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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 September 
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QUENTIN COOPER
Quentin Cooper
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Thursday 20 September 2007
Traffic jam on the M6 motorway
Motorways in a jam - can maths help clear them up?

Traffic Tribulations

As traffic on the internet soars and congestion clogs up the roads ever more, mathematicians are meeting at the Royal Society to uncover the mathematical rules of traffic flow, and to discuss what’s needed to keep our networks from collapsing. Quentin is joined by Professor Frank Kelly of Cambridge University, who helped devise BTs Dynamic Alternative Routing system, which keeps our phones connected, and Professor Andrew Odlyzko of Minnesota University, an expert on internet pricing and congestion charges.

Sumatran Earthquakes
Last week the Indonesian island of Sumatra was battered by its third great earthquake in as many years. Fortunately, far fewer suffered this time than in the quake and tsunami of 2004, but experts fear that great danger still lurks there. Professor John McCloskey of Ulster University has been modelling and forecasting the earthquake and tsunami hazard on Sumatra, and seismologist Professor Shamita Das is part of a collaboration planning a deep-sea survey off the shore of Sumatra to try and work out what’s happening deep in the Earth there.

NEXTWEEK:  The flooded forest of Amazonia, and the peat forest of Borneo
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