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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 20 October
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QUENTIN COOPER
Quentin Cooper
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Thursday 20 October 2005
How sharp is your blade?
How sharp is your blade?

Audience Debates - click here for tickets.
Explore The Material World with the Open University Blades

How do you make the sharpest knife?

We all know how to tell a sharp knife from a blunt one but the level of "sharpness" depends on the task the blade is used for.

Can your blade ever be too sharp and is there a scale of sharpness?

As the search continues for an unbluntable knife, industry looks to new coatings and materials, such as ceramics and glass.

Quentin Cooper talks to CATRA knife expert Roger Hamby and Dennis Teer from Teer Coatings about cutting-edge blade research. Music & Language Development

The development of language, poetry and music are closely linked in our ancient history and form a central part of what makes us human.

But how we developed these abilities and which came first music or speech is still largely unknown.

Steven Mithen Professor of Early Prehistory at Reading University will be sharing his work looking at the role of music and language as a tool in the development of the social groupings of our ancient ancestors - leading ultimately to the societies of the present.

Lawrence Parsons Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at Sheffield University has been examining how music and language are processed in the brain.

This week's programme looks at the genetic basis of linguistic and musical ability, how this evolved and tries to pinpoint the areas of the brain responsible for music or speech processing.

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