The Science Hour-logo

The Science Hour


Science, health and technology news and highlights of the week.

Science, health and technology news and highlights of the week.
More Information


United Kingdom




Science, health and technology news and highlights of the week.




The Health of Europeans

Europe has a health check this week – and the citizens of its 53 countries are living longer. But unhealthy lifestyles fuelled by smoking, drinking and too little exercise are causing a rise in cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer. The World Health Organization (WHO) hopes more targets will further improve the health of Europeans. Claudia Hammond talks to Dr Claudia Stein, Director of the Division of Information, Evidence, Research and Innovation for the European region. Hurricane...


Brazil National Museum Fire

A fire has destroyed the National Museum of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro. Most of the natural history and anthropological artefacts have been wrecked. What is the impact on on-going scientific research and what is the loss to science in the future? Roland Pease asks Mark Carnall, Life Collections Manager at Oxford University Museum of Natural History. Zika in Babies in US Territories The Zika epidemic which spread across Latin America in 2015/16 prompted the Brazilian government to advise women...


Monsoon Floods

Why is the monsoon experienced in Kerala in South West India so wet? The monsoon is a combined meteorological event, where several factors - altered low pressure systems in the Bay of Bengal, altered winds and a warmer ocean - interacted to deliver devastating rainfall. Is this extreme weather event a symptom of our changing climate? Roland Pease talks to Dr Roxy Mathew Koll who is a climate scientist of the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, and a visiting researcher at the USA’s...


Measles Cases

Cases of measles in Europe have hit a record high, according to the World Health Organization. More than 41,000 people have been infected in the first six months of 2018, leading to 37 deaths. Last year there were 23,927 cases and the year before 5,273. The epidemic is also spreading across parts of Latin America just two years after the Americas were declared free of measles. Claudia Hammond spoke to Clare Wilson, Medical Reporter at New Scientist, about the latest epidemic in Latin...


Capturing Greenhouse Gas

Researchers have found a way to produce a naturally occurring mineral - magnesite, in a lab, that can absorb CO2 from the atmosphere, offering a potential strategy for tackling climate change. They have accelerated a process that normally takes thousands of years to a matter of days, using panels made from tiny balls of polystyrene. Gareth Mitchell speaks to Ian Power of Trent University in Ontario who led the research about whether this could be a viable technology for tackling global...


Ebola Vaccination Begins in North Kivu

Just weeks after the outbreak of Ebola was declared over in the west of the Democratic Republic of Congo, a new outbreak has emerged in the east of the country. The World Health Organization (WHO) has responded rapidly to the emergency – having learned lessons from the West Africa outbreak which killed more than 11,000 people. The WHO’s Deputy Director-General of Emergency Preparedness and Response, Dr Peter Salama, says the current outbreak will be much trickier to contain because of...


Heatwaves and Droughts

Heatwaves and Droughts The Northern Hemisphere has been sweltering in some of the hottest temperatures recorded this summer. Records have been broken in Taiwan, California, Canada, Algeria and Oman. Yet 2018 is a La Niña year. This is the is the positive phase of the El Niño Southern Oscillation and is associated with cooler-than-average sea surface temperatures in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean, and usually cooler and wetter summers in the Northern Hemisphere. So what’s...


Early Humans

Early Humans Archaeologists in China have ‘peeled back’ 17 layers of sediment and fossil soils formed during a period spanning almost a million years. They’ve revealed stone tool fragments and animal bones at the site in Shangchen in the southern Chinese Loess Plateau. Prof John Kappelman tells Roland Pease about a Chinese team that has dated the discoveries and finds that the timing of when early humans left Africa and arrived in Asia is earlier than previously thought – now over two...


Bringing Back the Northern White Rhino

Rhinos The northern white rhinoceros is the world’s most endangered mammal. The death earlier this year of the last male of this rhino subspecies leaves just two females as its only living members. Research out this week has adopted new techniques in reproductive medicine as a last ditch attempt to preserve these animals. Thomas Hildebrandt from Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research discusses the ambition with Roland Pease. 3D Bones Broken bones often fix themselves without any...


Hazard Mapping the Guatemalan Volcano

Hazard Mapping the Guatemalan Volcano Volcanologist Eliza Calder explains why the eruption of Volcán de Fuego in Guatemala on 3rd June was so devastating. It left at least 110 people dead and over 200 people missing. It’s thought that the local populations were so acclimatised to the rumblings and explosions of the ‘persistently active’ volcano, that they were slow to take action when it violently erupted. Voltaglue Medical surgeons routinely stitch or pin organs and blood vessels with...