Great Moments In Science - with Dr Karl Kruszelnic

Great Moments In Science - with Dr Karl Kruszelnic

Australia

From the ground breaking and life saving to the wacky and implausible, Dr Karl Kruszelnicki reveals some of the best moments in science.

Episodes

A brief history of coral  

Coral polyps appear totally helpless at first. So how do they manage to survive, breed and form giant structures like the Great Barrier Reef?

The earworm you can't get out of your head  

If you've ever had a song stuck in your head you'll know it's annoying. But as Dr Karl Kruszelnicki explains, it might be an evolutionary way of keeping us alert to attack or stay focused during repetitive tasks.

That new book smell  

Books, new and old, have a particular smell but what we call that 'new book smell' isn't always the same from book to book and even publisher to publisher as Dr Karl Kruszelnicki explains.

Life on Saturn's moon Enceladus  

When the ancients looked to the stars and wondered if they were alone, they probably never imagined the possibility that Saturn's tiny moon Enceladus might host a strange underwater ecosystem, as Dr Karl Kruszelnicki explains.

The 2016 Nobel prizes for Physics and Chemistry  

This year's Nobel Prizes saw scientists recognised for their work on unusual states of matter and the world's smallest machines. Dr Karl Kruszelnicki explains the science behind the discoveries.

The strange science of autophagy or 'self-cannibalisation'  

The 2016 Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology was awarded for research into autophagy. The word literally means 'self-eating', and it refers to the phenomenon that happens inside cells where 'things' are broken down.

Overcoming chronic lateness  

Are you a perfectionist, a crisis maker, a defier or a dreamer?Dr Karl Kruszelnicki discovers the four kinds of personalities that are especially prone to being chronically late—and what might help to change these habits.

Loud sounds can kill hard drives  

In our complex world, the cure can sometimes be as bad as the original problem. For example, you would think that if you had a fire in a data centre, it would make sense to deprive the fire of oxygen by flooding the room with an inert gas. But what if the noise of the escaping gas is loud enough to kill the spinning hard drives—potentially causing more damage than the fire?

The Ig Nobel Prizes  

Most of us have heard of the Nobel Prizes, awarded for work that is unexpected, important—and deep. But not everybody has heard of the comedy version, the Ig Nobel Prizes. In 2016, they were given for research involving rats in tiny trousers, pseudoscientific gibberish, rocks with personalities—and seven other topics.

Why do mozzies love some people but not others?  

Why are some people mosquito magnets, while others seem to be blissfully bite-free?

Latin's most misused word: vomitorium  

Even without having ever learnt the language, there is probably one Latin word we all know—'vomitorium'. Dredging through our memory banks, we all 'know' that the vomitorium was the special room where, back in rather debauched Roman times, gluttonous eaters would go to vomit.

Time travel is already possible  

There are two types of time travel—into the future, and into the past. Past time travel might be impossible—but on the other hand, we already travel into the future all the time, as Dr Karl explains.

How a chemical in sunscreen attacks coral  

From the cradle to the grave, Australians are taught to use sunscreen to avoid sunburn and skin cancers. But the universe is complicated, with unexpected links—and so, everything has a cost. In this case, the cost appears to be that one popular sunscreen chemical seems to attack coral.

How a chemical in sunscreen attacks coral  

From the cradle to the grave, Australians are taught to use sunscreen to avoid sunburn and skin cancers. But the universe is complicated, with unexpected links—and so, everything has a cost. In this case, the cost appears to be that one popular sunscreen chemical seems to attack coral.

Electric motors in bacteria (part 2)  

Dr Karl Kruszelnicki is fascinated by how bacteria rotate their flagellum counter-clockwise, much like a manmade electric motor. But unlike the motors that humans make, this dynamic microscopic molecular machine is constantly being rebuilt and reconfigured on the run.

The microscopic high-tech wizardry of bacteria  

Dr Karl Kruszelnicki explains the microscopic but super-high-tech gee-wizardry of some bacteria that use propellers powered by self tiny assembling electric motors to swim in their environment.

How dangerous is it to refuel with the engine running?  

We're instructed to stop our cars before refuelling, but how dangerous is it really? Dr Karl Kruszelnicki dispels some myths while staying on the safe side.

Movie releases of a chemical kind  

There are two pretty tense moments in Hunger Games: Mockinjay, and scientists know this just from the chemicals given off by the audience who watched the film. Dr Karl Kruszelnicki explains how a shared scary cinema experience led to a fundamental discovery about human biology.

Immortal jellyfish  

Down through the ages, there have always been myths about immortality—that god-like ability to live forever. Marine biologists found a creature that comes closest to immortality—a tiny transparent jellyfish. Dr Karl Kruszelnicki explains.

Double yolk eggs  

If you buy a lottery ticket every time you get a double-yolk egg because you're having a lucky streak you'll be disappointed to learn it's not as uncommon as we'd made to believe, as Dr Karl Kruszelnicki explains.

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