BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

24 September 2014
East Midlands Today

BBC Homepage
Image galleries
Contact us Politics Show
Inside Out Accountability 

Contact Us


You are in: East Midlands Today > Features > Sixty seconds of science


The stories last exactly a minute

Sixty seconds of science

The clock's ticking, and video journalist Brady Haran has one minute to tell an interesting or unusual story about science in the East Midlands.

'Sixty Seconds of Science' is a regular feature on East Midlands Today.

"Hopefully this series gives people some fleeting glimpses of the amazing world around us"

Brady Haran

Brady says: "There are thousands of scientists across the East Midlands doing all sorts of fascinating work - from studying supermassive blackholes to developing the tiniest nanotechnology.

"We couldn't possibly tell all their stories - or even tell one of them in all it's complexity.

"But hopefully this series gives people some fleeting glimpses of the amazing world around us, and the clever people who are helping unravel its mysteries."

Links to Brady's sixty second films will be posted on this page as they become available.

Robosnake at Nottingham Trent University

Robosnake on the loose!


It was science meets art when Nottingham Trent University unveiled "robosnake".

The complicated and extremely high-tech device was designed as a piece of artwork, but made possible by some pretty clever people at the university, including robotics experts.

The vertical "snake" stands taller than a man, and wiggles about with the aid of sensors, software and air-powered muscles.

But as our video shows, the snake's brand new and not everything goes according to plan.


Seamus is using this old computer


Ever get impatient with how slow your computer is?

Well spare a thought for Seamus Garvey at the University of Nottingham.

A second-hand PC under his desk has been working on the solution to one equation for more than two years, whirring away 24 hours a day and seven days a week - he uses another computer for day-to-day work, like emailing.

Each day Seamus switches on the monitor and checks for a solution - but without success.

At the current rate, he guesses the computer may take another 10 years to crack the equation, which relates to the complicated issues involving machine vibration.

Brady Haran films an anthill

Filming the final frontier


Where's the divide between England's north and south?

It's an old debate and everyone seems to have a different opinion.

Ask an ant expert, and they may argue it is Shining Cliff Wood in Derbyshire.

That seems to be the final frontier for a species of ant which, by definition, lives in the north.

Fish teeth

Stickleback teeth are tiny


The fish are 10 million year-old fossils - and the chips are tiny scratches and imperfections on their teeth.

Dr Mark Purnell's trying to study the evolution of sticklebacks, and he's doing so by investigating their teeth.

Not only is this revealing insights into how the spiny fish evolved - it may have a practical application in modern times.

The use of electron microscopes to study fish teeth could be applied to species like cod, helping us understand their diets and how to preserve stocks in the North Sea.

Artist impression of Xeus

An artist's impression of Xeus


The European Space Agency has short-listed the Xeus space telescope for launch in 2018.

It's an X-ray telescope, but much more powerful than the existing Chandra and XXM observatories currently in orbit.

Xeus will orbit the Earth even further away than the Moon!

Professor Martin Turner, from the University of Leicester, is one of the project's top people and told us all about it (in just 60 seconds of course).

But if you want to hear more details, we've popped some extra interview footage here on our website.


Skulls can be expensive


Model skulls used by students can be extremely expensive.

But three-dimensional models are far more practical than diagrams in text books.

So experts at the University of Derby have devised a computer program that shows the skull in three dimensions and includes helpful notes from a radiography lecturer.

The program's designed only for students, but EMT viewers were given a brief opportunity to use it when it featured on the news.

However it's no longer available for public use.

Mike Clifford

Not a typical lecturer?


Dr Mike Clifford's trying to spice up his lectures at the University of Nottingham.

He's doing so by taking acting lessons and occasionally dressing up when he teaches.

In the past he has been a Thunderbird puppet, giant banana, Robin Hood and a rabbit.

When we paid him a visit, Dr Clifford dressed up as Isambard Kingdom Brunel for a lecture about the history of technology.

space money

Money for space travel


Some day - maybe sooner than we think - humans will be travelling in space.

And the time will come when we need money in space.

Experts at the University of Leicester were asked to look at this, and how money would be designed for astronauts.

Metal coins would be dangerous in zero gravity, and traditional cash cards would be fried by radiation in space.

So what did they come up with?

core sample

Jan shows off a core sample


Many scientists love using work to capture the public imagination, and geologist Jan Zalasiewicz is no exception.

The University of Leicester academic has cooked up a (very ambitious) plan to display a core sample drilled from beneath the ocean.

The sample would stretch for almost a mile and help people fathom just how long a timescale geologists work on.

For example, only the first 30cm of that core would represent the entire period of human civilization... and less than the first millimentre would represent our lifetimes!


Scientists dispense advice at the event


They have plenty of clever ideas, but not all scientists have the ability to translate this to financial success.

Bio-Entrepreneur School was an event hosted at Nottingham Biocity to teach scientists some of these skills.

It involved lessons in networking, intellectual property rights and other issues which are important when starting a science business.

It also gave researchers the chance to pick the brains of colleagues who have already made the transition.


Sea shells can be revealing


We featured University of Derby researcher Dr Andrew Johnson, who is an expert on sea shells.

He told us about his penchant for travelling overseas in environmentally-friendly ways, such as epic train trips and hitching rides on cargo ships.

But in sixty seconds there was not really time to explain his area of research - sclerochronology.

You can click on the link below for a bit more about it.

last updated: 27/05/2008 at 17:24
created: 02/10/2007

You are in: East Midlands Today > Features > Sixty seconds of science

Get news, sport, travel, weather and things to do near you with your local BBC website. Choose your location:

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy