In this programme

The International Polar Year, the largest international polar research programme in 50 years, begins this month and Our Changing World returns to Antarctica with a feature about microbes that live in the extremely arid Dry Valleys. Veronika Meduna meets a group of microbiologists who've been scouring the permafrost soil for bacterial life and discovered that microbial diversity is much higher than originally thought.

Veronika also talks to Jean Marie Lehn from the University Louis Pasteur in Strasbourg, who shares the 1987 Nobel Prize for Chemistry for his contributions to the understanding of molecular recognition processes. Professor Lehn is a pioneer in the study of how molecules recognise and bind with each other, and he was visiting the University of Otago this week.

The kiwi is making a comeback thanks to hundreds of community groups that have sprung up throughout New Zealand over the past decade. In his new book, Kiwi - the People's Bird, natural history writer Neville Peat says he's optimistic the national bird will be saved on the mainland.

Being able to record the activity of a single brain cell is enabling researchers at the University of Otago to gain insights into how a new generation of drugs acts on brains affected by Parkinson's disease. Louise Wallace discusses new treatment concepts with Brian Hyland, at the department of physiology.