Big Picture Science – Go With the Flow

by Gary Niederhoff on October 14, 2019


Big Picture Science – 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.

Listen to individual segments here:
Part 1: Mark Miodownik / Liquid Rules
Part 2: Arnaud Chulliat / Liquid Core
Part 3: Philip Matthews / Spittlebug Suds
Part 4: Rose George / Life’s Blood

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