Naked Scientists Podcast

Naked Scientists episode

Sat, 17th Sep 2011

Chilling Out - The Science of Cryogenics

Ice block at beach near Jökulsárlón, Iceland. (c) Andreas Tille -

This week, we're chilling out in the world of cryogenics, the science of the super-cold. We'll find out what happens to living tissue when it freezes, and how we can use low temperatures to keep organs, and maybe even one day whole bodies, in suspended animation. We also talk to the company behind an attractive new design of super-efficient fridge that runs on magnetism. In the news we hear how computer gamers have contributed to a breakthrough in HIV, why humans are programmed for overconfidence, and how the nervous system controls the immune system. Plus, we ask, is modern medicine altering the human gene pool?

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In this edition of Naked Scientists

Full Transcript

  • 01:40 - Computers gamers solve protein puzzle

    Online computer gaming is sometimes viewed as a mere pastime without much outward benefit, but new research reveals how gamers playing an online game called Foldit have managed to crack the 3-dimensional structure of an important protein produced by the Mason-Pfizer Monkey virus...

  • 05:26 - Overconfidence is the human norm

    Humans have evolved to develop an over-inflated sense of our own abilities, scientists have discovered. This bullish belief in ourselves is biologically beneficial, so long as there is uncertainty in the abilities of others, and the wins are worth it...

  • 16:50 - Planting Vaccines, Detecting Lies and Paternal Men

    A round up the week's science news including the planting of vaccines, lie detection, elements at risk and testosterone levels in fathers...

  • 21:02 - Where do all the salmon go? Planet Earth Online

    Salmon numbers in the UK have been falling since the 1970s. This isn't down to overfishing, so scientists are trying to find out why. However, salmon are pretty tricky to follow. Their life cycle takes them from rivers into the open oceans, and then back again to rivers to br...

  • 27:02 - Cryoprotectant Molecules - Nature's Anti-freeze

    Freezing is a great way to slow down chemical reactions and this is why we use a freezer to stop food going off and why organs that are going to be transplanted are kept cold. Freezing can do serious damage to biological tissues, but some organisms have evolved very clever chem...

  • 35:16 - Controlling Cooling to Preserve Organs

    New advances in preserving organs so that they are healthy for transplantation...

  • 57:53 - Is modern medicine affecting the human gene pool?

    Over the past 100 years, and much more so in the past 40 years, medical science has been able to save an increasing number of babies (and mothers) being born that would have not survived if they had been born at any other time in human history. Complications that would have eith...



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