Science In Action - 07/06/2012
SKA radio telescope in South Africa; Global warming and the greening of Arctic tundra; A different Science in Action's young prize winners from Swaziland; Why giant insects disappeared.
Square Kilometre Array in South Africa The world's largest telescope is going to be built in Australia and South Africa. The SKA is going to be made up of 3,000 dishes of 15m diameter and be at least 50 times larger than any radio facility today, spread over a large area of the Karoo in South Africa. The other part of SKA in Western Australia looks more like old fashioned TV aerials. This is a massive international project with at least twelve countries involved. Justin Jonas is the Associate Director of the South African SKA and a Professor of Astronomy at Rhodes University. He told us why he thinks the decision (to put part of SKA in the Karoo) is so important for Africa.
Forests in the tundra The area known as the north-western Eurasian tundra has been warming faster than any other place on the planet. In the journal Nature Climate Change, researchers report they have seen trees growing because of the higher temperatures. Dr Marc Macias Fauria of Oxford University's Zoology department and colleagues at universities in Finland who have spent decades studying the life of the traditional people of the area, did the research. Marc explained it was the traditional people who had first drawn the researchers' attention to the changes going on in the tundra.
Another Science in Action Science in Action is the name of a new award run by the journal Scientific American. The very first winners are two 14 year olds from Swaziland, for their project on an affordable way for poor farmers to grow crops hydroponically, without soil.
Why giant insects disappeared Three hundred million years ago, giant insects ruled the skies. Up till now it's been thought that they disappeared as the concentration of oxygen in the atmosphere dropped. But now Professor Matthew Clapham has a new idea about why they disappeared: which depends on the evolution of other flying creatures, the birds.