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.
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 !

Jan 13, 2017

Three Doctors (almost) - with Dr Karl's report on his expedition to see the Great Barrier Reef coral spawn . Dr Alice on why morning sickness may be good 4 U and how ear-worms work. Plus Dr Jessica (almost) on the physics of the ponytail.

Jan 8, 2017

What career options are open to a Physics graduate with a PhD in Chemistry?
Meet Sydney University graduate Dr Michelle Deaker talking with Dr Karl about her incredible career. Driven by a spirit of entrepreneurship (and an eye for opportunity) she translates research and ideas into products and takes them to market. Her Australian venture capital portfolio includes a world-leading vaccine Nanopatch, a watch for tracking dementia patients and a new diagnostic in oncology.  Got a new idea for Dr Michelle ?

Jan 3, 2017

Dr Alice reports on "open source pharma" for malaria,
Dr Karl on space nation #3 - China.
Dr Alice on Australian Budgerigars and the traffic control of drones.
How Diet is the new highway to human development
and is your brain tricking you into making bad choices ?
2017 New Year resolution advice from Shirtloads

Dec 13, 2016

Self-described ‘professional space history nerd’ Amy Shira Teitel joins Dr Karl to talk about spaceflight before NASA in her book ‘Breaking the Chains of Gravity’. Hear about cutting edge rocket planes like the X-15 (and its surprising link with tractor seats), the team of seamstresses behind the launch of high-altitude balloons to the edge of space, and how paper plates inspired the engineering of early spacecraft. Tune in for extraordinary, intimate stories from a time that is often forgotten in space-age literature.    

Dec 12, 2016

Dr Alice has been shark hunting in the Arctic waters (i.e. through scientific papers) and discovered the oldest vertebrate in the world is at least 272 years old. Meanwhile, back on the land, why are two scientists riding a roller coaster holding a bag with an artificial kidney and stones? Dr Karl is considering a ‘fusion’ breakfast after hearing that spicy food may be good for your health. Fruit salad with chilli anyone? And why does the Zebra finch sing a different song to its eggs just before they hatch?

Dec 11, 2016

Marine biologist, diver and author Dr Helen Scales takes Dr Karl deep beneath the waves to share her passion for life in the ocean. Helen talks about her new book ‘Spirals in Time’ on the secret life of shells. Hear about ‘clacking’ oysters, the legend of the Golden Fleece (sea silk) and a creature resembling a pinecone crossbred with a slug. There’s mathematics in the spirals of shells, slave trading in the history of the cowrie shell and just imagine a Harry Potter golden snitch of the sea… it’s real and has an incredibly important role to play in ocean life.

Dec 4, 2016

Dr Alice is back in the house for science chat and she’s got popcorn for Dr Karl! But wait, why? They are talking movies and the science behind knowing what’s going on in a film by measuring the chemicals released by the audience. Who knew there could be a link between ‘The Hunger Games’, the Amazon rainforest and being able to diagnose medical conditions? Find out what happened in the case of the ‘poisoned pants’ and what’s the best time to exercise to lose weight? They ask the big questions about coffee – good or bad – and, should you really have a hot cup of tea to cool you down?

Nov 27, 2016

Clare Collins is a Professor in Nutrition and Dietetics at the University of Newcastle. She joins Dr Karl for a colourful conversation about your toilet bowl and what it can tell you about your health. Don’t be shy, listen up and discover what weird colours you should not see, and what they could mean. Got green poo? There’s an explanation. How about ‘cappuccino’ wee or purple pee? You’ll be surprised. Find out when to see your GP and what to show and tell. Perhaps you’ll take away Dr Karl’s new mantra: ‘while the eyes are the window to your soul, the toilet bowl is a window to your health.

Nov 20, 2016

Dr Karl and Dr Alice put their heads together to discuss the latest research into well… all sorts of stuff! What do hairy leaves have to do with burning plants? Is Dr Karl’s fruit and veggie classification (serve it with ice-cream it’s a fruit, with gravy it’s a vegetable) scientifically accurate? And what exactly do killer kangaroos have to do with being unable to sleep in an unfamiliar bed? Listen up as the Doctors tackle these questions and more. And, if you talk to dogs (like Dr Alice does) there’s an experiment you might just want to try.

Nov 13, 2016

Maritime history’s greatest scientific breakthrough was working out longitude, the distance (measured in degrees, minutes, and seconds) of how far a point is, either East or West, of the Prime (Greenwich) Meridian. Dr Karl unravels this discovery with Kevin Sumption and James Hunter from the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney, as they talk about the history of navigation and their 2016 exhibition, Ships, Clocks and Stars: The Quest for Longitude. Hear about extraordinary nautical instruments, different methodologies for calculating longitude, and the impact of these inventions and explorations on the world today.

Nov 6, 2016

Over 200 million people are infected with malaria every year. Dr Alice Williamson, research chemist, lecturer and science communicator at the University of Sydney talks to Dr Karl about her work with Open Source Malaria. This is a worldwide drug discovery project that shares all data and results (no patents please!) in an incredible collaborative effort to tackle the disease. Hear about the problems encountered, Alice’s work in the lab, the thrill of working together with high school and undergraduate students, and the problem researchers are hoping to have that will point towards a possible cure.

Oct 30, 2016

Part Two reveals what happened when one, and then two (!!) of the Kepler Spacecraft reaction wheels went to lunch, how the news almost drove Dr Karl to whiskey, and how the engineers found a brilliant solution and continued on with Kepler Mission 2. A jaw-dropping discussion about the discoveries made, including potentially habitable earth-sized planets, the inconstancy of stars, and the probability of finding evidence of life beyond planet Earth.

Oct 20, 2016

Dr Karl looks to the stars to kick off his new podcast with NASA Ames research astrophysicist Dr Natalie Batalha, the Kepler Mission Scientist. From 2009 to 2013, the Kepler Space telescope looked for exoplanets – planets outside our solar system. It stared unblinkingly at a patch of sky which Dr Batalha had selected hoping to find not just exoplanets, but exoplanets in the Goldilocks zone. Find out what happened, what can go wrong and how Dr Karl’s mind was blown to astronomical proportions.

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