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Science
THE MATERIAL WORLD
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Thursday 16:30-17:00
Quentin Cooper reports on developments across the sciences. Each week scientists describe their work, conveying the excitement they feel for their research projects.
material.world@bbc.co.uk
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Listen to 2 September
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QUENTIN COOPER
Quentin Cooper
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Thursday 2 September 2004
Mould growth

Mycology 

Fungi and moulds are great at rotting. You only have to look in the bottom of your fruit bowl or in your compost heap to see that.

But it's not just organic matter that they can digest. Some fungi can even break down rock, stone and concrete.

They cause black stains on historic buildings and can threaten to damage the concrete holding nuclear waste deep underground.

But fungi are also essential to life and science is looking at other helpful roles they might play.

Quentin Cooper talks to microbiologists, Professor Geoff Gadd and Dr. Nick Clipson about how fungi can be used to reclaim metals from old computers, waste incinerator sites and clean up contaminated land.

Nano Test tubes 

A new generation of 'nano test tubes' are being developed by researchers at the University of Nottingham .

These new materials could revolutionise the use of hydrogen as a clean, abundant and efficient fuel by allowing its safe storage, disarming hydrogen of its explosive properties.

The same technology is also being used to create molecular electronic devices which, in theory, could store 100 DVDs worth of information in the space of just one square centimetre.

Quentin is joined by Neil Champness, chair of chemical nanoscience and by Philip Moriarty from the department of physics and astronomy at the University of Nottingham to find out self assembly molecular traps are made and how they could change the way we use energy and the face of computing.
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