Colin Pillinger; Fire? Artificial DNA


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Artificial DNA DNA is the molecule of life, conserved across all living species for 4 billion years. But now scientists have made a new, artificial version, by introducing two extra letters, not found in nature, into the genetic code of a common microbe. The E. coli bacteria are able to grow and replicate as normal despite these artificial additions. In future, this research might create organisms that can make new proteins, which could offer new drugs and vaccines.

What is fire? A listener wrote in to ask about fire – what is it? And what is the difference between a super-hot gas and plasma? We went straight to Dr. Guillermo Rein, Mechanical Engineer at Imperial College and Editor-in-Chief of the journal Fire Technology. It turns out, they’re great questions and even the experts can’t quite agree on the answers.

Obituary - Colin Pillinger British planetary scientist Professor Colin Pillinger, best known for his 2003 attempt to land a spacecraft on Mars, has died aged 70. .

Oxford Maths Institute The new Maths Institute at Oxford University is named the Andrew Wiles Building, after the mathematician, who solved Fermat’s Last Theorem. The Institute includes some nods to other mathematical theories included in the design. From the never-ending Penrose paving at the entrance to lighting based on solving complex equations and mathematical illusions build into the construction. The architects hope the building will inspire the next generation of mathematicians.

Carlos Frenk Professor Carlos Frenk, astronomer at Durham University has just joined the ranks of Steven Hawking, Edwin Hubble and Albert Einstein by winning the Royal Astronomical Society’s Gold Medal for Astronomy.

Producer: Fiona Roberts