Naked Scientists Podcast

Naked Scientists episode

Sat, 7th Jun 2008

The Real Ithaca and the Secrets of the Odyssey

Photograph taken of the bust of Homer in the British Museum, London. (c) JW1805 @ wikipedia


Ancient Greece is on the naked scientists' menu this week as we travel back in time to 1200 BC to discover how modern science and a 3000 year old poem have solved an ancient riddle. A team of classicists, geologists and archaeologists claim to have found the island of Ithaca, home of the legendary Greek hero Odysseus. Digging further into the past we also hear how geophysics can help archaeologists to see what lies buried underground but without having to lift a trowel. We also learn how dormant brain stem cells can be brought back to life, why it's not just size that is important when it comes to brains, and the mind-controlling parasite that turns its host first into an egg-incubator and then into a bodyguard. Plus, in Kitchen Science, savouring the Greek flavour, Ben and Dave recreate the science of the original Naked Scientist, Archimedes, and find out whether a heap of gold coins are the real thing...

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In this edition of Naked Scientists

Full Transcript

  • 14:47 - Does putting bananas in the fridge make them poisonous?

    Does putting bananas in the fridge make them poisonous? My family have told me this but Iím sure itís a myth.

  • 16:19 - How does carbon dating work?

    If a carbon atom is in existence at the beginning of the Earth, spends some of its time in bacteria, then in fish and animals and so on. It gets into a tree and into furniture and we try and carbon date the furniture arenít we just carbon dating bacteria? How does it really work?

  • 18:37 - Eureka!

    We recreate Archimedes' experiment to find out whether what claims to be gold is really gold, using some fairly basic equipment.

  • 24:56 - What are alternatives to carbon dating?

    How many dating systems like carbon dating are there and what age ranges are they suitable for?

  • 25:42 - The Secrets of Odysseus

    Most of us have heard the tales of ancient Greece and the majority of the time we just think of these tales as another good story but thereís now a team of classicists and scientists who think the story told in one of the most famous of those ancient Greek myths, the Odyssey, mi...

  • 41:31 - Seeing Secrets Underground

    These days when searching for ancient remains and hidden treasures you donít need to have the magical map where X marks the spot. You can now see into the ground using the powers of geophysics to find X for yourself...



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