Laser-cooled antimatter opens up new physics experiments, and the staggering economic cost of invasive species.
In this episode:
00:44 Cooling antimatter with a laser focus
Antimatter is annihilated whenever it interacts with regular matter, which makes it tough for physicists to investigate. Now though, a team at CERN have developed a way to trap and cool antihydrogen atoms using lasers, allowing them to better study its properties.
Research Article: Baker et al.
News and Views: Antimatter cooled by laser light
09:27 Research Highlights
A dramatic increase in Arctic lightning strikes, and an acrobatic bunny helps researchers understand hopping.
Research Highlight: Rising temperatures spark boom in Arctic lightning
Research Highlight: Rabbits that do ‘handstands’ help to find a gene for hopping
11:53 Cost of invasion
Invasive alien species are organisms that end up in places where they don’t really belong, usually as a result of human activity. These species can cause loss of biodiversity and a host of damage to their new environments. This week, researchers estimate that the economic impact of invasive species to be over US $1 trillion.
Research Article: Diagne et al.
19:04 Briefing Chat
We discuss some highlights from the Nature Briefing. This time, the physics that might explain how a ship blocked the Suez Canal, and a new insight into octopuses’ sleep patterns.
The Financial Times: The bank effect and the big boat blocking the Suez
Climate change is shrinking ice around Canada’s Magdalen Islands, leaving fewer safe places for harp seals to give birth.
To Charly Savely, Alaska is where the wild is. This short film offers a glimpse of what goes into photographing this majestic landscape, and the animals who call it home. Through her work, Charly hopes to bring awareness to many types of wildlife species, while inspiring others in our world to keep the wild places wild.
The Most Exclusive Lodge In Lapland
Having hunted for the right place to accommodate the discerning guests of our Luxury Action travel company, I eventually realized the the right property did not exists in the right location. That’s when I decided the only option was to build our very own log chalet. Traditionally, we have managed or rented private chalets in various locations around Lapland, then refurnished them to meet the individual standards of our guests.
As fun and instructive this concept has been, implementing interior design on a one-by-one basis is costly and time consuming. In addition, regardless of our efforts to upgrade the existing chalets in Lapland, although of excellent quality, tend to have very small rooms and only a few properties have en-suite bedrooms with shower and toilet. I felt it was time for a revolutionary change to provide exclusive accommodation in the Arctic that meets the needs of our experiential guests.
Iceland truly is the land of fire and ice – aside from having some of the world’s most active volcanoes, it’s also home to Europe’s largest glacier: Vatnajökull. The Vatnajökull glacier stretches some 143 kilometers east to west, and over 98 kilometers north and south, holding a massive 3000 cubic kilometers of pure ice. As well as the breathtaking hiking routes across the glacier, there are also many beautiful blue ice caves to take you quite literally into the heart of the glacier. Our Euromaxx-Reporter Hendrik Welling went to Iceland to find out what makes this mountain of ice so amazing.
Vatnajökull is the largest and most voluminous ice cap in Iceland, and the second largest in area in Europe after the Severny Island ice cap of Novaya Zemlya. It is in the south-east of the island, covering approximately 8% of the country.
Greenland is the world’s largest island, located between the Arctic and Atlantic oceans, east of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Like the Faroe Islands, it is an autonomous territory within the Kingdom of Denmark.
Two film crews explore the spectacular wilderness of the Arctic. The people who live there face dramatic changes.
Part two takes viewers from East Greenland to Alaska. The region around the North Pole is one of the greatest and least-known wildernesses in the world – and it’s rapidly changing due to global warming. 350 people, most of them Inuit, live in Ittoqqortoormiit in Greenland. The nearest settlement is on neighboring Iceland. Almost 800 kilometers of Arctic Ocean separate the two islands. The film team accompanies an Inuit family through Scoresby Sound, a fjord system on the eastern coast of Greenland.
They travel hundreds of kilometers in small boats through pack ice, passing icebergs as high as skyscrapers. On the way they meet whalers who are hunting for narwhals in summer. In this Inuit culture, narwhal skin and polar bear goulash have ensured survival for thousands of years. Greenpeace and WWF activists want to stop whaling and polar bear hunting – but this poses a threat to the indigenous way of life on Greenland.
On the expedition through the world’s largest fjord system, the team learns about the consequences of global warming: melting permafrost and a rapid increase in greenhouse gases. The changes are worrying. Some say they have brought benefits to the far north — the ice breaks up earlier and so too does the hunting season. However, the risks outweigh this benefit. The knowledge and way of life that have been passed down from generation to generation may soon be unsustainable.
The Arctic is one of the most fascinating regions on our planet, and one of the most threatened. Two film crews explore its spectacular wilderness in a two-part documentary. Part one takes viewers from Norway’s Svalbard archipelago to Siberia. The region around the North Pole is one of the greatest and least-known wildernesses in the world, and it’s rapidly changing due to global warming.
The retreat of Arctic sea ice can be observed everywhere along the Arctic Circle, presenting those who live there with dramatic changes. This documentary takes viewers on a journey through the Arctic circle and explores those changes. It begins in Norway’s Svalbard archipelago, a place to see one of nature’s most spectacular displays — the northern lights. With the ice retreating, cruise ships can now travel further north than was previously possible. This places a strain on the fragile ecosystem.
But more visitors may also mean more awareness about the risks that face the region, and more motivation to protect the Arctic. But as if often the case, protecting nature in the Arctic is at odds with economic interests. Russia, in particular, is keen to sell Arctic fossil fuels to the rest of world. The film next takes viewers to the gas-rich Yamal Peninsula in northwestern Siberia, where the Russian company Novatek has built the northernmost industrial facility on the globe.
Further East in Yakutia, two noises fill the air: the relentless buzzing of mosquitoes that infest the Siberian tundra in summer, and the steady dripping of the thawing permafrost on the banks of the Kolyma River. The film’s journey ends in Chukotka in the northeast of Russia, a region closer to Alaska than to the Russian capital Moscow.