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.
Sep 24, 2017

SOFIA is the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy.

Some German astronomers have made a one hundred inch telescope that picks up infrared. They bent it and shrunk it so that it fits into a NASA provided 747 Jumbo Jet. Dr Karl was lucky enough to be taken up for a ride. He spoke with Oliver Zeile about the engineering that keeps the telescope focused and on-target, and with Melanie Chavance who is studying the birth of stars in our nearest galaxy.

Sep 17, 2017

Team Shirtload confesses all when they chat about how they got into science. Was it the nifty lab coats? Being able to use big words with authority? For Karl it has something to do with coathangers in the long grass. But for all it was about the beauty of the logic inherent in the scientific method. Great book recommendations as well.

Sep 10, 2017

On the 15 September, 2017, after a long and happy life, the spacecraft Cassini will do (or did, depending on when you listen to this) a suicide plunge into the atmosphere of Saturn, the ringed planet.

This episode is a repeat, originally released in March 2017. 

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 how Australia may play a vital role in decoding Saturn's rings. (Warning: Contains Physics, Chemistry, inter-planetary exploration and traces of Biology). 

Sep 3, 2017

Of all hot beverages, Coffee may be the healthiest. It is loaded with antioxidants and beneficial nutrients and it may even lower the risk of some nasty diseases. Dietitician Prof Clare Collins & Dr Karl go through the mounting Scientific evidence. Importantly Professor Collins also goes through the risk factors for some and who should avoid it altogether. Shirtloads of Espresso Science this week.  

Aug 27, 2017

Dr Alice has a look at possible life but not as we know it on Titan. Close to but not quite, Dr Jessica on Australia's place the future shape of Space Agencies. And Dr Karl on how hungry can make you angry and irrational.

Aug 20, 2017

Dr Lucie Green is a Solar Researcher. She studies our natural power source – that Great Nuclear Reactor in the Sky, the  Sun.

Come along for the ride with me, Dr Karl, as Dr Lucie helps discover how fusion works, why the light we see is ancient (as old as we are), how to tell if there's an astronomer in your car, and the best place to view planet alignments and magellenic clouds. Shirtloads with Dr. Karl is Out Of This World  - with added physics.

Aug 14, 2017

To celebrate National Science Week in Australia, we all got together under the umbrella of the Sydney Science Festival to have a fun night called SquizCo – in other words, Science Plus Quiz = Comedy.

We had two teams of top-notch scientists battling it out in an Arena of Knowledge and Wits under the watchful eye of host and fellow Sleek Geek Adam Spencer, with Dr Karl as the Brains Trust.

Aug 6, 2017

Dr Karl and Dr Helen - talking about ..World's longest echo, how to photograph the molecules inside an explosion, Oceans, Coffee rings and climate change.

Dr Helen Czerski describes Physics today as "messy" and "complex" and she loves it. 

Jul 30, 2017

In this episode - just about, almost on-the-verge of becoming Doctor Jessica on the physics of chemical bonding in spider's silk and how it might help us to build better stuff. Dr Alice on computer modelling predicting the shape of eggs. Dr Karl tells us about the first road trip by car. 

Jul 23, 2017

Making sense of the Heavens above is extreme science. Add radio telescopes and that becomes multi dimensional. Then apply stresses that destroy 4 wheel vehicles in the desert and you have this week's Shirtloads guest.  Dr Karl and Professor Lisa (Harvey-Smith). Radio astronomer and Ultra Marathon Runner who quit formal schooling aged 11. Unique in the science fraternity and she is focused on big Science. In her own words "There are no Bigger questions than the ones being asked by astronomers. Where do we come from?  Where are we going? Are we alone?"

Jul 16, 2017

This week the team are all in the wild blue yonder. Dr Alice talks about mice pups and space and burying sperm deep under the lunar surface. Dr Karl dreams of carbon free plane travel and passengers making space for the lightest element in the universe. And just about a fully formed Dr Jessica on making the newest blue a physical reality. 

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.

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