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Europe’s First Mission to the Moon and Bio-Fuels

30 minutes
First broadcast:
Thursday 06 December 2007

Bird-Brained Singing Lessons
New research from Germany reveals that humans and birds share a gene for verbal language learning despite having completely different evolutionary lineages. Constance Scharff and colleagues in Berlin have shown that without this gene young songbirds can’t learn their songs from adults. The scientists hope the finding will shed light on a condition in humans known as verbal dyspraxia which has severe effects on speech and learning.

Super SMART-1
In September 2006, Europe’s first mission to the Moon - SMART-1 – ended with a flash of light as it crashed into the lunar surface. The spacecraft had been studying the landscape and geology of the Moon, helping to answer some fundamental questions and prospecting for the likely mineral wealth that many of the space superpowers now have their eye on. Richard Hollingham reports.

Bio-Fuelled Con
Think bio-fuels will save us from global warming? Think again, argues Andrea Sella of University College London, in this week’s Leading Edge column.

The Learning Brain
Are British children failing at school because teachers use the wrong methods?
New research from Canada suggests that a new approach, called Tools of the Mind, may be needed to help pre-school children or those just starting reception, be better prepared for the rigours of a formal curriculum when they get older.
Geoff Watts talks to Adele Diamond in Vancouver and Sarah-Jayne Blakemore in London.


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