Naked Scientists Podcast

Naked Scientists episode

Sun, 31st Oct 2010

Where does Phlegm come from?

White handkerchief (c) mcfarlandmo

It's National Pathology Week 2010 and to celebrate the launch we're joined by pathologist Dr Suzy Lishman to take on your science questions! We'll find out where phlegm comes from, how petroleum jelly helps healing and the weight of red blood cells synthesised in a human lifetime. Also, can you concentrate lasers with lenses, why does an open carport stop frost, and if carnivorous plants photosynthesise, why do they need to eat insects? Plus, how researchers in Scotland are sniffing out pollution with such sensitivity, they can detect forest fires all the way from Canada! In Kitchen Science, Dave reads his credit card using rust!

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In this edition of Naked Scientists

Full Transcript

  • 09:17 - One in Five Sun-like stars have Earth-like Planets

    Dr Andrew Howard explains how their observations suggest that up to one in five stars like our Sun may have Earth-like planets orbiting them. We find out why this doesn't increase the likelihood of finding life, but may make us question some of the theories about planet formati...

  • 14:55 - New form of transistor developed

    New form of graphene based reconfigurable transistor has been developed.

  • 17:01 - Thinking along the right lines

    In a study that informs our understanding of how the brain allocates attention to different stimuli, scientists have successfully enabled human volunteers to choose between images on a computer screen just by altering their thoughts.

  • 21:12 - Why would an open carport stop frost?

    I recently began renting a car port from my landlord. Though it is little more than a roof, fully exposed to the elements, I found that there was no frost on my car windows this morning. Yet not eight feet away, a car parked outside the car port had a thick layer of frost on ...

  • 23:50 - Why are planets spherical but meteorites irregularly shaped?

    Hi Chris, Thank you SO very much for all your truly informative topic's of discussion. You just reaffirm how small we really are in this spectacular universe of ours! Chris, I hope this is not a stupid question, but something has puzzled me a little bit in the observation o...

  • 26:06 - National Pathology Week

    Dr Suzy Lishman joined us this week to introduce National Pathology Week 2010, and to answer your questions on pathology...

  • 27:10 - How do I get into Pathology?

    Can you possibly ask Dr Lishman exactly what steps I would need to take to work in Pathology. I'm fascinated post mortems and cause of death investigations. I am planning to study medicine, but is that 100% necessary to get to 'the slab'. Many thanks.

  • 28:04 - How do wounds heal when petrolium jelly is applied?

    Dear Naked Scientists, I was wondering how wounds heal when a lot of petroleum jelly or neosporin is applied to the wound? What does the body do with the foreign material? Absorb it, grow through it? Just wondering if anyone knew. Thank you all! Daniel Spain Nashville, Tenn...

  • 30:20 - Can lasers be concentrated with lenses?

    I want to know if you can take ten already very powerful lasers, shoot into the edge of a magnifying concave lens that shoots them into the edge of another lens of the same kind and keeps doing so a couple times and then directing them out of a final lens in a single concentrated...

  • 31:40 - Does being born by caesarean section affect intestinal flora?

    In a recent show you explained that a baby populates its intestinal flora by swallowing the muck it encounters while passing through the birth canal. What happens when a baby is born by caesarian section? Is the flora as good as it would have obtained by a normal vaginal delivery...

  • 41:49 - What is an aneurysm?

    Good day Chris. I listen to 702 here in Johannesburg regularly. My wife sadly passed away at age 49 due to a brain aneurysm. This was very recently. I ask the neuro surgeon to explain what happened. He tried to explain but I was emotional and maybe did not listen properly. They d...

  • 43:22 - How can humidity make us both hot and cold?

    In summer, air humidity has us feel hotter as there's less evaporation. In winter, it works to feel colder. Why is it opposite?

  • 52:17 - Where does phlegm come from?

    I've been a bit sick lately, and I've been wondering where all the yellow phlegm I've been coughing up comes from. I understand that there's a tube connecting my lungs with my mouth, but I don't see where so much phlegm can be held!

  • 53:24 - Weight of red cells made in a lifetime?

    What is the total weight of red corpuscles formed in a life time?



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