White phosphorus
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Description
White phosphorous is an incendiary material and if it were to be used in any built-up civilian areas, the practice would violate international law. We find out what makes white phosphorus so dangerous, and we ask how easy is it to identify? Andrea Sella, professor of chemistry at University College London, grants access to his laboratory and conducts an experiment with this highly flammable and volatile substance. Whole words and phrases from crushed and carbonised scrolls can be read for the first time in almost two thousand years. The documents, uncovered from Herculaneum, an ancient Roman town close to Pompeii which was buried under volcanic ash, have been made legible thanks to 3D scans and artificial intelligence. Dr. Federica Nicolardi, a papyrologist at the University of Naples, tells us more about this exciting discovery. Kate Zernike discusses her book The Exceptions, which tells the story of a group of 16 women who used their scientific know-how to inspire radical change. It’s been shortlisted for this year’s Royal Society Science Book Prize. And finally, this month marks exactly a year since beavers became a protected species in England. BBC Inside Science goes to Devon in search of these charismatic animals and we ask what effect they have been having on the countryside. Presenter:  Victoria Gill Producers: Hannah Robins, Harrison Lewis, Alice Lipscombe-Southwell and Patrick Hughes Editor: Richard Collings Production Co-ordinator: Jana Bennett-Holesworth BBC Inside Science is produced in collaboration with the Open University.
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