Naked Scientists Podcast

Naked Scientists episode

Sat, 12th Jun 2010

50 years of Lasers

Laser experimentsAir Force Research Laboratory (c) Air Force Research Laboratory

We celebrate 50 years of Lasers on the Naked Scientists this week, by looking into the history, and future, of laser science.  We'll hear how lasers have revolutionised manufacturing and could be the answer to our clean energy concerns.  Also, how lasers make the most accurate measurements for high precision industries, and how laser tweezers can be used to manipulate things smaller than a red blood cell, and make tiny tools.  In Kitchen Science, Dave launches his bid for world domination by building a home-made laser!  Plus, how sharks sniff out a snack, the technology that keeps world cup matches safe and accessible, and how the Deepwater Horizon oil spill will affect Louisiana's wetlands.

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In this edition of Naked Scientists

Full Transcript

  • 01:39 - How Sharks Sniff out a Snack

    Sharks are known for their ability to follow a scent in the water to their next meal – and now researchers in Florida have discovered how they do it.

  • 05:01 - Eat or sleep?

    It's the Homer Simpson dilemma – is it more important to eat or to sleep? New research sheds light on the genetic basis of the sleep/hunger balance...

  • 08:25 - Honey Trap to Detect Mosquito Pathogens

    Collecting mosquito saliva in honey can help to track the pathogens they carry, according to researchers in Australia...

  • 11:39 - DNA ends could hold key to leukaemia

    Now new research from scientists in Cardiff, funded by the charities Cancer Research UK and Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research, have discovered that a certain type of leukaemia may actually develop if the protein telomerase not being active enough...

  • 14:40 - World Cup Technology

    This week saw a historic moment in football, the kick-off of the First World Cup ever to be held in an African nation. Meera Senthilingam spoke to Kelvin Kemm from Pretoria in South Africa to find out what things are like over there and how science and technology is being used ...

  • 17:40 - Evaluating the Impact of Oil on Louisiana's Wetlands

    As well as blanket football coverage, it’s been very hard to miss news about the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico. Estimates vary widely but it’s thought that millions of gallons of oil have leaked into the ocean. But what impact will this have on the local environment? Dr. Rob...

  • 23:20 - 50 Years of Lasers

    This week, we are celebrating 50 years of the laser and to fill us in on the background of the laser and some of the cutting edge applications and research that’s currently going on, we’re joined by Dr. Graeme Hirst, head of laser application at the STFC’s Central Laser Facility...

  • 24:30 - Can a laser be any spectrum of light?

    Can a laser be any spectrum of light?

  • 30:51 - Lasers for Measurement

    The field of metrology, or measurement, is something that requires a great deal of accuracy. Meera Senthilingam has been out to the National Physical Laboratory find out more about the crucial role that lasers play...

  • 38:47 - Using a Laser as Tweezers

    One of the many new applications of lasers is in the building of tiny, tiny machines. When handling tiny objects, you need tiny tools, and lasers make very good tweezers. To find out how they work, Ben Valsler went to Bristol University and met Physicist, Dr. David Carberry.....

  • Warning symbol for laser beam (c) Torsten Henning

    46:10 - TEA Laser - How lasers work

    The homemade UV TEA nitrogen laser is very dangerous, but useful to understand how a basic laser works.

  • 53:27 - Could a laser be used to remove graffiti?

    Hi Chris and team, Curtains fade because of sunlight. The world has a problem with graffiti. Has anyone tried inventing a laser light that could be used to shine on the graffiti and fade it in a hurry? Regards Paul NZ

  • 55:42 - How fast does a moving light source go?

    What would happen if you were driving at light speed and you switch your headlights on? What about a lit torch being carried at light speed? What would happen then?



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Just a quick question. Why is it that why using green lasers at night you are able to produce a clear beam of light to the night sky. This usefull when looking at stars with a party of people. So why are you able to see the laser at this time? Mr.Freeman, Sun, 13th Jun 2010

Laser light appears to be made up of little dots. When the beam hits something, these dots can be seen. If I take my glasses off, the patch of little dots goes out of focus. If I then put my glasses lens in the path of the laser beam, the dots come back into focus. Comment ? pmailkeey, Sun, 13th Jun 2010

Why doesn't the link in the top message "listen to this" produce any audible sound ? Apparently these are broadcast on the radio - WHERE ? Comment ? pmailkeey, Sun, 13th Jun 2010

The easiest way to get us is to download the podcast, you can find them all here. BRValsler, Tue, 15th Jun 2010

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