Science/Nature

Microbes and Diet, Digestion, and Disease

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.

The Scientist and the Lindbergh Kidnapping

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.

Building a Weather-Ready Nation

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.

Where Will Neurotechnologies Take Us?

Clark Miller, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, Arizona State University, and co-author of “Nanotechnology, the Brain and the Future,“ discusses medical advances in neurotechnology and its ability to ‘fix’ human flaws or to enhance human abilities. Miller points out pitfalls in current public policy.

Carrots and Vitamin A

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.

Shedding Light on Distant Galaxies

Britt Lundgren, a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Astronomy, UW-Madison, explains how quasars can be used as probes in the vast intergalactic distances they cross. Lundgren explores how astronomers use this information to map the “cosmic web” of matter that shapes our visible universe.

Self-Organization: Nature's Intelligent Design

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.

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.

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