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3Episodes
Category: Science & Medicine

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.

November 5, 2018

Episode 299 - Redefining the kilogram a history of measurement

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Have you ever stopped to wonder what ruler rules them all? How we set the standard for height, for weight, for everything around us? What if you weighed one thing one day, and travelled to another country and suddenly gained 5 kgs or had to use an entirely different weight system? What if you weighed one thing this week and more the next? This week we find out the history measurement systems, how we've standardised them and come up with unique and repeatable measures that don't rely on artefacts (real and metaphorically).

References:

  1. Suplee, C., Lauren Lee, J., Gillespie, A., Porter, G., Stein, B., & Phillips, B. et al. (2018). A Turning Point for Humanity: Redefining the World’s Measurement System. Retrieved from https://www.nist.gov/si-redefinition/turning-point-humanity-redefining-worlds-measurement-system
  2. Jabbour, Z., & Yaniv, S. (2001). The kilogram and measurements of mass and force. Journal of Research of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, 106(1), 25. doi:10.6028/jres.106.003
  3. Newell, D. B. (2014). A more fundamental International System of Units. Physics Today, 67(7), 35-41. doi:10.1063/pt.3.2448
  4. Bureau International des Poids et Mesures. (n.d.). On the future revision of the SI. Retrieved from https://www.bipm.org/en/measurement-units/rev-si/
October 29, 2018

Episode 298 - Self healing materials, scratch tests and the crockmeter

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Self healing materials sound like science fiction, but how can we turn them into a reality? What does self healing even mean? We dive into the material science of self healing systems to find out what mechanism are used and how you can make a material heal. Plus we find out how you can make a self healing material out of common plastics using one of the weakest forces. Plus how scientists test and assess different materials including using....a crockmeter.

References:

  1. Marek W. Urban, Dmitriy Davydovich, Ying Yang, Tugba Demir, Yunzhi Zhang, Leah Casabianca. Key-and-lock commodity self-healing copolymersScience, 2018; 362 (6411): 220 DOI: 10.1126/science.aat2975
  2. Linqian Feng, Beatrice (Nadia) Benhamida, Chen-Yuan Lu, Li Piin Sung, Pierre Morel, Andrew T. Detwiler, Jon M. Skelly, Leslie T. Baker, Deepanjan Bhattacharya. Fundamentals and characterizations of scratch resistance on automotive clearcoatsProgress in Organic Coatings, 2018; 125: 339 DOI: 10.1016/j.porgcoat.2018.09.011
October 15, 2018

Lagrange Point Episode 296 - Fighting back against hayfever, what histamines do for you, stopping travellers sickness

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A change of seasons means you may be sniffling, sneezing and having teary eyes. So why do our bodies sometimes cause such an over the top response to pollen? We dive into the science behind hay fever, what histamine even does for you, and how it's helping you in more ways than you realise. Plus we find out what's being done to deliver a 1,2,3 blow to Traveller's Diarrhoea.

References:

  1. Alessandra Misto, Gustavo Provensi, Valentina Vozella, Maria Beatrice Passani, Daniele Piomelli. Mast Cell-Derived Histamine Regulates Liver Ketogenesis via Oleoylethanolamide Signaling. Cell Metabolism, 2018; DOI: 10.1016/j.cmet.2018.09.014
  2. Caroline B.K. Mathiesen, Michael C. Carlsson, Stephanie Brand, Svenning Rune Möller, Manja Idorn, Per thor Straten, Anders E. Pedersen, Sally Dabelsteen, Adnan Halim, Peter Adler Würtzen, Jens Brimnes, Henrik Ipsen, Bent L. Petersen, Hans H. Wandall. Genetically engineered cell factories produce glycoengineered vaccines that target antigen-presenting cells and reduce antigen-specific T-cell reactivity. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 2018; DOI: 10.1016/j.jaci.2018.07.030
  3. Renee M. Laird, Zuchao Ma, Nelum Dorabawila, Brittany Pequegnat, Eman Omari, Yang Liu, Alexander C. Maue, Steven T. Poole, Milton Maciel, Kavyashree Satish, Christina L. Gariepy, Nina M. Schumack, Annette L. McVeigh, Frédéric Poly, Cheryl P. Ewing, Michael G. Prouty, Mario A. Monteiro, Stephen J. Savarino, Patricia Guerry. Evaluation of a conjugate vaccine platform against enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC), Campylobacter jejuni and Shigella. Vaccine, 2018; DOI: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2018.09.052

 

September 3, 2018

Episode 290 - The strange chemistry of exoplanets from their cores to atmospheres

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Exoplanets are home to some extremely out of this world chemistry. From raining diamonds, to gaseous iron and titanium, even to secret supplies of water. If we want to understand just how unique our place in the universe is, we can try and replicate the odd conditions of exoplanets right here on earth. 

 

References

  1. Peter M. Celliers et al. Insulator-metal transition in dense fluid deuteriumScience, 2018 DOI: 10.1126/science.aat0970
  2. Sergey S. Lobanov, Qiang Zhu, Nicholas Holtgrewe, Clemens Prescher, Vitali B. Prakapenka, Artem R. Oganov, Alexander F. Goncharov. Stable magnesium peroxide at high pressureScientific Reports, 2015; 5: 13582 DOI: 10.1038/srep13582
  3. H. Jens Hoeijmakers, David Ehrenreich, Kevin Heng, Daniel Kitzmann, Simon L. Grimm, Romain Allart, Russell Deitrick, Aurélien Wyttenbach, Maria Oreshenko, Lorenzo Pino, Paul B. Rimmer, Emilio Molinari, Luca Di Fabrizio. Atomic iron and titanium in the atmosphere of the exoplanet KELT-9bNature, 2018; DOI: 10.1038/s41586-018-0401-y
  4. Goldschmidt Conference. (2018, August 18). Water-worlds are common: Exoplanets may contain vast amounts of water. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 18, 2018 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/08/180818115758.htm
August 27, 2018

Episode 289 - Unlikely alliances, from ancient virus and Koalas to farming fruit flies and coral alliances

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How do you defend against invaders in a millenia long war? Well Koala DNA is currently using some ancient DNA weapons to fight back against a viral invader. We also find out about some unlikely alliances from different corals teaming up, to how bacteria manages to spread and colonize from place to place. All this and more this week on Lagrange Point. 

References:

  1. Ulrike Löber, Matthew Hobbs, Anisha Dayaram, Kyriakos Tsangaras, Kiersten Jones, David E. Alquezar-Planas, Yasuko Ishida, Joanne Meers, Jens Mayer, Claudia Quedenau, Wei Chen, Rebecca N. Johnson, Peter Timms, Paul R. Young, Alfred L. Roca, Alex D. Greenwood. Degradation and remobilization of endogenous retroviruses by recombination during the earliest stages of a germ-line invasion. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2018; 201807598 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1807598115
  2. Inês S. Pais, Rita S. Valente, Marta Sporniak, Luis Teixeira. Drosophila melanogaster establishes a species-specific mutualistic interaction with stable gut-colonizing bacteria. PLOS Biology, 2018; 16 (7): e2005710 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.2005710
  3. Luigi Musco, Tomás Vega Fernández, Erik Caroselli, John Murray Roberts, Fabio Badalamenti. Protocooperation among small polyps allows the coral Astroides calycularis to prey on large jellyfish. Ecology, 2018; DOI: 10.1002/ecy.2413
August 20, 2018

Episode 288 - Tackling Fatbergs, Recycling Li-On_batteries and new uses for cooking oil

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Keeping the world clean is a tricky job. You have to fight fatbergs, recycle large amounts of mess and even keep tanks of food clean. Fortunately material scientists keep inventing new methods, and re-applying old ones to help improve our planet. From using old mining techniques to recycle lithium ion batteries, to using oils to keep food equipment clean, plus tacking the monsters of the sewer - fatbergs.

 

REFERENCES

  1. Ruiting Zhan, Zachary Oldenburg, Lei Pan. Recovery of active cathode materials from lithium-ion batteries using froth flotation. Sustainable Materials and Technologies, 2018; 17: e00062 DOI: 10.1016/j.susmat.2018.e00062
  2. Tarek S. Awad, Dalal Asker, Benjamin D. Hatton. Food-Safe Modification of Stainless Steel Food-Processing Surfaces to Reduce Bacterial Biofilms. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 2018; 10 (27): 22902 DOI: 10.1021/acsami.8b03788
  3. Asha Srinivasan, Moutoshi Saha, Kit Caufield, Otman Abida, Ping Huang Liao, Kwang Victor Lo. Microwave-Enhanced Advanced Oxidation Treatment of Lipids and Food Wastes. Water, Air, & Soil Pollution, 2018; 229 (7) DOI: 10.1007/s11270-018-3894-y
August 13, 2018

Episode 287 - Fighting back against fungal infections

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Everyone knows about bacteria and viruses, but fungal infections can also wreak havoc with our health. Since we know so little about them, fighting back is difficult. But we can learn a lot but diving deep into the way fungal infections are structured, how they fight back and how they fight eachother. 

  1. Xue Kang, Alex Kirui, Artur Muszyński, Malitha C. Dickwella Widanage, Adrian Chen, Parastoo Azadi, Ping Wang, Frederic Mentink-Vigier, Tuo Wang. Molecular architecture of fungal cell walls revealed by solid-state NMRNature Communications, 2018; 9 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-05199-0
  2. Timothy M. Tucey, Jiyoti Verma, Paul F. Harrison, Sarah L. Snelgrove, Tricia L. Lo, Allison K. Scherer, Adele A. Barugahare, David R. Powell, Robert T. Wheeler, Michael J. Hickey, Traude H. Beilharz, Thomas Naderer, Ana Traven. Glucose Homeostasis Is Important for Immune Cell Viability during Candida Challenge and Host Survival of Systemic Fungal InfectionCell Metabolism, 2018; 27 (5): 988 DOI: 10.1016/j.cmet.2018.03.019
  3. University of Wisconsin-Madison. (2018, May 22). A hidden world of communication, chemical warfare, beneath the soil. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 21, 2018 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/05/180522082202.htm
July 30, 2018

Episode 285 - Icey lakes on Mars, a planets worth of dust and unexplained oxygen

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We are often tantalized by the prospect of water on Mars, but thanks to a Teenage Satellite we have found lakes of water on Mars, just beneath the surface. Plus we find out where all that martian dust comes from and check in on everyone's favourite Comet, 67-p.

  1. R. Orosei, S. E. Lauro, E. Pettinelli, A. Cicchetti, M. Coradini, B. Cosciotti, F. Di Paolo, E. Flamini, E. Mattei, M. Pajola, F. Soldovieri, M. Cartacci, F. Cassenti, A. Frigeri, S. Giuppi, R. Martufi, A. Masdea, G. Mitri, C. Nenna, R. Noschese, M. Restano, R. Seu. Radar evidence of subglacial liquid water on Mars. Science, 2018; eaar7268 DOI: 10.1126/science.aar7268
  2. Horner, J. (2018, July 26). Discovered: A huge liquid water lake beneath the southern pole of Mars. Retrieved from http://theconversation.com/discovered-a-huge-liquid-water-lake-beneath-the-southern-pole-of-mars-100523
  3. Lujendra Ojha, Kevin Lewis, Suniti Karunatillake, Mariek Schmidt. The Medusae Fossae Formation as the single largest source of dust on Mars. Nature Communications, 2018; 9 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-05291-5
  4. K. L. Heritier, K. Altwegg, J.-J. Berthelier, A. Beth, C. M. Carr, J. De Keyser, A. I. Eriksson, S. A. Fuselier, M. Galand, T. I. Gombosi, P. Henri, F. L. Johansson, H. Nilsson, M. Rubin, C. Simon Wedlund, M. G. G. T. Taylor, E Vigren. On the origin of molecular oxygen in cometary comae. Nature Communications, 2018; 9 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-04972-5
July 23, 2018

Episode 284 - Solar panels that work in the shade, using coal waste and greener concrete

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Solar Panels keep getting better, but what if we could have solar power even when it's very overcast? Plus is there a way to make concrete greener and less carbon intensive? What if one of those solutions also helped take care of waste product from Coal Power Plants? We look at innovative green technologies this week in Lagrange Point. 

  1. Joshua Shank, Emil A. Kadlec, Robert L. Jarecki, Andrew Starbuck, Stephen Howell, David W. Peters, Paul S. Davids. Power Generation from a Radiative Thermal Source Using a Large-Area Infrared RectennaPhysical Review Applied, 2018; 9 (5) DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevApplied.9.054040
  2. Sarvesh Kumar Srivastava, Przemyslaw Piwek, Sonal R. Ayakar, Arman Bonakdarpour, David P. Wilkinson, Vikramaditya G. Yadav. A Biogenic Photovoltaic MaterialSmall, 2018; 14 (26): 1800729 DOI: 10.1002/smll.201800729
  3. Gang Xu, Jing Zhong, Xianming Shi. Influence of graphene oxide in a chemically activated fly ashFuel, 2018; 226: 644 DOI: 10.1016/j.fuel.2018.04.033
  4. Sung Hoon Hwang, Rouzbeh Shahsavari. High calcium cementless fly ash binder with low environmental footprint: Optimum Taguchi designJournal of the American Ceramic Society, 2018; DOI: 10.1111/jace.15873
July 9, 2018

Episode 282 - More precise precision medicine plus last chance medications

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How far would you go to find a treatment that helps you or a loved one suffering from a chronic condition? Is it worth the side effects or the pain of jumping through bureaucratic hoops? Is it worth risking the black market? Plus we find out ways to make precision medicine even more precise to rule out side effects. 

References:

  1. Bell, F. (2017, March 01). Sick kids chosen as first patients to receive legal medicinal cannabis in Victoria. Retrieved from http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-03-01/children-with-epilepsy-receive-legal-medicinal-cannabis-victoria/8313902
  2. Dunstan, J. (2018, June 08). Dad defends medicinal cannabis program as kids drop out. Retrieved from http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-06-08/victorian-medicinal-cannabis-trial-kids-drop-out/9848596
  3. Medical Marijuana and Epilepsy. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.epilepsy.com/learn/treating-seizures-and-epilepsy/other-treatment-approaches/medical-marijuana-and-epilepsy
  4. Understanding Epilepsy. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.epilepsy.org.au/about-epilepsy/understanding-epilepsy/
  5. Zafar, A. (2017, May 26). Cannabis compound shown to slash seizures in kids with rare form of epilepsy | CBC News. Retrieved from https://www.cbc.ca/news/health/dravet-syndrome-epilepsy-cbd-1.4130180
  6. A. Suraev, N. Lintzeris, J. Stuart, R. C. Kevin, R. Blackburn, E. Richards, J. C. Arnold, C. Ireland, L. Todd, D. J. Allsop, I. S. McGregor. Composition and Use of Cannabis Extracts for Childhood Epilepsy in the Australian CommunityScientific Reports, 2018; 8 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41598-018-28127-0
  7. Lei Zhang, Peng Zhang, Guangfu Wang, Huaye Zhang, Yajun Zhang, Yilin Yu, Mingxu Zhang, Jian Xiao, Piero Crespo, Johannes W. Hell, Li Lin, Richard L. Huganir, J. Julius Zhu. Ras and Rap Signal Bidirectional Synaptic Plasticity via Distinct Subcellular MicrodomainsNeuron, 2018; 98 (4): 783 DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2018.03.049
June 11, 2018

Episode 278 - Lasers combs for wifi and detecting smells

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Everyone loves lasers! From science fiction to the military and even scientists in labs. This week we look at using lasers to solve some unusual problems. From something deceptively simple as how to describe a smell to the complexities of better data transmission over WiFi.

  1. Sarah K. Scholten, Christopher Perrella, James D. Anstie, Richard T. White, Waddah Al-Ashwal, Nicolas Bourbeau Hébert, Jérôme Genest, Andre N. Luiten. Number-Density Measurements of CO2 in Real Time with an Optical Frequency Comb for High Accuracy and Precision. Physical Review Applied, 2018; 9 (5) DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevApplied.9.054043
  2. Marco Piccardo, Dmitry Kazakov, Noah A. Rubin, Paul Chevalier, Yongrui Wang, Feng Xie, Kevin Lascola, Alexey Belyanin, Federico Capasso. Time-dependent population inversion gratings in laser frequency combs. Optica, 2018; 5 (4): 475 DOI: 10.1364/OPTICA.5.000475
  3. Image: Extreme ultraviolet (EUV) frequency comb, : Baxley/JILA, 2012, www.nist.gov/pml/div689/euv_comb.cfm
June 4, 2018

Episode 277 - Breaking down the brain and figuring out how the pieces work

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Our brains are incredibly complex machines, running millions of calculations in no time at all. But how do these fantastic circuits work? If you follow AI and computer science you may have heard of a ''neural net'' style program which mimics how the brain learns, but really, how do the messages get passed between neurons along such networks? Does shape matter? Can we study individual pathways? What happens if you try and pulse the brain to give it a boost? We find out about neurons, their networks and more.

 

References:

  1. Shotaro Yoshida, Midori Kato-Negishi, Shoji Takeuchi. Assembly and Connection of Micropatterned Single Neurons for Neuronal Network FormationMicromachines, 2018; 9 (5): 235 DOI: 10.3390/mi9050235
  2. Fong Kuan Wong, Kinga Bercsenyi, Varun Sreenivasan, Adrián Portalés, Marian Fernández-Otero, Oscar Marín. Pyramidal cell regulation of interneuron survival sculpts cortical networksNature, 2018; 557 (7707): 668 DOI: 10.1038/s41586-018-0139-6
  3. Nicole C Swann, Coralie de Hemptinne, Margaret C Thompson, Svjetlana Miocinovic, Andrew M Miller, Ro’ee Gilron, Jill L Ostrem, Howard J Chizeck, Philip A Starr. Adaptive deep brain stimulation for Parkinson’s disease using motor cortex sensingJournal of Neural Engineering, 2018; 15 (4): 046006 DOI: 10.1088/1741-2552/aabc9b
April 23, 2018

Episode 271 - Cleaning up our own mess - innovative new recycling methods

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Now that China has banned importing rubbish, we really have to find innovative new ways to clean up our mess. We look at new solutions from dissolving plastic in enzymes, to making new steel from scrap cars to zero-waste phones.

March 26, 2018

Episode 267 - Water, water everywhere, make it safe to drink

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Making water safe to drink is a problem for the largest cities all the way down to the most remote of communities. We look at the challenges to making water safe to drink, and some innovative new research looking to make it easier to obtain safe drinking water.

March 19, 2018

Episode 266 - Strange ways of fighting antibacterial resistance from platypus milk to cooking an egg

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This week we find out some strange and new ways scientists are hunting for a new weapons in the antimicrobial resistance arms race. Including turning to platypus milk for guidance, cooking the insides of bacteria like an egg and blocking it from even spreading. Plus we get an update on Mammal March Madness.

February 19, 2018

Episode 262 -Biomaterials saving lives from spider silk cardiac tissue to sticky when wet bandages

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How can we make wounds close and heal by sticking together better? Is there some kind of super strong glues that can help stick even when wet? What can we learn from spiders to help heal a broken heart? All these bio materials and more in this week's episode.

February 12, 2018

Episode 261 - Stopping unwanted Life on Mars

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How do we protect find and protect life across the universe from ourselves? What are the risks and dangers of sending bacteria out into the universe, and how can we prevent unwanted contamination.

December 18, 2017

Episode 253 - Smarter food packaging to cut down on waste

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How can we cut down on waste from everything coffee to packaging? What new materials, processes and technology can help us eliminate waste and recycle more? Are there ways to turn food waste into food valued added products?

December 4, 2017

Episode 251 - Mysterious underwater worlds and oceans trapped in time

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Mysterious underwater caverns teeming with unusual life, and oceans trapped in time. We dive into the mysteries of oceans, caves and their hidden ecosystems.

November 20, 2017

Episode 249 - Unexpected journeys in science from spider silk to quantum proteins

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Unexpected journeys in science from a link between quantum mechanics and proteins, to spider silk hearing aides. We hear how scientific research can start in one place and end far far away.