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Play now 28 mins


28 minutes
First broadcast:
Friday 17 December 2010

Largest gathering of Earth scientists

The American Geophysical Union (or AGU) Fall Meeting, has been held this week in San Francisco. It’s the largest gathering of Earth scientists in the world. The BBC’s science correspondent Jonathan Amos picks some of the interesting research reported at the meeting. He talks about a new early warning system to detect lightning from space, the Voyager spacecraft that’s been travelling through the solar system for 38 years, and why the island of South Georgia is a place where icebergs congregate.

Prize for faster and cheaper sequencing of genomes

The cost of sequencing genomes is falling rapidly. Ten years ago it took $3 billion to sequence the human genome. A company called Ion Torrent has just released a Personal Genome Machine that does the job for under $50,000. Jonathan Rothberg, the founder of Ion Torrent, tells Jon Stewart why he’s set up prizes for anyone who can find even faster and cheaper ways of sequencing genomes.

Vulture deaths in Masai Mara Nature Reserve in Kenya

Vulture numbers in south-western Kenya have more than halved over the last three decades - mainly because many of the birds have been poisoned, according to the US conservation organisation, the Peregrine Fund. Victoria Gill reports on why we should care about vultures and what can be done about their decline.

Oil in Ghana

Professor Richard Davies, Director of the Durham University Energy Institute, explains why Ghana has a considerable amount of oil offshore.


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