Bird flu outbreak in cows
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A strain of highly pathogenic bird flu, H5N1, has been spreading unchecked through wild bird, and some mammal, populations for the past few years. Last week, news of a large number of dairy cows in the USA being infected with bird flu has alarmed the public and virologists alike. One farm worker has also picked up the virus and although they are not seriously ill, the jump between cattle and humans raises serious concerns over how the virus is moving and adapting. Virologist Dr Tom Peacock has the details. Also this week, thousands of eyes across America were turned to the skies to catch a glimpse of the total solar eclipse. But this event isn’t just a spectacle for the eyes – it’s a real scientific opportunity. Space physicist and electrical engineer Dr Nathaniel Frissell reveals his unusual approach to studying the eclipse via radio. And BBC reporter Georgina Rannard, who has been following the eclipse this week, tells Vic what other research scientists investigated during the four-minute window of darkness. And don’t turn your eyes away from the sky just yet, as another celestial spectacle is set to occur. About 3,000 light-years away, a pair of orbiting stars called T Coronae Borealis are not normally visible from Earth. But every 80 years or so, one of the stars in the binary system explodes, creating a ‘new’ star in our night sky. But you’ll only have a day or two to spot it. Astrophysicist Dr Rebecca Smethurst joins Vic in the studio to talk about this once-in-a-lifetime star explosion. And to close the show, the life and work of a legend. Nobel Prize-winning physicist Peter Higgs has died at the age of 94. Higgs’s biographer Professor Frank Close tells us how Higgs predicted the existence of a particle that’s fundamental to our understanding of the Universe and reveals the legacy he’s left behind. Presenter: Victoria Gill Producers: Alice Lipscombe-Southwell and Ella Hubber Editor: Martin Smith Production Co-ordinator: Jana Bennett-Holesworth
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