Microplastics; Holey Ice; Vesalius; Overeating
Adam Rutherford on the news in science and science in the news. Microplastic pollution has been found in deep ocean sediments at levels four times that found on the sea surface.
For the first time, scientists have studied the abundance of microplastics in deep sea sediments They have found that tiny fibres of plastic are everywhere and that levels found in the ocean sediments are 4 times higher than in contaminated sea-surface waters.
Marine debris, mostly consisting of plastic, is a global problem, negatively impacting wildlife, tourism and shipping. However, despite the durability of plastic, and the exponential increase in its production, there was a considerable proportion of the manufactured plastic that was unaccounted for. But now scientists have found that deep-sea sediments are a likely sink for microplastics.
You'd have thought, given how much water and ice there is around, that we'd know pretty much all there is to know about them. Among the notable facts is that ice is less dense than water - which is why it floats on your pond rather than sinking to the bottom. But like carbon - which exists in two distinct forms, diamond and graphite - the molecules in solid H2O can be packed in many different ways. And this week, scientists have found another completely different form of ice, which is perhaps stranger than all the others.
Why do some people overeat? In order to find out, brave scientists tucked into 9000 calorie meals.
Andreas Vesalius, the founder of the modern science of anatomy was born 500 years ago, on the 31st December 1514. He was a proponent of, and yet, a strong critic of the ancient Greek physician Galen, who implied human anatomy from animal dissections. Vesalius challenged physicians and medical scholars to get their hands dirty and carry out dissections themselves.
Producer: Fiona Roberts.