Naked Scientists Podcast

Naked Scientists episode

Sun, 1st Apr 2012

Why did my Dishcloth Detonate?

Gasoline explosions, simulating bomb drops at an airshow. (c) Jon Sullivan

Why does sunlight make me sneeze? What causes air turbulence? Why do energy-saving lights take time to warm up? In this week's question and answer show we also investigate why microwaving a dishcloth causes it catch fire, whether mining could change the Earth's orbit and why streetlights shine with an orange glow. In the news, meanwhile, how electrical brain stimulation can make impossible problems tractible, a pint-sized rocket to take spacecraft to the moon and a tornado spotted on the surface of the Sun...

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In this edition of Naked Scientists

Full Transcript

  • 05:15 - Why do I sneeze on sunny days?

    Something that's always intrigued me on sunny days when I'm inside the house, I'm fine, I go outside and I start sneezing. Now I don't know anybody else that this happens to, so do you have an explanation please.

  • 07:18 - How did the Universe come by its angular momentum?

    Hi Thanks for the show, I find it totally fascinating. It seems the universe is full of angular momentum. Planets revolve and orbit stars, stars revolve and orbit galactic centres even sub atomic particles spin. Yet the origin of the universe was the big bang where ever...

  • 09:50 - What causes elliptical planetary orbits?

    Hi Dr Chris, What a fantastic radio show you put on! Something I've been wondering for a very long time - I have understood your explanation of why planets revolve around stars - the fact that they have energy and are constantly 'falling' but because they have forward motio...

  • 11:11 - Where does air turbulence come from?

    Dear Chris, When an aircraft flies into an area of air turbulence, is this turbulence cause by varying wind speeds and/or crosswinds or a change in air density? Pieter Horn

  • 14:28 - Life's building blocks found in a ring around the Sun

    Complex carbon-based molecules, including many that are important for life on Earth, could have formed in the early solar system.

  • 17:28 - The National Astronomy Meeting 2012

    This week has seen NAM2012 - the Royal Astronomical Society's National Astronomy Meeting. Over 1000 delegates got together to discuss the latest in space science, and Ben Valsler reports on some of the highlights...

  • 21:39 - Ancient Raindrops provide Insight into our Early Atmosphere

    What was the atmosphere like on the Earth nearly 3 billion years ago? Well that's a pretty tough question to answer, but incredibly, some fossilised raindrops or rather, the patterns that they left behind when they fell 2.7 billion years ago have enabled scientists to reconstru...

  • 28:38 - Can mining alter Earth's orbit?

    With all the millions of tons of material that is mined from the earth and redistributed around the globe is there a chance it could effect or alter the planet's orbit? Andy from Folkestone

  • 32:07 - Pint sized rocket

    A rocket has been developed that could get a spaceprobe to the moon on just 100g of fuel

  • 36:06 - Dwarf Elephants - Planet Earth Online

    Sue Nelson explores the missing pieces of the dwarf elephant puzzle and what these extinct animals can tell us about Island evolution...

  • 45:15 - Resuscitating Antibiotics and Bumblebees on the Decline

    How drug-resistant bacteria could be combatted using chemical compounds, pesticides causing declines in bumblebee populations, enormous solar tornadoes and tiny robots that mimic living organisms...

  • 55:25 - Why doesn't my body make best use of my energy reserves?

    Dear Naked Scientists, Right now, I'm reeeeally hungry, feeling shaky because of my low blood sugar and all. I'm wondering though why my stupid body doesn't realise that there are plenty of nutrients around my waist so I would neither have to feel bad nor to run for a cheese s...



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