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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.
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Listen to 06 December
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GEOFF WATTS
Geoff Watts
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Thursday 06 December 2007
Artist's impression of ESA's SMART-1 mission at the Moon. [Credit: ESA]
Artist's impression of the European Space Agency's SMART-1 mission at the Moon. [Credit: ESA]

Bird-brained singing lessons

New research from Germany reveals that humans and birds share a gene for verbal language learning despite having completely different evolutionary lineages.

Constance Scharff and colleagues in Berlin have shown that without this gene young songbirds can’t learn their songs from adults.

The scientists hope the finding will shed light on a condition in humans known as verbal dyspraxia which has severe effects on speech and learning.

Super SMART-1

In September 2006, Europe’s first mission to the Moon - SMART-1 – ended with a flash of light as it crashed into the lunar surface.

The spacecraft had been studying the landscape and geology of the Moon, helping to answer some fundamental questions and prospecting for the likely mineral wealth that many of the space superpowers now have their eye on.

Richard Hollingham reports.

Bio-fuelled con

Think bio-fuels will save us from global warming?

Think again, argues Andrea Sella of University College London, in this week’s Leading Edge column.

The learning brain

Are British children failing at school because teachers use the wrong methods?

New research from Canada suggests that a new approach, called Tools of the Mind, may be needed to help pre-school children or those just starting reception, be better prepared for the rigours of a formal curriculum when they get older.

Geoff Watts talks to Adele Diamond in Vancouver and Sarah-Jayne Blakemore in London.

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