With graduation season 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.
Soft Robotic Muscles (WHOLE SHOW) Robotic Materials are going beyond gears and levers toward powerful components that are softer and more muscular. These materials may someday soon help build more human like prosthetic limbs for amputees. . . . or help a harvesting machine pluck ripe strawberries without squishing them. PhD students Nick Kellaris and Shane Mitchell are with CU Boulder’s College of Engineering and Applied Science — Keplinger Lab. They call their soft robotic muscles HASEL actuators. HASEL stands for Hydraulically Amplified Self-healing Electrostatic actuators.
Hosts, Producer and Engineer: Shelley Schlender Executive Producer: Susan Moran
With graduation season is upon us, today’s edition of How on Earth is the second of a two-part annual “Graduation Special”. Our guests in the studio today are scientists who will 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.
HyunJoo Oh – CU Boulder, ATLAS Institute
Topic: Computational Design Tools and Techniques for Paper Mechatronics
In 1963, the United States, the Soviet Union, and Great Britain signed the Limited Test Ban Treaty, agreeing to not test nuclear weapons in the atmosphere, underwater, or in outer space. France continued atmospheric testing until 1974, and the last atmospheric test was done by China on October 16, 1980. Over 500 atmospheric nuclear tests have been performed before then, but none since.
That could soon change. North Korea has threatened to do an atmospheric nuclear test. Even if that test doesn’t lead to a chain of more dangerous events, and considering the potential health impacts of the dispersed radiation, it turns out that simply testing a missile in the atmosphere could lead to highly charged electrons that would tend to fry the electronics of Earth-orbiting satellites.
It’s a complex issue, and one that ties in with the huge magnetic fields that protect the Earth and the satellites orbiting around it. Those magnetic fields include some areas that attract highly charged particles, called the Van Allen belts. Earlier this year, we reported on a discovery from the Laboratory of Atmospheric Space Physics in Boulder, about how very low frequency radio transmissions sent to military submarines deep under that water, accidentally help satellites high above the Earth by reducing the impact of the Van Allen belts’ highly charged particles. So, could those very low frequency waves also protect us from the satellite-frying effects of an atmospheric nuclear weapons test? If things get too crazy here on Earth, could a spacecraft with a well-designed magnetic field help people escape? Those are questions that come to mind for How on Earth’s Shelley Schlender. Now here’s Shelley’s investigation about the Van Allen belts, whether cell phones would work after a nuclear explosion, and escaping to outer space.
Hosts: Joel Parker, Chip Grandits Producer, Engineer: Joel Parker Additional Contributions: Beth Bennett, Alejandro Soto Executive Producer: Beth Bennett
The Cassini mission to Saturn launched 20 years ago, on October 15, 1997. It took seven years to reach Saturn, and has been orbiting and intensely studying Saturn ever since…until last week when the mission ended in a final dive into Saturn’s atmosphere. The mission studied Saturn, its famous rings, and its many moons using a suite of instruments that observed a broad range of wavelengths from ultraviolet, to visible, infrared, and radio as well as examining dust, charged particles, and magnetic fields. It also delivered the Huygens probe that descended through the atmosphere of Saturn’s giant moon, Titan.
With graduation season is upon us, or in many cases in the rearview mirror, today’s edition of How on Earth is the second of a two-part “Graduation Special”. Our guests in the studio today are scientists who recently graduated with – or soon will receive – their Ph.D. They talk about their thesis research, their grad school experiences, and what they have planned next.
Abby Koss – CU Boulder, Chemistry and Biochemistry Topic: New Insights into Fossil Fuel Volatile Organic Compound Emissions and Chemistry using H3O+ and NO+ Chemical Ionization Mass Spectrometry
Drilling’s Health Impacts (start time: 7:50): A pressing question on the minds of many Colorado residents, health experts, and others amidst a surge of oil and gas activity is this: Does living near an oil and gas well harm your health? A scientist at the forefront of exploring such questions is Dr. Lisa McKenzie, a professor of environmental epidemiology at the Colorado School of Public Health at the University of Colorado Anschutz. She is the lead author on a recently published study that examines the potential impact of nearby oil and gas drilling on childhood cancer rates. The study’s important findings were challenged by the state Health Department, whose recent assessment concludes that nearby oil and gas operations poses minimal risk to residents. Dr. McKenzie talks with How On Earth’s Susan Moran about her study, and the complex science of risk, correlation and causation.
Hosts: Susan Moran, Joel Parker Producer: Susan Moran Engineer: Joel Parker Executive Producer: Joel Parker
In this follow-up episode of our “Graduation Special” we talk with three more guests graduating with science Ph.D.’s from the University of Colorado in Boulder. They join us to talk about their thesis research, their grad school experiences, and what they have planned next:
Carleigh Samson – Environmental Engineering Program
Topic: Modeling Relationships between Climate, Source Water Quality and Disinfection Byproduct Formation and Speciation in Treated Drinking Water
The graduation season is upon us and our guests in today’s show will be graduating with science Ph.D.’s from the University of Colorado in Boulder. They join us to talk about their thesis research, their grad school experiences, and what they have planned next: