• Question: best piece of research you found interesting?

    Asked by emmasaur to Daniela, Ian, Hannah, Jono, Mark on 20 Jun 2013. This question was also asked by jilly33, meghanmurray754, eims1, bdennison.
    • Photo: Daniela Plana

      Daniela Plana answered on 20 Jun 2013:

      Hi emmasaur!

      I’m not sure if you mean what is the piece of research that I’ve done that I found interesting or that other people have done???

      If it’s things that other people have done… I was very impressed with a talk that I heard from an Irish doctor last year who worked in a project about cleaning contaminated water to make it safe to drink. In many poor countries, one of the major problems they have, that causes many children to get very, very sick, is that they don’t have clean water… the water they drink tends to have bacteria that makes them sick. I was impressed with this piece of research, because it is a really simple and cheap way of doing it (essentially you just put water into a plastic transparent bottle, like a coke or pepsi bottle, and leave on top of a metal sheet in the sun for a few hours). They had to do a lot of work to make sure that they knew how long they had to leave it and what kind of bottles worked and stuff, for the UV rays coming from the sun to kill enough of the bacteria so that people could drink it and not get sick.

      You can read more about it on their website: http://www.sodis.ch/methode/index_EN

      If you meant something else by your question, please ASK me again!

    • Photo: Jono Bone

      Jono Bone answered on 21 Jun 2013:


      I read lots of research so that’s a tough one. I saw this paper the other day that made me laugh though. It’s called “Male dance moves that catch a woman’s eye”.
      This is the link:http://rsbl.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/early/2010/09/06/rsbl.2010.0619.abstract

      Dance like movements are an important part of impressing potential mates in lots animals. They found specific movements within men’s dance that influence women’s judgment of dancing ability. They suggest that these movements may be signals of male quality in terms of health, vigour or strength.

      The best bit is the videos of the dance moves haha

    • Photo: Hannah Brotherton

      Hannah Brotherton answered on 21 Jun 2013:

      Hi emmasaur and meghanmurray754,
      My personal favorite is the growing of new body parts from stem cells (cells from your body that can become anything). A woman who had cancer of the ear had a new ear grown on her arm. The fact that we can grow another body part is amazing, but growing them on yourself its extraordinary!!

      Here is the story on the news:

      But one of the most funny research papers is titled: Pressures Produced When Penguins Poo? hahahahaha

      Here is the paper, if you ever feel you need to know how penguins poo 😀

    • Photo: Ian Wilson

      Ian Wilson answered on 21 Jun 2013:

      Hi folks,

      Sorry for the slow reply – busy couple of days!

      The research that springs to mind first for me is work done on the Naked Mole Rat. I don’t know if you’ve heard of it but it is uuuuuuuugggllllyyyy!!!

      The Naked Mole Rat is as incredible as it is ugly:

      It doesn’t feel pain if you drip acid onto it (who found that out?!)
      It never gets cancer despite living way longer than any other rodent.
      It lives in burrows that have absolutely no fresh air in them, so the air would kill any other mammal
      No light enters the burrows but it navigates them perfectly despite not being able to see (it feels its way round instead)
      It can run backwards just as fast as it can run forwards!

      The amazing piece of research I read came out in 2011 when scientists read the Naked Mole Rat genome and found the genes they think are responsible for stopping the rat getting cancer. It has 2 anti-cancer genes, whereas humans only have 1, so it has more control to stop cancer developing.

      This is now leading to work to come up with cancer cures and treatments in humans based on the Naked Mole Rat’s abilities. Absolutely incredible work 😀



    • Photo: Mark Hodson

      Mark Hodson answered on 22 Jun 2013:

      Hi emmasaur, jilly33, megahanmurray754, eims1 and bdennison,

      popular question.

      A really cool thing I saw at a conference was someone who was using a powerful enough microscope to watch chemicals reacting on the surface of the particles of ground up rock in soil. You could watch in real time as the chemical bumped along the surface of the particles until it hit them in just the right way to react with the molecules on the particle surface.