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Science Cabaret on Air
An eclectic mix of science, art and entertainment at 7PM Sundays on WICB 91.7 Ithaca
August 19, 2012 -- Why the Science of Matter Matters: Chemistry, Art, and You -- Guest: Mike Haaf
August 24, 2012 01:37 PM PDT
What’s the first thing that pops into your mind when I say the words “organic chemistry”? I bet it’s not art! It’s probably something like “premed” or “long nights of studying,” but art is definitely not the first thing you think of in relation to organic chemistry. But they do indeed have some things in common. Like a chef needs to understand his ingredients, artists need to understand their materials – and that’s where chemistry comes into play. Mike Haaf, professor of chemistry at Ithaca College and co-instructor of a popular course called Chemistry and Art, joins host Jenny Nelson to talk about how he makes chemistry interesting and fun.
August 12, 2012 -- Putting the 'Fun' in Fungi -- Guest: Kathie Hodge
August 13, 2012 11:28 AM PDT
One of my favorite guests I’ve had on this show is Kathie Hodge, Professor of Mycology in the Department of Plant Pathology & Plant-Microbe Biology at Cornell University, and she joins me again to talk about her favorite thing: fungi. She’s an expert on mushrooms and other members of the fungi kingdom, and her infectious curiosity about the world around us inspires students and regular folks alike.
August 5, 2012 -- Tell me a story! -- Guests: Eliud and Meredith Nieves
August 02, 2012 11:09 PM PDT
Storytelling is one of the oldest and most basic forms of communication and teaching. In the sciences, however, storytelling is often jettisoned for the cold, hard facts. What could scientists learn from storytellers, and how can the teaching of science be improved through the art of storytelling? Our guests today, here to help us explore these questions, are Eliud and Merideth Nieves, professional storytellers in the Ithaca area. Listen all the way to the end to hear one of Eliud's signature stories, The King of the Jungle!
June 24, 2012 -- The Art of Mixology -- Guest: Roland Coggin
August 03, 2012 02:39 PM PDT
For the last year, the live Science Cabaret that takes place in downtown Ithaca at Lot 10 on Cayuga Street has been graced by the amazing cocktail stylings of one Mr. Roland Coggin. For each event, he whips up a tasty topical beverage. He’s got catchy names for them, but he also goes above and beyond, researching the Science Cabaret topic and developing a drink that incorporates ingredients that relate to the science on display at the evening event. For instance, when Science Cabaret hosted an event about creative robots, Roland cooked up the HAL9000 cocktail and wrote a delightful introduction for imbibers. The ingredients in the HAL9000 playfully fit the acronym: Hendrick’s Gin, Aperol, and lemon juice, along with simple syrup, soda, and a hand-carved cucumber robot. Roland shares his philosophy on the art of tending bar, his favorite alcoholic concoctions, and the sensitive job of lending an ear to contemplative drinkers.
June 17, 2012 -- Slime! It's so much cooler than you think -- Guest: Andy Smith
June 15, 2012 01:11 PM PDT
Snails and slugs are perhaps best known for their slowness and their slime. Those silver trails snails leave all over your yard: that's slime. That sticky stuff that slugs have coating their body: that's slime. Snail and slug lime has some pretty amazing properties -- it's 97% water, and it can serve as either a lubricant for the slippery suckers to get from one place to another, or as a glue for them to hang out in one spot for a while. Slugs also use their slime as a defense mechanism, secreting buckets of it when attacked. The defensive slime is unusually sticky, and any predator that gets a mouthful of it may have trouble opening its mouth for some time. Andy Smith, Ithaca College professor of biology and self-professed snail lover, talks with host Jenny Nelson about why these slime machines are so interesting.
April 8, 2012 -- I <3 Hyenas -- Guest: Sarah Benson-Amram
April 08, 2012 12:59 PM PDT
One of the lessons we're learning during our month of focusing on sustainability is how important even the most deplored of creatures -- such as mosquitoes, or hyenas -- are to the health of our global ecosystem. We can also learn from the complex societies of hyenas about how humans evolved intelligence. Hyenas get a bad rap, but they're actually very interesting and, surprisingly, loving animals. Our guest, Sarah Benson-Amram, postdoctoral research in zoology and ecology at Michigan State University, studied hyenas for 2 years in the Masai Mara of Kenya, challenging them with "puzzles" to better understand how these highly social creatures figure out problems and learn from each other.
April 1, 2012 -- Caring for our gardens and trees in the face of climate change -- Guest: Nina Bassuk
April 08, 2012 12:46 PM PDT
April is Sustainability Month, and we're celebrating at Science Cabaret on Air with shows about topics related to sustainability -- which, luckily, spans a wide range of disciplines! -- every Sunday this month. Our first interview is with Nina Bassuk, professor of horticulture at Cornell University and program leader of the Urban Horticulture Institute at Cornell.
March 25, 2012 -- 12 in 12 for 12 -- Guest: Gabby Wild
April 08, 2012 12:48 PM PDT
March 11, 2012 -- Getting SMART Around the World -- Guests: Jenny Nelson, Hunter Gradie and Morgann Ross
March 25, 2012 09:32 AM PDT
CIIFAD's Student Multidisciplinary Applied Research Team (SMART) Program brings together teams of students and faculty from diverse disciplines and pairs them with firms, organizations, or community groups located in developing countries for short-term consulting projects. In this episode of Science Cabaret On Air, Jenny Nelson, the SMART Program Coordinator, and two former team members talk with host Joanna Drivalas about their experiences on their international adventures and what it means to bring that information back home.
February 19, 2012 -- Do You Belive in Magic? -- Guest: Alex Stone
February 21, 2012 09:00 AM PST
Magicians can make us see things that aren't there, and can hide things from us in plain view. How do they DO that? Are we so easily duped, or is there something truly supernatural in their abilities? Alex Stone, author of the new book Fooling Houdini: Magicians, Mentalists, Math Geeks and the Hidden Powers of the Mind, joins host Jenny Nelson to talk about how magicians learn the tricks of their trade, why magic is so addictive, and how he managed to get kicked out of his local chapter of the Society of American Magicians.
February 5, 2012 -- It's About Time: How Biological Clocks Keep the World Ticking -- Guest: Dan Fergus
February 06, 2012 09:31 AM PST
How do our bodies know when it's time to go to sleep and when it's time to wake up? How come crickets chirp at night? Why is jet lag such a bummer? These seemingly unrelated phenomena are actually all topics of interest in the field of 'chronobiology,' the scientific study of the effect of time on living systems and of biological rhythms. Our guest on this episode of Science Cabaret, Dan Fergus, talks with host Jenny Nelson about how our biological clocks work, how can they can get out of whack, and how we're starting to use knowledge of our biological clocks to help tailor medical treatments.
December 12, 2011 -- Lighting the Future: Nanophotonics and the Technological Revolution -- Guest: Nicholas Sherwood
December 12, 2011 07:59 AM PST
"The speed of light does not merely transform the world. It becomes the world. Globalization is the speed of light." -- Paul Virilio
Continuing our conversation about nanotechnology, host Jenny Nelson talks with Nicholas Sherwood about light at its essence: nanophotonics. Dr. Sherwood completed his PhD in electrical engineering at Cornell University, where he specialized in developing optical interconnect devices and networks for hybrid multi-core processors.
November 27, 2011 -- Got Ink? Scientists and Their Magnificent Tattoos -- Guest: Carl Zimmer
November 27, 2011 07:12 PM PST
Carl Zimmer, renowned science writer, blogger and frequent contributor to the New York Times, National Geographic, Time magazine, and Scientific American, joins host Jenny Nelson to talk about his newest book, Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science Obsessed .
November 6, 2011 -- Is Science Up to the Challenge? -- Guest: Dr. Jai Ranganathan
November 06, 2011 06:34 PM PST
If the arts, journalism and NPR can do it, why can’t science? So thought our guest Dr. Jai Ranganathan about the fund-raising strategy known as crowdfunding, where the small contributions of many are bundled together to fund a larger project or purpose. Together, Jai and a fellow ecologist Dr. Jarrett Byrnes co-founded the #SciFund Challenge, a 45-day grand experiment where 49 scientists have posted research proposals on-line to raise money for a diverse array of projects – from explosive duck penises to the soundscape of the Bornean rainforest. As Jai explains to host Holly Menninger, a crowdfunding campaign – which necessarily harnesses the power of social media and requires fundraisers to directly engage their funders – will help scientists get out of the ivory tower and directly connect to society in new ways. The #SciFund Challenge runs Nov 1 -Dec 15, check it out!
October 23, 2011 -- Solar Power to the People -- Guest: David Moore
October 28, 2011 03:16 PM PDT
Though we don’t see a lot of sun around these parts, solar energy has been touted as having enormous potential as a renewable energy source. But solar cells are expensive to make. The growing demand for renewable energy requires significant investment in the development of efficient and inexpensive materials that can convert solar radiation into direct electric current. The latest trends in photovoltaics, as solar energy is known, include the development of nanoscale materials such as semiconductor nanocrystals, or 'quantum dots,' which are promising candidates for photovoltaics due to their unique optical and electronic properties. Host Jenny Nelson talks with Cornell graduate student David Moore about the work he and his colleagues are doing in the Hanrath Energy Lab to advance seminconductor nanocrystals for use in capturing solar power.
October 2, 2011 -- "The Birds and The Bees"... of The Birds and The Bees -- Guest: Olivia Judson
October 05, 2011 02:48 PM PDT
Acclaimed evolutionary biologist and author of the award-winning book Dr. Tatiana's Sex Advice to All Creation: The Definitive Guide to the Evolutionary Biology of Sex, Olivia Judson, talks with host Jenny Nelson about hyena greeting ceremonies, the tragic sex lives of male bees, the intense parenting strategies of jackdaws, and why sex is so important in evolutionary processes. She speaks at the Cornell Plantations lecture series on October 5th at 7:30PM on Statler Auditorium.
September 11, 2011 -- The Nanotech Revolution Will Not Be Televised. But It Will Shrink Your TV. Guest: Mike Skvarla
September 12, 2011 07:14 AM PDT
Nanotechnology has been around for more than 30 years, if you can believe it, and just the word -- nanotech! -- still seems to create wild excitement about the possibilities of being able to work at such tiny scales. More and more, though, the excitement is tempered with concern about the social and ethical issues associated with the development of nanotechnology. Who will get access to the new innovations that nanotech will usher in? Who is overseeing the research to make sure that new products are used for the good of society? Mike Skvarla, user program manager at the Cornell Nanoscale Facility (CNF), joins host Jenny Nelson to discuss these concerns as well as a new program started by CNF and the National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network called the 'Social and Ethical Implications of Nanotechnology' program.
Sept 4, 2011 -- Eco in the City -- Guest: Dr.Jason Munshi South
October 10, 2011 09:55 AM PDT
Like many field biologists, Dr. Jason Munshi-South got his start chasing mammals in exotic, far-off places like Borneo and Gabon. Nowadays, Jason and his students at CUNY's Baruch College conduct their field studies in the urban wilds of New York City. The Munshi-South lab has found that NYC parks provide important patches of habitat for wildlife – by which they mean white-footed mice, salamanders, and coyotes, not cockroaches and pigeons. Jason explains to host Holly Menninger how the Big Apple provides a unique laboratory for studying the ecology, evolution, and behavior of these special city-dwellers. (Image credit)
August 14, 2011: Who You Callin' Bird Brain? Guest: Karl Berg
September 15, 2011 04:16 PM PDT
Before a green-rumped parrotlet is even able to chirp and squawk, mom and dad teach it a distinct series of sounds used by parrots to recognize a specific individual. In short, they give their nestling a name. To find out how this worked, Cornell University ornithologist Karl Berg and his team swapped eggs between nests in a wild parrotlet population they’ve studied since 1987. Half the parrotlet pairs raised foster chicks, who used the contact calls demonstrated by their adoptive parents. If the calls were genetically predetermined, they’d have used their biological parents’ calls. Host Jenny Nelson talks with Karl Berg about his research, how they manage to listen to the birds in their nests, and why these parrots might have evolved this ability.
July 24, 2011 -- Let's Talk about Sex, Baby -- Guest: Rebecca Plante
July 24, 2011 05:45 PM PDT
Friends with benefits. Casual encounters. "No strings attached." We have a lot of names for it: sexual relationships with no emotional involvement. But does it actually exist? And *why* does it exist? Is it as popular a phenomenon as Hollywood would have us believe? Rebecca Plante, professor of sociology and women's studies at Ithaca College and teacher of a course on 'hooking up,' weighs in on the issue.
July 17, 2011 - A Great Migration - Guest: Dr. Ernest Williams, Jr.
July 18, 2011 10:04 AM PDT
The charismatic, orange and black monarch butterfly is a common visitor to gardens, old fields and roadsides in the Northeast during the summertime. Did you know these butterflies made quite the trip to get here? Monarchs are migratory butterflies; each autumn they journey as far as 2800 miles south to the mountains of central Mexico, only to head back north the following spring. This spectacular migratory feat might be in danger says Dr. Ernest Williams, Jr., a professor of biology from Hamilton College in Clinton, NY. He explains to host Holly Menninger how the great monarch migration faces a number of threats, including the degradation of overwintering habitat in Mexico and the decline of breeding habitat in the Midwest. For more information and to participate in monarch citizen science projects, please visit: Journey North and Monarch Watch
June 19, 2011 - Things that make you go HMMMMMM…Sound communication in fishes - Guest: Dr. Andy Bass
June 20, 2011 07:30 AM PDT
Sound communication abounds in the animal kingdom – birds tweet, crickets chirp, monkeys howl. But did you have any idea that fish could hum, growl and hoot? Dr. Andy Bass, a professor in the Department of Neurobiology & Behavior at Cornell University, and his lab group study the behaviors, nervous systems, and hormones of bony fish that communicate by producing sound. He shares with host Holly Menninger fascinating tales about the underwater vocalizations produced by toadfish, particularly the midshipmen fish that his group studies in the waters off the West Coast. Andy explains how research on fish sounds (and how fish ears and brains process those sounds) provides insight about communication across the animal kingdom, including humans! (Image Credit: Nicolle Rager Fuller, National Science Foundation)
June 12, 2011 - Invasive species on their minds…and their plates! - Guests: Matt Barnes, Andy Deines & Sheina Sim
June 14, 2011 06:11 AM PDT
How’d you like a blackberry smoothie? Interested in trying mysterysnail fettucine (photo to right)? What about a scoop of garlic mustard ice cream? If you’re willing to try any of these, then you are well on your way to invasivory: the act of eating invasive species. Or so say Matt Barnes, Andy Deines, and Sheina Sim – three graduate students at the University of Notre Dame who have taken their research interests in invasive species to a whole new culinary level. In January 2011, they launched Invasivore.org, a blog dedicated to the art and science of eating invasive species. Each week, they dish up recipes, how-to-harvest tips, and news about the latest research on invasive species. In addition to sharing their favorite recipes and kitchen adventures, these invasivores explain to host Holly Menninger that the primary goal of their site is to increase public awareness about invasive species, an ever-growing ecological threat to our lands and waters. (Image credit: Ashley Baldridge)
June 5, 2011 - Cicadamania! - Guest: Dr. Walt Koenig
June 07, 2011 07:45 AM PDT
This week, Science Cabaret on Air is celebrating the 2011 emergence of the Great Southern Brood of 13-year periodical cicadas. Also known as Brood XIX, these striking red-eyed, orange-winged insects synchronously emerged in May throughout the southern US,, boisterously calling and mating like mad in the tree tops. Dr. Walt Koenig, a senior scientist with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, has studied what effects the cicadas might have on other organisms in the forest, including the birds and trees. He joined host Holly Menninger to talk about this research and the wonderful and weird life cycles of the periodical cicadas. (Image credit)
May 29, 2011: A waist is a terrible thing to mind. Or is it? -- Guest: Carly Pacanowski
May 31, 2011 10:10 AM PDT
During the past 20 years there has been a dramatic increase in obesity in the United States. More than 66% of US adults are overweight or obese, and less than one-third of U.S. adults are at a healthy weight. The food we eat obviously affects our weight, but so does how and when we eat, how much physical exercise we get, and other patterns of behavior. Our relationship with food and body image is complicated and varies from person to person, but maintaining and losing weight might not be as hard as we think. A simple method -- the Caloric Titration Method, which is simply daily self-weighing -- could help people be more aware of what we're eating and help us reach and meet our weight goals. Carly Pacanowski, PhD student in nutrition at Cornell University, joins host Jenny Nelson to talk about the worrying statistics about obesity in America and new ideas about how to combat the overeating epidemic.
May 22, 2011 -- The Rapture Is NOT Upon Us, ThankYouVeryMuch -- Guest: Ann Martin
May 27, 2011 11:47 AM PDT
Host Jenny Nelson talks with Ann Martin, Cornell graduate student in astronomy, about black holes, dark matter, and whether the apocalypse is upon us. Ann, along with several other Cornell graduate students, is a volunteer organizer for http://curious.astro.cornell.edu/, the popular Ask an Astronomer website.
May 15, 2011 -- All About Cheese -- Guests: Daina Ringus and Reid Ivy
May 15, 2011 11:46 AM PDT
"The poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese."
The poets may be silent, but the cheesemakers have lots to talk about! Host Katie Nelson talks with Cornell Cheese Club co-founders Daina Ringus and Reid Ivy about the science and art of making cheese, why some cheese stinks, milking camels, and how much lactose is really in that creamy lump of Camembert.
Spritely Satellites -- May 8, 2011 -- Guest: Mason Peck
May 09, 2011 07:19 PM PDT
When the space shuttle Endeavour finally lifts-off on its final trip to space, it will carry some tiny cargo with it. Dr. Mason Peck, an associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Cornell University, and his students, built a trio of small satellite prototypes (the size of crackers!) that will be attached to the International Space Station for a test run in the harsh conditions of space. Like something out of a science fiction novel, Dr. Peck describes how these chip satellites -- called Sprites -- will one day ride the solar winds, collecting valuable information and transmitting it back to Earth. Yet, as Dr. Peck explains to host Holly Menninger, the Space Systems Design team remains puzzled by one small detail: how do you launch the Sprites into orbit without a rocket? They’re looking for your good ideas – think along the lines of a Pez dispenser for space!
May 1, 2011 -- Along came a spider and sat down beside her -- Guest: Linda Rayor
May 03, 2011 02:03 PM PDT
Linda Rayor is Cornell's "spider woman." A senior research associate of arthropod behavior at Cornell University, Dr Rayor studies spider behavior and is especially interested in social spiders, which make up only 1% of all spider species. She is also a tireless teacher, mentor, and communicator. She has inspired countless students to pursue science as a career, and she is also part of a six episode series on the Discovery Science Channel called 'Monster Bug Wars.' Only on Science Cabaret on Air will you hear someone call a spider "cute."
April 3, 2011 - Living Social: How has online communication technology changed our brains and behavior? Guest: Jeff Hancock
April 03, 2011 06:04 PM PDT
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn…We all (well, most of us) use it, but to our betterment or detriment? Social media has certainly become integral to the way we communicate with friends and loved ones, classmates, colleagues, political allies, and even complete strangers. Dr. Jeff Hancock, an associate professor in the Department of Communication at Cornell University, reveals to host Holly Menninger what the latest research emerging from Cornell’s Social Media Lab tells us about the way people live, behave, think and love online.
March 27, 2011 -- Small But Mighty: Cornell's New Cancer-seeking Nanotech Particles -- And They Glow! Guest: Uli Wiesner
March 28, 2011 01:23 PM PDT
"Cornell dots" are glowing nanoparticles that aid in diagnosing and treating cancer by sticking to cancer cells in the body, allowing surgeons to see exactly what to cut out. Approved in January for the first human trials in patients with melanoma, "Cornell dots" were a labor of love for the scientist who developed them: his father passed away from melanoma. Dr. Ulrich Wiesner joins host Jenny Nelson to talk about how "Cornell dots" were created, how they work, and why they just might revolutionize the way doctors deal with cancer.
March 7, 2011 -- Cornell Genetic Ancestry Project: Where Did YOU Come From? Guest: Chip Aquadro
March 28, 2011 01:56 PM PDT
Call it a melting pot, a mosaic, or a salad bowl, our community is tied together by a common thread: all of us can trace our ancient genetic origin back to East Africa, the cradle of humanity. A new project at Cornell will test the "deep" ancestry of undergraduate volunteers from across campus and sponsor discussions concerning the promise and scientific and social concerns raised by genetic testing.
Directed by Professor Charles "Chip" Aquadro of the Cornell Center for Comparative and Population Genomics and Spencer Wells of the National Geographic Society's Genographic Project, the Cornell Genetic Ancestry Project has sparked lots of interest across campus. Dr. Aquadro joins host Jenny Nelson to talk about what they're learning.
An eclectic mix of science and art. Science Cabaret on Air at 7PM Sundays on WICB 91.7 Ithaca. Hosts Jenny Nelson and Holly Menninger.
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