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30 minutes
First broadcast:
Thursday 17 February 2011

Quentin Cooper presents his weekly digest of science in and behind the headlines. Could severe flooding in the UK in 2000 have been caused by climate change? Quentin finds about the latest research which suggests that greenhouse gases, produced by humans, are to blame. Quentin also discusses the largest solar flare for four years & asks what effects it might have on electronics and telecommunications. He also discovers why Vincent van Gogh's sunflowers are turning brown, and he hears about new images that are providing novel insights into the physical structure of comets.

The producer is Ania Lichtarowicz.

  • Human impact on flooding

    Scientists have discovered that green house gases have significantly increased the risk of extreme rainfall. One research group used real-world data and computer models to prove the link between greenhouse emissions and the increase in extreme rains in the Northern Hemisphere. Another research group showed that greenhouse warming made the UK floods of 2000 more likely. Dr Richard Allan and Professor Mark Maslin join Quentin to explain more.

  • Van Gogh’s fading paint

    Van Gogh’s fading paint

    X-ray analysis has been used to explain why the bright yellows in his paintings have faded to brown over time.... and it could help protect not only some of Van Gogh’s most famous works but those by other late 19th century artists. Quentin talks to Professor Koen Janssens, from the University of Antwerp, who led the research.

  • Tempel 1

    Tempel 1

    On February 14th NASA’s Stardust-NExT mission hooked up with the Tempel 1 Comet, which back in 2005 had been subject to a vicious and unprovoked assault by another NASA probe, Deep Impact. The damage from that attack – an 800lb slug was fired into it from almost point blank range – was clearly visible in some of the high resolution images. Quentin talks to Professor Alan Fitzsimmons from Queen’s University, Belfast.

  • Solar flare

    Solar flare

    The largest solar flare in four years has erupted from the sun. The eruption, called an X-flare is the strongest type and can affect communications on Earth. The British Geological Survey (BGS). has issued a geomagnetic storm warning. Observers also might be able to see aurora from the northern UK. Dr Alan Thompson from the BGS joins Quentin to explain more.


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