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3Episodes
Category: Science

A fun take on the latest science news with enough data to sink your teeth into. Lagrange Point goes beyond the glossy summary and gets in depth with the research from across the world.

December 30, 2019

Episode 359 - Life surviving on freezing planets, faint suns and meteorites

What can bacteria from an iron ore rich lake tell us about life on early earth? Have scientists finally solved a Carl Sagan paradox about life on early earth? When the earth was young, so was the sun, and that meant less light and heat. How did early life on earth survive if there was not enough sunlight to keep it warm? How did iron ore eating and secreting bacteria help lead to widespread life on our planet? How did micro organisms get enough oxygen to survive when the entire planet was frozen over? What can iron ore deposits tell us about life surviving when the entire planet was frozen over? Can life survive on a meteorite, the answer is surprising. How can a microbe be more suited to life on a meteorite than on earth?

  1. Katharine J. Thompson, Paul A. Kenward, Kohen W. Bauer, Tyler Warchola, Tina Gauger, Raul Martinez, Rachel L. Simister, Céline C. Michiels, Marc Llirós, Christopher T. Reinhard, Andreas Kappler, Kurt O. Konhauser, Sean A. Crowe. Photoferrotrophy, deposition of banded iron formations, and methane production in Archean oceansScience Advances, 2019; 5 (11): eaav2869 DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aav2869
  2. Maxwell A. Lechte, Malcolm W. Wallace, Ashleigh van Smeerdijk Hood, Weiqiang Li, Ganqing Jiang, Galen P. Halverson, Dan Asael, Stephanie L. McColl, Noah J. Planavsky. Subglacial meltwater supported aerobic marine habitats during Snowball EarthProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2019; 201909165 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1909165116
  3. Tetyana Milojevic, Denise Kölbl, Ludovic Ferrière, Mihaela Albu, Adrienne Kish, Roberta L. Flemming, Christian Koeberl, Amir Blazevic, Ziga Zebec, Simon K.-M. R. Rittmann, Christa Schleper, Marc Pignitter, Veronika Somoza, Mario P. Schimak, Alexandra N. Rupert. Exploring the microbial biotransformation of extraterrestrial material on nanometer scaleScientific Reports, 2019; 9 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-54482-7
December 23, 2019

Episode 358 - Wildfires, climate change, smog and charcoal

As the climate changes, wildfires become more common and more dangerous. Smoke clouds from wildfires can linger for weeks, but what chemistry changes inside the smog? Aerosols amongst other particles lurk inside wildfire smoke. How do we study the changes in wildfire smoke; by flying planes through the plumes. How do wildfires impact the CO2 emissions of a region?  Can wildfires help store carbon through charcoal? What can charred biomass to do help capture carbon?

  1. Kouji Adachi, Arthur J. Sedlacek, Lawrence Kleinman, Stephen R. Springston, Jian Wang, Duli Chand, John M. Hubbe, John E. Shilling, Timothy B. Onasch, Takeshi Kinase, Kohei Sakata, Yoshio Takahashi, Peter R. Buseck. Spherical tarball particles form through rapid chemical and physical changes of organic matter in biomass-burning smokeProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2019; 201900129 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1900129116
  2. Matthew W. Jones, Cristina Santín, Guido R. van der Werf, Stefan H. Doerr. Global fire emissions buffered by the production of pyrogenic carbonNature Geoscience, 2019; DOI: 10.1038/s41561-019-0403-x
December 16, 2019

Episode 357 - Microbiology vs Macro climate challenges

Scientist are turning to microbiology to fight global climate challenges. How do you change a microbe from consumer to producer? Can you teach old e-coli new tricks, and make it consume CO2? How can a gut bacteria start to behave like a plant? Can we use enzymes to produce Hydrogen gas efficiently? What is the missing step in hydrogen fuel cell production? Can synthesised enzyme engines help us produce hydrogen without complex processes?

References:

  1.   Gleizer et al. Conversion of Escherichia coli to Generate All Biomass Carbon from CO2Cell, 2019 DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2019.11.009
  2. The binuclear cluster of [FeFe] hydrogenase is formed with sulfur donated by cysteine of an [Fe(Cys)(CO)2(CN)] organometallic precursorProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2019; 116 (42): 20850 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1913324116
     

 

December 9, 2019

Episode 356 - Responding to signs of danger

How do animals communicate information about danger? When a threat is detected by one animal, how do they pass it along to others? Does empathy play a role in how a create responds to a threat? Does the reaction of others around you change your response to threats? What chemical causes you to freeze in response to danger? How does serotonin cause deer in the headlights moments? What's the link between serotonin and slowing down in response to danger?

  1. Yingying Han, Rune Bruls, Efe Soyman, Rajat Mani Thomas, Vasiliki Pentaraki, Naomi Jelinek, Mirjam Heinemans, Iege Bassez, Sam Verschooren, Illanah Pruis, Thijs Van Lierde, Nathaly Carrillo, Valeria Gazzola, Maria Carrillo, Christian Keysers. Bidirectional cingulate-dependent danger information transfer across ratsPLOS Biology, 2019; 17 (12): e3000524 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.3000524
  2. Clare E. Howard, Chin-Lin Chen, Tanya Tabachnik, Rick Hormigo, Pavan Ramdya, Richard S. Mann. Serotonergic Modulation of Walking in DrosophilaCurrent Biology, 2019; DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2019.10.042
December 2, 2019

Episode 355 - Satellites keeping us safe on the ground

Satellites can help save lives down on earth, by helping us better respond in disasters. When a flood, tsunami or other disaster strikes, satellites can help emergency responders get where they need to be as fast as possible. Satellites can track floods in near real time and help shave minutes of disaster response times. Finding your way in a flood or fire can be tricky, but satellites can help direct emergency responders. Satellites can help track critical infrastructure like bridges or roads as they age. When a bridge fails it can be a tragedy, but satellites can help give an early warning. When we dig big tunnels we can disturb structures and buildings, so how can we use satellites to avoid a disaster.

References:

  1. Perry C. Oddo, John D. Bolten. The Value of Near Real-Time Earth Observations for Improved Flood Disaster ResponseFrontiers in Environmental Science, 2019; 7 DOI: 10.3389/fenvs.2019.00127
  2. Pietro Milillo, Giorgia Giardina, Daniele Perissin, Giovanni Milillo, Alessandro Coletta, Carlo Terranova. Pre-Collapse Space Geodetic Observations of Critical Infrastructure: The Morandi Bridge, Genoa, ItalyRemote Sensing, 2019; 11 (12): 1403 DOI: 10.3390/rs11121403