Science Podcasts

Naked Scientists episode

Sat, 14th Aug 2010

Digging in the Dirt and Looking at the Stars

Astronomy and Archaeology (c) Dave Ansell/Ben Valsler

This week, we've got a roundup of recent news and interviews from the Naked Astronomy and Naked Archaeology Podcasts.  Digging into Archaeology, Diana O'Carroll will be looking into Bronze Age burial practices, meeting some of our oldest known walking ancestors and finding out how past human migrations are written in our genes. while looking to the stars, Ben Valsler explores the challenges of building extremely large telescopes, finds out how rubik’s cube size satellites can help test new technology and consults a team of experts to answer your questions on dark matter, planets and spacecraft propulsion.

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In this edition of Naked Scientists

Full Transcript

  • 01:10 - Bones of the Bronze Age

    A slightly grizzly start to this week as we’re looking at Bronze Age cremations. During the period which spans roughly from 2000 to 700 BC in the UK, there was a fashion for cremating the dead - but the practise of cremation is not quite what it seems...

  • 11:20 - Bigger, better telescopes

    Douglas Adams found a very good way to describe how big space is. He said: “Space is big. You won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemists, but that’s just peanuts to space”. We find out what...

  • 18:53 - Sediba - a newly discovered ancestor?

    Sediba - a newly discovered, 2 million year old possible ancestor, had a small brain, but probably walked a bit more upright than all the others. Professor Lee Berger, from the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa, described the discovery...

  • 27:29 - Testing Technology in Orbit with CubeSats

    The UK Space Agency has recently announced a pilot program, inviting companies and academics to device innovative ideas for payloads to be launched in a tiny cube shaped satellite, called a CubeSat. To find out more, I spoke to Dr. Chris Castelli, Head of Space Science Projects...

  • 35:21 - Will Cubesats increase the Space Junk problem?

    My question is about space junk and satellite tracking. There is so much junk currently in orbit, that act as projectiles, and the junk can destroy functioning satellites. Won't these tiny CubeSats greatly increase this problem?

  • 36:44 - DNA and the first Australian Settlers

    It’s not only archaeology that can tell us about the first Australian settlers. DNA evidence has come up with some fascinating insights into the history of human migrations made thousands of years ago. Toomas Kivisild from the Leverhulme Centre for Human Evolutionary Studies a...

  • 42:31 - Does dark matter have structure?

    Is dark matter simply a framework around which matter affixes itself to, or does dark matter have its own independent structures - meaning is there a dark universe with dark galaxies, and dark planets, and maybe even dark lifeforms? Thank You, Leo Vela Miami Beach, Florida

  • 45:45 - If the universe is expanding, are we getting further from the Sun?

    Hi guys, love the show, listen to it at work to help make the days a bit more interesting. My question is: If the universe is expanding, but planets and stars are staying the same size, why doesn't the distance between Earth and the sun increase, and our orbit around the sun bec...

  • 47:40 - Will a laser work to propel a spacecraft?

    Hi Chris, Just wondering whether or not you could propel a craft at light speed in space, with a Lazer or light beam source from Earth, once the craft had been deployed in space. To do so would obviously reduce a lot of issues with respect to on board fuel storage, and prop...

  • 51:03 - The Repatriation of Yagan

    Duncan Howitt-Marshall and Diana O'Carroll discuss the repatriation and reburial of the head of Yagan, the Australian aboriginal warrior who was killed and beheaded by colonial settlers in 1833...

  • 54:41 - Earliest Evidence of Pet Tortoises

    Diana O'Carroll and Duncan Howitt Marshall discuss the discovery of tortoise bones at Stafford Castle - the earliest evidence of tortoises as pets...

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