Science

Jad Abumrad on Unanswered Questions and Making Concepts Dance

Apr 2, 2015
PopTech / flickr

What does a shrimp sees when it looks at a rainbow? How well can we really know the minds of animals? Why do we blink?

These are some of the questions that Radiolab creator and co-host, Jad Abumrad, tackles with each episode of his show.

Brent Moore / Flickr

This Valentine's Day weekend, along with chocolate and flowers, you can add one more tool to your arsenal: science.

fusky / Flickr

When Troy Van Voorhis became a chemistry professor at MIT, he started getting questions from his students: Did science eliminate the need for religion? Did you have to be an atheist to be a good scientist?

courtesy of Center for Bioplastics and Biocomposites

With cellulosic ethanol now being produced in Iowa, researchers at Iowa State University hope to convert some of the by-products into useful renewable materials. 

chandrika221 / flickr

The drama of mood swings, impulsiveness and bizarre behaviors during adolescence
can take a toll on both teens and their parents.

See-ming Lee / Wikimedia Commons

According to research by the Gallup organization, North Dakotans are happier than Iowans. Or rather, they have a higher state of well-being.

en.wikipedia.org

Acclaimed evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins returns to Iowa this Saturday.  Dawkins will speak at Hoyt Sherman Place in Des Moines at a ticketed event put on by SecularityUSA, which advocates for secularism in American government.

Smithsonian Institution

David Skorton used to open his Iowa Public Radio jazz show like this, "As night falls over the river city and all of eastern Iowa, it's time for jazz."

Skorton is the former president of the University of Iowa, and has served as president of Cornell University, and he will become the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institute next year.  You might remember his radio jazz show “As Night Falls” which he co-hosted with the late Frank Conroy.  Hear about Skorton's  expectations of his upcoming job:

Ben Kieffer / Iowa Public Radio

Is winter almost over?  And how has the long, harsh season affect Iowa's waterways and aquatic life?  Also, the latest Quinnipiac poll, 2014's Cancer in Iowa report, Iowa's new tourism ad campaign and Pi Day at the Science Center of Iowa.

Sarah Boden / Iowa Public Radio

Many Iowans find the common pigeon, or rock dove, a pest and call them "winged rats." However, this bird's brain is deceptively clever.

Ed Wasserman runs the Comparative Cognition Laboratory at the University of Iowa. Wasserman is world renowned for his work in animal intelligence, including proving that pigeons recognize individual human faces.

chandrika221 / flickr

The drama of mood swings, impulsiveness and bizarre behaviors during adolescence
can take a toll on both teens and their parents. Neuropsychiatrist and bestselling author Dr. Daniel Siegel says that there is a lot of misinformation about this developmental period.

“There are common myths that we all hear about…that are actually not only wrong, they’re misleading and in some ways they’re disempowering.  So by learning the truths you can actually understand things as they actually are and then do something about them.”

'Genius 101'

Dec 30, 2013
ebravolosada / flickr

Dennis Reese guest hosts this talk with Dean Simonton, a Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of California-Davis.  Simonton was recently visiting the University of Iowa, and he describes his research as the "cognitive, dispositional, developmental, and socio-cultural factors behind eminence, giftedness, and talent."

Sarah McCammon / Iowa Public Radio

Researchers at the University of Iowa have received a $125,000 federal grant to study the effects of frack sand mining on air quality.

The rise in hydraulic fracturing in the US and Canada has created demand for silica sand, used in the fracking process. There’s currently just one major frack sand mine in Iowa’s Clayton County. But parts of northeast Iowa are rich in these sand deposits.

Phil Roeder / Flickr

Does drinking coffee prevent dementia? Will diet soda give you cancer?  Science and health reporting is often misleading and confusing.

dbelskysuny / flickr

For 25 years, CareerCast.com has ranked the best and worst jobs.   Their rating is based on physical demands, work environment, income, stress, and hiring outlook. Host Ben Kieffer talks with a few people that are on the best and worst lists.  Find out what people in those jobs think about their ranking.  It includes a Biomedical Engineer, an Oil Rig Worker, an Audiologist, and a Newspaper Reporter.   

wikimedia.org

Political arguments can easily become heated and emotional.  But what if your political rival has a genetic predisposition to view the world differently than you?  On River to River, can politics be explained through biology?  We hear two perspectives in that academic debate.  We also talk with the chairs of the Iowa GOP and the Iowa Democrats about how they came to their beliefs.

John Pemble / IPR

A replica of a rare, 67,000,000-year-old dinosaur fossil is in Iowa for a little while. “Sue" the T-Rex was discovered in South Dakota in 1990.

The Science Center of Iowa is hosting a traveling exhibit about the dinosaur Feb. 2 to May 12. Workers have been busy this week setting up the replica of the towering fossil.

That’s where IPR's Sarah McCammon caught up with the Science Center’s exhibit director, Allison Shwanebeck, and Michael Paha of the Field Museum in Chicago.

Research Development and Engineering Command / Flickr

Earlier this year, the director of the Iowa Department of Education unveiled 13 recommendations from the state’s Task Force on Teacher Leadership and Compensation. The goal - to improve education in part through getting better teachers. This hour we talk with several people about how to improve education in the state, including Linda Fandel, a special assistant for education to Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad. We’ll also hear from two faculty members at Iowa State’s School of Education about their national recognition for preparing science teachers.

A Burlington Middle School is now named after a key scientist in NASA’s Voyager program.  Today the Edward Stone Middle School opens for classes and Ed Stone returned to the hometown where his journey as a space scientist began. 

Jeremy Bernfeld/Harvest Public Media

There’s always work to be done on the farm, but often it’s the same work day, after day, after day. Parts of the job must feel a bit like an assembly line.

While it’s impossible to automate farming like many manufacturers have automated their assembly lines, using robotic technology on the farm might not be so far off.

The biological and agricultural engineering robotics team at Kansas State University knows a thing or two about agricultural robots. They’ve won national robotics competitions in each of the last five years.

Got Government Data? There's an App for That

Apr 30, 2012

You might have heard about the Drake Relays this weekend. Turns out there was another kind of relay going on - a race to make phone and computer applications - using government data.

The event was called the Open Iowa Code-a-thon. It involved around 50 people, 52 sets of data, and approximately 54 hours to get it done. Government agencies made information available, so coders could capture open-source data to turn into useful applications.

Rapid advances in science and technology have created a need for bright young scientists in the U.S., scientists who often come from other countries. On today's Talk of Iowa, we'll find out about efforts to ignite a passion for science in Iowa’s kids. Charity speaks with Dr. Charles Miller about his efforts to start the Iowa Space Science Center and Brent Studer, who teaches astronomy at Kirkwood Community College.