Wednesday Nite @ the Lab
Tom Zinnen, Biotechnology Specialist, UW-Madison & UW-Extension, discusses how genetic engineering can create disease-resistant crops. Zinnen talks about citrus greening, a disease that is ravaging orange orchards around the world, and how genetic engineering is providing ways to control it, and genetically engineered Golden Rice, which by adding Vitamin A, can help to reduce cases of blindness.
Dan Negrut, Associate Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, UW-Madison, explores ways that computers are being used by mechanical engineers to understand the behavior of complex systems by using computer simulations.
David Hart, hydrogeologist and geophysicist for the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey, explores Wisconsin’s relatively small sinkholes; how they form, why they occur and how to deal with them.
Brain Pfleger, UW-Madison Associate Professor of Biological and Chemical Engineering investigates sustainable synthetic alternatives for petrochemicals. He touches on identifying, understanding and engineering chemical building blocks to convert organic compounds into a sustainable energy source.
Greg Richards, Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, UW-Parkside, discusses the countless ways microbes help us thrive and survive. Beneficial microorganisms ferment foods such as cheese and yogurt, help with the digestive system by synthesizing vitamins and helping with the absorption of nutrients, and aid our immune systems to fight off diseases.
Adam Schrager, author of " The Sixteenth Rail: The Evidence, The Scientist, and the Lindbergh Kidnapping," tells the story of Arthur Koehler, a forensic scientist with the Wisconsin Forest Product’s Lab. Koehler helped to solve the mystery of the kidnapping of Charles Lindbergh’s son by examining the ladder used to enter the home.
Philipp Simon, Professor, Department of Horticulture, UW-Madison, explores the genetics and biochemistry that drive the culinary and nutritive factors in carrots and garlic. Simon discusses ways that terpenoids and sugars flavor and protect these two leading root crops.
Clint Sprott, Professor Emeritus, Department of Physics, UW-Madison, explains that although we believe that complex patterns must have a complex cause, patterns may spontaneously arise. This self-organization which occurs in nature can be described with simple computer models that replicate the features of the patterns.
Solon Simmons, Interim Dean, The School for Conflict Analysis & Resolution, George Mason University, analyzes the twists and turns of American politics based on the weekly television program ‘Meet the Press.’ On the air since 1945, ‘Meet the Press’ provides an unparalleled record of the people who directly influence policy and hold the reins of power in Washington.
Deborah Rook of the UW-Madison Geosciences Department shares her work on prehistoric grasslands and grazers in North America using fossilized teeth, as well as rocks and soil. Evolution of grasslands and grazers are in a feedback loop. Which came first is an on-going question.