronomy

Thu, 10 May 2012 18:00:00 +0100

The influence of alchemy on modern science, how hormones can determine profit and loss in financial markets and Afghanistan’s schools using astronomy as a way into science.

Media Files:

Material World 3rd May 2012: North Sea wind power, Bending Gamma rays horrid noises and how to hack.

Thu, 03 May 2012 18:00:00 +0100

Developing North Sea wind power, Bending Gamma rays to help cure cancer, the nature of horrid noises and a hackers guide to hacking.

Media Files:

Material World 26th April 2012: Intelligent travel, cosmic rays and voices.

Thu, 26 Apr 2012 18:00:00 +0100

How to keep the cars of the future moving on the roads of the future. The origins and dangers of cosmic rays, and what factors determine how you speak?

Media Files:

Material World 19th April: Breast cancer breakthrough, maths of politics, CT scan, SYWTBAS

Thu, 19 Apr 2012 18:00:00 +0100

A breast cancer breakthrough, reclassification may lead to better treatment, how maths can improve politics, the history of CT scans and stripes on parade in our experiment.

Media Files:

Material World 12th April :

Thu, 12 Apr 2012 16:39:00 +0100

Titanic telecommunications, undersea earthquakes and do people sound how they look.

Media Files:

Material world 05 Apr Strings, spies and science

Thu, 05 Apr 2012 17:56:00 +0100

Henry Moore’s scientific influence, how to spy on line and is science boring?

Media Files:

MW 29 Mar;Gas Bacteria, Geoengineering, SYWTBAS

Thu, 29 Mar 2012 18:00:00 +0100

Gas eating bacteria, how to save the world and what stripes might do to your figure.

Media Files:

Material World 22 Mar: auctions, marine pharmaceuticals, sleep

Thu, 22 Mar 2012 17:04:00 +0000

The science and tricks behind closed-bid auctions; searching the ocean depths for medicines; horrible noises; a very short introduction to sleep.

Media Files:

MW 15 Mar; Hominin puzzle, Art, Robots and Avatars

Thu, 15 Mar 2012 18:00:00 +0000

A new set of hominin remains from a cave in China are difficult to fit on the Human family tree, while human-like "Robots and Avatars" assemble at a new exhibition in Liverpool.

Media Files:

MW 8 Mar; Antarctic, Meteors, Noises, Starquakes

Thu, 08 Mar 2012 18:00:00 +0000

Quentin Cooper investigates aliens in Antarctica, a controversial collision that may have changed the climate, why we hate nasty noises and how star-quakes could help us discover habitable planets.

Media Files:

Material World 01 March Science advisers, lab animals, oldest forest

Thu, 01 Mar 2012 18:00:00 +0000

Quentin looks in to the role of government science advisers, the use of animals in research, and a 400 million year old forest.

Media Files:

Material World 23 Feb Y-chromosome, Kilogram, Neutrinos, Fuel

Thu, 23 Feb 2012 18:00:00 +0000

Quentin Cooper asks if Y-chromosome degeneration will make men extinct, how to redefine the kilogram, how neutrinos are not so fast after all and how to turn sunshine into fuel.

Media Files:

Material World 16 Feb: Star on the brink of a supernova explosion; Our global water footprint; New Elizabethans

Thu, 16 Feb 2012 16:33:00 +0000

Star on the brink of a supernova explosion; Our global water footprint; New Elizabethans.

Media Files:

Material World 9 Feb Freud, Climate, Vostok, LARES

Thu, 09 Feb 2012 18:00:00 +0000

How would Freud fare as a scientist today?; cold winters and global warming; what's next after Russians penetrate Antarctic Lake Vostok?; and LARES, the disco ball bound for space.

Media Files:

Material World 2nd Feb 2012: A genome ethics survey, having friends takes brains, emotional art and triggering an ice age

Thu, 02 Feb 2012 18:00:00 +0000

Quentin discusses sharing genetic information, the link between brain size and how many friends you have, researching emotion in art and what triggered the little ice age.

Media Files:

Material: 26 Jan The next flu pandemic, an Arctic bulge, faces and voices and the Panama Canal.

Thu, 26 Jan 2012 18:00:00 +0000

Weighing up the risks and benefits of flu research, a fresh water bulge in the Arctic, how faces affect voices and cutting carbon by widening the Panama Canal.

Media Files:

Material World: 19 January. 3D Maps, Darwin, Do Stripes Make You Thinner and the Kharma Empire.

Thu, 19 Jan 2012 18:00:00 +0000

Quentin hears about mapping the world in 3D, Darwin’s lost fossils, what stripes do for your body image, and drought and the fall of an empire.

Media Files:

Material 12 Jan 12 Computers, Dark matter, Pests

Thu, 12 Jan 2012 18:00:00 +0000

Quentin reports on teaching computer science, mapping dark matter, emerging garden pests and amateur science to investigate nasty noises.

Media Files:

Material 05 Jan 12 End of the World

Thu, 05 Jan 2012 17:40:00 +0000

Quentin asks if the world will end in 2012 and if not, why do people make apocalyptic predictions?

Media Files:

MW 29 Dec 11: SYWTBAS judges' meeting

Thu, 29 Dec 2011 17:00:00 +0000

Adam Rutherford joins our panel of judges, chaired by Sir Paul Nurse, to find out which four of the ten shortlisted entrants will have their ideas turned into experiments.

Media Files:

New planets, brain chips, amateur scientists, Christmas trees and robins - 22 Dec 11

Thu, 22 Dec 2011 18:00:00 +0000

A new planet the size of the Earth, simulating the brain with analogue chips, the last four in the long list of potential amateur scientists, how robins choose a sexy mate and how a warming climate is bad for your Christmas tree

Media Files:

The Higgs, MPs Meet Scientists, Moon art – 15 Dec 11

Thu, 15 Dec 2011 17:40:00 +0000

Quentin Cooper presents the latest on the search for the Higgs particle, hears about a scheme to pair scientists with members of Parliament, announces the next group of shortlisted candidates for So You Want to Be a Scientist and sniffs the smell of the Moon from a lunar exhibition in Liverpool.

Media Files:

Rare Metals, Collecting Carbon, Strange Shrimp - 08 Dec 11

Thu, 08 Dec 2011 17:40:00 +0000

Quentin Cooper asks if it's worth extracting carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and how industry is planning for a world shortage of rare elements. A 500 million year old monster eye with 16 000 lenses and the first finalists shortlisted from listeners who want to be a scientist.

Media Files:

Permafrost; Space Worms; DNA Barcoding - 01 Dec 11

Thu, 01 Dec 2011 17:40:00 +0000

This week, Quentin Cooper hears about the impact of thawing permafrost on climate change; how generations of space worms may lead the way for humans to reach Mars; and how DNA barcoding is identifying species and spotting fraud.

Media Files:

Material: 24 Nov 11: Scientists on risk, Insect flight

Thu, 24 Nov 2011 17:40:00 +0000

The UK’s top science advisers discuss communicating risk and uncertainty to politicians and the public. And Quentin explores the secrets of locust flight.

Media Files:

MW: Geo-engineering; Mars; Canary Island 17 Nov 11

Thu, 17 Nov 2011 17:15:00 +0000

Quentin investigates risk and regulation of geo-engineering; the risks of getting to Mars; and a new volcanic island that may be rising from the Atlantic.

Media Files:

Fracking; Hidden Heroes; SYWTBAS? Periodic Knitting

Thu, 10 Nov 2011 17:10:00 +0000

This week: fracking for oil and gas and listening to the ground, Hidden Heroes at the Science Museum and a last chance for amateur scientists.

Media Files:

Fission at Fukushima; Airships – The Future of Air Travel; Legend of the Sunstone

Thu, 03 Nov 2011 17:30:00 +0000

Has nuclear fission restarted at the Fukushima NPP in Japan. Is the future of air travel airships? Is there truth in the legend of the Viking SunStone

Media Files:

Material World at the National Maritime Museum.

Thu, 27 Oct 2011 17:15:00 +0100

Material World this week comes from the London Science Festival. Quentin Cooper presents an outside broadcast recorded in front of an audience at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. The programme celebrates citizen science and do-it-yourself discovery, as part of 'So You Want to Be a Scientist?', Radio 4's search for the next BBC Amateur Scientist of the Year.

Media Files:

EU stem cell ruling, The Population Process, Viruses, SYWTBAS?

Thu, 20 Oct 2011 17:15:00 +0100

Following the EU ruling that human stem cells can’t be patented, Quentin discusses the issue with Christophe Then, the Greenpeace campaigner who championed the issue, and Alexander Dennon, a laywer who specialises in stem cell regulations. Also on the programme, the methodology behind population change and the man who’s developed an early warning system for pandemics.

Media Files:

Stem cells, Black Death,Lawrence M Krauss and KickSat project

Thu, 13 Oct 2011 17:15:00 +0100

Quentin Cooper on the latest advances in stem cell technolgy, cloning and gene therapy, he unpicks the organism that caused the Black Death and converses with Lawrence Krauss

Media Files:

Nobel Prizes 2011

Thu, 06 Oct 2011 17:15:00 +0100

Quentin Cooper runs through the 2011 Nobel Prizes for Medicine or Physiology, Physics and Chemistry and discovers why the winners deserved to win.

Media Files:

'So you want to be a Scientist?', Neutrinos faster than light and Catalytic clothing

Thu, 29 Sep 2011 17:15:00 +0100

Material World announces the return of 'So You Want to Be a Scientist?' - the search for the BBC's Amateur Scientist of the Year. Also neutrinos faster than light and catalytic clothing.

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Ehsan Masood on biodiversity, slippery surfaces, drugs from ladybirds and fire.

Thu, 22 Sep 2011 17:00:00 +0100

Ehsan Masood reports on attempts to protect biodiversity, to mimic the slippery slope of the pitcher plant, to isolate new drugs from the harlequin ladybird and to be ready for the next big wildfires.

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Quentin reports from the British Science Festival in Bradford on new discoveries in science.

Thu, 15 Sep 2011 17:20:00 +0100

Quentin reports from the British Science Festival in Bradford on thorium reactors, plants to clean up explosives, lie detection, ethical tissue and artificial volcanoes to counter global warming.

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Quentin on human ancestry, beautiful genomes and gold from the sky.

Thu, 08 Sep 2011 18:00:00 +0100

Quentin reports on a possible human ancestor, beautiful genomes and what happened to all the gold on – or in - Earth. Quentin Cooper hears about the fossils of a small but surprisingly well-formed possible human ancestor from South Africa; how one writer has come to understand and live with her beautiful genome; and how all the gold we can mine once rained down from above.

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Hand axes, New lithium batteries, Cloning wildcats, The moon

Thu, 01 Sep 2011 17:32:00 +0100

Quentin Cooper hears about the first skilled toolmakers, a battery that won’t set your laptop ablaze, cloning wildcats and, despite Apollo 18, why we should go back to the Moon.

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Oldest fossils, Tracking cholera, Playing with uncertainty and Counting species.

Thu, 25 Aug 2011 18:00:00 +0100

Oldest fossils, tracking cholera, playing with uncertainty and counting species. Quentin looks at the oldest fossils; tracks cholera across continents, plays games with weather forecasts and asks how many species there really are on Earth. This week, Quentin Cooper looks at what may be the oldest fossils on Earth; he tracks cholera across continents, plays games with weather forecasts to understand uncertainty and asks how many species there really are on Earth. Producer: Martin Redfern

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Jaws, Plesiosaurs, Time perception, Surgery, Bees

Thu, 18 Aug 2011 17:30:00 +0100

Quentin Cooper looks at tactile surgery, brainy bees, the evolution of jaws, viviparous sea monsters and our split-second perception of time

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Material: Mob psychology, multiple sclerosis, chimp communication and shrunken heads.

Thu, 11 Aug 2011 17:30:00 +0100

This week Quentin Cooper investigates the psychology that turns a peaceful protest into a rioting mob. He hears about a major international study that is tracking down the genetic background to multiple sclerosis. As a new documentary is released about Project Nim, he revisits the classic experiment to bring a chimpanzee up like a human child. And he learns how Amazon tribes shrank human heads.

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