Science Podcasts

Naked Scientists episode

Sat, 20th Aug 2011

Do planes trigger rains?

Boeing 767-200 take off (c) Eric Prado @ wikipedia

The rain in Spain falls mainly on the "plane". Or so the saying goes, but new research has confirmed that aeroplanes do cause clouds to dump their contents prematurely, often around airports, and in this week's show we explore this weather-altering effect of aviation. We also ask industry leader Rolls-Royce to explain how a jet engine works and how their designers have cut noise pollution from planes by over 99% since 1960. In the news, we hear how scientists are forecasting more accurate space weather predictions thanks to a new way to spot sunspots before they even erupt, a new study finds a host of new uses for old drugs, an artificial chromosome looks set to remedy muscular dystrophy and chemists discover diamonds being made in the flame of a candle...

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In this edition of Naked Scientists

Full Transcript

  • 09:23 - Artificial Chromosomes for Muscular Dystrophy

    Duchenne muscular dystrophy, or DMD, is a genetic condition in which sufferers lack the ability to produce dystrophin – an essential structural protein in muscles. The size of the dystrophin gene precludes existing gene therapy techniques, but researchers in Italy could achieve...

  • 15:44 - Diamonds in Flames

    Diamonds have been found in candle flames...

  • 18:52 - Climate change drives animals uphill

    Animals overheated by climate change are heading uphill and away from the equator, new research has shown.

  • 22:40 - Planet Earth Online - Carbon Capture

    Carbon capture and storage has been seen by the government as an important way to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. The idea is that you capture carbon dioxide emissions from industry and then you lock the gas away underground inside rocks out of harm. But what actually happens...

  • 28:07 - How a Jet Engine Works

    How do jet engines actually work? One simple way to think about it is Suck, Squeeze, Bang, Blow. The engine sucks air in the front, compresses it, adds fuel which burns, expands and is blown out of the back, producing thrust and pushing the plane along...

  • 36:19 - Hole Punch Clouds and Making Rain

    Current estimates suggest that there are over half a million people airborne around the planet at any moment in time. inevitably, some of the aircraft carrying those people will be passing through clouds and recently, researchers have shown that this can cause a very strange ph...

  • 47:43 - Turning Down Take Off Noise

    As air traffic grows, the noise of aircraft is becoming an increasingly important problem. To find out what manufacturers are doing to solve the problem, Ben Valsler has been to speak to Rolls Royce’s Senior Project Engineer for Noise, Joe Walsh, and their Chief Noise Specialis...

  • 55:43 - How does a jet engine get started?

    How does a jet engine get started?

  • 56:47 - Do contrails cool the atmosphere?

    I read once that airplane contrails may cool the climate and that this effect was observed following the grounding of planes after the September 11 attacks. Could this effect be the basis for climate change mitigation?

  • 57:30 - Are big planes damaging the ozone layer?

    Are big planes really damaging the ozone layer? If they are, when will we have better engines?

  • 58:45 - How do solar sails work?

    Howdy! Ever since I first heard about solar sails I have been curious about how they work.  It is my understanding that light is massless whether considered a particle or wave.  How does a massless particle impart a force on another object? Regards,



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