Shirtloads of Science

Dr Karl’s a curious optimist – a great combination for a science lover. Join him and his guests for weird facts, amazing conversation and remember, it’s never too late for a happy childhood.
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Dr Karl’s a curious optimist – a great combination for a science lover. Join him and his guests for weird facts, amazing conversation and remember, it’s never too late for a happy childhood.
Jul 9, 2017

What makes white coffee so foamy and delicious. That delightful crunch when you bite into the perfect meringue. Scientifically they're both made of the same stuff - protein.  Prof Claire Collins takes us on a journey beyond the taste buds to find the perfect foam for coffee and the prime meringuine making conditions. There is Science behind our recipes and with these tips you will do better.  Dr Karl and Prof Collins are here to help.

Jul 2, 2017

Things are not always how they seem: Dr Karl explains how to be buff, good looking and scientifically believable in order to con the gullible. Almost Dr Jessica explains how a statistical quirk could look like a collision with another universe. And Dr Alice explains that how that wine you're drinking could taste better in another bottle while listening to your favourite violinist playing a Stradivarius that may or may not sound better than an ordinary violin.

Jun 25, 2017
Why has Climate Science become so contested ?  Dr Karl discusses with two authors. Dr Christopher Wright has written about the past 30 years of Climate Change in "Climate Change, Capitalism and Corporations: Processes of Creative Self-destruction". And Dr Michael Mann, the US researcher who published the hockey stick graph with his latest "The Madhouse Effect : How Climate Change Denial Is Threatening Our Planet, Destroying Our Politics, and Driving Us Crazy".
Jun 18, 2017

This podcast is about Science and a chart. Team leader, Professor Michael Mann, drew it 20 years ago using good science. It's been named "The Hockey Stick Graph" because of the way it shoots up. It had no new information. Instead it drew on an international scientific consensus.

The issue was that it suggested that humans had already changed our climate. The other problem was the clarity with which it expressed those man-made forces. You didn't need to be a scientist read or understand it.

Dr Michael Mann, like Charles Darwin, dared to publish. The self-evident conclusion by many, unleashed powerful interests against both Dr. Mann and the science community. Dr Karl Talks with him about the experience.

Jun 11, 2017

Blue Sky Science. This week the lamb in a bag - Dr Alice on the research that may help save premature babies.  Almost Dr Jessica with a cat in a box wanted dead and/or alive. And Dr Karl on the viruses that eats bacteria - maybe there is a future for humans despite antibiotic superbugs.

Jun 3, 2017

We are what we eat. Organic, low fat, pesticide-free, High Fibre ; Consumers are charged extra for foods with health benefits like these. But when food is packaged, how do you know what is really inside ? Welcome to the world of Food Fraud. This Shirtloads podcast stars two British Scientists who have written all it in "Sorting the Beef from the Bull". Bio-Geo-Chemist Richard Evershead and Biologist Nicola Temple. Dr Karl talking with the "Mulder and Sculley" of the food fraud forensic world.

May 31, 2017

Natural Nukes - Dr Karl explains how the earth created a nuclear reactor billions of years before we figured out how. Extreme gravity, relativistic rotation speeds and could-have-been alien lighthouses - almost Dr Jessica explains the strange science of the Pulsar. Plus Dr Alice on things that shouldn't go boom - the Lithium-ion batteries that power all our devices.

May 21, 2017

From the age of six, Xiuhtezcatl has been out to improve our world. He worked locally to get pesticides out of parks, coal ash contained, and fracking moratoriums. He has addressed the General Assembly at the United Nations in New York. He is currently a plaintiff in a youth-led lawsuit against the US federal government for their failure to protect the atmosphere for future generations.

 On a brief visit to Australia he talks with Dr. Karl on how to achieve meaningful change as a youth activist. 

May 14, 2017

Dr Alice is talking about Ayahusca a South American hallucinogen that may help depression and other mental disorders, nearly Doctor Jessica exploring number stations and the secret messages that haven't stopped despite the end of the Cold War and Dr Karl on whether the silk handkerchief in your top pocket will stop bullets.

May 7, 2017

Imagine cooling down 2,300 km of Barrier Reef along the Australian coast using renewable energy. Mind-blowing, right? Dr Brian Von Herzen has such a plan. It's part of a bigger picture that he calls Marine Permaculture - using nature to restore habitat in the oceans. It is a project he has been working towards for over a decade including demonstrations off Hawaii.  Dr Karl discussed Dr Brian's vision in Queensland earlier this year. The audio quality varies as it was recorded on location.

Apr 30, 2017

Dinosaur Love - What drove them to sex ? Dr. Alice reports that there may be hints in a distant relative. Test Tube Meat ? The cost of manufactured protein will come down says Almost Dr. Jessica. Plus Dr. Karl on Animal Families. They can have kids from different fathers in the same litter. They're not twins. What are they and Why? 

Apr 16, 2017

Imagine laying a sheet of smart film on a masterpiece like "Starry Starry Night". Without contaminating the surface, you can lift off chemical signatures. Discover what paint Van Gogh used, what drugs he might have been taking and even if he was suffering from a recognisable disease. Dr Alice has the story plus Dr Karl on the growing rubbish dump above our heads and (almost) Dr Jessica on those one-off intergalactic tweets called FRBs - what are they ? 

Apr 12, 2017

Bacteria are more like submarines than fish. They have propellors and motors. This is one of the extraordinary discoveries that Sydney researcher Dr Matt Baker has been part of. In fact he has gone deeper and is looking inside the different motors bacteria species have. What powers these micro machines ?  How they are made ? His stories of life at a micron level are almost beyond belief.

Mar 29, 2017

What discovery deserves to be the biggest of the 2016? We say Gravitational Waves and the LIGO team. Einstein said they were theoretically possible a hundred years ago and this story is so big it'll is worth two podcasts. Welcome once again Professor Geraint Lewis from the School of Physics at Sydney University.

Mar 29, 2017

LIGO - Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory was the detector.
It has found the most elusive of all cosmic vibrations.

One hundred years ago Einstein said they were possible - so mind-bending he changed his opinion twice. A mathematician in the WWI trenches confirmed their theoretical existence and then ... Well this story is so big it'll take two podcasts.

Welcome to our Shirtloads "Gravitational Wave Special Part One" and the Associate Head for Research at the School of Physics, Sydney University, Professor Geraint Lewis.  Dark energy, gravitational lensing, galactic cannibalism - our Shirtloads of Science" guest eats them for breakfast.

Mar 18, 2017

Searching for other habitable planets, looking for medicines inside deadly poisons and pushing poverty (and wealth) to the limit. A Shirtloads Planet Earth 2017 health check.

Mar 16, 2017

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that your body needs. When you have too much in your blood, it can build up on your artery walls. Too much cholesterol puts you at risk for heart disease and stroke, two leading causes of death. Prof. Claire Collins has 5 simple changes to your diet - that may improve your life and beat these notorious killers.

Mar 4, 2017

Doctors (Karl, Alice & Jessica almost) Talk about the Chemicals you may find on new Planets, a new way to breed endangered birds and why has the Doomsday Clock started ticking again ?

Mar 4, 2017

Dr Karl's Shirtloads takes you to where Water-Ice is rock,
salty Geysers blow (just like earth's underwater Hydrothermic jets) and the prospects for life in our own Solar System are tantalisingly close. Dr Linda Spilker has been with NASA's Jet propulsion Lab since 1977. Her work spans Voyager missions and the current Cassini mission. With 40 years of exploration experience, enjoy our extended edition of Shirtloads. Also find out why you should put September 15th in your diary and how Australia may play a vital role in decoding Saturn's rings. (Warning: Contains Physics, Chemistry and traces of Biology). 

Feb 21, 2017

Planets are popping up everywhere but what about that new Continent on Earth - Why has it taken us so long to find it ? Which part of the human brain is revealing a relationship with Autism .... and why did we have to ban a certain type of soap ? Surely something as simple as soap can't be that bad ? Dr Karl, Dr Alice and Dr (almost) Jessica discuss the latest.

Feb 15, 2017

"Fake News" was 2016's word of the year (according to the Macquarie Dictionary). Can "fake news" make you sick ?  Doctor Karl meets a fact-checking scientist. Ben Goldacre reviews articles in medical Journals. Ben is "Senior Clinical Research Fellow" at the Center for Evidence-Based Medicine at Oxford University and he says there are reasons to be concerned. (His Dead cat is a professional member of the American Association of Nutritional Consultants - proof that fancy titles means nothing.) 

Feb 13, 2017

Dr Alice talks about Tickling and why brain researchers are so interested in it - (did you know there are professional Rat Ticklers ?). Dr Jessica reports on the latest evidence of the origin of our moon. Doctor Karl on why we keep on adding leap seconds to our clocks - what is going on.

Feb 4, 2017

Meet Dr. Marlene Kanga. She is about to become president of an international governing body looking after 2 million professionals. Our future depends on innovation and the creative heart is Engineering. She talks with Dr Karl of the value Engineers bring to society, which specialties are attracting female engineers and what Australia can do to catch up with some of the leading nations. 


Jan 23, 2017

Karl, Alice and Jessica choose and discuss their top 4 Scientific discoveries of 2016. Astronomy, Biology, Computer Science, Physics and more. But there is one breakthrough they all agree on (and it has an Australian connection). Listen and find out.

Jan 21, 2017

We rarely get to hear "insider's"  stories of extraterrestrial discovery. Doctor Karl meets Warwick Holmes - avionics systems engineer on the Rosetta mission that orbited comet seeking the chemical signatures of life. He gives us a blow by blow account of extraterrestrial exploration in the 21st Century. How do you test hardware to fly by the sun and withstand comet dust. How does a lad from South Australia land the best job on earth ? Beam us up Warwick !

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