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BBC Inside Science

300 EpisodesProduced by BBC Radio 4Website

Dr Adam Rutherford and guests illuminate the mysteries and challenge the controversies behind the science that's changing our world.

28:04

Rosetta; Thought-controlled genes; Biophonic Life; Arecibo message 40 years on

Rosetta
After a nail-biting, bumpy, bouncy landing, European Space Agency's Rosetta probe - 'Philae' -lands on the comet 67P. It's already collecting data and beaming back some very impressive images of this dusty, icy space projectile. BBC Space correspondent Jonathan Amos fills us in on the latest news.

Thought-controlled genes
Brainwaves from human participants activated a light, which in turn switches on specific genes in mice. In this proof of concept study, Professor Martin Fussenegger hopes that one day this technology could be used to control pain, pre-empt epileptic seizures, or in fact communicate with people who have locked in syndrome. It's another example of two very exciting techniques - brain machine interfacing and optogenetics.

Arecibo Message Anniversary
40 years ago, on 16 Nov 1974, a message designed to inform intelligent alien civilisations about human existence was beamed into space. Whilst Frank Drake's binary picture message was primarily put together to show the capabilities of the upgraded Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico, it has inspired interest and enthusiasm around the world. Veteran of subsequent space message projects Dr Carolyn Porco joins Adam to talk about how space science has progressed in the interim decades, and what these ventures mean to humankind.

Biophonic Life
Sound installation "The Sounds of Others: A Biophonic Line", by artist Marcus Coates is currently delighting visitors to Manchester's Museum of Science and Industry. It explores the sounds of animals, from field crickets to humpback whales. By speeding and slowing each sound, his work reveals unimagined connections between species, and unearths common patterns and forms that would normally be beyond the reach of the human ear. The Sounds of Others looks for commonality between the human and non-human worlds, through sound. Marcus Coates, and collaborator wildlife sound-recordist Geoff Sample talk Adam through some of the surprising sounds of nature. Can you tell a pack of children from red deer? Or Marcus from a Lion? And is there a reason for these connections?

Producer: Fiona Roberts.

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