In this edition of Science Journal, two interviews with Czech scientists who have recently published two very different articles in the prestigious American journal Nature, one mapping biodiversity mathematically, and one fighting HIV.
First is biologist and ecologist David Storch who, along with his American colleagues, has come across a fascinating fact of nature: that the dependency of a given number of endemic animals on their environment creates a reliable mathematical pattern. It can tell us the rate at which a species will die off if its environment is destroyed. And interestingly, it applies universally, anywhere in the world – to vertebrates at least. Dr. Storch is the head of the Centre for Theoretical Studies.
Elsewhere in Czech science, in the Institute of Chemical Technology to be exact, researchers have made a step forward in the fight against HIV/AIDS. What scientists like our next guest have done is find a new weak spot in the virus, one that con potentially be used to attack it in its immaturity, in its most vulnerable stage of development, and kill it in the blood stream. Tomáš Ruml is one of those who has worked on this and other aspects of HIV for 17 years, I asked him first of all if that was indeed a proper explanation of such a complicated endeavour.
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