Material World

Episodes

TitleFirst
Broadcast
RepeatedComments
20100107

20100107

Got an experiment you want to conduct? A pet theory you want to test? Then this might be what you've been waiting for. Throughout 2010, Material World will be providing a unique opportunity for ordinary people to do some extraordinary science. Quentin Cooper gives the details.

20100114

20100114

It may have been rather chilly in the UK this week, but that's nothing compared to July 1983 at the Russian Vostok Research Station in Antarctica, where it got down to minus 89.2 degrees Celsuis. Professor John Turner of the British Antarctic Survey describes how it happened and how it's helping him to perfect climate models to reveal future change.

ALMA -Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array - is under construction on the Chajnantor plain of the Chilean Andes, 5,000 metres above sea level. It will be made up of 80 high-precision antennas and will transform our understanding of the physics of the 'cold universe'. The cold universe is made up of regions that are optically dark to us but shine brightly in the millimetre portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. By exploring the cold universe scientists hope to study the formation of stars and planets underway in star nurseries. Gareth Mitchell finds out how work is going after the recent first successful measurements taken by ALMA.

Neanderthals have a reputation as dim-witted brutes, but that's not fair, says Professor João Zilhão of Bristol University. He tells Gareth about the discovery of Neanderthal shell jewellery in Spain, and of traces of pigment probably used as body paint or make-up. He also has new evidence that our own ancestors inherited both genes and culture from Neanderthals.

There are more than 400 recognised breeds of domestic dog in the world, a huge diversity of shapes and sizes that, says Professor Josh Akey of the University of Washington in Seattle, makes them a natural laboratory for the genetics of selective breeding. His studies have revealed the gene that gives the Shar-pei its wrinkly skin and hopes that this and other traits will help us understand both human and canine disease.

20100121

20100121

A thousand years ago, the centre of world science and invention was not in Europe but the Middle East. Muslim minds produced a flying machine in the 9th century, the first distillation system, surgical instuments familiar in a modern hospital, and the most accurate clock in 1,000 years. Gareth Mitchell visits the Science Museum in London and picks out a few exhibits from an exhibition of 1,001 inventions.

20100128

20100128

Fifty years on from the first steps in the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence, Quentin Cooper asks 'why the eerie silence?' Why have we detected no signal from ET? Does this mean we're alone in the universe?

Meanwhile, down here on Earth, how universal are our non-verbal expressions of emotion? And how has cancer treatment changed from the days of 'one drug fits all'? How a new strategy of personalised medicine might save lives and at the same time save the NHS hundreds of millions of pounds.

Plus, Do You Want To Be A Scientist? The latest from our talent search for amateur scientists.

20110203
20110203

Quentin Cooper presents his weekly digest of science in and behind the headlines. This week he finds out why Cyclone Yasi, which has hit Queensland, Australia is the strongest storm in a century. Could Russian scientists finally reach the depths of Lake Vostok in the Antarctic? As a new blue plaque is revealed in London to the scientist who discovered five noble gases, Quentin asks why so few scientists are honoured in the scheme and finally, a star with 6 orbiting planets, why astronomers are so excited.

Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz.

20110210
20110210

Quentin Cooper presents his weekly digest of science in and behind the headlines. He talks to a leading Egyptian scientist about the state of research in the country under the current regime and finds out if a change in leadership will help academia and industry. Also in the programme: how alien marine life is costing the UK taxpayer more than £2bn a year and how the country will need to adapt its infrastructure to the changing climate. Quentin also discovers how fleas jump.

20110217
20110217

Quentin Cooper presents his weekly digest of science in and behind the headlines. Could severe flooding in the UK in 2000 have been caused by climate change? Quentin finds about the latest research which suggests that greenhouse gases, produced by humans, are to blame. Quentin also discusses the largest solar flare for four years and asks what effects it might have on electronics and telecommunications. He also discovers why Vincent van Gogh's sunflowers are turning brown, and he hears about new images that are providing novel insights into the physical structure of comets.

The producer is Ania Lichtarowicz.

20110224
20110224

Quentin Cooper presents his weekly digest of science in and behind the headlines. We find out why the Christchurch earthquake caused such devastation. Quentin will be joined by the UK's Red Squirrel champion to find out about repopulating Anglesey with the native animal. Also on the programme - a new high tec glass house that the Royal Horticultural Society will be building to track new pests and diseases in our gardens. And finally how Scott of the Antarctic is now helping ecologists learn about the changing ecosystems on the icy continent.

The producer is Ania Lichtarowicz.

Ancient Horses; Uncertainty; How Cutlery Affects Taste20130627

How 700,000-year-old horse DNA could change the way scientists study evolution.

High Speed Rail; Radioactive Waste; Universe Within Us; Quantum Biology.20130131

Kepler; Arctic Drilling; Sexy Brain Regions20130110

Noise And Plane Design; Birdflu; Dogs; Mackerel2013012420130128

Norovirus; Superheroes; Army Underpants20130103

Smog; Exploding Stars; Animal-free Research2013011720130121