You’ve likely heard about the seventeen-year cicada, last seen when the Macarena was popular. Long before the insects began to poke out of the ground along the east coast, the species was making headlines for its wacky life cycle. Nature has plenty of examples of biological oddities… science journalist Brandon Keim compiled a list of nature’s strangest life-cycles for Wired magazine.
In 1959 scientists caught their first glimpse of a genetic mutation, ‘the Philadelphia chromosome’ and began unraveling the mysterious role it plays in chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) and led to the development of Gleevec, a groundbreaking drug that made this once-fatal cancer treatable with a single daily pill. Jessica Wapner is a freelance science writer, and her new book chronicling the back story behind the breakthrough, “The Philadelphia Chromosome: A Mutant Gene and the Quest to Cure Cancer at the Genetic Level” was released this month.
A government lab announced earlier this month that it’s been operating a quantum internet at Los Alamos for the past two years. Which led us to wonder, um, WHAT IS A QUANTUM INTERNET??? Joining us to explain it is Rob Fleischman, Chief Technology Officer at Xero-Cole, and the guy we call to help us understand things like, you know, quantum technology.
Nearly 10 million cases of food poisoning occur in the United States every year. Moreover, one in five outbreaks of food-borne illnesses are caused by food that people eat in their homes. A new report looked at the parts of the kitchen most and least likely to harbor bacteria and the results might not be what you’d expect. Here to discuss the matter is Lisa Yakas, Microbiologist and Manager of NSF International's Home Product Certification Program and co-author of the report.
Over seventy years ago, mankind completed an ambitious map unlike any other - the periodic table of the elements – which contained and organized all the known elements at the time. Like other maps, the period table has changed as the geography of its contents - especially since 1941, when researchers at the University of California, Berkeley produced the first man-made element… plutonium. Many more elements have been added to the list, and efforts to create and research new ones continues –here to discuss this difficult scientific quest is Rob Dunn, biologist and writer in the Department of Biology at North Carolina State University. He recently wrote about element hunting for National Geographic.
Drive south of the Massachusetts border this summer and you’re bound to hear the deafening buzz of the 17-year cicada. From the Carolinas to Connecticut, residents can expect a full-on plague of these large, loud, winged creatures to emerge after nearly two decades of underground hibernation. We wanted to better understand these bizarre bugs – called “brood-two” cicadas - so we called biologist Joe Hanson,host and writer of PBS digital studios’ It’s Okay To Be Smart.
For a long time, outer space was conceptually and legally a no-man’s land – that changed on October 4th, 1967 when the Soviet Union launched a satellite called Sputnik into Earth’s orbit, triggering an international space race and calls for internationally binding laws to govern space exploration. Last amended in 1979, the outer space treaty drafted in 1967 facilitated smooth, peaceful interactions between nations capable of probing space. As the prospect of civilian space travel and settlement appears more accessible, international space law may be in need of revision. Joining us to discuss the field is Michael Listner, President of the International Space Safety Foundation.
Thirty years ago, a North American ship dumped ballast water containing comb jellyfish into the black sea and triggered a catastrophic decline in marine life. A decade later, discharged ballast containing a strain of cholera contaminated shellfish of the coast of Peru, killing more than 12,000 Latin Americans. These cases of biological stowaways are being targeted by the United Nations for regulation – but the treaty that would prevent future catastrophes has yet to be ratified. Fred Pearce is the environment consultant for New Scientist discusses the stowaway problem and potential solutions with us.
As of last month, over forty-thousand patents on DNA molecules have been submitted by private research companies –essentially claiming the entire human genome sequence for profit. The Supreme Court will review the matter at hearing on April 15th, and the outcome could have a significant impact on personalized medicine and scientific research. Joining us is Doctor Christopher Mason of Weill Cornell Medical College’s department of Physiology and Biophysics. He’s co-author of a new study that got our attention, on the issue of genomic liberty.
Mr. Spock’s Vulcan ability to transfer his consciousness into another being was a technique he used on numerous occasions in the Star Trek franchise. His colleague Dr. McCoy was, on several occasions, an unwitting recipient of the 'green blooded, inhuman' Spock’s consciousness…impossible science fiction, right? Well, maybe not. Recently, we came across a story about scientists creating telepathic rats in a lab at Duke University. On the line to tell us more is Douglas Heaven, who wrote about the experiment for New Scientist Magazine.
At the Seacoast Science Center at Odiorne Point in Rye, visitors learn about the science and beauty of marine life and the Gulf of Maine. Myra Sallet is a 13-year-old volunteer who particularly likes working with younger kids who come to explore.