Naked Scientists Podcast

Naked Scientists episode

Sun, 25th Mar 2007

The Science of Flight

Fitting Camera on Cossak (c) Yuki Ozawa, Oxford University

Coming up on this week's show we'll be exploring flight in terms of both flying machines for people (and when I say flying machine I mean really cool - super fast stuff) and how animals fly (think dragonflies in a wind tunnel with smoke, or Eagle-cam).  Dr Graham Taylor of Oxford University works on the aerodynamics and flight control of bird and insect flight. He'll be telling us about Cossack, the Eagle with a wireless video camera back-pack and how this allows Graham to see how air acts on the surface of Cossack's wings. He also puts flying insects in special wind tunnels where by blowing trails of smoke over their wings he can see air flows over their wings. Also on the show there will be Jenny Goodman who will tell us about her PhD project which involves trying to get an aeroplane to fly at Mach 6 (also known as 6 times the speed of sound or 2 to 3 times as fast as Concorde). This is no mean feat when temperatures 13cms away from the fuel tank are hot enough to melt stainless steel in 5 seconds!

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In this edition of Naked Scientists

Full Transcript

  • 16:57 - Can curry reduce parasites?

    In India, curry is widely consumed as a flavouring, but can curry reduce enteric parasite burden? It appears to increase bowel excretion and movement.

  • 19:14 - Why do men have nipples?

    If female mammals have mammary glands, then why do male mammals also have similar mammary glands? Do all males have them and why bother having them at all if they donít do anything?

  • 47:11 - Why do water bottles shrink when they freeze?

    When I left a half-full water bottle in the car overnight during winter here in Virginia and it froze, the bottle contracted around the ice that formed and got misshapen and sucked in on one side. So instead of looking like a circle from the top, it had an oval shape. My husband ...

  • 52:15 - Can ramjets get enough oxygen to burn their fuel?

    If ramjet engines are going to fly so high up in the air, would they be able to get enough oxygen for combustion?

  • 53:11 - Do swallows roll 360 degrees?

    While watching swallows in flight last summer, it appeared that they were rotating in the air around a full 360 degrees, wing over wing. Is this an optical illusion or can they really do it?

  • Mechanics of Insect and Bird Flight

    Bird and insect flight is still not fully understood. So scientists are now using video backpacks for eagles and virtual flight simulators for flies to work out exactly what's going on.



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