PUNCH-ing the Sun

whatpunchdoes

This image shows a background image of the Sun overlaid with outlines of the PUNCH Wide Field Imagers (WFIs) and the Narrow Field Imager (NFI) occulting the disk of the Sun.
(image credit: SwRI)

The PUNCH mission (starts at 8:05) NASA’s new mission to study the Sun is called PUNCH (Polarimeter to Unify the Corona and Heliosphere).  In this episode of How on Earth we talk with solar physicist Dr. Craig DeForest, the Principal Investigator of the PUNCH mission.  Dr. DeForest is a Program Director at the Boulder office of Southwest Research Institute, and he explains how PUNCH will use polarimetry to study the outer part of the solar atmosphere, the million-degree hot corona, and how it interacts and evolves into the solar wind.

Host, ProducerEngineer: Joel Parker
Additional Contributions: Beth Bennett, Shelley Schlender
Executive Producer
: Beth Bennett

Listen to the show:

Play
Share

Cancer, Immunity and the Future of a Cure

EndOfBeginningCoverPegasusDespite all the advances in modern medical science, a diagnosis of Cancer often casts a pallor of hopelessness, for both the patient and the practitioner.  For many types the prognosis is often poor; the cure is often worse than the disease; victory is usually called simply remission, temporary, perhaps fleeting.  One might think the inability to find a cure indicates bafflement by our scientists and stagnation in our efforts.  According to Professor Michael Kinch, there is in fact a frenzy of activity by scientists and doctors. And a recent spate of breakthroughs, developing treatments based on the inherent powers of our immune systems, represent not a refutation of all we have known before, but a continuation of efforts made by medical pioneers stretching back over a century.  His latest book is titled The End of The Beginning: Cancer, Immunity and the Future of a Cure.  Kinch was a professor at Purdue University, where he researched breast and prostate cancer.  He then went on to found an oncology program at the biotechnology company MedImmune.  He is now professor and vice-chancellor at Washington University in St. Louis.  Here he shares with Chip Grandits stories from the front lines in the battle with cancer, both past and present.  He speaks with what can best be described as a disciplined optimism.

Host: Chip Grandits
Producer: Chip Grandits
Engineer: Chip Grandits
Additional Contributions: Joel Parker
Executive Producer: Joel Parker

Listen to the show:

Play
Share

Yeast & Entropy

Matthias Heinemann

Matthias Heinemann

Yeast & Entropy  (starts 2:30) When yeast cells eat sugar and then give off ethanol, it helps us make yeast breads and beer.  But WHY would yeast work so hard to metabolize sugar, simply to spit out as ethanol?  This is a mystery that Matthias Heinemann is  trying to figure out. Heinemann is a professor of molecular systems biology at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands.  His research published in Nature shows that yeast spits out ethanol to protect the yeast from “ metabolic overload.” Heinemann has figured out how to predict when this will happen, using the Gibbs Equation, ie through the perspective of conventional  biology. Heinemann seeks clues about metabolism by applying some scientific laws that are best known for explaining machines and engines. They’re the laws of thermodynamics.  (TRANSCRIPT HERE)

Host, ProducerEngineer: Shelley Schlender
Executive Producer: Joel Parker

Listen to the show:

Play
Share

Toxic Air’s Health Risks

Air pollution over Denver. Photo credit: NCAR

Air pollution over Denver. Photo credit: NCAR

Air Pollution, Possible Solutions
(start time: 2:36) It is ubiquitous and essential to our life. It it is also the cause of some 7 million premature deaths around the world every year, ranking just behind diet, cancer and tobacco as a health risk. That’s the air we breath. Beijing, New Delhi, and London are among the smoggiest, but the Denver metro area isn’t faring so well either. Yet many countries and cities have taken positive steps that have dramatically reduced emissions, from vehicles, smokestacks, crop and animal production, and other sources. Our two guests today have been researching air pollution—its sources, impacts and solutions–and they share their insights and data with How On Earth’s Susan Moran and guest host, journalist Jason PlautzBeth Gardiner, an environmental journalist based in London, authored the recently published book Choked: Life and Breath in the Age of Air Pollution. And Dr. Frank Flocke is an atmospheric scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, and an author of a major study of air pollution sources on the Colorado Front Range.

Hosts: Susan Moran, Jason Plautz
Producer: Susan Moran
Engineer: Joel Parker
Executive Producer: Joel Parker

Listen to the show here:

Play
Share

Paternity Science

Paternity

Paternity

This week on How on Earth, Beth interviews Nara Milanich, author of Paternity: The Elusive Quest for the Father, and professor of history at Barnard College. For most of human history, paternity was uncertain while motherhood most definitely was not. But in the 1920s new scientific advances promised to solve the mystery of paternity. The stakes were high: fatherhood confers not only patrimony and legitimacy but also a name, nationality, and identity. We explore the new science of paternity, and some of the complexity of this issue. You can find out more about the book here.
Host: Beth Bennett
Producer: Beth Bennett
Engineer: Maeve Conran
Executive Producer: Joel Parker
Listen to the show:

Play
Share

A Walking Life // MOSAIC Arctic Expedition

mosaicInnumbers

Photo from Alfred Wegener Institute

In the first feature (start time 1:00) KGNU’s Maeve Conran speaks with Antonia Malchik, author of A Walking Life.  This book  explores the relationship between walking and our humanity, how we have lost it through a century of car-centric design, how we can regain it and more.  This part of the interview, produced especially for How On Earth, focuses on the science behind what makes us able to walk.  For a pedestrian, walking is a simple as putting one foot in front of another, right?  Well from a scientific perspective, there’s quite a bit to it.

In the second feature (start time 13:10), Chip Grandits speaks with Dr. Detlev Helmig, Associate Research Professor at the Institute for Arctic and Alpine Research.  He is one of several Boulder area climate scientists preparing for The MOSAIC expedition, the largest ever Central Arctic research expedition.  In September 2019 A German research icebreaker the Polarstern will head northeast from Tromsø, Norway where it will spend an entire year caught up in the shifting Arctic ice.  Dr. Helmig talks about the need to improve climate models of the poles, what motivates a such complex, expensive and dangerous expedition and what motivates scientists to take a 2 month stint on board the Polarstern trapped in the Arctic ice.

Host: Chip Grandits
Producer: Chip Grandits
Engineer: Chip Grandits
Additional Contributions: Maeve Conran
Executive Producer: Joel Parker

Listen to the show:

Play
Share

2019 Graduation Special

diploma-and-graduation-hatWith graduation season is upon us, today’s edition of How on Earth is our annual “Graduation Special”. Our guests in the studio today are scientists who have or will soon receive their Ph.D. in a STEM-related field.  They talk about their thesis research, their grad school experiences, and what they have planned next.

IMG_20190510_144132134Marcus Piquette – CU Boulder, Department of Astrophysical & Planetary Sciences
Topic: In-Situ Observations of the Interplanetary Dust Population from Earth to the Kuiper Belt

 

Headshot-CU-cropDavid Reens – CU Boulder, Department of Physics
Topic: Pushing the Limits for Directly Cooled Molecules

 

Reens_HeadshotAbigail Reens– CU Boulder, Department Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology
Topic: Salmonella Within Macrophages – An Extreme Environment: Small Molecule Inhibitors of Bacterial Efflux and the Roles of Bacterial Lipid Metabolism and Mammalian Co-culture During Infection

Host / Producer / Engineer : Joel Parker

Listen to the show:

Play
Share

Gold Lab Symposium 2019

Larry Gold

Larry Gold

We speak with Larry Gold, founder of the Gold Lab Symposium that will take place at CU Boulder’s Muenzinger Auditorium this Friday and Saturday.  This year’s symposium will feature leading scientists discussing the double-edged swords of our modern treatments for cancer, immunity and autoimmunity.  To sign up or learn more, see Gold Lab Foundation.

Host,Producer,Engineer Shelley Schlender
Executive Producer: Joel Parker

Play
Share

Plastic Pollution & Solutions

Marine debris, Hawaii photo courtesy: NOAA

Marine debris, Hawaii
photo courtesy: NOAA

Tackling Plastic Pollution (starts at 3:09):  It is, sadly, common for beachcombers around the world to see, along with clam shells and sand dollars, plastic bottles, bottle caps, cigaret filters and fish nets washed up on shore. According to estimates by World Economic Forum, our oceans will be populated by more pounds of plastic waste than fish by 2050. About a third of all plastic that is produced does not get properly collected; instead, much of it ends up floating in the ocean, or clogging the guts of innocent albatross, other birds and sea mammals. It could take 450 years, or forever, for plastic to completely biodegrade. Plastic waste just breaks down (photo-degrades) into tiny bits, causing harm to wildlife and, potentially, humans. How On Earth host Susan Moran and contributing host Jeff Burnside interview two guests who are working in different ways to assess the extent of the problem and its impacts, to educate people about it, and to effect positive change. Dr. Jenna Jambeck, an associate engineering professor at the University of Georgia, lead-authored a seminal paper in 2015 that estimated how much plastic waste is in the ocean. She will soon co-lead an all-female National Geographic expedition to study plastic pollution in India and Bangladesh.  Laura Parker is a staff writer at National Geographic magazine covering climate change and ocean environments. She won the Scripps Howard award for environmental reporting her June 2018 National Geographic cover article titled “Planet or Plastics?”

Hosts: Susan Moran, Jeff Burnside
Producer: Susan Moran
Engineer: Evan Perkins
Executive Producer: Joel Parker

Listen to the show here:

Play
Share

The Nuclear Option for Decarbonization

BrightFuture-coverIn this week’s show, Beth interviews Joshua Goldstein. He and co-author Steffan Qvist wrote eloquently about how nuclear energy can replace fossil fuels – a vital necessity in a rapidly warming world. A new generation of nuclear plants reduces waste and completely eliminates CO2. In Sweden, France and Ontario, these plants have allowed these countries to eliminate their reliance on fossil fuels and significantly reduce their carbon footprints.
Host: Beth Bennett
Producer: Beth Bennett
Engineer:Maeve Conran
Additional Contributions: Joel Parker
Executive Producer: Joel Parker
Listen to the show;

Play
Share
Page 1 of 421234567»102030...Last »

Support KGNU


How On Earth is produced by a small group of volunteers at the studios of KGNU, an independent community radio station in the Boulder-Denver metro area. KGNU is supported by the generosity and efforts of community members like you. Visit kgnu.org to learn more.

Podcast

Subscribe via iTunes
 
How On Earth episodes can be downloaded as podcasts via iTunes, or streamed to a mobile device via Stitcher or Science360 Radio.
 
Listen on Stitcher
 
Listen on Science360 Radio
 
For more info about podcasting, and more subscription options, visit our Podcast page.