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Mr Science Show
41 minutes | Nov 19, 2017
Ep 164: The Pod - Flesh eating sea lice
I have started a new podcast called The Pod - I'd love you to have a listen and tell me what you think! Mr Science Show is not gone though, it will continue on boldly!The Pod is about ocean swimming - there is more to ocean swimming than swimming in the ocean - and will cover a whole spectrum of topics. It is likely to be a very sciencey show!So here's Episode One, which is a science-based episode on flesh-eating sea lice. For more information, please check out the notes over on The Pod.
16 minutes | Apr 24, 2017
Ep 163: Birthday maths
A few weeks back, I had a great chat about birthday mathematics with Glynn Greensmith on the It's Just Not Cricket show on ABC Radio. It was great! We discussed how when you are born in the year influences your latter life, some counter-intuitive probabilities regarding shared birthdays, a bit of astrology and whatever else popped into our heads. The audio belongs to the ABC - see here for more on the show.
22 minutes | Jun 1, 2016
Ep 162: Pulsating Pulses
2016 is the International Year of Pulses, which aims to heighten public awareness of the nutritional benefits of pulses as part of sustainable food production aimed towards food security and nutrition. I spoke to Daniel Tan from the University of Sydney's Faculty of Agriculture and Environment about his research into pulses, including genetic resistance to heat waves and climate change, plant physiology and genetics, crop modelling and why he is known throughout the University as "The Hot Scientist".Feel free to leave your favourite pulse recipe below in the comments! Some good ones are here.Listen below: Songs in this episode (all Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial (3.0)):Certain Death (Pulse Mix) by Future Boy;Dj Rkod - Pulse (George Ellinas Remix) by George_Ellinas;Pulsed Sensations by AudioLogic;Pulse by Pitx;Pulse by Psychadelik Pedestrian;God is hot (feat. MommaLuv SkyTower) by Wired Ant.
17 minutes | Feb 27, 2016
Ep 161: 2016 Pulses and Pulsars
Happy 2016! This week, I spoke on ABC Radio Central West about some of the science we can expect in 2016:2016 is the International Year of Pulses, which aims to heighten public awareness of the nutritional benefits of pulses as part of sustainable food production aimed towards food security and nutrition. The Year will create a unique opportunity to encourage connections throughout the food chain that would better utilize pulse-based proteins, further global production of pulses, better utilize crop rotations and address the challenges in the trade of pulses.2016 will also see some interesting astronomical events, although it will be hard to beat 2015. My favourite upcoming events are:The Juno mission to Jupiter The continuing Akatsuki mission to Venus. This mission is a testament to the usefulness of maths: originally, the orbiter could not get into orbit around Venus due to on-board failures, and orbited the Sun for 5 years, until the mathematicians got together and figured out how to get the craft back into orbit around Venus using the remaining working thrusters. After 5 years!Listen in to this show below on ABC NSW's soundcloud page, or grab the mp3. As always, thanks for Kia!
26 minutes | Dec 24, 2015
Ep 160: 2015 The year of light
2015 was a magnificent year for physics. Not only was it the International Year of Light and light-based technologies, it was an outstanding year of astronomical achievement, culminating with the magnificent New Horizons photos of Pluto. It was also 100 years since the Theory of General Relativity was published, and 50 years since the Cosmic Background Radiation was discovered.Australia also broke a couple of astronomical world records: The most people stargazing across Australia, and in a single location at ANU. One of the organisers of this world record was Tom Gordon, a science communicator at The University of Sydney who runs Kickstart Physics (Instagram), which are physics workshops aimed at year 12 science students and teachers. Tom, along with Christie McMonigal and Shane Hengst, runs the STEMPunk podcast, chatting about science communication and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM): Communicating scientifically with science communicators.Who better to talk to about this splendid year in Physics than Tom?Listen in here: Songs in this episode (in order of play - all Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial (3.0)): Sharks with Lasers by spinmeister;Red Giant by Fireproof_Babies;Fate of the Sun by Fireproof_Babies;Beyond Jupiter - Instrumental by Ivan Chew;Spaced Invaders 2011 (90 BPM) by coruscate
14 minutes | Sep 21, 2015
Ep 159: Wedding cost, marriage success and cats
From a recent chat with ABC Central West, this week is definitely a correlation of the week. Two separate stories on the topic of love and attachment highlight a couple of statistical concerns you need to be wary of when drawing conclusions from research:The correlation of wedding / engagement ring cost and marriage longevity (concern: correlation does not necessarily equal causation);Does your cat really love you? (concern: sample size)Listen in below or on the mp3 (and all credit again to ABC and Kia). References:Francis-Tan, A., & Mialon, H. (2015). A DIAMOND IS FOREVER” AND OTHER FAIRY TALES: THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN WEDDING EXPENSES AND MARRIAGE DURATION Economic Inquiry, 53 (4), 1919-1930 DOI: 10.1111/ecin.12206 Potter A, & Mills DS (2015). Domestic Cats (Felis silvestris catus) Do Not Show Signs of Secure Attachment to Their Owners. PloS one, 10 (9) PMID: 26332470
14 minutes | Aug 11, 2015
Ep 158: Food science with ABC Radio
Every month, I chat with ABC Central West and the science topics of the day, and this week we chatted food, in particular:Consumption of spicy foods may lead to a lower risk of death (and a little about correlation and causation - I really should do some more correlations of the week)Human brain evolution needed carbs3D printed food Have a listen below, or on the mp3 - all credit to the ABC (and the wonderful host, Kia).
54 minutes | Jul 3, 2015
Ep 157: Where to now for Cold Fusion?
Do you remember Cold Fusion? Remember when electrochemists Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons claimed to have achieved nuclear fusion in a bottle on a table in their lab in Utah? That was so 80s! Cold Fusion was quickly debunked and, apart from its appearance in a 1997 Val Kilmer Movie (The Saint), most people forgot about it. So it may surprise you to hear that Cold Fusion research continues to this day, with some “interesting” participants and some extraordinary and surprisingly persistent claims. The most recent International Conference on Cold Fusion (ICCF-19) was the largest yet reflecting a climate of renewed interest.Dr. Timothy J. Surendonk has a passion for cold fusion, and in this podcast episode, tells its story, of the new players, recent events, and particularly the curious story of the “e-cat.” It isn't heavy on technical science, but rather a more entertaining talk that just might challenge the way you relate to science.Listen to this show here: References:Fleischmann, M., & Pons, S. (1989). Electrochemically induced nuclear fusion of deuterium Journal of Electroanalytical Chemistry and Interfacial Electrochemistry, 261 (2), 301-308 DOI: 10.1016/0022-0728(89)80006-3Kim, Y. (2009). Theory of Bose–Einstein condensation mechanism for deuteron-induced nuclear reactions in micro/nano-scale metal grains and particles Naturwissenschaften, 96 (7), 803-811 DOI: 10.1007/s00114-009-0537-6 Kim, Y. (2012). Nuclear Reactions in Micro/Nano-Scale Metal Particles Few-Body Systems, 54 (1-4), 25-30 DOI: 10.1007/s00601-012-0374-6 Songs in the podcast:80's synthesizers in space by greg_baumont Proton Pumps by davi roque de souzaNuclear Winter - Neon Pimpz by DJStupid Banner: Big Bang / Cold Fusion by Johannes
2 minutes | Jul 2, 2015
Ep 156: Science for kids - home-made lava-lamp
This Christmas break, I have been mucking around with science experiments for my kids. Here is the first of a few easy experiments you can try at home.The following videos show you how to make a home-made lava lamp. It is very simple - grab a clear cup (or bottle or vase or flask), fill it about a third full of water and two thirds full of oil. The oil floats on the water as it has a lower density. Add some food colouring (you can do this at the start directly to the water, or after you have added the oil - this has the added benefit of showing that the food colouring does not dissolve in the oil, so it drops through the lower density oil to the water below).You may already have Alka Seltzer in your medicine cabinet - it is an over-the-counter pain reliever containing Citric acid and Sodium bicarbonate (also known as baking soda). Split the alka seltzer tablets into about 4 bits, and add them to make your lamp. See the videos below for what happens.Shorter version: Longer version: The reaction that is occurring is:Citric Acid + Sodium bicarbonate → Sodium citrate + Carbon dioxide + WaterC6H8O7 + 3NaHCO3 → Na3C6H5O7 + 3CO2 + 3H2OOr more simply:3H++ 3HCO3- → 3CO2 + 3H2ONote, if you don't have alka seltzer, you can try baking soda, but add some vinegar to the original water mix, as vinegar is acidic and provides the H+.When you add the alka seltzer to the water, the citric acid and sodium bicarbonate start to dissolve, which allows the reaction to start and is why they don't react in solid form in the tablet.The reaction produces gaseous carbon dioxide, which has a lower density than both water and oil, and hence rises through the layers. When the gas bubbles exit the water into the oil, they trap and pull up a small amount of water with them. When the bubbles reach the surface, they burst and the water falls back through the oil. It's worth looking at this closely, as you will observe coloured water droplets that don't have quite enough CO2 stuck to, or dissolved within, them to make it all the way to the surface, and so they float around, buffeted from side to side by other, more vigorously moving, droplets.Here's some more over at CSIRO.
31 minutes | Feb 26, 2015
It is with great sadness that I let you know that my friend and co-Beer Drinking Scientist, Darren Osborne, passed away in January after a brave battle with brain cancer.I've put a few words up over on the BDS website, so I'll direct you over there if you would like to have a look or if you would like to make a charitable donation to the Cure Brain Cancer Foundation. The clips in this show might not be new to Mr Science Show listeners, but they are new to those who listened to BDS and are a nice collection of irreverent and ridiculous scientific conversations between us.
24 minutes | Jul 13, 2014
Ep 155: Fact or Fiction with ANSTO
The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation undertakes research and development in nuclear science and technology. This has wide application including nuclear medicine, atmospheric monitoring, materials engineering, neutron scattering and climate change research.ANSTO is also very active in science communication, and one of their major community engagement projects is Fact or Fiction, a 90 minute show where the audience watch clips of classic sci-fi hits before voting on whether the technology featured is actual science fact or pure science fiction. Once the audience voting has been conducted, an ANSTO scientist critiques the science featured in the film. They have also run a Fact or Fiction Survey, the results of which are illustrative of the general public understanding of science in everyday life. Another effort ANSTO is conducting is Neural Knitworks, where knitted neurons join together to create a textile brain installation. I spoke with Rod Dowler from ANSTO's Discovery Centre about their science communication efforts, and in particular, Fact or Fiction. Listen to this show here: In the podcast, we mentioned a song about hoverboards. I would have loved to have put it in the show, but that wouldn't be legal. So if you'd like to hear it, stream it below or buy it from iTunes right here: Songs in the podcast:Is Nuclear Power The Answer? - Karstenholymoly / CC BY-NC 3.0Sci-fi funeral - Asmus Koefoed / CC BY-NC 3.0The Unbroken Thread (The Molecules of Life Remix) - morgantj / CC BY 3.0
15 minutes | Apr 26, 2014
Ep 154: Blogging, podcasting, royal jelly and using chocolate to determine the speed of light
Over the Easter break, I spoke with Lish Fejer on ABC 666 Canberra on her Experimentarium segment. We spoke on various things to do with science blogging and podcasting, and matters Easter related including:Royal Jelly (the Royals were in town, a great link if ever I've seen one),Determining the speed of light using your microwave and left-over Easter chocolate.To learn more about Royal Jelly, tune into Episode 137: Can your environment change your DNA in which I spoke at length with Professor Ryszard Maleszka from The Australian National University’s College of Medicine, Biology and Environment about the molecular differences in over 550 genes in the brains of worker and queen bees that are a result of the queen bee eating royal jelly at a young age.On determining the speed of light using a microwave, see the post Instascience by Tom Gordon in which he uses paper. We used chocolate and it worked pretty well, albeit very messily. You will enjoy trying this at home, and failing just gives you another shot! Note in the broadcast I mentioned that the speed of light was 2.97 x 108 when it's actually 2.99792 x 108 (please forgive such a grievous error...)Listen to this show here - the audio is courtesy ABC 666 Canberra: Here is a nicely produced video on how to do this - I started out making one and made a mess of my kitchen.
35 minutes | Mar 11, 2014
Ep 153: Complex Network Analysis in Cricket
Complex network analysis is an area of network science and part of graph theory that can be used to rank things, one of the most famous examples of which is the Google PageRank algorithm. But it can also be applied to sport. Cricket is a sport in which it is difficult to rank teams (there are three forms of the game, the various countries do not play each other very often etc.), whilst it is notoriously difficult to rank individual players (for how the ICC do it, see Ep 107: Ranking Cricketers).Satyam Mukherjee at Northwestern University became a bit famous when The economist picked up his work (more famous than when we picked it up!) and he has published extensively on complex network analysis as applied to cricket rankings. I had a very interesting chat with Satyam about his various works concerning the evaluation of cricket strategy, leadership, team and individual performance, and the papers we discuss in the podcast are listed below. One of the more interesting findings was that left-handed captains and batsmen are generally ranked higher than their right-handed counterparts, whilst this is not true for left-handed bowlers.Tune in to this episode here: Songs in the podcast: Loveshadow / CC BY-NC 3.0 Speck / CC BY-NC 3.0 Zep Hurme / CC BY 2.5 Stefan Kartenberg / CC BY-NC 3.0References: Satyam Mukherjee (2013). Ashes 2013 - A network theory analysis of Cricket strategies arXiv arXiv: 1308.5470v1 Satyam Mukherjee (2013). Left handedness and Leadership in Interactive Contests arXiv arXiv: 1303.6686v1 Satyam Mukherjee (2012). Quantifying individual performance in Cricket - A network analysis of Batsmen and Bowlers arXiv arXiv: 1208.5184v2 Satyam Mukherjee (2012). Complex Network Analysis in Cricket : Community structure, player's role and performance index arXiv arXiv: 1206.4835v4 Satyam Mukherjee (2012). Identifying the greatest team and captain - A complex network approach to cricket matches arXiv arXiv: 1201.1318v2
26 minutes | Jan 31, 2014
Ep 142: Beyond Zero Emissions
Beyond Zero Emissions is a not-for-profit, volunteer run organisation whose core goal is to develop blueprints for the implementation of climate change solutions. In partnership with the University of Melbourne's Energy Research Institute, BZE are undertaking the Zero Carbon Australia 2020 Project, which puts together fully costed transition plans for getting Australia to zero emissions in ten years using commercially available technology.Last year I attended their launch event for the Zero Carbon Australia Stationary Energy Plan which goes into detail about how Australia can reach 100% renewable energy within a decade. Speakers at the launch included former NSW premier Bob Carr, member for Wentworth Malcolm Turnbull, Greens Senator Scott Ludlam and Matthew Wright, Executive Director of BZE. The event was hosted by journalist Quentin Dempster.In this podcast, with permission from Matthew Wright, I bring you Matthew's speech at this launch which details the science behind their proposal. I also chatted to BZE volunteer Petra Liverani at the recent Say yes to a price on carbon pollution rally in Sydney.Click play below or listen to this show here: If you'd like to hear what Turnbull, Carr and Ludlam had to say, check out the full video of the launch below, reproduced here with permission.
32 minutes | Sep 28, 2013
Ep 152: Spiderman Part 2
In part 2 of the Spiderman series, Dr Boob looks at the amazing properties of spider silk and how Peter Parker might harness various technologies to appropriately use it.It's the final show from Dr Boob for a while and we will miss him greatly! But he's not disappearing completely - show him you care over on twitter - @doctor_boob Tune in to this episode here. Cover by NippotenSongs in this episode: Hebber Zepherin / CC BY-NC 3.0 Loveshadow / CC BY-NC 3.0
17 minutes | Sep 15, 2013
Ep 151: Spiderman Part 1
This is our last Science of superheroes for a while so we thought we'd look at one of the big guys. Over two episodes, Dr Boob examines Spiderman and in episode one, he specifically looks at how to manipulate Peter Parker's DNA using a virus to transport engineered DNA into his cells. It is by changing his genetic structure that we can allow him to have his superhero abilities, which for Spiderman are largely exaggerated spider traits as well as something called a "Spidey sense".Tune in to this episode here. Cover image from NanAmy-BoTSongs in the podcast by: Loveshadow / CC BY-NC 3.0 Nitropox@CCmixter / CC BY-NC 3.0
59 minutes | Jul 14, 2013
Ep 150: Bryan Gaensler at 20 years of the Sydney University Science Talented Student Program
I recently attended the 20 year anniversary of the Sydney University Faculty of Science Talented Student Program. That was an intimidating event! The evening was hosted by Adam Spencer and featured an in-conversation with Professor Bryan Gaensler, Dave Sadler (Bryan's former mathematics high school teacher) and Alison Hammond, a current TSP student. The kind people at the Sydney Uni Faculty of Science have allowed me put the audio up here, so a big thanks to them - all attribution, love and praise should be sent their way. It was a very interesting evening to hear what encouraged one of Australia's most well-known scientists into astrophysics, along with the always witty Adam Spencer. Tune in to this episode here. The two songs used in this episode are by Keytronic / CC BY-NC 3.0 and Jeris / CC BY-NC 3.0
32 minutes | May 4, 2013
Ep 149: Zombies Part 2
In the second of a two part series on zombies, this week we go deeper in the dark world of the undead. In part one we managed, through a combination of drugs, to create zombie-like creatures who were sluggish and largely brain-dead. This week we have a shot at recreating the zombies of films such as I am Legend - creatures created through the transmission of a virus, who are filled with rage and enjoy the taste of brains. Topics covered include:Mad cow disease and the use of prions to transmit disease,Chimpanzees who eat brains,Methamphetamines for the creation of rage,Mathematical modelling a zombie pandemic and how the zombies could do this sustainably.Somehow we ended up proposing a "Planet of the zombie apes" movie idea, and a methamphetamine-infused biodome. It might not pass an ethics committee. Tune in to this episode here. In the podcast we use a few songs, all licensed under a Attribution Noncommercial (3.0)I As We by Speck Big John by copperhead What It All Boils Down To by texasradiofish Above image from ABC Open Wide Bay
26 minutes | May 4, 2013
Ep 148: Zombies Part 1
Zombies have been fodder for science fiction books and movies for years, but could we actually create one in the lab? And why indeed would you want to do this? Surely the whole "eating brains" concept would mean that making one is probably not in your best interests.This week on the podcast, Dr Boob takes us on a journey through zombie science fiction, Haitian zombies and zombie-style animals in nature, including a fascinating scenario where ants are hijacked by a fungus. This episode is part 1 - next time we will tackle, among other things, brain parasites, eating brains (cultural, cooking and animals that do it), mad cow disease, the 'zombie' bath salts attacks (face eating), and a mathematical model of a zombie pandemic. We have looked at zombies in the past. In the post Correlation of the Week: Zombies, Vampires, Democrats and Republicans we looked at how the political party of the US presidency seems to influence the style of science fiction movie made during their presidency. A recent upsurge in zombie films could augur well for the Republicans next time round, although there are still plenty of vampire films and TV shows around.The song at the end of the podcast is by copperhead / CC BY-NC 3.0Tune in to this episode here.
42 minutes | Mar 12, 2013
Ep 147: Time Travel and the movies part 2
Time travel is one of the more interesting plot devices in scifi movies. In this episode and the second in the series, Dr Boob takes us on a journey through parallel universes, causal loops and the nature of time-lines. We look at Back to the Future, the Terminator series, Futurama, Looper, Red Dwarf and Twelve Monkeys. By the end, it got a bit deep and my brain hurt! There are a few spoilers in this episode, if somehow you haven't seen these classic time travel movies. And please excuse my cold!A good reference for attempting to explain the logic of time travel in the movies is Temporal Anomalies in Time Travel Movies.Tune in to this episode here.
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