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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.
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LISTEN AGAINListen 30 min
Listen to 5 May
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QUENTIN COOPER
Quentin Cooper
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Thursday 5 May 2005
Coral
Coral Reef

Cold Water Coral

Coral reefs are the rainforests of the sea, associated with exotic locations and warm, well-lit waters.

But few people realise that Britain has its own cold-water coral reefs, among them the Darwin Mounds, off the northwest coast of Scotland.

We know more about the surface of the moon than we do about the sea-bed and vast areas of ocean-floor remain unmapped.

Marine biologists Dr Jason Hall-Spencer and Dr Murray Roberts join Quentin Cooper to discuss the mysterious Darwin Mounds and why, less than a decade after its discovery, deep sea fishing threatens its fragile ecosystem.

Active Hearing

Ears that hum whistle and pop loud enough for other people to make out are a rare genetic disorder, but everybody's ears produce some noise. 

Listen to the sound of a healthy ear (mp3 file)

It's generated by tiny hair cells in the ear as they boost and filter sounds we hear so that that the brain can interpret them.

Only in the past thirty years have scientists begun to understand how this process works and now, new research is suggesting ways of reversing otherwise permanent deafness.

Quentin Cooper talks to David Kemp - the scientist who first introduced these ideas to a sceptical world, and Andy Forge - who's hoping they might lead to a genetic cure for hearing loss.

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