American Scientist Magazine

American Scientist Podcast

American Scientist Podcast
American Scientist Podcast

Description

Periodic audiocasts from American Scientist, a publication of Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society.

Link: amscimag.sigmaxi.org/4lane/pizza/podcast.xml

Episodes

The Hardest Tissue

Feb 3, 2020 20:17

Description:

New imaging reveals the hidden structure that makes enamel in human teeth so tough, inspiring researchers to use the knowledge to create tougher synthetic materials.

Using Pop Culture to Teach Science

Jan 2, 2020 20:17

Description:

An interview with high school teacher Matt Brady -- author of "The Science of Rick and Morty: The Unofficial Guide to Earth's Stupidest Show" -- on his use of pop culture in the science classroom.

Microsized Architecture

Dec 2, 2019 16:49

Description:

An interview with University of Maryland engineer Ryan Sochol, whose team has developed a technique to do three-dimensional printing at capillary sizes, for better modeling of living systems.

Laser Pulses Examine Water Surface Chemistry

Nov 1, 2019 12:58

Description:

An interview with Geraldine L. Richmond, Presidential Chair in Science and professor of chemistry at the University of Oregon, and the current President of Sigma Xi, the organization that publishes American Scientist magazine.

Water Quality versus Water Quantity

Oct 1, 2019 17:32

Description:

Coal-ash spills and water quality: an interview with Avner Vengosh, a geochemist at Duke University, on his latest research.

Dying for a Drink

Sep 3, 2019 15:50

Description:

Overuse, population growth, and climate change are turning water into a powerful tool for conflict in many parts of the world.

Air Quality Trade-Offs

Aug 1, 2019 12:47

Description:

Modern life is costing us months of our lives.

Seeing the Sixth Sense

Jul 1, 2019 14:45

Description:

Live imaging of body-sensing neurons required both new techniques and new technology.

The Future of Artificial Intelligence

Jun 3, 2019 17:43

Description:

An interview with Jeff Dean, head of artificial intelligence at Google, about the major advances and concerns facing current artificial intelligence research, and how it interfaces with human society.

Drains on the Heart

May 1, 2019 10:56

Description:

Young women have a low risk of heart disease, and sex differences in this bodily system could help explain why.

Precision Psychiatry

Mar 29, 2019 13:15

Description:

A new pharmaceutical specifically for postpartum depression is approved and a large, ongoing study may yield insight into depression generally, informing future treatment.

Heart Waves

Mar 1, 2019 10:21

Description:

An interview with Ulrich Parlitz, a biomedical physicist, on using artificial intelligence to predict the propagation of the heart's electrical signals in order to make defibrillation safer.

Viral Interpreter

Feb 1, 2019 6:44

Description:

An interview with Anna Marie Skalka, whose primary research focus has been understanding viruses’ many functions -- both harmful and helpful.

Nerves of an Escape Artist

Jan 2, 2019 14:07

Description:

Studying the neurons of a most elusive and delicate animal, hydra, required a new trap, which worked... at least for a little while. Here's our interview with Jacob Robinson, a neuroengineer at Rice University, whose team developed that trap.

Parker, Meet Parker

Dec 3, 2018 16:38

Description:

At age 31, astrophysicist Gene Parker, now 91, mathematically described what we now call the "solar wind." This August, NASA launched the Parker Solar Probe -- the first mission named after a living person -- to study the Sun and solar wind, seeking to solve a sixty-year-old mystery.

The People Vs Tech

Nov 1, 2018 13:57

Description:

Reading from "The People Vs Tech: How the Internet Is Killing Democracy (and How We Save It)," author Jamie Bartlett tells one story of Donald Trump's campaign's digital strategy and their collaboration with Facebook in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election.

A Chemical History of the Universe

Oct 1, 2018 13:51

Description:

Mapping "star stuff" onto the periodic table -- an interview with Jennifer Johnson, a professor of astronomy at the Ohio State University who studies the history of the Milky Way and its stars.

What's Next for Finding Other Earth-like Worlds?

Sep 4, 2018 10:55

Description:

An interview with the TESS mission's Sara Seager, an astrophysicist and planetary scientist at MIT who focuses on theoretical models of atmospheres and interiors of all kinds of exoplanets as well as novel space science missions.

Big Data and Democracy

Aug 1, 2018 14:30

Description:

An interview with Jamie Bartlett on his new book, "The People Vs. Tech: How the Internet is Killing Democracy (and How We Save It)."

Gendered Communication

Jul 2, 2018 8:37

Description:

Our voices reveal many cues about sex, gender, and sexual orientation, but science doesn't support the stereotypes.

Gutsy Engineering

Jun 1, 2018 10:07

Description:

The bioinspired engineering it takes just to study the cells lining the human gut

Setting a Scientific Talk to a Soundtrack?

Mar 1, 2018 8:40

Description:

A zoologist and a composer combine efforts, setting a scientific talk about the eastern coyote to a soundtrack.

The Gut-Brain Connection

Feb 2, 2018 7:29

Description:

Your sensory experience of food doesn't end when you swallow.

Progress Against Viruses in Animal Reservoirs

Dec 2, 2017 11:43

Description:

New developments in anti-viral therapies may be able to prevent some future pandemics.

Imaging the Heart's Power

Oct 3, 2017 6:02

Description:

The first 3D imaging of the intricate cardiac conduction system provides new detail for researchers and surgeons.

Computing the Moment of Totality

Sep 1, 2017 10:43

Description:

For thousands of years, humanity has been computing the exact timing of eclipses. We're close. But with a little more data, we could be even closer still.

Computational Propaganda

Jul 2, 2017 14:50

Description:

How all that fake news -- designed to sway public opinion, sway your vote, pile on insults -- gets around.

How Hormones Make Birds Better Dancers

Jun 3, 2017 14:45

Description:

An interview with a biologist who studies physiological mechanisms of complex social behavior about new research on the hormones that affect bird behavior.

Next Steps After the March for Science

May 6, 2017 16:10

Description:

A discussion of three different experiences at three different Marches for Science, as well as some lessons learned in taking the next steps in advocating for science-based policy.

Lactose Intolerance and the Gut's Microbiome

Apr 4, 2017 12:30

Description:

An interview with a microbiologist about research on using the belly's bacteria to avoid the symptoms of lactose intolerance.

Defending Science and Scientific Integrity in the Age of Trump

Mar 2, 2017 14:27

Description:

A discussion about how to address the uncertainty about science's role in our federal government and the consequences of political interference.

Harder-Than-Diamond Carbon

Feb 1, 2017 8:36

Description:

A new form of carbon is harder than diamond and can be used to make diamonds, too.

Electron Microscopy: Now In Color

Dec 31, 2016 6:28

Description:

Even though they are far smaller than the shortest wavelength of visible light, tiny biological objects can finally be imaged in multiple hues.

Cancer Chemotherapy During Pregnancy

Dec 1, 2016 10:08

Description:

On the tough decision of whether to use chemotherapy to treat cancer while pregnant, and the resources available to help patients and their doctors make that decision.

Blue Whirls: Hungry Little Beasts

Nov 1, 2016 8:02

Description:

A low-emission method of combustion is full of puzzles and potential.

Graphene Takes Flight

Oct 1, 2016 4:19

Description:

Prospero, the world's first graphene-coated airplane, took flight this year. Hear a short conversation with University of Central Lancashire's Billy Beggs, the leader of the team who created it.

Surveillance, Privacy, and Security on the Internet

Sep 1, 2016 11:15

Description:

A short conversation with--and reading by--Jamie Bartlett, author of The Dark Net.

Testing the Toxicity of Black Cohosh

Jul 29, 2016 10:55

Description:

Initial studies from the U.S. National Toxicology Program indicate that black cohosh extract -- widely marketed to treat women's health issues -- is genotoxic.

Moving Forward After Flint

Jul 1, 2016 8:00

Description:

A discussion with Virginia Tech graduate student Siddharta Roy on his experiences uncovering the Flint water crisis and how it has affected his outlook on science and his career.

Using Computing to Advance Toxicology

May 26, 2016 22:41

Description:

A discussion on the use of computer models to screen chemicals for their toxicity--virtually--and so avoid time-intensive and expensive toxicology screenings, including animal testing.

Exploring The Dark Net with Author Jamie Bartlett

Apr 29, 2016 17:40

Description:

A discussion about the what happens in the part of the Internet that's anonymous but where market mechanisms, technology, ethics, and human behavior still mix.

Evolution of Sleep and Sleep Disorders

Mar 31, 2016 11:18

Description:

An evolutionary anthropologist thinks there are three particular ways that natural selection has made our sleep different from that of other great apes.

Dance: It's Only Human

Mar 1, 2016 10:13

Description:

How and why did we evolve to dance? It's only human, but the benefits are like what chimps get from grooming one another.

An Interview with Fracking Expert Avner Vengosh

Sep 19, 2015

Description:

Geochemist Avner Vengosh of Duke University describes the water issues posed by fracking that he thinks should be of top concern and discusses the politically charged environment surrounding this practice of shale gas extraction.

3D Printing Replacement Body Parts

Jul 18, 2015

Description:

Right now, if one of your body parts fails, the only option for replacement is a transplant. Enter regenerative medicine, a fledgling field with the aim of regrowing parts from a person’s own cells. Researchers in that field are now amplifying their efforts with 3D printing technology, to create scaffolds from organic materials that cells need to grow into their final forms. Richard Wysk, a professor of industrial and systems engineering at North Carolina State University, discusses the latest successes with this research, and the timeline for creating more complicated structures.

The Living World in Eight Mandalas

Jul 18, 2015

Description:

Caryn Babaian, an artist and a biology instructor at Bucks County Community College, in Newtown, Pennsylvania, has found a visual format that encourages her students to see and think about these all-important interactions. Here she explains why the mandala, a Buddhist or Hindu graphic symbol of the universe, lends itself so well to the teaching of biology.

The Heart's New Beat: Evolution

Jun 13, 2015

Description:

Biologist Rob Dunn of North Carolina State University sat down to discuss the evolution of the heart, including why dog years are different than people years and the fascinating overlooked research of cardiologist Helen Taussig. At the end of the interview, Dunn divulges how he finds obscure science stories and his advice for students looking to do novel research like his.

Engineering Around Extreme Events

May 14, 2015

Description:

Ana Barros, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Duke University and a Sigma Xi Distinguished Lecturer, discusses how engineering can prepare us for extreme weather events, but also how changing climate and population conditions can affect the ability of infrastructure to hold up over time. She suggests that more investment needs to be in place for ensuring infrastructure is maintained, as well as adapting to and mitigating our role in climate change.

Moving Toward Open Access

May 13, 2015

Description:

Biologist Michael Eisen, who is also one of the founders of the open-access publisher Public Library of Science (PLOS), discussed how the idea for PLOS and the open-access movement began.

An Inside View: Tales Told by a Doctor

May 12, 2015

Description:

Terrence Holt, PhD, is a research associate professor in the Department of Social Medicine and a clinical assistant professor of geriatric medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC). Alongside his medical background, he is also an adjunct assistant professor of English and comparative literature also at UNC, where he teaches courses on medicine and society and on the writing of autobiographical narrative. Dr. Holt is an award-winning author who has published numerous articles and two books, the most recent one titled, Internal Medicine. Sandra J. Ackerman, senior editor at American Scientist magazine interviewed Dr. Holt about his most recent book and how he sees the intersection of medicine and narrative.

From Balloons to Space Stations: Studying Cosmic Rays

Feb 3, 2015

Description:

Cosmic rays have mysterious qualities about them that scientists continue to research in order to better understand their origins and composition. Dr. Eun-Suk Seo, a professor of physics at the University of Maryland, and her colleagues, fly enormous balloons as large as a football stadium and a volume of 40-million-cubic feet for extended periods over Antarctica to reach as close to the top of the atmosphere as possible. The instruments in the balloons can then record the particles coming from cosmic rays before they break up in the atmosphere. Dr. Seo further explains how her work can help humans understand the origins of cosmic rays and why they are so highly energetic.

The Many Personalities of Animals

Feb 3, 2015

Description:

Have you ever wondered whether animals have personalities the way people do? Dr. Andy Sih, a professor of ecology at the University of California, Davis, researches animal personalities and shows that traits, such as an individuals level of aggressiveness versus passivity, can impact an individuals survival as well as the well-being of its surrounding group. Dr. Sih's work on insects even has implications for understanding how human behaviors are controlled by personality.

Compounds Treat Substance Abuse and Parkinson's Disease

Nov 11, 2014

Description:

F. Ivy Carroll is a distinguished fellow for medicinal chemistry at the Research Triangle Institute, where he is the director of their Center for Organic and Medicinal Chemistry. Carroll has spent more than 30 years studying potential treatments for substance abuse. Among them are two compounds, RTI-336 and JDTic, that he and colleagues studied as potential treatments for cocaine abuse, as well as a potential diagnostic agent for Parkinson’s disease, called Iodine-123 RTI-55. Associate editor Katie L. Burke interviews Dr. Carroll beginning with how he became involved with this research.

Through the Theoretical Glass

Nov 6, 2014

Description:

Its difficult to envision what dimensions beyond 3D are, and why physicists, chemists, and mathematicians want to study them. Duke University chemist Patrick Charbonneau studies the theory behind the formation of glass, tackling questions about an area of research called the glass problem. His research has helped progress this field to a new paradigm. American Scientist associate editor Katie L. Burke interviewed him in September 2013.

Ultrafast Animals: The Force Behind Trap-Jaw Ants

Jun 14, 2014

Description:

When people think of the fastest animals, most consider running cheetahs, flitting hummingbirds, or jumping kangaroos. But there's a level above what we think of as fast: Ultrafast organisms conserve energy and move in nano- or even micro-seconds. Sheila Patek, PhD, an associate professor in the biology department at Duke University, discusses her research on ultrafast creatures, including the powerful punch of the mantis shrimp and the force behind trap-jaw ants. By using high-speed digital cameras, Dr. Patek and her colleagues are among the first in their field to successfully analyze in slow motion the biology and intention behind these movements.

Ultrafast Animals: The Powerful Punch of Mantis Shrimp

Jun 14, 2014

Description:

When people think of the fastest animals, most consider running cheetahs, flitting hummingbirds, or jumping kangaroos. But there's a level above what we think of as fast: Ultrafast organisms conserve energy and move in nano- or even micro-seconds. Sheila Patek, PhD, an associate professor in the biology department at Duke University, discusses her research on ultrafast creatures, including the powerful punch of the mantis shrimp and the force behind trap-jaw ants. By using high-speed digital cameras, Dr. Patek and her colleagues are among the first in their field to successfully analyze in slow motion the biology and intention behind these movements.

Chasing Down Cosmic Dust

Jun 14, 2014

Description:

There are major discrepancies between model predictions and observations on cosmic dust and the theories of dust nucleation and formation. New additions to the theory may improve its performance and its ability to predict the properties and formation of nanoparticles. Listen to Dr. Lazzati discuss his research on cosmic dust with managing editor Fenella Saunders in this podcast

Redesigning the Human Genome with DNA-Binding Proteins

May 28, 2014

Description:

Gene therapy and genomic engineering are rapidly burgeoning areas of research. Dr. Charles Gersbach of Duke University sat down with associate editor Katie L. Burke to discuss the history of gene therapy and what we can do now that we couldn’t do even a few years ago.

Uncovering the Complexity of Bartonellosis

Apr 30, 2014

Description:

Over two decades of research, veterinarian and professor of medicine Ed Breitschwerdt of North Carolina State University has shown that these bacteria can infect humans and other mammals, causing a variety of perplexing symptoms.

Retracing the Evolution of African Penguins

Apr 26, 2014

Description:

Because penguins have been around for over 60 million years, their fossil record is extensive. Fossils that Dr. Ksepka and his colleagues have discovered provide clues about migration patterns and the diversity of penguin species. Dr. Ksepka goes into more depth about how his research is piecing together the evolutionary puzzle of penguins and other related bird species.

Science Hangout: Dr. Gruss on Advancing Research

Apr 25, 2014

Description:

In American Scientist 's first Google Hangout On Air, managing editor Fenella Saunders talks with Prof. Dr. Peter Gruss, president of the Max Planck Society, a nonprofit research organization that has promoted research at its own institutes since 1948, about growing basic research and the various ways to do so.

Smart Materials Used to Treat Uterine Fibroids

Apr 2, 2014

Description:

Dr. Darlene Taylor uses molecular engineering to develop what she calls smart materials- substances that can sense and respond in some way to a change in their environment. Perhaps the most exciting use for smart materials is helping to deliver powerful drugs to specific target sites deep inside the body without affecting other tissues along the way.

Pancreatic Cancer and More Effective Treatments

Mar 29, 2014

Description:

Dr. Antonio Baines is an associate professor in the Department of Biology at North Carolina Central University, an adjunct professor in the Department of Pharmacology in the School of Medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a cancer researcher. PancreasClick to Enlarge Image Dr. Baines research focuses on understanding a gene called Ras, and its role as a molecular target in pancreatic cancer. His research aim is to target certain points in the pathway of pancreatic cancer in order to increase the effectiveness of treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation. Dr. Baines goes into more depth about how his research could increase understanding of how to combat pancreatic cancer.

How to Better Communicate Your Science

Feb 18, 2014

Description:

Most scientists will tell you that one of the inspirations for their work is to somehow benefit mankind, whether thats through new medicines or a better understanding of the formation of the universe. But how can scientists ensure that mankind knows about their work? Science author and journalist Dennis Meredith discusses how scientists can become better communicators of their research.

Robots in Clinical and Home Environments

Feb 1, 2014

Description:

Dr. Ron Alterovitz, an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, talks about current and future research and challenges involving robots used in clinical and home environments.

Rolling the Dice on Big Data

Jan 24, 2014

Description:

Dr. Ilse Ipsen, a professor in the Department of Mathematics at North Carolina State University, goes in-depth about how mathematicians can use the Monte Carlo method, and other tools, to wrestle with the deluge of data emerging from the wide variety of scientific research areas.

Addressing Emergent Challenges with Wind Power

Jan 15, 2014

Description:

Dr. Sukanta Basu, an associate professor at North Carolina State University, talks about the benefits and challenges of wind power and what it could mean for the future of renewable energy.

What Is Intelligence?

Dec 6, 2013

Description:

Brian Hare, professor of evolutionary anthropology and member of the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience at Duke University, is interested in what dogs can do cognitively that humans and other primates cannot do. Are humans really the most intelligent species? Hare compares psychology within primates as well as between primates and nonprimates through the Hominoid Psychology Research Group and the citizen science project that he launched, Dognition. You can find out how your dog's breed compares in intelligence measures with other dog breeds, based on Hare's research, by visiting Dognition's new data visualizations.

Earthquakes and Ancient Humans on the Island of Crete

Feb 28, 2012

Description:

Karl Wegmann, a geologist at North Carolina State University, may change how people view earthquake risks in the eastern Mediterranean. He has also helped date the age of stone tools on Crete, artifacts that suggest that we Homo sapiens were not the first of our lineage to build or use boats.

Toward a Cure for AIDS

Feb 28, 2012

Description:

Current therapies are very good at keeping HIV under control, but they never completely cure it. David Margolis, a physician and researcher at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, studies the molecular biology of HIV infections. In this podcast, Margolis speaks with associate editor Elsa Youngsteadt about what it will take to cure a person (or a mouse) of HIV.

Appalachian Coal Mining

Dec 21, 2011

Description:

Southern Appalachian forests are a global biodiversity hotspot. But theyre also rich with coal. Duke University ecologist Emily Bernhardt led a recent study that documents the long-term, widespread effects of surface coal mining on the regions waterways.

Reflections on a Public Genome

Dec 21, 2011

Description:

Duke University geneticist Misha Angrists genome is a public document, thanks to his participation in Harvard's Personal Genome Project. Angrist reflects on the medical and ethical implications of the project in his 2010 book, Here is a Human Being: At the Dawn of Personal Genomics.

Friends or Foes: Female Relationships Among the Gombe Chimpanzees

Dec 21, 2011

Description:

Duke University evolutionary anthropologist Anne Pusey shares insights from long-term studies of chimpanzee behavior at Gombe National Park in Tanzania, where Jane Goodall began observing chimpanzees more than 50 years ago.

The Puzzle of the Bed-bug Resurgence

Jul 8, 2011

Description:

North Carolina State University entomologist Coby Schal discusses the return of bed bugs, why pesticides wont stop them and the best theories for why the tiny pests are spreading around the world.

Images of Darwin and the Nature of Science

May 6, 2011

Description:

North Carolina State University historian William Kimler charts the changing image of Charles Darwin through time from dim but perseverant naturalist to revered founder of evolutionary theory.

Smart Play: Phaedra Boinodiris on Serious Games

Feb 1, 2011

Description:

Phaedra Boinodiris, Serious Games program manager at IBM, explains how she designs computer games that teach students and trainees to solve complex problems in business management and city planning

Whole Genome Analysis in the Clinic

Oct 7, 2010

Description:

James Evans, a clinical researcher in genetics at the University of North Carolina and a member of the U.S. Secretary of Health's advisory committee on Genetics, Health and Society, urges us to support genomics medicine research, but asks us to temper our enthusiasm until it becomes a proven tool.

Mental Health Implications of the Khmer Rouge Genocide Trials

May 7, 2010

Description:

Jeffrey Sonis, physician and public health research scientist at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, is developing ways to gauge how groups of people scarred by mass murder respond to revisiting a traumatic history.

Genomic and Personalized Medicine

May 7, 2010

Description:

Geoffrey Ginsburg, director of the Center for Genomic Medicine at Duke University, presents advances and ongoing research in personalized medicine, from prescribing cancer drugs to predicting flu symptoms.

Metapopulation Dynamics of Oyster Restoration in Pamlico Sound, NC

Feb 25, 2010

Description:

David Eggleston, director of the Center for Marine Science and Technology, North Carolina State University, discusses the challenges of conserving and restoring North Carolina coastal ecosystems, particularly oyster reefs.

An Empire Lacking Food: The Astonishing Existence of Life on the Deep Seafloor

Feb 3, 2010

Description:

National Evolutionary Synthesis Center assistant director of science Craig McClain explores how the meager availability of food on the deep seafloor shapes the ecology and evolution of the animals that live there.

Future Renewable Electric Energy Delivery and Management Systems

Dec 18, 2009

Description:

North Carolina State University engineer Alex Huang discusses research on new electric grid technologies that could better utilize renewable energy sources

The Evolution of the Human Capacity for Killing at a Distance

Dec 2, 2009

Description:

Duke University anthropologist Steven Churchill presents his research on the evolutionary origins of projectile weaponry

Our Energy Future: Science and Technology Challenges for the 21st Century

Oct 15, 2009

Description:

University of North Carolina chemist Thomas Meyer discusses the status of the world's energy supply

Everything Is Dangerous: A Controversy

Oct 15, 2009

Description:

S. Stanley Young, director of bioinformatics at the National Institute of Statistical Sciences, critiques statistical analysis by some epidemiologists

From Cloning to Stem Cells: How Can Pigs Help Us Solve Problems in Human Medicine?

Sep 18, 2009

Description:

North Carolina State University genomicist Jorge Piedrahita describes his research with cloned swine