Science Podcasts

Naked Scientists episode

Tue, 27th Jan 2015

Lifting the Lid on Plastic

Turtle and plastic bags (c) thebiggoodbye

Last year, 100 million tonnes of plastic were produced by industry. At the same time sufficient waste plastic was found floating in the world's oceans to make a string of bottles long enough to make it to the Moon. This week we find out what plastic is, how it is made, how to recycle it and why, in the future, it might literally grow on trees. Plus, reading Roman scrolls buried 2000 years by a volcano, how the magnetic history of a meteorite sheds light on the early Solar system, and an antidote to radiation...

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In this edition of Naked Scientists

Full Transcript

  • 01:15 - Reading ancient Roman scrolls

    Roman scrolls burned and buried two thousand years ago when Mount Vesuvius erupted are being read successfully by Italian scientists...

  • 05:24 - Magnetic Meteorites

    Scientists have been using X-rays to examine magnetism in meteorites dating from the dawn of the solar system...

  • 09:16 - Human impacts on ecosystems

    Pet dogs living with humans have infected African lions with distemper virus, while people are putting pumas off their lunch...

  • 14:16 - Anti-radiation antidote

    A drug that protects against radiation exposure, and might cut side-effects for radiotherapy patients, has worked successfully in mice...

  • 18:21 - Winston Churchill's scientists

    2015 marks the 50th anniversary of Winston Churchill's death, and the Science Museum in London has launched a new exhibit in recognition...

  • 22:36 - What is plastic?

    What is a plastic, and how are plastics made? Physicist Athene Donald makes some nylon and demonstrates thermoplastics...

  • 42:20 - Plastics from Plants?

    At the moment, plastics are produced industrially using oil as a raw material. But, in future, it might, quite literally, grow on trees...

  • 48:35 - How much can we recycle?

    We 'recycle' our plastics but are they really recycled? How much can be recycled? I suspect less than most people think.

  • 49:33 - What happens to the plastic in the ocean?

    I recycle in the hopes of preventing the plastic from pelletizing in the oceans. And then she wants to point out that labelling isnt at all user friendly on different types of plastics, but what is the process by which these plastic breakdown in the ocean and then turn into th...

  • 50:36 - What happens when I eat plastic?

    Oysters and mussles contain plastic particules. What happens to me when I eat them?



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