UK Go it Alone on Fusion; DIY Smear Test; CAP Damaging Wildlife; 900AD Florida Village

The international ITER Fusion Reactor in France is under construction (Credit: ITER)

The ITER fusion reactor in France is under construction and due to start working in 2050, but the UK is planning to have its own fusion reactor operational by 2040.

A DIY smear test is showing promise in scientific tests and could be available in the UK in five years.

The Common Agricultural Policy has been linked with a decline in wildlife across the EU, and scientists are demanding that it be changed.

An ancient village, dating back to 900 AD – predating the arrival of Columbus by several hundred years – has been found by archaeologists in Florida.

For more listen below to the #CoolScientist slot on The Morning Show with Declan Meehan, on East Coast FM (broadcast 7-11-19)


325-million year old amphibian fossil found in Co Clare; First meat grown in space; Lyme disease linked to ‘yuppie flu’; Reusable water bottles carry bacteria risk

Listen below to the Cool Scientist slot broadcast on The Morning Show with Declan Meehan on East Coast FM on 10th October ’19

Impression of what 325-million year old amphibian fossil found in Doolin Co Clare would have looked like in life (Credit: Dr Eamon Doyle)

Life on Mars will be found in two years; Infant formula bad for environment; Reading Vesuvius’s scrolls; Pay cuts damage brain

Listen below to Cool Scientist slot broadcast on The Morning Show with Declan Meehan on East Coast FM on 3rd October ’19

Mount Sharp on Mars, as pictured by the NASA Mars Curiosity rover (Credit: NASA)

Cats recognise their names; memory decline reversed; A.I. predicts death; first picture of Black Hole

Cats can recognise their names, according to new research (Source: Getty Images)

Listen below to the #CoolScientist slot on The Morning Show with Declan Meehan on East Coast FM

Broadcast 11th April 2019

Cats might appear indifferent to humans, but they do recognise their name, new research states.

The first picture of a real Black Hole emerged this week, and it looks exactly like Albert Einstein predicted.

Scientists have reversed – temporarily – memory decline in older people using gentle electrical pulses.

A.I. can predict early death in individuals at risk; an ability which could lead to great advances in preventive medicine.

Disobedient children more successful; animal organs for humans; the woman who feels no pain; the science of bullshitting

Disobedient children earn more than their peers, according to new research (Source: Getty Images)

Listen below to the Cool Scientist slot from The Morning Show with Declan Meehan on East Coast FM (4-03-19)

As parents we get annoyed when our children disobey us. But, new research suggests that disobedient children grow up to earn more, and have a better chance of being in a top job, than their more obedient peers.

The lack of donors for organs that can save people’s lives continues to be an issue, as does the problem of organ rejection when donor organs are available.

However, scientists believe that a solution to the lack of suitable organs for donation might be found through the use of animal organs, genetically engineered so that  recipients do not recognise them as being ‘foreign’ and attack them.

Jo Cameron, 65, feels no pain, and little anxiety. Doctors believe that studies of Jo’s genetic make-up could provide new therapies for both pain and anxiety.

Who are the biggest bullshitters? A new scientific study found some answers.




Weekend lie in might be bad for health; small nuclear reactors for Ireland; wonderful women in science

Listen below to the Cool Scientist slot on East Coast FM, 8th March 2019

Catching up on sleep at the weekend increases the risk of serious ill health according to new research (Source:

A weekend lie increases the risk of serious physical and mental health problems if a person does not get enough sleep during the week, according to new research.

On international women’s day, we discuss the achievements of Irish women scientists Jocelyn Bell Burnell, and Annie Maunder, as well as Polish woman Marie Curie.

We discuss calls for the Moneypoint fossil-fuel burning power plant to close and to be replaced by a carbon-free small, modular nuclear reactor.

Men’s Brains Age Faster; Gut Influences Mental Health; Turning Plastic into Car Parts

The balance of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bacteria in our gut has a huge influence on our mental well-being, scientists are realising [Credit:

In this week’s #CoolScientist slot on The Morning Show with Declan Meehan we discussed how men’s brains – on average have been found to be almost four years older than women’s; the growing evidence that bacteria in our gut play a huge role in our mental health; how researchers at Limerick Institute of Technology are converting single use plastic bottles into parts for car and tractors.

Irish scientists find arthritis ‘off’ switch; Chinese space station falling to Earth; New organ found; Holding on to memories in Alzheimer’s using implants

Chinese Space Station

The 9.4 tonne Chinese space station Tiangong-1 is set to fall to Earth over the easter weekend, but scientists are not sure exactly where (Photo: NBC News)

Listen to weekly round up of science news broadcast on East Coast FM: 29th March 2018

My weekly science news round up on East Coast FM: weight loss; mindfulness; ancient Egypt; super volcano; Chinese space station

The latest science news from around the world 

Broadcast on The Morning Show on East Coast FM (20/10/2017)

A group of scientists say there is no evidence for many of the benefits claimed for mindfulness (Source:


Every two lbs overweight knocks nine weeks off your life

Source: Telegraph, UK

  • Study of 600,000 people study link between longevity and lifestyle
  • Smoke pack of cigs per day, die seven years earlier on average
  • Edinburgh University researchers did this as a so-called big data project, which means analysing and cross referencing vast amounts of data.
  • If you are two stone overweight, then it will take, on average, six months off your life.
  • Data came from Europe, North America and Australia, via the UK Biobank.
  • But… also found that life is extended by one year for every year a person stays in education after school, on average. That’s a massive effect.
  • Life expectancy continuing to increase, and in the UK it stands now at 79.5 years for a man, on average, and 83.1 for a woman.
  • But, Public Health England found this year that the average ‘healthy’ average life expectancy – the number of years a person can live largely free of illness – is less than the age people get the state pension

Little proof mindfulness meditation works, say scientists

Source: Scientific American

  • Scientists in the US now asking where is the proof that mindfulness works? Question asked by a group of 15 prominent psychologists and cognitive scientists in the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science.
  • Lots of studies have been done on mindfulness and it has been reported to relieve stress, pain and even slow ageing.
  • But, these researchers are critical of these studies because they say they are poorly designed, they have inconsistent definitions are what mindfulness actually is, and often do not use a control group to rule out the placebo effect.
  • Only some 9 per cent of studies on mindfulness has been tested in clinical trials, one report said, and meta analysis of mindfulness research not impressive.
  • In 2014, a review of 47 meditation trials, involving over 3,500 people found that no evidence mindfulness enhanced enhanced attention, curtailed substance abuse, helped sleep or controlled weight.
  • Mindfulness meditation and training is now a huge industry, so there are vested interests promoting its effectiveness, the scientists state.
  • Less than 25 per cent of trials on mindfulness monitor potential negative effects and that is causing worry among scientists too.
  • The 2014 review did find some benefits, modest benefits, for anxiety, depression and pain from the use of mindfulness.
  • A reputable trial this year found that mindfulness attention training reduced self perceived stress, but not the stress hormone cortisol. What does it mean?
  • Another trial found that mindfulness increased the thickness of the prefrontal cortex around of the brain, which is associated with complex behaviour, decision making and shaping the personality.

Ancient Egypt brought down by volcanoes and climate change

Source: Independent UK

  • Volcanic eruptions caused riots and rebellions against Ptolemaic rule and Cleopatra was one of those leaders.
  • Ancient Egypt relied on monsoon weather to provide water irrigate the nile delta region, as does 70 per cent of the globe still today
  • Researchers at TCD and Yale looked at the historical records and used climate modelling methods (working backwards) to do this study.
  • Summer floods helped crops to grow, fed population and were the fundamental basis for the wealth of ancient Egypt at this time 350BC to 30 BC or so.

Yellowstone Super Volcano could erupt inside decades causing global volcanic winter

Source: Independent UK

  • The last time it erupted was 630,000 years ago and created the Yellowstone caldera, which is 40 miles wide.
  • The volcano is so big that if it erupted, it could choke the Earth’s entire atmosphere with ash, blocking out a lot of sunlight, causing temperatures to dip, and this would continue for years.
  • That last massive eruption, scientists at Arizona State have found, occurred following two influxes of fresh magma into the magma chamber.
  • The temperatures increased around the volcano as this happened over decades, not centuries, as previously thought.
  • This shows that the the yellowstone volcano could become dangerous inside decades, at any point, when temperatures start to rise.
  • Large parts of the USA would be covered in dangerous ash if it erupted, the Earth would dramatically cool, sunlight would struggle to get through and the impact would last more than a decade. Life would get very tough, esp in US.

Chinese space station will crash to Earth in months

Source: Guardian UK

  • The 8.5 tonne orbiting laboratory (two large male bull elephants) is now out of control, and in a death spiral, and the ISS will follow perhaps as earth as 2020.
  • The Tiangong-1, or heavenly palace, lab was launched in 2011 as part of China’s push to become a space superpower.
  • Visited by taikonauts including China’s first female taikonaut Liu Yang in 2012.
  • Much of the craft will burn up in the atmosphere, but scientists in the west estimate that pieces as large as 100kg (16 stone man) will crash to Earth anytime between now and April 2018.
  • Impossible to predict when and where the pieces will fall scientists say.
  • No-one has been hurt by space debris falling to Earth, but in 1979 NASA’s 77-tonne Skylab space station crashed to the ground with some large pieces landing outside Perth.


Women make better surgeons; Trump plans Moon return; Women brain’s wired to be selfless; voice key to emotional state

Patients are 12 less likely to die 30 days post-op if the operation was performed by a female surgeon (Source:

Broadcast on The Morning Show with Declan Meehan on East Coast FM 12/10/17