Quantum Biology: Life on The Edge // Science and Art with Monica Aiello

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Quantum Biology: Life on the Edge

What do Enzymes and photosynthesis have in common?  Both are biological process that happen to rely on quantum mechanisims.  That’s right, particles tunnling through walls, shifting between particle and wave states: The weirdness of the quantum world isn’t as isolated as we once thought. This past summer Life on The Edge, a book about the frontiers of quantum biology was released to US audiences. How on Earth corespondent Kendra Krueger caught up with one of the authors Johnjoe Mcfadden to talk more about the book and the weird science of quantum biology.

 

Science and Art with Monica Aiello

nasa-artMonica Aiello is a visual artist who has worked with numerous scientific agencies to re-incorporate art into science.  She and her husband work closely with earth scientists and NASA mission scientists, including scientists involved in NASA’s Voyager, Galileo, Messenger and Magellan missions. Their collaboration with scientists doesn’t just inform their art work, but is also part of their community outreach programs.  Monica and Tyler Aiello’s work is featured in an upcoming exhibition called “Confluence” at the Space Gallery in Denver. Their work focuses on the Colorado River and the surrounding plateau.

Hosts: Susan Moran, Leslie Dodson
Producer: Kendra Krueger
Engineer: Kendra Krueger
Headline Contributors: Susan Moran, Beth Bennett
Executive Producer: Susan Moran

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Quantum Computers

P1020271Quantum Computers [starts at 7:05] Dr. David Wineland has worked at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder, Colorado, for 38 years. In 2012, he shared the Nobel Prize in Physics with France’s Dr. Serge Haroche for “ground-breaking experimental methods that enable measuring and manipulation of individual quantum systems”.  Dr. Wineland and his colleagues use electromagnetic fields to trap individual ions for long periods of time, and lasers to place the ions in quantum superposition states. Superposition is like being both here and there at the same time.

Superposition, if taken literally (as many physicists believe it should, although some disagree), results in some very strange behaviors, like in a thought experiment designed by Erwin Schrodinger. Schrodinger’s thought experiment describes how a cat in a box can both dead and alive at the same time.  Dr. Wineland talks with How On Earth’s Jim Pullen about the connection between his work and Schrodinger’s famous cat. He says quantum computers are in the news.

In a two part series in early 2013, Jim Pullen also interviewed Dr. Wineland on the occasion of the award of his Nobel Prize (on the physics and the human side of winning the Nobel Prize). 

Host, Engineer, Producer: Joel Parker
Additional contributions: Jim Pullen, Jane Palmer, Beth Bartel, Kendra Krueger

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Big Game, Warm World // Hour of Code

Bull_elk_bugling_in_the_gibbon_meadow_in_the_yellowstone_national_parkBig Game and Climate Change (start time 5:00) Last week, the National Resource Council released some serious warnings about climate change, saying its impacts could be abrupt and surprising. But as How on Earth contributor Brian Calvert reports, the National Wildlife Federation says big game is already getting hit. Species from mule deer to antelope to bear are all dealing with climate change in their own ways. Only elk are faring better, at least for now. All of that could mean serious changes for Colorado’s hunters and wildlife watchers, says, Dr. Doug Inkley, the senior wildlife biologist for the organization and the lead author of a recent report, “Nowhere to Hide: Big Game Wildlife in a Warming World.”

Cu_computer_scienceHour of Code (start time 12:30) Coding is not just a magic trick where ones and zeros make Angry Birds. But it can be surprisingly simple to learn. You can do it in an hour. But you might want to use a game built by a team here at CU-Boulder. The tutorial is being offered as part of Computer Science Week. In the studio with How On Earth’s Joel Parker to explain the university’s so-called “Hour of Code” is Alex Repenning, a computer science professor at CU.

Hosts: Brian Calvert, Joel Parker
Producer: Brian Calvert
Engineer: Jim Pullen
Executive Producer: Beth Bartel

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