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Science
LEADING EDGE
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Thursday 21:00-21:30
Leading Edge brings you the latest news from the world of science. Geoff Watts celebrates discoveries as soon as they're being talked about - on the internet, in coffee rooms and bars; often before they're published in journals. And he gets to grips with not just the science, but with the controversies and conversation that surround it.
radioscience@bbc.co.uk
LISTEN AGAINListen 30 min
Listen to 19 February
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GEOFF WATTS
Geoff Watts
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Thursday 19 February 2004
Sun-like star

Diamond Star

Astronomers have discovered a cosmic diamond, 2500 miles wide, twinkling about 50 light years from us. The gigantic gem is the carbon core of a dead star – a white dwarf.

A team of researchers at Cambridge University and the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics is the first to prove such exotic objects exist, forty years after stellar diamond cores were predicted by theory.

Walking Back To a Better Memory and Sharper Mind

New brain studies show that a programme of moderate daily exercise improves the concentration and memory of people in their sixties and seventies.

The studies at the University of Illinois show that after six months of walking fitness training, older people did better on tests of concentration and memory, and that parts of their brains involved in attention and memory were more active.

Mission To Mercury

NASA is in the final stages of preparing to launch its Messenger probe to the planet Mercury. Compared to the other planets, Mercury has been relatively neglected since the last mission there in 1973.

But there are plenty of questions to be answered such as whether it has ice in some of ifs polar craters?

Why Lady Lemurs Rule

In the social world of the lemurs, males always defer to the females. This is not the usual mammalian pecking order and primatologists have been at a loss to explain why the females rule the prosimian roost.
One hypothesis is that pregnancy and lactation for lemurs is particularly costly in terms of energy, and so it’s in the interests of potential fathers to give way to females when it comes to access to food.

Dr Diane Brockman, a primatologist at Duke University in the United States has started to explore whether this is the case.
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