Joseph Mason, Professor, Department of Geography, UW-Madison, discusses naturalist John Muir’s walk from Madison to the Muir family farm in upper Marquette County in the 1860s. Mason highlights the changes in terrain, at that time, from rolling prairie in DeForest to wetlands in Poynette to forest in Ennis Lake.
Doug Soldat, Associate Professor, Dept of Soil Science, UW-Madison, discusses how to grow a functional lawn while reducing the environmental impact. Soldat explains how to choose the best type of grass for your site and how to improve your soil. He also explores ways to help your lawn recover from the extreme heat and drought of 2012.
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.
Scott Knickelbine, author of “The Great Peshtigo Fire: Stories and Science from America’s Deadliest Fire”, shares the history and relevance of the Great Peshtigo fire. The forestry and agriculture in Peshtigo, together with unusual environmental factors in 1817, come together to create this Wisconsin disaster.
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.
Louis Uccellini, Director, National Weather Service, explores the urgency of becoming a weather-ready nation in the wake of the 2012 Superstorm Sandy. Uccellini discusses ways to empower people from community managers and first responders to the general public to make fast, smart decisions in weather emergencies.