Skip to content.
with Amelia Nurse, Veronika Meduna & Alison Ballance
Thursdays 9 - 10pm
Deep Thought is a marine science course run for year 11 students by the New Zealand Marine Studies Centre, at Otago University. To learn about the realities of life as oceanographers, nine students took part in a cruise on the research boat Polaris. Working alongside marine scientists Daniel Leduc and Cerys Bailey, one group of students sampled benthic life on the seafloor, while the other group investigated ocean currents. Alison Ballance boarded the boat at Portobello for a day at sea with the budding marine biologists, and reports that she was not the only one to get seasick. To find out more about courses and events at the New Zealand Marine Studies Centre check out www.marine.ac.nz.
Above Right: The benthic grab holding a sample of seafloor sediment collected from 400 metres depth in the Saunders Canyon.
Above Left: Daniel Leduc guides the CTD sampler back on board the Polaris.
Samantha Deal, Chris Ross, David Young and Jasmine Knowles sorting benthic macrofauna back at the Portobello Marine Laboratory.
All photos: Steve Carter/NZMSC
In just a few centuries, the people of Easter Island wiped out their forest, drove their plants and animals to extinction, and saw their complex society spiral into chaos and cannibalism. Now, a New Zealand-led team of scientists is planning to use new techniques to solve the mystery of the population's sudden collapse. Environmental scientist Troy Baisden, at GNS Science, talks to Veronika Meduna about the team's plans to trace steroids in the soil column to test his hypothesis that Easter Islanders overshot the carrying capacity of their island's weathered volcanic soils.
Understanding the earliest moments of the universe may be a step closer thanks to the efforts of physicists working on ultra-cold matter. Experimental and theoretical physicists joined forces to study the formation of Bose-Einstein-Condensates - a state of matter that forms at temperatures close to absolute zero and in which atoms behave as a wave rather than individual particles. Veronika Meduna talks to Ashton Bradley and Crispin Gardiner, at the University of Otago's Jack Dodd Centre for Quantum Technology, about their discovery of spontaneous whirlpools in the condensate, and how that helps them understand what happened after the Big Bang.
"Biomass" is essentially a form of solar energy stored in green plants through the process of photosynthesis. Part of that process is carbon fixation where CO2 is chemically converted or fixed as carbon. The New Zealand forestry industry produces over 13 million tones of biomass a year in wood waste. Wood has a carbon content of about 50%, and whether it's left to rot or is burned, it releases carbon back into the atmosphere. Biochar is charcoal produced from biomass which can store carbon and is produced through a process called pyrolysis. It has an intensified carbon content of about 70-80%, which can be permanently sequestered in soil.
Amelia Nurse talks to Nick Gerritsen, (pictured right) director of CarbonScape, a Marlborough company making biochar out of wood waste using new microwave technology. Nick's a IP strategist, a business startup expert and a founding member and director of a range of companies including Celsias.com, Vortex DNA, and Aquaflow Bionomic Corporation. But first she talks to John Edwards from Massey University about the basics of pyrolysis.
Below: Biochar is charcoal produced from biomass which can store carbon and is produced through a process called pyrolysis.
Not all audio is available due to copyright restrictions.
Budding marine biologists head out to sea on board the University of Otago's research vessel Polaris. (12′33″)
Troy Baisden explains his hypothesis that Easter Islanders overshot the carrying capacity of their island's soil. (12′21″)
Spontaneous vortices observed in Bose Einstein Condensates help physicists understand the Universe's earliest moments. (13′05″)
Amelia Nurse finds out about a project that uses woody biomass and pyrolisys to sequester carbon. (13′36″)
Produced and presented by Veronika Meduna, Ruth Beran & Alison Ballance
Each week Our Changing World features an eclectic mix of sound-rich stories about science, the environment and medical research, recorded around New Zealand in labs and in the field.
Phone: (04) 4741910
To join the email preview of our programme, send a blank email with an empty subject line to email@example.com and respond to our confirmation email.
To unsubscribe, send a blank email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Follow RNZ_Science on Twitter
The link(s) below can be pasted into your podcasting software.
For more podcasts and the conditions of use, please see our podcast page.
Audio is categorised based on the frequency of the programme it was heard in. Click on the headings below to access the programmes. For the most recently published audio, go to the latest audio page.
Streams are in Windows Media format. Mac and Linux users may need to install additional software. Get help with audio
A selection of music interviews, reviews, videos, concerts, sessions, and performances.
Downloads and podcasts are available for selected programmes. Our podcast page has a complete list of feeds.
Help on using online audio: formats, software, podcasts, downloading, and troubleshooting.