A smarter way to melt down plastics?

In this episode:

00:45 A new method to break down plastic polymers

Plastic waste is an enormous problem, with much of it being incinerated or ending up in landfill. One way to give plastics another life is to break them down into their individual components using heat, but this method yields low amounts of usable product. Now, a team demonstrates a proof-of-concept method of heating that wicks the plastic like a candle through a layer of carbon material. They show that this method is more efficient and could be an additional way of breaking down waste plastics.

Research article: Dong et al.

08:48 Research Highlights

Physicists model the best way to soar on a playground swing, and how wearing ‘perfume’ helps male orchid bees find a mate.

Research Highlight: Physicists’ advice on how to swing high at the playground

Research Highlight: Better than Chanel: perfumed male bees draw more mates

11:20 Briefing Chat

We discuss some highlights from the Nature Briefing. This time, the runaway supermassive black hole that’s racing through the cosmos, and the bizarre genomes of yellow crazy ants.

Scientific American: Astronomers Spy a Giant Runaway Black Hole’s Starry Wake

Nature News: Crazy ants’ strange genomes are a biological first

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