8/15/17 Show on Supernovae in Real Time, Hallucinations and Auditory Levitation

Featured image:  An artist’s rendition of a dwarf star, delicately balancing the forces of gravity and electron degeneracy pressure. (courtesy Montgomery College)

This week, we’ll cover a swath of new science stories: What happens when supernova swallow up stars, and what enables us to watch this process evolve in real time? How are Americans’ opinions on gene editing evolving? Is baldness over?

In other news:

The playlist for the show can be found at WPRB.com or below.

TVR2C_playlist_081517.png

7/18/17 Show feat. Betsy Levy Paluck on Social Norms, Radio and Reducing Conflict

Today’s show features Betsy Levy Paluck, Professor of Psychology and Public Affairs, expert on the dynamics of social networks and behavioral norms. We discuss how groups normalize behaviors in a variety of contexts, and what we know about intervening to change behaviors. How much do we really know about the effectiveness of diversity training and media campaigns? What is the role of the mass media in creating or reducing prejudice? Listen for all this and a broader discussion on large-scale conflict resolution and how personal relationships feed into cultural trends.

In other news:

  • According to newly analyzed DNA from ancient dogs, humans domesticated wolves just once in history–about 20,000 years ago in Asia.
  • The early solar system may have been swarming not with rocky meteors, but with giant balls of mud, solving a longstanding paradox in understanding old space debris.

The full playlist is available at WPRB’s website or below.

TVR2C_playlist_071817.png

7/11/17 Show on Melting Rocks, Alzheimer’s and Measuring Coal Impacts in Nature

Featured image: Even in a quartzite countertop, evidence of rock melting and distortion is apparent. How do earthquakes heat up these rocks so much that they liquify?

This week’s episode focuses on some of the newest stories in science. Listen and hear about earthquake physics: what makes rocks melt when tectonic plates rub against each other? Also featured are stories on nuclear analysis of coral, the reflectivity of the Antarctic and why sleep may prevent Alzheimer’s-linked proteins from mucking up your brain.

In other news:

  • Juno has delivered us images of the Great Red Spot from only 9,000 km away–unimaginably close in Jupiter terms. Check out these images from NASA!
  • If anyone in the New York / New Jersey / Philadelphia area knows about a bus or group venture down to the eclipse on August 21st, please let us know! Going alone may be difficult on short notice, so maybe grouping together would make the logistics easier.

The playlist can be found on WPRB’s website or below.

TVR2C_playlist_071117.png

6/20/17 Show feat. Tamas Prileszky on Engineering Fluids and Food Science

Featured image: The late Professor Mainstone with his famous tar drip experiment, which has produced about a drop a decade since 1930. The idea: everything flows.

In this episode, we’re investigating the intersecting worlds of colloids, fluid properties, and food science with Tamás Prileszky, a University of Delaware graduate student in chemical engineering. What governs the diverse behavior of liquids as different as oil and mayonnaise? How can engineers tweak the concoctions they develop? Tamás will share his expertise in droplets, which float around in liquids and drastically affect their properties, and explain what tools and methods scientists use to develop new chemical technologies. Finally, we’ll connect all this with our diets: how do we engineer food, and why is it that we put so many additives in grocery store products?

In other news:

  • CRISPR, the gene editing technology that’s taking biology by storm, recently made big gains against Huntingdon’s disease in mice.
  • Eclipses (discussed on TVR2C recently) are still a huge opportunity for solar research, as shown by this group from Hawaii studying the temperature of coronal mass ejections.
  • A widely-publicized Tesla crash can be blamed on the driver, not the self-driving car, say new findings by the company.
  • Wild felines became cats and spread all around the ancient world, mostly through two big human-induced migrations. Or at least that’s what scientists can tell from new analyses of ancient cat DNA.
  • Airborne germs survive for a long time after a sneeze or a cough, according to Australian scientists. So long, dreams of cleanliness.

The full playlist of the show is available on WPRB’s website or below.

TVR2C_playlist_062017.png

6/6/17 Show feat. Doug Massey on Undocumented Immigration and Border Militarization

Featured image: Workers in the bracero program in the 1950s. Seasonal migrants like these men circulated from Mexico to the US and back yearly until the border became too dangerous to do so. (courtesy Emory University)

This episode, listen to hear Professor of Sociology Doug Massey in an intensely topical conversation: what happens when borders are militarized? What are the impacts of US immigration policy, and how might a border wall affect our country’s population of immigrants? In this interview, we dig into the xenophobia of our politics and media, and see how sociologists view macroscopic trends in migration in the light of baseless misinformation propagated by our news and in our culture.

In other news:

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

TVR2C_playlist_060617

5/23/17 Show feat. David Baron on his book American Eclipse

Featured image: The corona around the sun, only possible to see from the ground during the several minutes of a solar eclipse. (Courtesy National Optical Astronomy Observatories)

Thomas-Edison-second-from-right-visited-Wyoming-to-view-an-eclipse-in-1878.-Carbon-County-Museum-300x186
The 1878 eclipse watchers in Rawlins, WY included James Craig Watson and Thomas Edison (second from the right).

For this show, we brought in former NPR correspondent David Baron to talk about his new book, American Eclipse. You may be looking forward to this year’s total solar eclipse on August 21, but David focuses on a similar event that propelled American science to its furthest frontiers back in 1878. Listen to the show to hear how hoards of Gilded Age astronomers headed to the Wild West of Colorado and Wyoming, spending months preparing for three minutes of scientific opportunity. The epic tale touches on the beginnings of meteorology, the mythic Thomas Edison, gender equality, and several heinous examples of scientific pomposity. Listen to hear how it all fits together!

If you’re in Princeton, NJ, David Baron will be visiting the Princeton Public Library on June 12th at 7pm. Mark your calendars!

In other news:

  • Evolution is a game of trade-offs, as shown in a new study on E. Coli bacteria. Researchers tried to make two new traits stick, but they found that the bacteria only improved in one area at a time.
  • Tabby’s star (mentioned on this show before!), a sporadically dimming star about 1,300 light years away, just started getting darker for the first time since 2013. Only this time the world of astronomy is prepared to watch.
  • Fluorescent proteins can now create artwork, as scientists learn how to re-create the whole color spectrum by tagging bacteria. This is just fun and games for now, but biology can attack many problems by using these well-developed techniques.

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

TVR2C_playlist_052317

5/9/17 Show feat. Sabine Kastner on the Developing Brain

Featured image: Neuroscience is enabling better education and more access for everyone to the world around us, as depicted here in a brain-machine interfaces article in Frontiers for Young Minds.

Today, we are incredibly fortunate to re-feature Sabine Kastner of the Princeton Neuroscience Institute. Sabine helped us understand memory and learning in our live performance back in February, but she visits now to focus on her newest project: how can we better understand the development of young brains? Sabine brings children into the research lab for MRI scans and psychological tests, searching for the differences between normally functioning brains and those with developmental disorders. How can neuroscientists apply these results to our educational system, which often struggles to build effective special education programs? Further, Sabine speaks about her ground-breaking work including children in the scientific process with Frontiers for Young Minds.

Before that, regular guest Ingrid Ockert comes on on to talk about the celebrity of science popularizers like Bill Nye. How can champions for science be most compelling?

Extras:

  • Sabine has personal experience fighting the bureaucratic nightmare that an inflexible school can be, even concerning relatively common disorders. See this eloquently frustrating article by her husband Michael Graziano.
  • Ingrid brought up Declan Fahy’s 2015 book, The New Celebrity Scientists, as an example of a search for the perfect figurehead for science advocacy.
  • For an accessible insight into Princeton’s research community, check out Princeton Research Day, which happens once a year including this Thursday at Frist Campus Center!

The playlist for the show is on WPRB.com or below.

TVR2C_playlist_050917.png

4/25/17 Show feat. Julianne Whittaker and Ben Reimold on the Princeton Refugee Project

Featured image: A mural on a wall of a refugee camp in Jordan. Once they enter the camp, migrants usually can’t leave without special paperwork, magnifying the stress of acclimating to a new country. (Courtesy Amal Foundation)

Today’s show brings you two leaders of the Princeton Refugee Project, Julianne

16402464_10207630986120423_2343707462735401543_o.jpg
Ben Reimold and a welcoming party, from Turkey, 2015.

Whittaker and Ben Reimold. As a student of policy at the Woodrow Wilson School, Julianne co-founded the Amal Foundation for investing in the education of Syrian students. Through this effort and others, Julianne and Ben have learned to funnel Princeton student efforts into aiding those stuck in refugee camps. What geopolitical movements have led to the current refugee crisis? How do the displaced function in their new communities? Hear how Ben and Julianne encountered the refugee crisis in the Middle East, and what they are doing now to connect uprooted students with new education opportunities. If you’re curious how students here are fighting for refugee rights both domestically and abroad, then listen in to this interview!

This show’s short playlist is available either on WPRB.com or below.

TVR2C_playlist_042517

4/18/17 Show: City Logic, Jupiter’s Aurora and Ancient Dentists

 

Featured Image: A busy street in Hong Kong, safely watched by hoards of pedestrians at all hours of the day. A richness of primary uses helps the crossroads thrive. (Courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Today, we bring you a scattershot of new science stories. Did you know Jupiter has a second spot, swirling near its north pole under aurora lights? Curious how prehistoric peoples approached dentistry? Have you pondered the logic of cities, and debated strategies for transforming them from inefficient slums to manufacturers of diversity and economy? All this and plenty of new music, right here in this radio recording!

Some extras:

  • The last twenty minutes of the show is my own glorification of a field-defining book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs. It’s a pleasure and an obligation to read if you’re curious about the structure of cities, architected from the ground up.
  • The moons of Jupiter are a solar system in miniature, rocked with energy from Jupiter’s own enormous mass. All 67 objects in orbit (that we know of!) have unique features: some are volcanic, some frozen over, and some could support life given some terraforming.

As usual, the playlist can be found on WPRB.com or below.

TVR2C_playlist_041817.png

3/28/17 Show feat. Stephen Pacala on measuring the impact of climate change

syria_drought

Featured image: A recent drought in Syria is one of the factors that prompted mass migration to cities and eventual civil war–and researchers are implicating man-made climate change as causing it. (Courtesy NPR)

Very unfortunately, the show tonight was not recorded due to technical difficulties at WPRB. Sorry about that! 

Today we hone in on climate change by talking with Dr. Stephen Pacala of Princeton’s Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. Dr. Pacala’s new class on the Environmental Nexus investigates the worldwide interplay between agriculture, biodiversity, and climate, so we’ll speak about how these systems feed into each other. What do our coupled studies of the market and worldwide climate tell us about enacting environmental policies today? As Dr. Pacala informs us, we have the technology today to avoid many of the worst consequences of increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere–it’s only a matter of doing the hard work of applying this technology to our agriculture, electricity grid, and so on. As he claims, humanity is trending towards solving these problems, present politics in the US aside.

Further, we spoke at length about how scientists quantify the impact of climate change. How can we know whether fossil fuel emissions are really at fault for causing the death of  the Great Barrier Reef, or for the recent flooding of Louisiana? Scientists can now pinpoint the change in risk of extreme weather due to human-introduced pollution, and the results are startling. Even more, we can now say that humans have caused instances of climate change in Africa, which in turn have made conflicts more likely. Studies like this rely on statistical methods, which they use to show impressively disastrous links between pollution and human life.

Before Dr. Pacala joined us, I brought on former guest Dr. Paul Gauthier to talk about the interplay between plants and our atmosphere. Can more carbon dioxide help plants grow? Is faster food always better? And above all, how do we manage a growing population with a food supply in danger?

The full playlist is available on WPRB.com or below.

tvr2c_playlist_032817