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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 9 February
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QUENTIN COOPER
Quentin Cooper
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Thursday 9 February 2006
A diver underwater
Wouldn't gills be easier than diving gear?

Thames Barrier

Could the devastation caused by hurricanes Katrina and Rita ever happen in the Thames Estuary and how prepared are we?

The Thames barrier is a staggering feat of engineering. After eight years of construction, building deep into the chalky river bed, it was completed in 1983. The barrier stretches 520 metres across the Thames and has ten gates, each made of steel up to 50 milimetres thick, and weighing nearly three and a half thousand tonnes each. 

Andy Bachelor is Thames Tidal Flood Risk Manager for the Environment Agency and Roland Grzybek is a civil engineer with Halcrow.  They will join Quentin Cooper to explain the future of our flood defences.

Artifical Gills

The famous sea-explorer Jacques Cousteau predicted that man would one day be able to breathe whilst submerged in the ocean.  But is it possible yet?

Edward Cussler is Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Minnesota and devised a solution some 20 years ago: a box with a special membrane.  He even submerged his dog, Muggins, in the device and sent him underwater for three hours.  

Quentin Cooper is also joined by Professor David Evans, Head of Zoology at the University of Florida, an expert on fish gills who is skeptical about the prospects for underwater humans.
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