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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
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 6, 2018

Episode 286 - Fields Medal 2018 - Solving problems in mathematics with tricks from other fields

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The Fields Medals for 2018 have been announced, and Australian Mathematician, Professor Akshay Venkatesh was announced as one of the four recipients. Mathematics can seem like a group of different and diverse subjects, but Professor Venkatesh's work tied different areas of mathematics together to use one toolkit to solve problems in another area. We dive deep into the complex world of mathematics and look at the Fields Medals 2018. 

References:

  1. Slezak, M. (2018). This Aussie genius has won the 'Nobel Prize of mathematics'. [online] ABC News. Available at: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-08-02/fields-medal-aussie-genius-akshay-venkatesh-mathematics-prize/10062218 [Accessed 4 Aug. 2018].
  2. Jackson, A. (2018). [online] Mathunion.org. Available at: https://www.mathunion.org/fileadmin/IMU/Prizes/Fields/2018/venkatesh-final.pdf [Accessed 4 Aug. 2018].
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
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
April 2, 2018

Episode 268 - Farewell Tiangong 1, space stations and managing space debris

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We say farewell to Tiangong-1 ("Heavenly place 1"), China's first foray into space stations as it comes crashing to earth and we look forward into the future for space station development. We also find out how scientists across the world plan to tackle the problem of space junk and keep space safe for years to come

January 29, 2018

Episode 259 - Quantum Computing - Australian of the Year - Prof Michelle Simmons

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We celebrate the Australian of Year for 2017, Professor Michelle Yvonne Simmons, by examining the groundbreaking work in Quantum Computing that she has pioneered across Australia. This includes a deep dive into how Quantum Computing works, what it can help with and what makes the Australia approach, led by Prof. Simmons, so special. ​ ​

January 22, 2018

Episode 258 - Australian biomedical science from labs on a chip to stopping biofilms

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We find out about some amazing Australian biotechnology inventions from an efficient lab-on-a-chip, to boosting our immune systems and stopping bio-films in their tracks.

January 1, 2018

Episode 255 - Taking the pain out of needles

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Taking the pain out of injections and needles by using micro-needle patches. This can help deliver flu vaccines and help diabetics without the need for painful injections.

November 13, 2017

Episode 248 - Printing with more colours of the rainbow, solar panel printing and hidden messages

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How can we make printers more realistic and life like? How can we push the limits of printing and make hidden messages cheaply and efficiently? How do we turn printed advertisements into productive energy efficient solar cells?

November 6, 2017

Episode 247 - New techniques for non invasive imaging

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How can we improve our medical imaging technology? What can be used to scan bacteria in action without a biopsy? What about ways to known what needs fixing in an emergency department without having to go all the way to an MRI?

October 30, 2017

Episode 246 - Lessons on resilience from our insect friends

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What lessons in resilience to fires, climate change, epidemics and sudden shocks from insects can be adapted to help humans adjust to change.

October 2, 2017

Episode 242 - Detecting epidemics like Zika and Ebola faster

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Detecting an epidemic before it spreads and becomes a pandemic is hard in a globablly connected world. However new cheap and efficient tests for Zika and Ebola can help us be better prepared for the next outbreak.

September 11, 2017

Episode 239 - Farewell to Cassini and Noisy storms in Space

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After 20 years we say farewell to Cassini and catalog all it's hard work peering into the workings of Saturn's moons, rings and atmosphere. We also find out about some noisy storms living in our Van Allen Belts.

August 21, 2017

Episode 236 - Seeing through better windows

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How do we make our buildings adapt to the climate around them from turning opaque and clear, to blocking only heat we dive into the science of glass.

January 19, 2014

Episode 24: Intelligent Cities, Cyber Vigilantes And Urban Design

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It's time for cities of the future! Instagram for dogs; do cyber vigilantes help or hurt investigations; how to share space between trams, cars and people and how you can right now run a city like a game of Simcity!

January 1, 2014

Episode 16 - Mosh Pits, Maurders maps and mathematics

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What do Mosh Pits, Mauraders maps and beauty have in common? Mathematics of course! In today's episode we get into some mysteries of mathematics and how it relates to everyday life. We look at modelling mosh pits, robots with marauders maps and mathematical definitions of beauty.

January 1, 2014

Episode 17 - Cryptography and code breaking

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We break down some codes and learn how we protect secrets from the past and into the future. We look at the history of code breaking from Ancient Greece, through to Medieval courts and the world wars. We look at the way internet security works, and how we can break codes in the future using mathematics and quantum computing