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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.
Contact Material World
LISTEN AGAINListen 30 min
Listen to 19 March 2009
Quentin Cooper
Thursday 19 March 2009
"Priest King" sculpture from the Harappan period ...
"Priest King" sculpture from the Harappan period (J Mark Kenoyer)

Nuclear Shortages

Society seems to have fallen out of love with nuclear technology four decades ago, but one accidental victim of this is medical diagnosis, which is dependent on radio-isotopes created in nuclear reactors that can trace diseased tissue and defective metabolism.

Foremost among these radio-isotopes is technetium-99m, used in 80 per cent of nuclear medical procedures.

Quentin hears how the prolonged closure of several ageing reactors late last year for repairs and maintenance led to drastic shortages of the material, and of proposals to secure supplies in the future.

Guests, medical physicist Alan Perkins, and Dewi Lewis of GE Healthcare.

The End of Harappa

Four and a half thousand years ago, one of the great civilisations in the world thrived in the north western corner of the Indian subcontinent.

Great, intricately ordered cities like Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro were home to tens of thousands citizens.  And then within five hundred years the Harappan civilisation faded away.

In Material World today, Quentin is joined by two scientists trying to find out whether Harappa was an early victim of climate change, or of wayward river courses that deserted the thriving cities, and what it has to do with the legendary Hindu river Saraswati.

Guests, geologist Peter Clift, and archaeobotanist Dorian Fuller

Next week: Your questions answered ...
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