Naked Scientists Podcast

Naked Scientists episode

Tue, 18th Mar 2014

Pit your Wits...

Saggital transection through the human brain (c) Christian R. Linder

Pit your wits against the combined brain power of the Naked Scientists, in this question and answer Special as the team try to find out the truth behind the age of the Milky Way? Whether plants die of old age, and how cats make their fur stand on end? Plus, in the news, contagious yawns, and how the number of takeaways on the way to work affects your risk of weight gain...

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In this edition of Naked Scientists

Full Transcript

  • 04:10 - Would weighing scales still work on Mars?

    Here is a great "mind puzzle". For many years I used one of those flat scales with an internal spring but finally decided I couldn't trust the damn thing: if it looked like I'd gained a couple of pounds, maybe the spring had gone soft! So finally I got a scale that uses count...

  • 06:43 - Why do we open our mouths when shocked?

    We use the expression "open mouthed" to describe an astounded response, usually to a dramatic unexpected event. This can be seen in that fabulous video of "Holland's Got Talent," when a nine-year-old girl blows the audience away with her beautiful voice, rendering the three judge...

  • 08:33 - Does the DNA of food survive digestion?

    Does the DNA of food survive the human digestive system? Thank you Alexander Hartley, Norwich, Connecticut, USA

  • 10:17 - How old is the Milky Way?

    The age of the sun and the earth are known, but I've never heard anyone specify the age of the galaxy - the Milky Way? If it is known, how do they know? what a splendid series of podcasts you guys are producing, thanks, sp

  • 12:09 - How do cats make their fur stand on end?

    When my long-haired ragdoll cat startles my barely domesticated short-haired kitten, the kitten's tail puffs out and the fur on her back stands up all the way down her spine. The long-haired cat, no matter how scared he gets, never noticeably extends his fur. I believe cats do th...

  • 14:39 - Can laser beams propel vessels in space?

    Can laser beams propel vessels in space?

  • 32:11 - Crash, Bang Squelch!

    Harriet went to one of the biggests events at the Cambridge Science Festival, run by Chaos, to check out some of their experiments.

  • 36:29 - Living near take-aways can make you fat

    Where you live and work, and how many take-away restaurants are nearby, can affect your waste-line as well as your wallet.

  • 47:18 - Could we eliminate the common cold?

    Could we eliminate the common cold by isolating people?

  • 49:45 - When will we have photos of exoplanets?

    How many years until we will be able to get a photograph of a planet outside our solar system? I mean a 'real' one as like one we'd see with the naked eye. Ok, it may need some digitalised enhancements not a photo that shows the levels of temperature, gases etc.

  • 51:14 - How strong are gorillas?

    I am curious about the strength of a silver back gorilla compared to a man. Years ago, I saw a silver back take a five foot diaemter truck tyre and mash it flat, picking it up and squashing it in and out several times, like a person playing an accordion. It would be very diffic...



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