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Science in Action


The BBC World Service's weekly look at new developments in science from around the world.

The BBC World Service's weekly look at new developments in science from around the world.
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London, United Kingdom




The BBC World Service's weekly look at new developments in science from around the world.




African Swine Fever

The viral disease that is deadly in domestic pigs and wild boar is spreading across Europe. The virus is large and complex and it’s proving difficult to produce a vaccine for it. The virus is very long-lived and can survive in raw pork products, even at fridge temperature, as well as cured meat, on the clothing and vehicles of pig farmers and on animal waste and bedding. Luckily the virus does not infect humans, but it’s a worrying time for the pork industry. Immune Response to Crispr CAS9...


Oil Spill in South China Sea

At the time of reporting, Sanchi, the oil tanker which collided with a cargo ship off the coast of China on Saturday, is still burning. The tanker contained about a million barrels of ‘condensate’ – a very light crude oil. Initial concerns are, of course, for the 32 crew unaccounted for, but longer term environmental damage from this toxic fuel could be serious, especially if the ship breaks up. Gut Gas Detecting Electronic Capsules Gases produced in the digestive tract (from mouth to anus)...


The Galaxy's Most Peculiar Flickering Star

KIC 8462852 is otherwise an average star, about a 1,000 light years away in the constellation Cygnus. It is about 50 percent bigger and 1,000 degrees hotter than the Sun, which is not particularly peculiar. What is very peculiar is that it flickers and dims in a way that has never been observed in any star so far. This led to some intense debate amongst the astrophysics community, and the press, including the possibility that the dimming was being caused by some sort of alien megastructure –...


The Best Science of 2017

Detecting a ‘Bling Nova’ In the short window of time between the VIRGO gravitational wave detector being switched on, in Piza in Italy, and the LIGO detector, in the US, being switched off for an upgrade, the teams detected the signal they had hoped for, but dared not expect. A space-altering gravity ripple, followed by a gamma ray burst signal and when the world’s telescopes turned to the Hydra constellation they also saw an optical flash. These signals were from two neutron stars, having...


The Biggest Explosions in the Universe

An international team of scientists have captured the biggest explosions in the Universe in unprecedented detail for the first time. These Gamma Ray Bursts sometimes last for just a few milliseconds, but for that time are trillions of times brighter than our Sun. The chance of capturing one of these rare bursts, which occur just as a dying star collapses into a black hole, is just an incredible one-in-10,000. Sight and Sound Despite the intuitive feeling that we can listen to something...