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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 10 January
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QUENTIN COOPER
Quentin Cooper
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Thursday 10 January 2008
A Wooden Wax Stylus Vindolanda text: 836.
Sending emails Roman style ...  an example of Vindolanda text
©Centre for the Study of Ancient Documents

Vindolanda Texts

The Vindolanda texts were discovered in the 1970s at an archaeological dig near Hadrian’s Wall.

They are like our emails today - quick, frivolous messages to friends and relatives: from laundry lists to letters asking for warmer underwear.

The problem is not content but being able to physically read them – they were written on wooden tablets that have been warped, discoloured and reused.

Quentin Cooper talks to Melissa Terras and Alan Bowman who are developing new imaging techniques to try and make the inscriptions clearer so that they can be more easily translated for all of us to read.

Deep Tropical Ocean Kelvin Waves

Quentin finds out about the discovery of a new wave, deep in the tropical Pacific Ocean.

With a diameter the width of the ocean itself, they are created by weather systems and the earth rotation.

We thought they were only on the surface, but a chance coffee break conversation between an oceanographer and a meteorologist, led to an investigation which shows that they are many hundreds of meters deep.

Quentin talks to Adrian Matthews and Karen Heywood about whether their new discovery will change the way we model the climate and oceans.

NEXT WEEK:   Immunising crops to resist attack ...
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