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Science Show: Functional Brain Imaging

posted 01.12.14 at 8:47pm

If you tuned into the Science Show this week, you’ll have heard Dr. Matt Brookes and Professor Peter Liddle discussing their work in particular fields of functional brain imaging. If you missed out on the show, or simply want to find out more, then you’ve come to the right place!

Before we go into specifics, we should probably ask; what is functional brain imaging? Often referred to as neuroimaging, FBI is a blanket term used to describe a variety of techniques for ‘looking’ inside the brain (without the need for slicing and dicing). Applications range from measuring blood oxygenation in certain regions of the brain, to studying the effects of excessive drinking/ smoking/recreational drug use on your grey matter.

As previously mentioned, there are several different kinds of functional brain imaging, all of which differ slightly in methodology. Together, they can provide a vast wealth of information about the brain. Examples include:

The Science Show – Deep Thought

posted 18.11.14 at 3:55pm

On this week’s Science Show we have Dr Julie Greensmith talking about her research in Artificial Immune Systems. It seems like a good idea to look at artificial intelligence as a whole and its history

The American computer scientist John McCarthy coined the term in 1955 and defined it as "the science and engineering of making intelligent machines". Basically apply the way our brain thinks and makes decisions to computing and engineering. To begin with scientists were optimistic about the time it would take to recreate the methods of reasoning, learning and perception that we are so used to in day to day life.

Turing Test was introduced by Alan Turing in his 1950 paper "Computing Machinery and Intelligence," which opens with the words: "I propose to consider the question, 'Can machines think?'" Because "thinking" is difficult to define, Turing chooses to "replace the question by another, which is closely related to it and is expressed in relatively unambiguous words." Turing's new question is: "Are there imaginable digital computers which would do well in the imitation game?" This question, Turing believed, is one that can actually be answered.

Cosmic Lenses with Simon Dye

posted 20.05.13 at 4:44pm

Astronomer and cosmic optician Dr. Simon Dye joins us in the studio to talk about about cosmic lenses - the magnified images of distant galaxies that we wouldn't normally be able to study. Simon studies these rare distant objects and attempts to work out what they look like. By doing this, Simon can study how galaxies formed and evolved in detail not available in unmagnified systems.

To begin our journey into cosmic lenses, we must remind ourselves about that ubiquitous force that is responsible for many a dropped phone - gravity. You can listen to our previous show all about gravity below, or skip to the next paragraph for the condensed version especially for those on the go.

Let's Talk Mental Health

posted 12.05.13 at 11:13am

We are The Science Show and we need to talk about mental health. This week is Mental Health Awareness Week and its an important issue that will affect almost all of us in some form or another during our lives. Whilst students have shown ourselves to be more open, honest and frank about many things, including sex and mental health, we still find ourselves silenced by unnecessary stigma attached to these important problems.

Here we will be looking at the more scientific areas of mental health disorders. For more information on the more general aspects, please listen to the show 6-7pm on 13/05/2013 or if you missed it find the podcast here.

Introduction to Neurochemstry
The brain is the most complicated machine on Earth. Leading scientists have been searching for years as to the wonders of the thing that gives us consciousness. Yet even with thousands of scientific publications each year, we seem to still be only scratching the surface of least understood part of the human body.

Dastardly Dark Energy with Kathy Romer (6/5/13)

posted 06.05.13 at 1:46pm

In our 51st show, we turn to the darker side of the universe by looking into its most mysterious component. It's so mysterious, scientists only inferred its existence for the first time in 1998. Astronomer Dr Kathy Romer from the University of Sussex joins us to probe this darkest of all dark things as we try to unravel the secrets of the universe...

Following on from our shows with Tony Padilla, Ed Copeland and Meghan Gray, we can turn our sights onto that Dastardly Dark Energy. This stuff is supposed to make up 68% of the stuff in our universe! Compare that to the normal stuff that makes up you and all the stuff around you like paper and other such revision materials which only accounts for 5% of the universe.

So how did we discover dark energy? In 1998 and 1999, astronomers measured the distances to exploding stars called Supernovae. They discovered that the universe had expanded more in the most recent half of it's life - the expansion of the universe was accelerating! This was totally unexpected - the best things in life are.