In this episode of These Vibes, Stevie discusses measuring neutrino that were produced just one second after the Big Bang singularity in our early universe with Princeton University professor and high energy physicist, Chris Tully. In the interview, Professor Tully explains what a neutrino is, why they’re so difficult to measure, and why we should have a bath of neutrinos sitting at just a couple of degrees above absolute zero all around us today. Then, he tells us about the early universe when that bath of neutrinos, called the Cosmic Neutrino Background, were produced, and how he plans to measure them with his instrument PTOLEMY (Princeton Tritium Observatory for Light, Early-universe, Massive-neutrino Yield – currently in the prototype stage).
“First Human Embryos Edited in the US.” A piece in MIT Technology Review describes the first known attempt at creating genetically modified human embryos in the United States. It has been carried out by a team of researchers in Portland, Oregon led by Shoukhrat Mitalipov of Oregon Health and Science University. The procedure involved changing the DNA of a large number of one-cell embryos with the gene-editing technique CRISPR.
This episode of These Vibes was all about language.
In the first part, Stevie spoke with Dr. Kate Riestenberg, linguist and postdoctoral fellow at the Smithsonian Institution and visiting scholar at Truman State University in Missouri, about the varied and far-reaching work of linguists. Then, they took a deep dive in to the topic of endangered languages — how they’re defined, how a language becomes endangered, and why we should care.
In the second portion, Kristin Guest, Bilingual Speech Language Pathologist (SLP), discussed her work in SLP and working with kids in (primarily New York City) public schools. She described the differences between learning, language, and speech disabilities, as well as how you determine if a student has a disability in one of these three categories. Next Kristin gets in to the linguistically and culturally biased assessment practices in schools, and how they should change.
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, National Ethnobotanical Herbarium Online that Dr. Riestenberg mentioned in her interview can be found at neho.si.edu
In this installment of These Vibes, Stevie spoke with Alexander Todorov, psychology professor at Princeton and author of the new book “Face Value: The Irresistible Influence of First Impressions,” which just came out in hardcover earlier this month. The book dives in to his research on first impressions — the very human way we make character judgments after only a glance at another person’s face. These impressions are often incorrect, but can affect important decisions we make, like elections and criminality. In this interview we take a deep dive in to the history of the pseudoscience of physiognomy, as well as current research in psychology and the effect of first impressions on elections, criminal justice, and more.
Featured image: Adlinger Center at Princeton University.
In this installment of These Vibes, graduate researcher in the Computation and Energy track in Princeton University’s School of Architecture, Dorit Aviv, joined us on the mic to discuss her work designing and optimizing buildings. In the image next to the stream you can see Dorit Aviv with her Cool Oculus, discussed in the show.
At the start of the show, Tamara Patton and Sébastien Philippe*, doctoral researchers in mechanical engineering and Science & Global Security, explained the UN Nuclear Ban Treaty, currently in negotiations at the UN as well as the upcoming Women’s March to Ban the Bomb.
In this installment of These Vibes, Professor Edward Felten, director of Princeton’s Center for Information Technology Policy (CITP) and blogger at Freedom to Tinker. Throughout the show we discussed various interactions between policy and technology. Specifically, we dove in to the current state of the technology behind self-driving cars and their prospective impact on several aspects of our society, but specifically jobs. Next, Professor Felten described the use of a form of AI, predictive analytics, in the criminal justice system. Judges in some states use predictive analytics to determine, for example, bail. There is a potential Supreme Court case (it is being considered) on this topic coming up in the next term. And in the last part, Professor Felton gave us a primer on net neutrality and updated us as to the current state of the debate on the topic.
In this installment of TheseVibes, Krupa Jani, MD/PhD researcher in biochemistry, joined us in the studio to share her research in the lab and in the health policy arena. In the first part of the interview, Krupa summed up the American Health Care Act that was recently passed through the House and is currently being considered in the Senate. In parts 2 and 3 we discuss her research in epigenetics and how this is related to cancer.
Epigenetics is the study of gene expression. Every cell in your body contains the same DNA sequence, however which genes are turned on (and thus transcribed in to proteins — or “expressed”) and which are turned off will be different between different types of cells. e.g. your blood cells expresses different genes than your skin cells. In this interview Krupa dives in to what’s happening at the molecular level in this process of gene expression, and how this can go haywire to produce runaway cell replication, which would lead to cancer.
In a past show, Stevie interviewed Professor Bridgett vonHoldt on epigenetics and canine evolution. See the show link for the streaming link and more information.
In this show Stevie interviewed Cameron Ellis, cognitive neuroscience researcher at Princeton University. In the first part of the discussion Cameron explained the different theories of what is/isn’t conscious. Are animals conscious? Light switches? The Internet? How do we know that anything is conscious outside of our own selves?
In part 2, they discussed sensory substitution – this is new, fascinating research showing that we can use our current senses to detect new information, like magnetic fields, and our brain will integrate this in to its neural pathways. This research is extremely promising, and seems likely to be of great importance towards goals of, say, helping a blind person “see.”
In the last section, Cameron answers some great listener questions and delves in to the topic of uploading our consciousness in to computers. Is it still us?
This is the third time Cameron has visited These Vibes. The first and second interviews took place last year, and were all about the scientific and philosophical study, as well as history, of consciousness. These shows are not necessary as pre-requisites to the today’s show, but they are excellent additions. Highly recommend.
A chill show — just music and science news. Unfortunately we were switched to webstream-only about 40 minutes in (for a lacrosse game), and neglected to record the rest of the show. Still! Here’s the science news we discussed. Enjoy:
Featured image: Figure of the heavenly bodies. An illustration of the Ptolemaic geocentric system by Portuguese cosmographer and cartographer Bartolomeu Velho, 1568 (Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris). [Wikipedia]
In the primary segment of the show, Stevie spoke with Princeton graduate researcher in classics and host of the podcast Ancient Greece Declassified, Lantern Jack (pseudonym), came on the show to discuss ancient cosmologies. Lantern Jack began with ancient Greece, where the geocentric model reigned and where we have the best, early models of the universe (that we know of).
We discussed geocentric and heliocentric models, how the first calculations of the size and distance to the Moon and the Sun were made, and mused about whether there were or weren’t lenses available.
Then, towards the end of the show Lantern Jack told us a bit about the Antikythera mechanism – believed to be an early analogue computer and actually physical cosmological model, recovered from a shipwreck in 1901.
Much of the scientific study of memory has focused on two vital human test subjects: Henry Molaison (“HM”) and Lonnie Sue Johnson. HM had his memory stolen from him in an experimental surgery in the 1950s and Princeton local, Lonni Sue, can no longer form new recollections due to an encephalitis infection that laid waste to her hippocampus. Lonnie Sue and HM have been permanently stuck in the present, but through their loss, the science of how we process, recall, and store memories has flourished.
In this on-stage version of These Vibes Are Too Cosmic, hosts Stevie Bergman and Brian Kraus interview Princeton University professors Sabine Kastner (neuroscience) and Michael Lemonick (opinion editor at Scientific American). Professor Lemonick’s recently released book, The Perpetual Now: A Story of Amnesia, Memory, and Love, delves in to the rich life of Lonnie Sue Johnson and Professor Kastner’s scientific expertise – memory.
Musical accompaniment, and half the fun, will be provided by the Princeton Laptop Orchestra (PLOrk). For the event they’ve composed a special symphony of neurons that will punctuate the conversation. Expect harmonies rife with PLOrk’s unique sense of discord, drama, and entertainment.
Join us on Friday, February 24th, 2017 at 7:30pm at the beautiful Taplin Auditorium in Fine Hall, right on Princeton University campus. Refreshments, science, and music will all be provided.