Series 2: Prog 4: 27/04/08

This week Adam discusses the breath test which could save your life, maths in medicine, rising sea levels and coral spawning.

Sunday 27th April at 5.03pm

(Repeated Wednesday 30th April at 9.30pm)

Rising Sea Levels

Rising water temperatures and melting polar ice could raise sea levels by as much as 1.5 metres by the end of this century according to the new research carried out by the Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory near Liverpool. The research predicts a substantially bigger increase in sea levels than that forecasted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. This is particularly bad news for low-lying countries like Bangladesh where over over eighty per cent of the country lies within just over a metre of sea level. Adam is joined on the programme by Kevin Horsburgh of the Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory to discuss the new research.

Maths and Medicine

The spread of diseases like HIV/AIDS, the performance of operating theatres and hospital waiting times aren't just issues for doctors and healthcare professionals to wrestle with: they're also increasingly coming under the scrutiny of mathematicians. Professor Jeff Griffiths of the School of Mathematics at Cardiff University joins Adam to reveal how mathematical models can be used to save lives and cut queues in hospitals.

Breath Test

In the future it may not just be the police pulling you over for a breath test - it could be your doctor too. Researchers in Swansea are investigating a way of detecting diseases like cancer and diabetes on your breath. Even the Ancient Greeks recognised diabetes through the 'pear drop' smell on a patient's breath and scientists now know that many other tell-tale volatile organic compounds on the breath can be used to diagnose a range of diseases. Dr. Masood Yousef of the Welsh Centre for Printing and Coating at Swansea University pops into the Science Cafe to discuss the development of a breathaliser which could save your life.

Coral Spawning

There's been an orgy of sexual activity this week on the Palau Archipelago in the Western Pacific - or at least in the waters surrounding it. Last week's full moon triggered the annual mass spawning of coral. The polyps release huge amounts of sperm and eggs into the water to seed the next generation, turning the sea water pink in the process. Coral expert John Turner of Bangor University's School of Ocean Sciences joins Adam to recall the occasions he's witnessed mass coral spawning for himself.

Espresso Science

This week's Espresso Science from the Techniquest @ NEWI Science Discovery Centre uses a ball and what Adam describes as "a badly designed sink" to demonstrate the concept of gravity.
Listen onlineListen to this week's Espresso Science


Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory

Bangor University School of Ocean Sciences


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