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30 minutes
First broadcast:
Thursday 04 February 2010

Take the carbon dioxide from a power station or factory chimney and use it to grow algae which are then turned into biofuel. It sounds too good to be true and of course there's a snag; you have to disolve the carbon dioxide in water before the algae can use it and that only happens slowly - unless you inject it as microscopic bubbles, and that takes a lot of energy.

Quentin Cooper hears how researchers in Sheffield have developed a much more energy-efficient way of producing microbubbles and are applying it both to biofuel production and cleaning up pollution.

How can we be sure that scientific research is accurate and honest while, at the same time, innovative? The standard answer is by the process known as peer review, where other scientists assess it before it is published. But this week has seen accusations that climate scientists have bypassed the process, that stem cell reviewers are suppressing rival work, and the retraction of a paper published over a decade ago. Can peer review get its house in order?

Plus the Sun in high definition with the upcomng launch of NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, and internet pioneer Jaron Lanier on his new manifesto, You are not at Gadget. The internet - what went wrong?

  • The solar atmosphere revealed in ultraviolet from the NASA STEREO spacecraft.

    The solar atmosphere revealed in ultraviolet from the NASA STEREO spacecraft.

    Credit: STEREO-SECCHI Consortium


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