Show 44 – First broadcast 3rd April 2009
Science in the News
Good news this week for cocaine addicts who want to get clear. Pharmacological researchers at University College Irvine in California have discovered that by blocking the Melanin concentrating hormone MCH, they can limit cocaine cravings. In cocaine use MCH works with dopamin in the please centre of the brain to create an addictive response. The researchers hope that by blocking MCH, they will cure those cocaine cravings. There are also hoping that similar methods will work for amphetamines and nicotine.
Black hole simulation: Scientists at the University of Colorado have created simulations that let you see what it would be like to fall into a black hole – well what you might see as you fell into a black hole if you were somehow able live through the experience. First things change slowly and then as you speed up the darkness of the black hole (or event horizon) looms and light from the rest of the universe become distorted – as you fall through the surface you see a dome of light which progressively become a narrow band until you reach the singularity and who knows what happens there. There will links to the simulation on our website. There are certainly worth a look.
Robots controlled by thought: Honda this week demonstrated a Brain Machine Interface to control their Asimo robot. The controller wears a helmet that contains sensors to pick up the brains electrical signals – this is standard EEG. This was combined with another technique called near-infrared spectroscopy that monitors changes in bloodflow of the brain. The controller just has to think about which limb to move and the robot moves correctly. Wow! this could really change the world. One you can start moving objects by thinking about them – it is a form of technological telekinesis.
Feature Interview 1: Jon Prinz on hot drinks
My first guest this week is Dr Jon Prinz, a molecular gastronomy expert who started out as an NHS dentist but when he went on holiday to Hong Kong in 1992, he ended up staying there for 5 years to do a PhD in oral anatomy. He now works on the mechanics of chewing and swallowing and sensory perception of food.
Jon teamed up with that famous chef Heston Blumenthal in 2001 and they have been collaborating and sharing ideas ever since. He talks to us this week about heat in the mouth
Feature Interview 2:Robin Shattock on HIV and AIDs
Our second feature guest this week is Robin Shattock, Professor of Cellular and Molecular Infection in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine at St George’s, University of London. Robin is a world leader in AIDs research and today he talks to us about his $20million from the Gates foundation and the Wellcome trust research grant to make the women all over the planet safe from being infected by HIV.
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