Mon, 1 May 2017
Hosts: Ed Brown, Penny Dumsday, Lucas Randall
00:00:43 The naked mole rat is one of the strangest - certainly the ugliest - creatures on the planet. But on top of all it's other extraordinary abilities (highly resistant to cancer, limited ability to feel pain etc) it can also survive for up to 18 minutes without oxgyen.
00:08:35 For a long time we've assumed our nearest extra-solar neighbour, the Alpha Centauri system, was a trinary star system. But for the first time the calculations have been done to confirm it.
This episode may contain traces of what Neil DeGrasse Tyson calls the most important words he has ever spoken.
Wed, 26 April 2017
Hosts: Ed Brown, Dr. Shayne Joseph, Jo Benhamu
00:02:34 For the first time, an atmosphere has been detected around a nearly Earth-sized exoplanet.
00:08:45 Results of a large study suggest that a cap that generates electric fields might successfully fight brain cancer. But there are still many doubts about this "sci-fi treatment".
00:27:06 There's a radiation-resistant bacterial spore found only in spacecraft cleanrooms. To know if they might potentially contaminate other worlds, NASA needed to see if they can survive in space. So, they sent some into space!
00:35:31 What if identifying and monitoring the 3,000 different species of mosquitoes was a simple matter of using an app on your phone? A pair of engineers at Stanford University are working on creating "Shazam for mosquitoes"!
00:43:01 For more information, or to get in touch with us, or to donate head to scienceontop.com/260
This episode contains traces of Dara O'Briain talking about the War on Bacteria.
Mon, 17 April 2017
Dr Steve Salisbury is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Biological Sciences at The University of Queensland, and a Research Associate at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. Ed and Lucas spoke with him about finding the world's largest dinosaur tracks on the North West coast of Australia, and searching for dinosaur fossils in Antarctica.
Mon, 10 April 2017
Hosts: Ed Brown, Dr. Shayne Joseph, Lucas Randall
00:01:03 The difficult thing to do when growing artificial organs is building the intricate networks of tiny blood vessels that keep the tissue alive. A team at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts found a simple way to do that: with spinach.
00:12:00 Set to launch in 2018, the Solar Probe Plus is a mission to study the Sun from a very close distance - about 6 million kilometres. It will become the fastest manmade object ever built.
00:21:49 A team of ecologists and microbiologists have been studying the bacteria found in the blowholes of killer whales. And while their results were somewhat worrying, they're not as conclusive as many media reports have claimed.
This episode contains traces of Elon Musk after SpaceX successfully reused a rocket.
Sun, 2 April 2017
Professor Lucie Green is a Professor of Physics and a Royal Society University Research Fellow who studies the sun. Ed and Lucas sat down with her to talk about solar research, the Solar Orbiter mission, the Carrington Event, the Eclipse Mega Movie project and much more!
Wed, 29 March 2017
Hosts: Ed Brown, Dr. Shayne Joseph, Penny Dumsday
00:01:05 By monitoring two wild elephants, researchers have found that elephants in the wild only have about two hours of sleep each night, and sometimes they go for days without sleep.
00:08:21 Archaea are single-celled organisms that are difficult to study, so scientists don't study them. "Because they don't study them, they don't know very much about them. Because they don't know very much about them, they don't know how best to study them."
00:24:46 How and when did modern humans come to Australia? We have evidence of human habitation dating back to 50,000 years, but no further. Now the genomes of 111 Indigenous Australians could give us some clues.
This episode may contain traces of Emre, asking science communicator and Planetary Society CEO Bill Nye a question about time travel.
Tue, 14 March 2017
Hosts: Ed Brown, Dr. Shayne Joseph, Penny Dumsday
00:00:52 Researchers have trained bees to play soccer! Well, move a tiny ball into a hole, which is a bit like human soccer only faster and more entertaining.
00:06:15 NASA Astrobiology Institute director Penelope Boston has announced that NASA has found life - in liquid, in crystals, in a cave on Earth. But some of these microbes have been dormant for tens of thousands of years, and Dr. Boston claims to have awoken some of them!
00:17:24 Facial recognition technology has come a long way - and now researchers are using it to track and identify lemurs in the wild!
Mon, 6 March 2017
Hosts: Ed Brown, Lucas Randall and Jo Benhamu.
00:00:51 NASA has announced the discovery of seven planets outside our solar system that all orbit the same star and are about Earth-size. Three of them are firmly located in the habitable zone, and therefore likely to have liquid water.
00:13:15 Last year Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, the world's richest doctor, launched "Cancer MoonShot 2020", a coalition of drug and biotech companies working on cancer treatments and personalized medicine. A year later, with little credible evidence behind it, the initiative has been described as little more than "an elaborate marketing tool".
00:28:11 For the first time, astronomers have have observed the immediate aftermath of a supernova, detecting it just three hours after it exploded.
00:33:55 The first comprehensive assessment of Europe's crickets and grasshoppers has found that more than a quarter of species are being driven to extinction.
This episode contains traces of NASA's Thomas Zurbuchen discussing the philosophical impact of the exoplanet discovery.
Tue, 28 February 2017
Hosts: Ed Brown, Dr. Shayne Joseph, Penny Dumsday, Lucas Randall.
00:01:17 Have scientists really discovered a new continent under New Zealand? Well, sort of!
00:07:24 Bad body odour could be treated by a bacteria transplant from someone with less offensive armpits!
00:12:07 The malaria parasite could be making your blood attractive to mosquitoes.
00:15:11 By combining multiple datasets, astronomers have developed a more accurate idea about how fast our sun orbits the centre of our galaxy. It's pretty fast.
00:22:21 Many animals use echolocation to navigate, but the Vietnamese pygmy dormouse could be the first tree-climbing mammal that does.
This episode contains traces of TVNZ's news report about the continent Zealandia.
Wed, 22 February 2017
Hosts: Ed Brown, Penny Dumsday, Lucas Randall.
00:01:06 New research has uncovered how and why frog tongues have developed to be extremely soft and super-sticky.
00:10:57 By studying the globular cluster 47 Tucanae, researchers have found more evidence of a hypothetical category of black holes. Smaller than supermassive black holes, but more massive than stellar black holes, intermediate-mass black holes have a mass between 100 and 10,000 times the mass of our sun.
00:14:43 When a baby-food company asked child psychologist Caspar Addyman to develop a song to make babies laugh and be happy, he took a scientific approach. Most music made for babies, he says, "sounds frankly deranged".
00:35:37 The Gaia spacecraft has found a 'bridge of stars' between the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds. The stream of stars connects the two dwarf galaxies and is over 43,000 light years long.
This episode contains traces of Professor Hans Rosling talking about world population growth. The Swedish academic and statistician died on 7 February 2017 of pancreatic cancer.