Show 45 – First broadcast 10th April 2009
Science in the News
The cacao tree is under threat this year from a virus and a fungus. All chocolate is made from the fermented seeds of the cacoa tree which are mainly roasted except for raw chocolate like buja buja. Now the world biggest producing country, the Ivory Coast is having its spring crop attacked by the Cacao swollen shoot virus that threatens to dramatically reduce the amount produced. Not only that by the witches’ broom fungus is having a similar effect on the Brazilian crop this year.
Neuroscientists at the University of Minnesota believe that they have found a solution to one of the great mysteries of biology – why do we scratch? Because we’re itchy? No it isn’t a joke. Really they wanted to know how scratching relieves an itch.
In an article in the latest Nature Neuroscience journal, the scientists describe how they induced the sensation of itching in the feet of monkeys and then took single cell recordings from spinothalmic cells that are sprinkled throughout the spinal column.
Here’s another odd medical one. When an Israeli Dr. did his residency in radiology he got very frustrated a sitting in a dark room looking a photographs of peoples internal organs without knowing what the people looked like. To make it less abstract he thought that it would be better if a photograph of the patients face was attached.
He ended up turning this into a scientific study that he recently presented to the Radiological Society of North America.
Feature Interview 1: Atomic cold war history
My featured guest this week, David Rosenberg, is an unusual man. He has strong academic credentials with a PhD with Distinction from Chicago University and has been professor at both the National War College and Naval War College. He is also a Naval Captain and commander of the largest Naval Reserve intelligence unit. A man who knows what he is talking about.
Rosenberg has won a string of awards and scholarships too many to mention here. But I am impressed that became the first military historian to be win a prestigious 5 year MacArthur foundation fellowship. They’re really hard to get.
I caught up with David at the Changing Character of War conference in Oxford where we were both giving talks. The interview starts off in the quiet outside the lecture theatre and then you can hear the crowd gradually accumulating.
The Cafe Scientifique Package
This month’s café scientifique insert from John Stratford is about a special event on creativity in the sciences, the social sciences and the arts. Two physical scientists, a psychologist and an artistic director/performer share their personal experiences, their insights and tips on how to be creative.
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