7/23/19 Show feat. Dr. Haider Warraich on the State of the Heart and Dr. Ingrid Ockert on Mooniversary

Featured image: Stents are marvels of modern medicine that prop open coronary arteries and resume blood flow, ending the blockage that leads to heart attacks. (Courtesy Getty Images)

Today we speak with Dr. Haider Warraich, cardiologist starting at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, on his new book, State of the Heart. As a medical professional and writer, Haider knows firsthand the power of stories to stick in human memory; but he also knows how little the average person understands their hardest-working organ. His book brings the heart, its ailments, and its medical history to life. Though it continually pumps blood through your body, it took humans millennia to understand how the heart works, and medical mysteries still abound. Hear about blood pressure, heart attacks, stress and anxiety, and the future of cardiovascular technology.

Plus, a great intro on the 50th anniversary of the moon landing with Dr. Ingrid Ockert of the Science History Institute, including a massive rocket display on the Washington Monument and a review of the glorious archival film, Apollo 11.

The playlist can be found on WPRB.com or below.

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7/16/19 Show feat. Dr. Robert Vanderbei on Astrophotography and DIY Science

Featured image: A sunset over Lake Michigan on July 5th, 2008. When photographed by Dr. Vanderbei, he didn’t realize the curved Earth would change the mirrored solar radius. (Courtesy Optics & Photonics)

This week, we host Prof. Robert Vanderbei of Princeton’s Department of Operations Research and Financial Engineering (also this summer’s Scientist in Residence at the Princeton Public Library!), expert on telescope design and hobbyist in (among many things) astrophotography. Robert has a passion for digging into the unusual, finding ways to prove to himself how the world works. With astrophotography, he uses telescopes and high-quality cameras to measure distances in space and sometimes discover surprises like variable stars—but he is careful to mention that you can measure an amazing amount even with the right sunset photo. Even down here on Earth, Robert explains how he verified that “local warming” is occurring right alongside global climate change, as demonstrated via years of weather station data you can download yourself.

In other news:

The playlist can be found on WPRB.com or below.

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7/9/19 Show feat. Kelsey Ockert on “Secrets from the Eating Lab” by Dr. Traci Mann

Featured image: Subtle suggestions, like pictures in the bottom of cafeteria food trays, can influence people to make different choices for their lunch. (Courtesy MPR News)

Today, Kelsey Ockert from the Princeton Public Library brings us Secrets from the Eating Lab by Traci Mann, PhD. It’s a book full of science about nutrition, hunger, and dieting that often flies in the face of “conventional wisdom” (on a topic where opinions abound!). Traci advocates for an easing up on the stress around dieting: it doesn’t usually work for humans to clamp down into strict routines, since our willpower is limited. Listen for a message of body-positivity, appetite and social pressures as backed up by laboratory data!

In other news:

The playlist can be found online at WPRB.com or below.

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6/25/19 Show feat. Scott Andrews on Building Insanely Fast Streak Cameras

Featured image: Scott Andrews and his first creation the SC1, custom-built for measuring visible light signals at extreme speeds. (Courtesy Titan Labs)

This week, Scott Andrews of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Titan Labs joins us to share his work on developing superfast cameras for scientific measurements. If your camera is too slow, the event you’re trying to see is too blurry to understand—and tracking the motions of atoms occurring in quadrillionths of a second is hard with any present-day technology. Scott is developing improvements to streak cameras, which convert light into electrons in order to measure events on the picosecond or femtosecond time scale. Hear how he does it, plus the benefits of thinking through design from different perspectives.

In other news, tree lobsters are on the up-and-up in the insect world, and their aggressively long tails seem to be for pinning down down rivals, not mates.

The playlist can be found at WPRB.com or below.

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6/18/19 Show feat. Dr. Nathan Matias on Improving Online Behavior

Featured image: The open-ended Reddit, the one-time “front page of the internet,” attracts a wealth of content. But its huge community often brings it in contact with the web’s dark side. (Courtesy Veronica Belmont)

Joining us this time is Dr. J. Nathan Matias, Assistant Professor at Cornell University and former Associate Research Scholar at Princeton’s Center for Information Technology Policy. Nathan focuses on the intersection of sociology, psychology and the internet, examining issues like online behavior, harassment, and the shaping of modern discourse by websites and their design choices. We talk through his research on Reddit’s /r/science subreddit, where Nathan and the site moderators encouraged welcoming behavior by including a small rule reminder for commenters. Plus: under the obligation to experiment, websites that manage what we see online ought to do tests to see how their choices affect our experience, and make their results public — taking the tools they use to make effective advertising and deploying them in our interest!

In other news: the hunt for ancient creatures in Burmese amber is enriching our understanding of ancient life, but it also funds unsafe, exploitative mining and the civil war in the area.

The playlist can be found at WPRB.com or below.

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