BBC World Service – Science in Action, Risk of Lethal Heat Waves

Science in Action

Europe has been hit by a deadly heat wave with temperatures exceeding 40 degrees Celsius. The combination of high humidity and high temperatures is proving lethal. A new study has shown that between 48% and 74% of the world’s population will have to endure life-threatening heat for 20 days a year.

The world is racing to be at the forefront of rechargeable battery technology. The UK has just followed France in pledging to only sell electric vehicles by 2040, with India setting the same target for 2030. However the high demand for elements such as lithium and cobalt must be met, some of which come from politically unstable areas. What alternative batteries are being developed?

Stars orbiting the supermassive black hole in the centre of our galaxy obey Einstein’s theory of General Relativity.

Penguin tail feathers are chemically analysed to reveal their migration routes.

Sea snakes near the coast of Australia lose their stripes to rid their bodies of pollutants.

The number of unidentified dead bodies in the populous Gauteng province in South Africa is rising. Part of this is due to the high number of undocumented immigrants to the region. The forensic science service is under increasing pressure to put a name to the dead. With often only skeletal remains, the scientists are resorting to ‘geo-profiling’ the bones to get an idea of who this person might be and where they came from.

Presenter: Roland Pease
Producer: Caroline Steel

Image: Heat waves. Credit: David McNew / Getty Images

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