Programme 7: 9th December 2007
Adam Walton examines the science behind the headlines and reveals the latest scientific research in Wales.
Sunday 9th December at 5.03pm
(Repeated Wednesday 12th December at 9.30pm)
The recent conviction of Ronald Castree for the murder of schoolgirl Lesley Molseed 32 years ago and a new arrest in connection with the Rachel Nickell murder in 1992 have highlighted the growing importance of DNA evidence in solving crimes. Investigators in the Rachel Nickell case have used a technique called low copy number DNA profiling to 'grow' a DNA sample which was originally too small to yield a result. Adam is joined by Peter Heard of the Forensic Sciences department at NEWI in Wrexham to discuss the application and reliability of DNA evidence.
Cosmologist and science writer Marcus Chown is obviously a man who relishes a challenge. He's just written a book, 'Quantum Theory Cannot Hurt You', in which he attempts to explain, in simple language, two of the most important concepts in modern physics: quantum mechanics and relativity. Some of the implications of these theories sound more like science fiction than science fact: the fact that time travel isn't forbidden by the laws of physics; or that you age more slowly on the ground floor of a building than on the top floor; or that an atom can be in two places at once. Marcus provides an easy-to-digest explanation in this week's Science Cafe.
Sniffing Out Trouble
Scientists at Bangor University have developed a 'nanodog', a sensor which can detect very low levels of explosives in the atmosphere. Their aim is to make the nanodog an important weapon in the battle against terrorism and it could really come into its own with the Prime Minister's recently announced plans to step up security in airports, railway stations and other public places. Science Cafe reporter Nan Pickering meets Professor Maher Kalaji Head of Bangor University's School of Chemistry to find out how the nanodog might make our lives safer.
Every week at the Science Cafe there's a shot of Espresso Science, a quick, fun experiment from the Techniquest @ NEWI Science Discovery Centre in Wrexham. This week the Espresso Science is more of an iced latte as Dr. Diane Gray attempts to lift an ice cube out of a bowl of water without touching it!
Listen to Espresso Science - 6
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