Image for 28/05/2010

Play now 28 mins

28/05/2010

Duration:
28 minutes
First broadcast:
Friday 28 May 2010

MEASURING METHANE TO DETERMINE EXTENT OF OIL SPILL
Knowing how much oil has spilled from the Deepwater Horizon Rig in the Gulf of Mexico is vital to calculate the environmental impact and to inform the clean up crews. But determining how much oil has leaked has proved very difficult. David Valentine - professor of Earth Sciences at the University of California Santa Barbara, thinks that measuring the leaked methane gas in the sea water will give us a much more accurate reading.

CARBON DIOXIDE STORED IN SOUTHERN OCEAN LINKED TO GLOBAL WARMING
Rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are contributing to global climate change, and a warming planet. This time it's humans releasing all that CO2 which was locked away in fossil fuels. It escapes into the atmosphere when we burn coal, oil, or gas.

But the planet has been through warming cycles before, even more dramatic than any temperature changes of the past few hundred years. When the ice sheets melted at the end of the last ice age, atmospheric levels of CO2 increased by nearly 50%. Scientists have been trying to work out where it all came from, and now a paper in the journal Science shows that it was probably stored, effectively, in deep, old, sea water.

9/11 ATTACKS LED TO AN INCREASE IN MALE MISCARRIAGES
There's a lot of evidence that the psychological damage caused by traumatic events can lead to physiological damage – physical effects to people. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder affecting soldiers who have been involved in conflict is one example. Now researchers have revealed that the stress caused by the 11th September 2001 attacks on the twin Towers in New York may have led to an increase in the miscarriage of male foetuses.

MOMENTS OF GENIUS – MARTIN REES ON MARTIN RYLE
Astronomer and cosmologist Professor Martin Rees chooses the moment when fellow Cambridge astronomer, Martin Ryle revealed that radio waves in deep space enabled him to explore the distant universe.

DRUGGING SNAILS
In an unusual behavioural experiment, scientists in the US and Canada are using pond snails to investigate the effects of drug abuse. The snail's simple nervous system makes the creature a very useful model for how addiction to methamphetamine might affect our brains, and in particular how certain drugs can affect our memory.

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