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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 8 June
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QUENTIN COOPER
Quentin Cooper
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Thursday 8 June 2006
Football in a net

The Science of Football

Football - it's a game of two halves. Well actually it is a game of surface geometry and dynamic traction. 
 
A game of football provides a multitude of challenges to scientists with many aspects to study from ball aerodynamics to player psychology.

Considering the boot alone there are many variables, including stud shape and the stiffness of the sole, that ultimately affect their performance.

The ball is also all important and computational models have been used to see how one from the World Cup of 1966 would fly in comparison with the latest versions. For this year's event Adidas's new 14 panelled ball comes with promises of improved accuracy and control.

Getting everything just right is an important issue for scientists, players and fans alike.

Quentin Cooper will be joined by Dr David James from the University of Sheffield's Sports Engineering Group and Dr Ken Bray, an advisor to Southampton football team, to look at the science behind the game. 

Antarctic Science

To coincide with the Antarctic Treaty Organisation's annual conference, being held in Edinburgh between 12 and 23 June, Quentin Cooper meets two scientists with an interest in all things chilly to find out the latest in Antarctic science.

Vertebrate Ecologist Dr Keith Reid of the British Antarctic Survey has been researching how krill, small, shrimp-like animals that grow up to 6 cm in length, are suffering due to over-fishing and climate change.

Krill, one of the largest members of the plankton family, are a vital part of the antarctic ecosystem, but warmer waters and commercial fishing trawlers which catch almost 300,000 tonnes a year means numbers are on the wane.

Professor Martin Siegert is Director of the Bristol Glaciology Centre at the University of Bristol.
He'll be telling Quentin about the discovery of a number of sub-glacial lakes in Antarctica.

It's thought that these lakes may have been isolated for hundreds of thousands of years, and anthing living there would have to cope with  total darkness, low nutrient levels, high water pressures and isolation from the atmosphere.

Professor Siegert is hoping to drill down into one of these lakes, a task which is similar to the exploration of another planet in its complexity.
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