Naked Scientists Podcast

Naked Scientists episode

Sat, 13th Jun 2009

Your Science Questions

Woman holding sign reading "?" stands on wooden deck in front of wooden fence. Washington, D.C., 1922. (c) Unnamed photographer in employ of National Photo Company

On this Naked Scientists Question and Answer show, we discover how storms create slow earthquakes and how a local star, Betelgeuse, could explode very soon.  We also hear of an accurate way to date pottery and explore the physics of helicopter seeds.  Plus, why hurricanes rotate in opposite directions either side of the equator, the ultimate fate of stars and how to boil your fishtank without harming the fish.  All this and in Kitchen Science we snap some spaghetti to seek the physics of pasta!

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In this edition of Naked Scientists

Full Transcript

  • 15:10 - Pot Dating

  • 17:57 - A New Element - Ununbium

    And also this week scientists have come up with a reason for you to tear up that periodic table which is on the wall of your chemistry laboratory or your school classroom, and replace it with a new one. This is because we have a new element to add to it. And here to tell us ab...

  • 22:46 - Why does water go the opposite way in the Southern Hemisphere?

    When the plug is taken out of the sink full of water, the water goes down the plug hole and the water goes down empty on a clockwise direction. I e-mailed a friend of mine in Australia and asked him to check and he tells me that the water goes on a clockwise direction. Can you ...

  • 25:56 - Why don't we choke when we drink through a straw?

    If youíre drinking a milkshake or any other drink with a straw, when you finish, you can use your lungs to suck up all the last bits through the straw. It doesnít matter how hard you suck, why donít we choke?

  • 34:57 - Snapping Spaghetti

    What happens when you snap a simple piece of spaghetti? Believe it or not, this is a question that has baffled some of the finest minds in the world. Why not have a go yourself?

  • 36:05 - What is the ultimate fate of a star?

    Iíve recently developed an interest in astronomy and I hope you can clear up what appears to be some contradictory explanations concerning the final phase in the life cycle of stars. Different astronomers and astrophysicist that Iíve listened to have stated that stars end up as ...

  • 39:11 - The Science Museum - Science Icons

    2009 marks a 100 years since the opening of London Science Museum. To mark this special anniversary, the Science Museum is launching its centenary journey trail, which identifies ten scientific icons...

  • 46:20 - Does fog have a dampening effect on sounds?

    Hi, I'd like to know whether the moisture in the fog can have a dampening effect for sounds? It always feels quieter on a foggy night than a clear night, and I wonder if it's due to ambient sounds being dampened.

  • 57:46 - Is the Earth losing water into space?

    Iíve always wondered, is the Earth leaking? Could water evaporate into space? Given enough time could the Earth end up like Mars: a desolate wasteland with not a drop of water to be found?



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Hi guys, love the show. When I play poker with my friends and I get a good hand, I find it hard to control my feelings. My heartbeat goes up and a vein in my neck starts to pulsate. My friends find this easy to pick up on. Can you tell me whats happening and why? And how can I stop it? Mark from Belfast, Sun, 14th Jun 2009

Would safe, effective contraception count for the Science Museum's inventions that changed the future? Definitely a life transforming and life-saving invention! Tracey S, Sun, 14th Jun 2009

Julie Rees-Jones asked the Naked Scientists: Your latest podcast contained an item on using clay hydrolysis to date pottery and stated that there was no existing method for dating pottery. Thermoluminescence has been used for many years to date fired ceramics. In addition hydrolysis is a chemical reaction and will therefore be affected by temperature. To get an accurate date it needs to be known at what average temperature the pottery has been kept at. Not always a easy thing to work out. Julie Rees-Jones (Dubai) What do you think? Julie Rees-Jones, Fri, 26th Jun 2009

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