Monday, 22 September 2014

Sam Rolfe: Science Correspondent

Today, Sam Rolfe was our guest on the drivetime show. Sam covered the following topics:


Artificial sweeteners have been in use for decades and are becoming more popular in items such as diet drinks. Past theories linking the consumption of sweeteners to cancer have been debunked, but a recent study found that a high intake of a sweetener called saccharin developed an impaired glucose metabolism, a warning sign of Type 2 Diabetes. This study is significant as it suggests that sweeteners, which people with diabetes often take or is used as a sugar substitute, could still put people at risk to metabolic problems. However, this research has yet to be replicated

Ig Nobel Prizes

They may not have the prestige of a Nobel Prize, but they are still important! Ig Nobel Prizes commends researchers who have made us laugh as well as think. They have been awarded for the following categories:

Physics: Testing the amount of friction involved when  a person steps on a banana peel
Psychology: Discovering that people who normally stay up late are on average more self-admiring, more manipulative and more psychopathic than early risers
Public Health: Investigating whether it is mentally hazardous to own a cat
Biology: Documenting that dogs prefer to go to the toilet when aligned with the Earth's north-south magnetic lines
Art: Measuring the amount of pain people register, when shot in the hand with a laser, when they are looking at a pretty painting versus an ugly one
Medicine: Treating nosebleeds with strips of cured pork
Arctic Science: Testing how reindeer respond to seeing people dressed up as polar bears
Nutrtion: Characterising lactic acid bacteria in infant faeces as a possible starter culture for fermented sausages.

Scientist of the month

Ernest Rutherford (1871-1937) is known as the father of nuclear physics. His many contributions include: the concept of nuclear half life, the Rutherford model of the atom, the proton and has an element in the periodic table, Rutherfordium, named after him.

The night sky this month

Later on this week, if you have a good view of the western horizon, you should be able to see a crescent moon between Saturn and Mars.
Next week, if you are an early riser, you should be able to spot the International Space Station in the early hours. Google "spot the station" for more information.Tonight the station will pass almost directly over head at 5:15 AM, moving from East to West.
Moving into the autumn months the constellations Cygnus and Lyra are in peak observing positions.

Sam's Sources


Ig Nobel Prizes:

Scientist of the month:

Night sky this month:

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