Science/Nature

Unlocking the Secrets of Why Black Holes Shine

Cami Collins, Research Assistant, Department of Physics, UW-Madison, asks how stars and planets form and why some black holes are the brightest objects in the universe. Collins discusses the underlying physical mechanism which could reveal the answers.

Suspense and the Scientific Method

Caroline Levine, Professor, Department of English, UW-Madison, argues that novelists picked up the nineteenth century call for scientists to practice “suspending judgment,” or to not rush to conclusions, in their experiments and made it a model for their own storytelling, democratizing the scientific method while attracting an increasing circle of readers.

The Evolution of the Western Plains

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.

Badger Astronomers Spanning the Globe

Eric Hooper, Scientific Staff, Department of Astronomy, UW-Madison, explains the types of instruments astronomers use at observatories and the advantages of looking into space from different vantage points around the globe. Hooper discusses the research University of Wisconsin astronomers are working on at observatories all over the world.

The Origin of Life

Paul Davies, Professor, Department of Physics, Arizona State University, looks at the causes of epidemics through the lens of mayflies and parasitic worms. In this ecological drama that takes place beneath in bubbling mountain streams, does the parasitic worm affect the relationship between mayflies and trout?

Prevalence Trends and Risk Factors for Autism

Maureen Durkin, Professor, Population Health Sciences & Pediatrics, UW-Madison, presents an update on trends in the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder. Durkin looks at risk factors including pregnancy complications, parental age, birth order, gene mutations, socioeconomic status and comorbid disabilities.

The Search for Life on Other Planets

Margaret Turnbull, Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Astronomy, UW-Madison, joins University Place Presents host Norman Gilliland to discuss searching for signs of life, including intelligent civilizations, on planets orbiting nearby stars.

Children with Down Syndrome in Preschool Programs

Joan Ershler, Director, Waisman Early Childhood Program, UW-Madison, discusses strategies focusing on the needs of Down Syndrome children in early education programs. Ershler offers research based suggestions for meaningful inclusion and good teaching practices for young children.

Anticipation, Uncertainty, and Anxiety

Jack Nitschke, Associate Professor, Psychiatry and Psychology, UW-Madison, explores using brain imaging to better understand anxiety and how to treat it. Nitschke introduces the Uncertainty and Anticipation Model of Anxiety (UAMA), and presents data for a range of anxiety disorders, including post-traumatic stress disorder in veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

How Vitamin Research Uncovered Essential Minerals

Roger A. Sunde, Professor, Department of Nutritional Sciences, UW-Madison, explains that copper and zinc, essential elements, were discovered in food while using the bioassay approach (feeding studies with rats) while searching for vitamins. Both vitamins and trace essential minerals were present in levels so low as to evade detection by analytical means, and had to be teased out using bioassay.

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