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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 27 October
PRESENTER
QUENTIN COOPER
Quentin Cooper
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Thursday 27 October 2005
H5N1 virus
The H5N1 strain of the influenza virus, shown in gold
(CDC/C. Goldsmith, J. Katz, and S. Zaki)

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

The way that vaccines are made has remained largely unchanged for the past 50 years. This year's flu jab comes from last season's flu strains.

At present flu vaccine development involves playing catch up with the virus as it mutates and develops into new strains.

Material World explores the potential solutions to the current bird flu threat. We look at the state of our defences - antiviral drugs and vaccines.

Joining Quentin will be virology Professor Ian Jones, from the University of Reading and Jim Robertson from the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control.

They'll be explaining why we beat smallpox but can't yet cure flu and whether new technologies can help prevent a pandemic.
 
 
Wood is wonderful

In this age of concrete and glass buildings mans oldest construction material is having something of a Renaissance thanks to modern science.

Wood scientists Dr Jim Coulson and Dr Richard Murphy discuss the merging of timber and technology.

New innovations include Laminated Veneer Lumber which offers ways of recombining wood waste to create strong beams of virtually unlimited size and span which are also light in weight.

Controlled baking of timber modifies the cell constituents of wood, creating a natural plastic which resists decay, so your wooden garden furniture should now last forever. 

And popping your wood in a microwave could make it stronger still.

 
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