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30 minutes
First broadcast:
Thursday 29 March 2012

A leak of gas from a platform 150 miles off the Scottish coast is causing concerns, particularly over risks of explosion. We look at the environmental effects of the gas and ways of clearing it up. As with oil spills bacteria may play a role in its dispersal.

An environmental conference in London this week gave scientists the chance to get together ahead of the next round of international climate change negotiations. We look at the subject of geo –engineering. Once the realm of science fiction, the idea of using chemicals to seed clouds or reflect light back from the sun is now being seen as a serious option for dealing with climate change.

So You Want to be a Scientist. The clothes are ready for our experiment looking at the arguments over vertical versus horizontal stripes, which ones really do have a slimming or fattening effect?

  • Geo engineering

    Geo engineering

    CGI - White World: New York painted white. This theoretical method of Geo-engineering is designed to cool the earth by reflecting the suns rays away from the planet.

    Quentin Cooper discusses the Issues with Tim Kruger who manages the Oxford Geoengineering Programme, an initiative of the Oxford Martin School, at the University of Oxford and Professor Anne Glover, chief Scientific Advisor to the European Commission.

  • Seeing stripes

    Seeing stripes

    Our science of fashion experiment is in full swing. Amateur scientist Val Watham wants to know whether vertical or horizontal stripes are more flattering to wear.

    This week, we visit the sewing machine room at the University of the Creative Arts (UCA) where fashion design students have been making and modelling the stripey shirts and dresses to use in Val’s test.

    We talk to Jemma Willis, 1st year fashion coordinator, about the process of designing and producing the 15 stripy outfits to help answer Val’s question.

    Quentin also talks to her mentor Dr Peter Thompson from the University of York, about the science behind stripes, and the visual tricks they can play on us.

    You can take part in Val’s experiment during the Edinburgh Science Festival on 13 -15 April. We’ll be joining forces with BBC One’s Bang Goes the Theory road-show based on The Mound, outside The National Galleries of Scotland.

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  • Bacteria


    New strains of bacteria evolved to feed off the oil during the gulf of Mexico spill, its thought such bacteria could be artificially developed to deal with many forms of pollution.

    Quentin talks to Christoph Gertler, marine pollutant expert at Bangor University.

  • Helmholtz illiusion

    Helmholtz illiusion

    These squares are all the same size, but the Helmholtz illiusion makes the horizontal stripes appear taller


Inside Science

Image for BBC Inside Science

Adam Rutherford explores the research that is transforming our world.


  1. Image for Material World

    Material World

    Weekly science conversation, on everything from archaeology to zoology, from abacus to the…

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