Featured image: the Flamenco ice tower in Harbin, China, designed by architects from China and the Netherlands. Thin shells of ice can be immensely strong! (courtesy Maple Village)
This week’s show features Prof. Sigrid Adriaenssens of Princeton’s Civil Engineering Department. Modern architects must confront many coupled challenges: overpopulation, material shortages, energy conservation, natural disasters… Designing better structures on all these fronts requires transformative solutions, like those provided by Sigrid’s Form Finding Lab. Using simple principles that describe hanging meshes, the group designs thin membrane forms that are efficient, organic, and resilient to extreme loads. Hear how this paradigm shift is making headway on deployable storm surge shields, and how origami-influenced folding might enable flexible buildings that react to their environments.
Play with this fabric physics yourself! Here’s a simulation of a drape, using the same equations as Sigrid’s form finding algorithms (thanks Aatish!). And here’s a visualization with music by Jeff Snyder, with the same fabric model featured prominently.
In other news:
The playlist can be found on WPRB.com or below.
Featured image credit: Smithsonian
In this show Stevie spoke with paleontologist Evan Saitta, expert on dinosaurs and fossilization. We discuss dinosaurs broadly, as well as what what we know, how we know it, and what are the really difficult questions. Stevie also learns how Jurassic Park lied to her, and how we know some dinosaurs have feathers. Towards the end of the conversation, Evan discusses his fascinating work actually making fossils in the lab!
Featured image: WxShift.com, a website by Climate Central, shows your local weather alongside long-term trends indicative of climate change.
This week we interviewed Greta Shum, digital communications specialist at Princeton’s Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment. What’s the importance of communicating science? For issues like climate change that are bound to affect most lives on the planet, communication is crucial—even if the subject is complicated and often depressing! Greta will talk about her work packaging climate research findings into web series and articles for the public in her jobs at Climate Central and the Andlinger Center, working with meteorologists, researchers, and science readers in the public to help all sides understand the others. Also featured: the essential practice of listening and what it means that prestigious science journals are in English.
As we mention in the show, check out the Andlinger Center’s distillates (helpful overviews of energy policy) and WxShift, which shows your local weather today and over time to bring the effects of climate change home.
In other news:
The playlist for the show can be found at WPRB.com or below.
This was WPRB’s 2018 pledge drive!! Brian and Stevie started out the show with science news – ancient sloth hunts uncovered and a study shows that freedivers from Southeast Asia evolved to have bigger spleens. Then Professor Sam Wang, founder of the Princeton Election Consortium and co-host of the Politics and Polls podcast, joined Stevie on the mic to discuss gerrymandering in the US and specifically in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Then we get in to the more general topic of the scientific study of elections.
Additionally, you’ll hear Brian and Stevie talk past shows and why they love WPRB.