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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 3 April
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QUENTIN COOPER
Quentin Cooper
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Thursday 3 April 2008
"Weigh to go…." redefining weights and measures. Copyright BBC

Redefining the Kilogram

On the outskirts of Paris, locked away in an underground vault lies a heavily guarded cylinder of platinum and iridium which has lain there for over 120 years.

What’s so special about this particular lump of metal?

It is the kilogram by which all other kilograms are measured. 

Quentin Cooper finds out why ‘Le Grand K’, the international prototype for the kilogram might soon be out of a job. 

He talks to Dr. Ian Robinson from the National Physical Laboratory in Teddington and science historian William Ashworth.

Mapping Membrane Proteins

Membrane proteins are key to every cell process in the human body and to the activity of bacteria.

They control what goes into and out of cells and how nerve impulses are generated.

But why do we know so little about them?

A new 15 million Euro EU Science programme is going to find out.

Quentin is joined by project leader Professor Peter Henderson from the University of Leeds, and leading membrane protein researcher Dr. Chris Tate from the University of Cambridge to find out how the results could lead to a drug revolution.

Next week:  Domestication of cereal crops
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