Scientists at the "Centre for Existential Risk" grapple with the unprecedented number of planetary threats facing humanity, from runaway AI and cyber attacks to bioterror and nuclear war.
Dr. Barron is an Australian Research Council Future Fellow, and the Deputy Head of the Department of Biological Sciences at Macquarie University in Sydney. He discusses how the brains of honeybees can provide a model for studying diverse intelligence.
Physicist Dr Helen Czerski takes us on an amazing journey into the science of bubbles. Bubbles may seem to be just fun toys, but they are also powerful tools that push back the boundaries of science. The soap bubble with its delicate, fragile skin tells us about how nature works on scales as large as solar system and as small as a single wavelength of light. Then there are underwater bubbles, which matter because they are part of the how the planet works. Out at sea, breaking waves generate huge plumes of bubbles which help the oceans breathe. From the way animals behave to the way drinks taste, Dr Czerski shows how bubbles affect our world in all sorts of unexpected ways. Whether it's the future of ship design or innovative new forms of medical treatment, bubbles play a vital role.
2013 • Science
Antarctica is the last great wilderness. It's the coldest, windiest, driest and most isolated place on Earth. And every winter, for over three months of the year, the sun never rises. But it's also home to the British Antarctic Survey's Halley Research Station. A veteran of living and working at Halley in the early eighties, BBC weatherman Peter Gibbs makes an emotional return to the place he once called home. A place that, during his time, was key to the discovery of the ozone hole. The journey starts with an arduous 12-day, 3000-mile voyage onboard the RRS Ernest Shackleton. Once on the ice shelf, Peter is delighted to finally arrive at the futuristic research station and marvels at the cutting edge science being done at Halley today. From vital discoveries about how our lives are vulnerable to the sun's activities, to studying interplanetary travel and the threat of man-made climate change. But Peter's journey is also something of a rescue mission. The research station's home is a floating ice shelf that constantly moves and cracks, and the ice shelf has developed a chasm that could cast Halley adrift on a massive iceberg.