Naked Scientists Podcast

Naked Scientists episode

Sun, 3rd Apr 2011

Keeping the Conversation Flowing

Mobile phone evolution (c) Anders @ wikipedia

This week, we go wireless to explore the science of mobile phones. We hear how new error-correction techniques are promising to put an end to poor quality communications, we meet a new system that lets you borrow the antennae of other nearby phones to boost your data download rates, and a major study that's examining the potential health impacts associated with mobile phone use. Plus, in the news, the now not-so-anomalous Pioneer probe anomaly, the chemical cure that can flatten phobias and how a biased worm could overturn an election victory...

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In this edition of Naked Scientists

Full Transcript

  • 07:54 - Watching the Worm May Turn Voters

    In last year’s general elections, we had the exciting spectacle of a leaders debate, and to help us get an idea of how well the speakers were doing, we could watch “the worm” - a real-time computer generated graph that showed how much a sub set of the audience approved or disapp...

  • 14:42 - Cooling with waste heat

    Fridges that are powered by heat are being improved

  • 16:40 - Life-lengthening drug to dye for

    A tissue dye, called ThT and used commonly in pathology labs to stain proteins, appears also to have significant life-lengthening effects in some species.

  • 20:15 - Planet Earth Online - The Big Dish

    Some clouds can be identified easily from the ground. But when weather forecasters and academic researchers need a bit more detail, they turn to the Chilbolton Facility for Atmospheric and Radio Research in Hampshire. They can put the world’s largest fully steerable meteorolog...

  • 25:29 - Naked Engineering - Why a Mobile Phone Call is like a Sudoku

    Meera and Dave have been to Cambridge University’s Engineering Department to look at the research they’re doing there to improve the quality and reliability of mobile communications, and ensure a good signal whilst on the move...

  • 31:51 - Multiple Antenna Technology for Faster Downloads

    As the power of mobile communication devices increases, they’re demanding progressively faster data transmission rates. One option is to install multiple antennae into a device, so that lots of streams of data can be handled in parallel. But this comes at the cost of size; or ...

  • 38:30 - What happens to the signal if you fly past base stations quickly?

    If you were to use a mobile phone on an aeroplane, what would happen if you were passing between base stations at 500mph?

  • 38:54 - COSMOS - Mobile Phones and Health

    With mobile communications playing an increasingly major part in our lives, many people are worried about the potential health impacts of this technology. For this reason, a large study, called COSMOS, has been set up to track the ongoing health of 250,000 mobile phone users ov...

  • 48:24 - Are mobile phone base stations damaging to health?

    Back in Kenya, we see cases where mobile phone masts are erected less than 10 meters to peoples homes: 1) What dangers if any are people exposed to in such scenarios? 2) Is there a safe distance? 3) What type of radiation is emitted by these masts and how do they affect our body ...

  • 49:16 - Why don't we use the emergency channel for calls?

    Why is it that when u don't have signal but can communicate to emergency numbers? Why can't cellphone use that channel?

  • 51:56 - What consitiutes heavy mobile phone use?

    Hi there, My mother-in-law has recently become preoccupied with the health risks of mobile phones and has sent links mentioning several studies. The studies not commissioned by phone manufacturers seem to show an increase in the risk of brain cancer from prolonged/heavy use. ...

  • 52:39 - Do modern mobile phones put out a weaker signal?

    Hi Dr Chris , I was listening to one of the "up all night" or dr karl podcasts that you were hosting and a user was asking why do we turn off mobile phones in hospitals and airplanes. I have a story that may explain why this was necessary , but I assume that todays phone...



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