Episode: Clean Air Strategy, Fast Radio Bursts and Kuba Kingdom


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Clean Air Strategy, Fast Radio Bursts and Kuba Kingdom
With the publication of the UK Government’s Clear Air Strategy this week, Professor of atmospheric chemistry at the University of York, Alastair Lewis, discusses with Adam Rutherford about whether the guidelines go far enough. It’s a hugely complex issue that’s been complied with unprecedented scientific input. The most obvious conclusion is that the implementation to cleaning up our air must be cohesive. One clever idea comes from Professor Barbara Maher at Lancaster University, who has been looking at how trees planted along roadsides can help clean up pollution from traffic. Fast Radio Bursts are mysterious transient radio pulses a fraction of a millisecond long, caused by some high-energy astrophysical process billions of light years away. Astronomers have not yet identified a source for these ultra-high energy events. A team using the CHIME (Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment) radio telescope in Canada have just detected a repeating FRB and an FRB of extraordinarily low frequency. Deborah Good at the University of British Columbia, explains to Adam that every different type of FRB adds clues as to what these long-travelled signals might be. Our genomes hold so much information. A new study shows how genetic diversity can mirror political, economic and societal organisation. Lucy Van Dorp, a researcher in UCL’s Genetics Research Institute, has been studying this in what are modern day ancestors of the Kuba Kingdom (an important 16th-18th century Democratic Republic of Congo community that welcomed outsiders.) This is a great demonstration to what genetic information can add to understanding human history.

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