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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 to 8 September
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QUENTIN COOPER
Quentin Cooper
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Thursday 8 September 2005
BA in Dublin
British Association Festival of Science in Dublin

This week's Material World is the first in a series of 7 special editions that are being made in conjunction with the Open University to support their new Science in Context course.

The other programmes will be broadcast later in the year and will cover the following topics: nanotechnology, medicinal plants, near-earth objects, water quality, food safety and bioethics.

This week's programme comes from Trinity College Dublin which is hosting this year's British Association Festival of Science.

One of the topics being discussed at the festival is climate change and food security. In a warming world, will we be able to produce enough crop plants to feed the growing population?

Many crops are sensitive to shifts in temperature, rainfall and atmospheric gases, such as carbon dioxide and ozone.

Predictions indicate that some already famine-prone regions are going to get hotter and drier which will likely further threaten agricultural production. Changing conditions are certain to spread pests and diseases to new areas, to which crops and livestock will have little resistance.

Quentin Cooper is joined by a live audience who will be putting their questions about climate change and food production to an expert panel: Professor Martin Parry from the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction who is also a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; Stephen Long, Professor of Crop Sciences at the University of Illinois; and Mike Jones, President of the BA's Agriculture and Food Section and Professor of Botany at Trinity College, Dublin. 

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