Friday 23 November 2007

Science, Cricket, Fitness and Psychology

Do you need to be fit to play cricket? Do the best batsmen in the world really have the ability to predict the type of ball they will receive before it even arrives? And is cricket really more of a mental game than a physical one?

These are the questions that we are tackling this week on Mr Science. We have discussed them in previous issues, but this week we are talking to the experts.

In this rather longer episode, we talk to Dr Rob Duffield from the School of Human Movement at Charles Sturt University who has found that indeed you really do not need to be as physically fit to play cricket as you do other sports such as football. We also have a chat about the direction of research with regards to sport and cricket in particular, and how scientific endeavour is reforming the way cricketers train and prepare for games.

We chat to
Dr Allistair McRobert from Liverpool John Moores University who's work has shown that the best batsmen can predict to some extent where a bowler will bowl. This work also encompasses a look into the subconscious mental game of cricket and how the most successful players are more mentally prepared for the top level than lesser players.

Finally, I discuss the role of psychology in cricket and the various measures that are being put in place to look after the cricketer's brain.

I also wrote this up and some of it appeared in the Canberra Times - click here for a pdf of the article. I also wrote something for All Out Cricket but that article is not online, so you'll just have to go to the UK and buy it!

Listen to this show here

Friday 9 November 2007

The evolution of language in Europe

This week we talk to Dr Quentin Atkinson, an evolutionary psychologist from the University of Reading in the UK, about the evolution of language in Europe.

Languages, like genes, provide vital clues about human prehistory. The Indo-European languages, now spoken across Europe and the near East, show strikingly similar words for some meanings, indicating that they have come from a common source, now long forgotten. Atkinson and his team used statistical models of language evolution derived from evolutionary biology to date the age of the Indo-European language family and so test between the two main competing theories of Indo-European origins - the 'Kurgan horsemen' and 'Anatolian farming' hypotheses.

This podcast also comes from the York Science Festival. Listen to this show here.

Tuesday 6 November 2007

Sponsor Marc in Movember!

It's that time again, Movember (the month formerly known as November). I'll be growin a Mo (slang for Moustache) to raise funds for The Prostate Cancer Charity.
  • Prostate cancer is now the most common cancer diagnosed in men in the U.K. with at least one man dying every hour from the disease.
  • Every year about 35,000 men in the U.K. are diagnosed with prostate cancer and about 10,000 men die from the disease.
  • One man in 11 will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime in the U.K.
To sponsor my Mo (moustache) and fight against prostate cancer please go here.

To bring some science to this, you may remember last year's mo-tastic Mr Science take on it all. Following these links for all you will ever need to know about moustaches and science
More info is available at

Movember is proudly grown by Bulldog Natural Grooming and Playboy.
Movember is proud partners with The Prostate Cancer Charity.