Tue, 27 December 2016
Hosts: Ed Brown, Dr. Shayne Joseph, Lucas Randall, Jo Benhamu
Jo Benhamu is a clinical trials coordinator in radiation oncology.
Wed, 21 December 2016
Hosts: Ed Brown, Dr. Shayne Joseph, Penny Dumsday, Lucas Randall.
00:00:58 By looking at astronomical records from 720 BC to AD 2015, researchers have found a small inaccuracy in modern calculations of the Earth's rotational speed. The Earth's spin is slowing down slightly slower than we thought.
00:11:44 A small section of a dinosaur's tail has been found in a piece of amber for sale in a market in Myanmar. The tail is amazingly well preserved - and feathered!
00:17:31 Nuclear fusion - as opposed to our current nuclear reactors, which use nuclear fission - is the 'holy grail' of physics research. It could provide near limitless energy, without toxic by-products. Now the Wendelstein 7-X project in Germany appears to be making progress, successfully trapping plasma in a magnetic cage.
00:29:39 A small study at Johns Hopkins University could give cancer patients suffering from depression and anxiety some hope. It suggests that just a single dose of magic mushrooms can improve their mental health for months.
This episode contains traces of the Today Show talking about a Christmas tree.
Thu, 15 December 2016
Hosts: Ed Brown, Dr. Shayne Joseph, Penny Dumsday
00:00:50 For a long time, vision problems have been a known side-effect of spending a long time in space. We are now a big step closer to understanding why, thanks to some MRI scans done before and after trips to the International Space Station.
00:08:15 The male of the duck-billed platypus has a venomous spurr on its leg. But that venom contains a hormone that could be useful for treating diabetes.
00:13:42 A new study by researchers at Caltech suggests that we could be looking for the cause of Parkinson's Disease in the wrong place. Instead of being a brain issue, it could be related to gut irritation.
This episode contains traces of Wil Anderson talking with journalist Mark Colvin.
Sun, 11 December 2016
Hosts: Ed Brown, Penny Dumsday, Lucas Randall
00:00:51 Scientists have drilled into the impact site of the meteor that wiped out the dinosaurs. The core samples have revealed the impact caused a temporary mountain range the size of the Himalayas.
00:11:16 At a time when the coconut market is booming, the world's coconut trees could be facing extinction. And saving them presents a number of difficult challenges.
00:14:58 Researchers using NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter have determined that frozen beneath a particular region of Mars's surface lies about as much water as what's in Lake Superior, largest of the Great Lakes in North America.
00:19:56 Most snail shells coil on the right-hand side of the snail. But Jeremy the Snail is 1 in 100,000 - his shell coils to the left. For snails, it's hard to find love when you're a lefty.
This episode contains archive material of astronaut John Glenn's historic first orbit around the Earth.
Mon, 5 December 2016
Hosts: Ed Brown, Dr. Shayne Joseph, Penny Dumsday, Lucas Randall
00:01:03 Narwhals are whales with two teeth, and on the males one of those teeth is a really long tusk. A new study looks at how they use high-resolution echolocation to navigate under sea ice in the Arctic.
00:05:25 A new paper points out a potential new reservoir for finding antibiotics - the human gut.
00:11:59 Using data from the New Horizons probe, scientists have determined there is likely to be a large ocean deep below the heart shape on Pluto.
This episode contains traces of Stephen Hawking cautioning against being sedentary.
Tue, 22 November 2016
Hosts: Ed Brown, Penny Dumsday, Lucas Randall.
00:01:28 An extensive series of experiments over 17 years has led to the development of a new genetic map of yeast. Essentially, it's a reference guide for how to chart genetic interactions within a cell.
00:07:33 A new study of the Hubble Space Telescope observations has increased the estimated number of galaxies in the universe. The new count stands at two trillion - almost ten times the previous estimate of 120 billion!
00:15:02 NASA has announced that the successor to the Hubble, the James Webb Space Telescope, has been built. This marks the beginning of two years of intense stressing and testing, before launch in October 2018.
00:18:32 A new study suggests that Britain's Beagle 2 Mars lander may have landed successfully, but a subsequent failure made it unable to communicate with Earth.
00:19:41 A team at University of California, San Diego say they've discovered a previously unknown way that bacteria causes acne. They have shown that fatty acids produced by the bacteria inflame the skin cells.
00:23:12 Last week's 'supermoon' received a lot of excited press coverage around the world. Lucas thinks it may have been a bit overhyped.
This episode may contain traces of Senator Bernie Sanders talking Trump and climate change on The View, 14 November 2016.
Fri, 21 October 2016
Hosts: Ed Brown, Dr. Shayne Joseph and Lucas Randall.
00:01:12 The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to Yoshinori Ohsumi "for his discoveries of mechanisms for autophagy".
00:06:43 The Nobel Prize in Physics was divided, one half awarded to David J. Thouless, the other half jointly to F. Duncan M. Haldane and J. Michael Kosterlitz "for theoretical discoveries of topological phase transitions and topological phases of matter".
00:11:06 The Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded jointly to Jean-Pierre Sauvage, Sir J. Fraser Stoddart and Bernard L. Feringa "for the design and synthesis of molecular machines".
This episode may contain traces of Nobel Committee member Thor Hans Hansson explaining topology with his lunch.
Sun, 16 October 2016
Hosts: Ed Brown, Dr. Shayne Joseph, Penny Dumsday, and Lucas Randall.
The Ig Nobel Prizes honour achievements that first make us laugh, then make us think. We take a look at this year’s winners: from rats in pants to collecting flies!
You can watch the award ceremony here.
00:01:28 REPRODUCTION PRIZE was posthumously awarded to Ahmed Shafik, from Egypt, "for studying the effects of wearing polyester, cotton, or wool trousers on the sex life of rats, and for conducting similar tests with human males".
00:10:18 ECONOMICS PRIZE went to two researchers from New Zealand and one from the UK "for assessing the perceived personalities of rocks, from a sales and marketing perspective".
00:19:27 PHYSICS PRIZE was presented to scientists from Hungary, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland "for discovering why white-haired horses are the most horsefly-proof horses, and for discovering why dragonflies are fatally attracted to black tombstones".
00:28:19 CHEMISTRY PRIZE was given to Volkswagen, "for solving the problem of excessive automobile pollution emissions by automatically, electromechanically producing fewer emissions whenever the cars are being tested".
00:31:54 PEACE PRIZE was given to a team from Canada and the USA "for their scholarly study called 'On the Reception and Detection of Pseudo-Profound Bullshit'".
00:38:25 MEDICINE PRIZE — five German scientists "for discovering that if you have an itch on the left side of your body, you can relieve it by looking into a mirror and scratching the right side of your body (and vice versa)".
00:42:37 PSYCHOLOGY PRIZE went to scientists from Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, Canada, and the USA "for asking a thousand liars how often they lie, and for deciding whether to believe those answers".
00:44:36 BIOLOGY PRIZE was awarded jointly to: Charles Foster, for living in the wild as, at different times, a badger, an otter, a deer, a fox, and a bird; and to Thomas Thwaites, for creating prosthetic extensions of his limbs that allowed him to move in the manner of, and spend time roaming hills in the company of, goats.
00:51:42 LITERATURE PRIZE went to Fredrik Sjöberg, from Sweden, "for his three-volume autobiographical work about the pleasures of collecting flies that are dead, and flies that are not yet dead".
00:54:30 PERCEPTION PRIZE was picked up by Atsuki Higashiyama and Kohei Adachi, for investigating whether things look different when you bend over and view them between your legs.
Sun, 9 October 2016
Hosts: Ed Brown, Penny Dumsday, Jo Benhamu.
00:01:00 The rattle of the rattlesnake's tail has long been something of a mystery for evolutionary biologists, because there's no 'half-shake'. Well a study by David Pfennig at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill may suggest they started off shaking their silent tails, but over time developed a rattle as a signal to predators.
00:06:54 The long awaited results of a 10 year prostate cancer trial were published last week in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study looked at 1,643 men diagnosed with early prostate cancer, and found that those who actively monitored their cancer instead of immediately starting treatment had the same minuscule risk of death as men who had either radiation therapy or surgery straight away.
00:21:05 Shu Lam, a 24 year old PhD student at Melbourne University has developed a star-shaped protein that can rip apart the walls of antibiotic-resistant bacteria – and kill them.
Jo Benhamu is a clinical trials coordinator in radiation oncology.
This episode may contain traces of Blue Origin's successful test of a crew escape module.
Mon, 3 October 2016
Hosts: Ed Brown, Dr. Shayne Joseph, Penny Dumsday, Lucas Randall.
00:00:52 A new study has found that as well as affecting the tides, the gravitational pull from the moon and the sun can affect Earthquakes.
00:06:47 A genetic study of giraffes has found that there isn't just one species, as previously thought. In fact there are four distinct species, some as different as polar bears are to brown bears.
00:15:40 A video showing the evolution of bacteria to resist antibiotics has gone viral, because it is such a clear demonstration. It is unlikely to change the minds of evolution deniers, though.
00:20:54 The Gaia space telescope has released the first catalogue of more than a billion stars. This is the largest all-sky survey of celestial objects to date.
00:33:34 Long-term studies of Ebola survivors have revealed that the virus lasts a lot longer in victims' bodies than previously suspected. And in some people, it can last for up to 18 months after all symptoms have cleared.
This episode may contain traces of Stephen Colbert talking about Giraffes.
Fri, 23 September 2016
Hosts: Ed Brown, Penny Dumsday, Lucas Randall.
00:00:37 The FDA has decreed that triclosan and triclocarban must be removed from all antibacterial soap products by late 2017. This is not because they're dangerous, but because they're ineffective.
00:07:38 The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft has launched "perfectly". If successful, this ambitious mission will be the first time NASA has retrieved samples of an asteroid.
00:23:37 A new study of Lucy - the bones of a human ancestor from 3.2 million years ago - suggests she may have died from falling from a tree.
00:30:22 The Juno probe in orbit around Jupiter has taken some extraordinary photographs - the first ever photos of Jupiter's polar regions.
This episode may contain traces of astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson describing a Tim Tam Slam.
Thu, 15 September 2016
Hosts: Ed Brown, Dr. Shayne Joseph, Penny Dumsday, Lucas Randall.
00:00:51 A genetic analysis of the leather coat and fur hat worn by Otzi the iceman has not only revealed what animals he was wearing, but also why.
00:07:07 Zebra finch mothers sing weather reports to their eggs, and the embryos alter the speed of their development accordingly.
00:12:16 Tasmanian devils, nearly wiped out by a devastating facial tumour disease, may be showing signs of resistance to the cancer. This could have a dramatic impact on conservation efforts.
00:20:07 Traces of supernova ash has been discovered in fossils created by bacteria on Earth, which could explain an extinction event 2 million years ago.
00:23:04 Russian scientists have detected an unusually strong spike in radio signals from the vicinity of a nearby star. The internet says it's aliens. Actual scientists say it probably isn't.
00:30:46 The "EM Drive" - a space drive that appears to break the laws of physics - has "passed peer review". But what does that actually mean, and does it mean the drive could be the engine of future spacecraft? Answers: Not much, probably not.
This episode contains traces of SETI astronomer Jill Tarter on Science channel's "Through the Wormhole", describing the first small steps in the search for alien intelligence.
Wed, 7 September 2016
00:00:38 A planet-that-in-some-respects-probably-resembles-Earth-a-little-bit has been found orbiting the closest star outside our solar system, Proxima Centauri. Astronomer and astrobiologist Dr. Jonti Horner gives us the details about our nearest distant neighbour, Proxima Centauri b.
00:45:33 Thanks to continental drift, Australia's moving Northward by 7cm every year. As a result, it's now more than a meter from where the maps say it is. And when your self-driving car relies on GPS, that could be a big problem.
Dr. Jonti Horner is an astronomer and astrobiologist based at the University of Southern Queensland. On Saturday, 24 September 2016 he will be giving a talk, "Exoplanets & Life Elsewhere", at the Melbourne Planetarium.
This episode may contain traces of Shepard Smith announcing the discovery of Proxima Centauri b.
Sun, 28 August 2016
00:00:42 106 Million years ago, supervolcanoes in Australia hurled rocks more than 2,250km away. Such eruptions would have been among the biggest ever on Earth.
00:03:47 These volcanoes are part of a previously unknown trail created by a hotspot underneath Australia, which formed new volcanoes as the continent moved over it.
00:10:49 The long-standing view that life first began in "primordial soup" that was struck by lightening may be about to be overturned. The theory that the first living cells were born deep in the ocean in warm, hydrothermal vents is now gaining traction.
00:18:17 The Europa Clipper is NASA's ambitious mission to send a probe to Jupiter's sixth-closest moon, Europa. Europa is one of the best candidates for life in the solar system, but the mission is now facing serious possible budget cuts.
Mon, 22 August 2016
00:10:30 Promising animal trials suggest Chagas disease, leishmaniasis and sleeping sickness could all be treated and possibly even cured, with one relatively safe drug.
00:13:53 An international team of scientists have discovered that the liquid found in the brood sacks of a particular type of cockroach is a highly nutritious source of protein. One day we might be feeding our babies cockroach milk!
00:18:26 Headlice are becoming resistant to the common insecticides we usually use. But a simple, 3,000 year old treatment could be the solution.
This episode may contain traces of Peter Alexander talking about cupping on NBC News.
Sun, 14 August 2016
00:00:53 Jupiter's moon Io, the fourth largest moon in the solar system, has a volcanic atmosphere that collapses every day.
00:09:07 A survey of fifty houses in North Carolina as found a correlation between household income and biodiversity. The wealthier the household, the greater the variety of insects found inside.
00:13:46 Data from the Dawn spacecraft reveals that Ceres, the largest asteroid in the main asteroid belt, is not the dead lump of rock we thought it would be. In fact, it may have a still warm radioactive interior.
Wed, 10 August 2016
00:00:49 One of the bigger mysteries about the surface of Mars concerns the formation of some of the gullies. They look very similar to gullies created by flowing water on Earth, only they don't seem to be caused by water at all.
00:10:48 Modern chemotherapy drugs are improving all the time, but they still have really nasty side-effects. But a study published this week shows some promise of being able to deliver the drugs directly into a tumour, thanks to some genetically modified salmonella bacteria.
00:17:01 At first glance, it seems obvious that turtles have evolved their shells as a form of protection. But a new paper published in Current Biology suggests it initially evolved to help turtle ancestors burrow.
This episode may contain traces of Professor Brian Cox.
Tue, 2 August 2016
00:02:35 It's been a year since New Horizons flew past Pluto, and now all the data is in. We take a look at some of the big things we've leared about Pluto and its moons.
00:19:57 The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced last week that the bacteria that causes gonorrhea may be developing resistance to the only two antibiotics left that can cure it.
00:25:12 While all the major planets in the solar system orbit the sun in a fairly tight plane, that orbital plane isn't aligned with the Sun's equator. Which means either the sun has been tilted, or something has influenced the orbits of all the planets. Two independent scientific papers published last week point to the second option - and Planet Nine could be the culprit.
Wed, 27 July 2016
00:00:39 A decade ago, the Great Southern Reef stretched for 8,000km off the coast of Western Australia. Now, a long-term study shows how decades of ocean warming combined with a marine heatwave has devastated the kelp forest. We caught up with Dr Scott Bennett from the Spanish National Research Council, one of the primary investigators on the study.
00:20:04 A new study has found that capuchin monkeys in Brazil have been using stones as tools to prepare their cashew feasts for more than 700 years.
00:24:49 Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have made a major discovery that could determine whether a patient has a bacterial infection or a viral infection by through a simple blood test.
00:31:26 The European Space Agency has announced an ambitious plan to catch a derelict satellite in a net, and burn it up in Earth's atmosphere.
Dr. Scott Bennett is a Marie Curie Fellow at the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), and Research Associate in Marine Ecology at Curtin University.
This episode contains traces of Paul Barry on Media Watch investigating The Australian’s Great Barrier Reef coverage.
Thu, 14 July 2016
00:01:29 713 Trillion gallons of water found deep underneath California. But we can't touch it... yet.
00:09:48 A pair of wings found encased in 99 million year old amber suggest that the plumage of modern birds has remained almost unchanged from some of their dinosaur-era ancestors.
00:13:58 Thirty eight rare hazel dormice have been released into the Yorkshire Dales National Park in England in a conservation effort. But the declining dormouse population raises other issues about how changing land use is affecting the wildlife.
00:18:45 A three-year study of a reef in the Florida Keys has shed light on how microbes are crucial to keeping coral reefs healthy Overfishing, pollution and climate change can destabilise the coral's natural defence and disrupt ecological communities.
This episode may contain traces of Rick Nybakken, Project Manager for the Juno mission at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Thu, 7 July 2016
00:00:55 Fish that spend part of the time on land - such as mudskippers, American eels, and sea scorpions - may have evolved that ability separately more than 30 times!
00:07:08 Tabby's Star, also known as Where's The Flux, has been described as "the most mysterious star in the universe". It's the star with the strange dimming patterns that caused some speculation that it might be an alien megastructure. Well it almost certainly isn't an alien megastructure, but the story behind its discovery and the plans to study it closer are just as cool!
00:18:00 A new study finds links between low-fibre diets and peanut allergies.
This episode may contain traces of Tabetha Boyajian's TED Talk, The most mysterious star in the universe.
Sun, 26 June 2016
00:01:05 For the second time, physicists have detected gravitational waves, proving that gravitational wave detection is a viable new form of astronomy. It also opens the way for theories about space-time having a memory, and possible explanations for dark matter.
00:30:38 A long awaited WHO report says that not only is coffee not carcinogenic, but it may even prevent some cancers. It's not so good news, however, if you like your coffee hot.
00:42:58 NASA's Juno spacecraft is set to enter orbit around Jupiter on July 4th, and NASA has released a Hollywood-style trailer for it.
Dr. Katie Mack is a theoretical astrophysicist at the University of Melbourne. She is a co-host of Pint in the Sky, a vodcast about astrophysics and beer. She also writes on her blog and tweets at @AstroKatie.
Sat, 18 June 2016
00:00:52 Michelle Franklin joins us to discuss invasive species control - from giving herpes to carp, to the moth that nearly wiped out the prickly pear.
00:16:57 Scientists have trained archerfish to recognise - and spit at - specific human faces.
00:22:46 A woman in Pennsylvania recently tested positive to an E. coli "superbug" that's resistant to most antibiotics. That's scary enough, but it also points to a worrisome lack of testing and reporting with urinary tract infections.
Michelle Franklin is a wildlife biologist and a founder of the Darwin Skeptics.
Phil Kent is an aquaculture specialist and secretary of the Brisbane Skeptics. Brisbane Skeptics have a Skepticamp coming up. Phil can be found on Facebook, Twitter and at the Brisbane Skeptics' Facebook page.
This episode contains traces of Stephen Colbert talking about a new study of frog sex positions.
Mon, 13 June 2016
00:01:03 Researchers from Johannes Gutenberg University have described the development of a potential universal cancer vaccine. But it's still very early days.
00:10:57 Scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have found a giant sponge - the largest on record and one of the oldest living creatures in the world.
00:14:43 A large rat study shows that exposing rats to large doses of mobile phone radiation over two years can cause a higher rate of some cancers. But it's a long way away from showing any clear link in humans.
00:35:37 Australia's Olympic athletes will be protected from sexual transmission of the Zika virus by specially developed anti-Zika condoms. Also, all condoms protect against the sexual spread of Zika virus. Because that's what condoms do.
This episode contains traces of Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson and Bill Maher.
Jo Benhamu is a clinical trials coordinator in radiation oncology.
Wed, 8 June 2016
Researchers have just published a study that for the first time shows physical changes in trees that in some ways correspond to day-night cycles.
Newly discovered evidence of a previously unknown population of Tasmanian devils could provide the genetic diversity that may be crucial to saving the devils from a deadly facial cancer.
Dating a rock formation deep in a cave in France reveals Neanderthals were much more advanced than previously thought.
Two Armenian physicists have published a study looking at a possible link between dark energy and the direction of time. Dark energy could, they suggest, be the reason why time goes forwards but cannot go backwards.
Listener Chris sent us some interesting information as a follow up to our story about Mt. St Helens.
This episode contains traces of Professor Brian Cox talking about the eventual end of the universe.
Wed, 1 June 2016
A Canadian teenager may have found a lost Mayan city. Or, it might just be a marijuana plantation. Either way, he deserves credit for coming up with a hypothesis and testing it - with help from the Canadian Space Agency!
There's a parasite that's turning Alaskan king crabs into zombies. The parasite castrates the males, takes over their bodies and makes them raise its offspring. But the good news is the crab's legs are still edible!
A new study finds a link between folate and autism. But it's not so simple - and there's no reason pregnant women should stop taking folate supplements if their doctor advises.
We respond to some feedback from Michelle Franklin about biological controls in Australia. Not all attempts to control pests with other organisms have been failures, some have been quite successful.
This episode contains traces of Paul Barry on Media Watch.
Mon, 23 May 2016
A further 1,284 more exoplanets have been confirmed by NASA's Kepler mission. This puts the total number confirmed planets outside our solar system to 3,268!
Does the increase in small earthquakes below Mount St. Helens signify an imminent eruption? Not quite, but that hasn't stopped the media from panicking.
For a long time, climate change scientists have been warning that as sea levels rise, some countries could be lost underwater. This week, new research shows that at least five reef islands in the Solomon Islands have been lost completely to sea-level rise.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has a boat sitting above the Marianas Trench, and it's live-streaming video from a remotely operated vehicle. One of the many amazing finds they've looked at is a beautiful jellyfish with brightly coloured gonads!
This episode contains traces of John Oliver ranting about bad media reporting of science.
Sat, 14 May 2016
Chiropractors in Australia are coming under fire after a shocking video of manipulation of a baby goes viral. Dr. Mick Vagg gives us an in-depth look at the controversial industry. You can watch parts of the video here.
Scientists are about to unleash "Carpageddon" - a radical form of biological control that aims to eradicate carp from an Australian river system. Watch out carp, herpes is coming!
Mysterious gullies on Mars may be formed by water 'boiling'. Water in low pressure, such as at the surface of Mars, has been found to boil rapidly and 'pop' the surrounding sand.
The Large Hadron Collider came to an abrupt halt recently. Not because of a fault, as such, but because a weasel got in and started chewing on things it shouldn't have!
Dr. Mick Vagg is a pain specialist, and author of the Medicandus column on The Conversation.
This episode contains traces of radio broadcaster Jon Faine interviewing Deputy President of the Chiropractors' Association of Australia (CAA), Andrew Lawrence.
Sat, 7 May 2016
SpaceX plans to send uncrewed Dragon capsules to Mars... as early as 2018. And they might even be able to do it!
Study of a rare fossil of a baby titanosaur shows that some dinosaurs were left to fend for themselves immediately after hatching.
The bittersweet nightshade plant has an ancient defense mechanism - it recruits armies of ants to ward off slugs and predators.
Astronomers have discovered that Makemake, the second brightest dwarf planet in the Kuiper belt, has a moon. Surprisingly, it's much darker than Makemake - and about 1,300 times fainter.
This episode contains traces of ABC News' in-depth coverage of the SpaceX announcement.
Sat, 30 April 2016
A new study looks at the vocal talents of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury, and reveals what we already knew: he had an extraordinary voice!
A study of bats shows that when hunting insects, they don't plan one kill at a time. Instead they choose flight paths that take them to two victims in quick succession.
A study looking at high powered hand dryers - in particular the Dyson Airblades - has found they can spread a lot of virus particles. But that's only a problem if you don't wash your hands properly. And you probably don't.
Peter Miller is a professional sound designer and music composer who has worked in the film & music business for nearly 40 years. He writes at Hummadruz about various audio phenomena and pseudo-science.
This episode contains traces of Stephen Colbert and Dr. Manny Alvarez describing correct hand-washing technique.
Mon, 25 April 2016
Penguins need to be counted, and scientists need your help counting them! PenguinWatch blends citizen science with cute penguins!
Stephen Hawking and Yuri Milner team up again to fund an extremely ambitious $100m research program to send probes to Alpha Centauri.
A new chemical test could reveal whether fossilised bones were from pregnant – and therefore female – dinosaurs.
This episode contains traces of Stephen Hawking announcing the "Starshot" Breakthrough Initiative.
Mon, 18 April 2016
Scientists at the University of New South Wales could soon be able to regrow homan bone and tissue in the body, with stem cells.
In the quest for better data to protect endangered vultures, conservationists are turning to 3D printing eggs.
Korean researchers have discovered that Skuas - mid-sized Antarctic seabirds - can recognise individual humans.
Hope is running out for the troubled Japanese space telescope, Hitomi.
Mon, 11 April 2016
Dr. Brad McKay tells us about his time as a host on a medical reality TV show.
Most Australian doctors agree that nobody has contracted Lyme Disease from a tick in Australia, but many victims feel they have. Dr. McKay weighs in on the science behind Lyme Disease.
The anus was a pretty important evolutionary step that meant animals no longer had to poop out their mouths. But recent videos of gelatinous sea creatures called comb jellies shed new light on the evolution of the so-called through-gut.
A newly discovered Kuiper Belt Object adds more evidence to the "Planet Nine" theory of a distant ninth planet in our solar system.
Amateur astronomers have captured video of a probable asteroid crashing into Jupiter.
Japan's newly launched US$270 million x-ray space telescope appears to be out of control. However, some signals have been received giving officials hope that it may yet be saved.
The discovery of a fossil skull in Kazakhstan suggest that the 'Siberian unicorn" - more of a rhinoceros, really - may have gone extinct only 29,000 years ago. Previous estimates were that it died out 350,000 years ago.
This episode may contain traces of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
Mon, 28 March 2016
PET is the most common kind of plastic, and most of it ends up in landfills and waterways. But now a team of Japanese researchers have discovered a plastic-eating bacterium that could be the key to a new approach to recycling and waste disposal.
A newly discovered horse-sized dinosaur reveals how Tyrannosaurus Rex and its close relatives evolved into the top predators of their time.
New research in mice has found that the food parents eat before their kids are born can affect their children's health later in life.
A study of a supermassive black hole has revealed some incredible numbers. Not only is it 18 billion times the mass of our sun, but it rotates at about one-third the speed of light.
Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope have identified nine giant stars with masses over 100 times the mass of the sun in a star cluster in the Tarantula Nebula. This makes it the largest sample of very massive stars identified to date.
This episode may contain traces of Neil deGrasse Tyson on The Late Show With Jon Stewart.
Sun, 20 March 2016
The American Statistical Association has issued a warning over the misuse of P values. The group says P values cannot determine whether a hypothesis or true of if results are important.
In April scientists will begin drilling into the Chicxulub crater, site of the meteorite impact that led to the extinction of the dinosaurs. They hope to examine how life rebounded after the mass extinction and to learn more about the formation of 'peak ring craters'.
The tiny jellyfish-like Hydra have no mouth, instead they rip their whole face open whenever they eat. And now a team from the University of California, San Diego, have worked out how. Now they just want to know the why.
Dr. Cassandra Perryman is a psychologist at University of Queensland, and you can follow her on Facebook here.
This episode may contain traces of Professor Tamara Davis on ABC Q&A.
Sun, 13 March 2016
Some giant viruses, called mimiviruses, have immune systems that fight intruders in a manner similar to the CRISPR mechanism that microbiologists use to edit genomes.
NASA has announced the development of a next generation space telescope. Using donated mirrors, the WFIRST telescope will have the same resolution as the Hubble Space Telescope, but a hundred times greater field of view.
Recent headlines have suggested that eating chocolate will improve brain function, but the actual study they're based on had very different conclusions.
New images sent back from the New Horizons probe after its flyby of Pluto show possible clouds in the dwarf planet's atmosphere.
Sun, 6 March 2016
A team of astronomers have traced the origins of a Fast Radio Burst - a sudden, high energy blast or radio waves - to a galaxy 6 billion light years away. This has helped them find 'regular' matter (not dark matter or dark energy) that was previously missing.
An experiment in Antarctica set out to see how a penguin's walk - or waddle - changes with variations in body mass. To do this it was necessary to put the penguins on treadmills. For science!
A new study has found that Lyme Disease can be caused, rarely, by a different bacterial species to the one that usually gets all the blame. And this new species could cause more serious symptoms, from vomiting to neurological issues.
Some bacteria have a mechanism for releasing extra long spears to puncture cellular membranes and release molecules on demand. They get eaten by other bacteria, then puncture the cell wall and release poison. Now a team at the Wyss Institute have developed a technique to activate these spears, and could one day use them to deliver drugs and beneficial molecules.
Sun, 28 February 2016
A brain parasite may make chimpanzees less cautious and fearful of leopards. Maybe.
For over 60 years, fruit flies have been trapped in the dark in one of the longest ongoing scientific experiments. 1,500 generations later, some evolutionary effects are being revealed.
A new technique of using modified cancer cells to fight cancer is showing some impressive results in mice, but it’s early days yet.
The Australian town of Wangaratta is being swamped by tumbleweeds. And it’s all one person’s fault.
Tue, 23 February 2016
Astrophysicist Dr. Katie Mack joins us to explain "one of the most groundbreaking physics discoveries of the past 100 years" - the detection of gravitational waves. In September last year the aLIGO experiment detected the ripple in spacetime caused by the merger of two black holes. We talk with Dr. Mack about the implications this has for a new type of astronomy.
Dr. Katie Mack is a theoretical astrophysicist at Melbourne University. Her work focuses on finding new ways to learn about the early universe and fundamental physics using astronomical observations, probing the building blocks of nature by examining the cosmos on the largest scales. Follow her on Twitter here.
Sat, 13 February 2016
Medical entomologist Dr. Cameron Webb joins the team to talk about the Zika virus and mosquitoes. Everything you need to know about the current outbreak - baggage Zika, insect repellents, mosquito eradication, sexual transmission, and the link between Zika and microencephaly.
Dr Cameron Webb is a Clinical Lecturer with the University of Sydney and Principal Hospital Scientist with the Department of Medical Entomology at Pathology West - ICPMR Westmead (NSW Health Pathology & Westmead Hospital).
Mon, 8 February 2016
The seventh period on the periodic table is now complete, after four new elements have been officially verified. Elements with atomic numbers 113, 115, atomic numbers 113, 115, 117 and 118 have been confirmed and will get permanent names soon.
The irukandji jellyfish - actually a number of species of jellyfish - are the most venomous box jellyfish in the world. A leading researcher has now warned that the jellyfish, usually found in the warmer northern waters of Australia, are being found further and further south. He says that as climate change continues to warm the waters, they will become common place on southern Queensland beaches within a decade.
Two leading astronomers have presented evidence that the solar system may have a ninth planet - and it's definitely not Pluto! Caltech astronomers Mike Brown and Konstatin Batygin believe the planet may be nearly as big as Neptune and never comes closer than 29 billion kilometers to the sun!
We have a lot more respect for Venus flytraps now that we've learnt they can count!
KIC 8462852, the strange star with bizarre random dips in brightness that some have suggested could be an alien megastructure just got a little weirder. The most likely explanation was a huge family of comets orbiting the star, but a new study of thousands of observations makes that less likely still.
Tue, 26 January 2016
Robin Ince is a celebrated British comedian. He has built his career mixing science and comedy, on television, radio, podcasts and in his stand-up routines. He's perhaps most famous as a co-host with astrophysicist Brian Cox on BBC4's Infinite Monkey Cage radio show and podcast.
Sat, 23 January 2016
Just a note to let you know that our 2015 bloopers episode is now out! It's a lot of fun, so you should definitely listen!
To do that you'll have to download it from http://scienceontop.com/bloopers2015 or listen to it on our website, YouTube or Soundcloud.