14/05/2010

LIZARD EXTINCTIONS
20% of all lizard species could be extinct by 2080 according to a paper in the journal Science this week. The cause? Temperature increases due to global warming. Professor Barry Sinervo from the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California Santa Cruz in the US has been modelling the decline.

ARCHAEOPTERYX FLAPPING OR GLIDING?
A fascinating study of fossilised feathers has revealed more about our most ancient birds. Archaeopteryx lived about 150 million years ago. They look like beaked lizards with feathered wings and are often referred to as the missing link between reptiles and birds. But did they fly? Or more precisely did they flap their wings and fly? It's a question that scientists have pondered for years, and now Dr. Robert Nudd from Manchester University in the UK is a step closer to answering it. In a paper in the journal Science this week he describes the maths he used to work it out.

MOMENTS OF GENIUS
Across the next few weeks and months we’re going to be asking an eclectic mix of artists and scientists to bring us their favourite moment in the history of science, as part of a series we’re calling "Moments of Genius".

Professor Richard Dawkins - the first holder of the Charles Simonyi Professorship Chair for the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University. He's spent much of his working life trying to explain the implications of scientific theories. But his favourite moment of genius is when Charles Darwin discovered the secret of life.

NANO-BOTS
Scientists have come up with another 'nano-bot', attaining yet higher levels of autonomy and complexity and this time incorporating DNA into its spider-like legs. Two new studies reported in the journal Nature this week reveal these 'DNA walkers' – motile molecules which can move from one binding site to another.

MALARIA ERADICATION
It's been done with smallpox, and many believe it could be possible with polio, but could Malaria be eradicated? The disease is carried by a parasite in mosquitoes, and affects nearly half a billion people worldwide. According to an article in the journal Science this week, scientists need to increase the effort put into killing the parasite. But one researcher, Professor Bart Knolls in the Netherlands, believes that the solution lies in a method that was abandoned decades ago – kill the mosquitoes that spread the disease when they are in their vulnerable larval stages. He says it's not so much clever science we need, just a huge and sustained effort.

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28 minutes

Last on

Sun 16 May 2010 03:32 GMT

Gravitational Waves

'Ripples' from black holes detected

Gravity and ripples in the fabric of space time - what do these mean for us?