Big Picture Science
April 16, 2019: Go With the Flow
Solid materials get all the production credit. Don’t get us wrong, we depend on their strength and firmness for bridges, bones, and bento boxes. But liquids do us a solid, too. Their free-flowing properties drive the Earth’s magnetic field, inspire a new generation of smart electronics, and make biology possible. But the weird thing is, they elude clear definition. Is tar a liquid or a solid? What about peanut butter?
In this episode: A romp through a cascade of liquids with a materials scientist who is both admiring and confounded by their properties; how Earth’s molten iron core is making the magnetic north pole high-tail it to Siberia; blood as your body’s information superhighway; and how a spittlebug can convert 200 times its body weight in urine into a cozy, bubble fortress.
- Mark Miodownik – Professor of Materials and Society, University College, London, and author of “Liquid rules: The Delightful and Dangerous Substances that Flow Through Our Lives”
- Arnaud Chulliat – Geophysicist, University of Colorado and Institut de physique du globe du Paris
- Philip Matthews – Comparative physiologist at the University of British Columbia
- Rose George – Journalist and author of “Nine Pints: A Journey Through the Money, Medicine, and Mysteries of Blood”