science

Creative Commons, Wikimedia

Bill Schonberg is a self-professed "space nut" and his job is not just an 8-year-old's dream job. "It's also a 54-year-old's dream job," he says. His mission, which he has accepted, is to figure out how to make spacecraft more impervious to debris flying at high speed through prime orbital real estate. 

Guest:

  • Dr. William Schonberg, professor of aerospace engineering, Missouri University of Science & Technology 
Anne Biklé

Dr. David Montgomery is a Professor of Geomorphology at the University of Washington.  He works to bring the impact of geological processes on human history to a wider audience.  Montgomery joins Steve Kraske to explain why dirt is the foundation of civilizations, how we're losing it to erosion, and the lessons geology teaches us.

Guest:

BBC

They've been called fish fireworks, and their glowing displays are like nighttime light shows on the water. Ostracods are a very old species of crustacean with a trait called bioluminescence. That's a fancy way of saying they light up, like fireflies. But unlike fireflies, ostracods have extracellular bioluminescence. They shoot light out of their bodies and into the water. The behavior is part mating ritual, part defense mechanism.

The idea of nuclear power is nothing new, but the traditional method of producing it by fission is being challenged by the safer and greener process of fusion.

On Monday's Up to Date, we talk with the founder of an energy company making a fusion prototype to supply commercially-viable and competitive power generation.

Guest:

  • Dr. Michel Laberge, founder and chief scientist at General Fusion
Christina Lieffring

For Bill Brown, the “father” of high altitude ballooning, it all started when he saw a documentary of a man who parachuted from 100,000 feet above ground.

“The description he gave of being able to see for hundreds of miles in all directions and see the blackness of space and the curve of the earth … I wanted to see that for myself,” he said. “Some people strapped a bunch of balloons to a lawn chair, but that seemed a little risky, so I decided to come up with a camera and a small video camera to put up in a small weather balloon.”

This weekend, 'near space explorers' will be gathering  in Hutchinson, Kan. for the annual Great Plains Super Launch.  They are hobbyists who launch weather balloons and track their progress using GPS or HAM radio.

On Thursday's Central Standard, we talk with participant John Flaig who uses these balloons to take dramatic photographs from the upper reaches of the atmosphere.

Guest:

John Flaig, near space photographer

Penguin Group (Canada)

The publisher of Nature's Nether Regions begins the book summary this way: "What’s the easiest way to tell species apart? Check their genitals."

We’re supposed to spend a third of our day sleeping, but often we fall short. And at times when we are lucky enough to sleep, it can be filled with thrilling or tormenting dreams. On today's Central Standard we look at sleep and dreams. We explore how to get to sleep, stay asleep and what your dreams can be saying about your emotional state.

Guest:

cureviolence.org

An expert on the epidemic of gun violence that has gripped Kansas City and cities across the country for decades, says the issue has been "completely misunderstood."

In the second part of Wednesday's Up to Date, we talk with him about his method of viewing violence as an epidemic, a condition that can be reversed using "science-based methods."

Guest:

  • Dr. Gary Slutkin, epidemiologist and founder/executive director of Cure Violence
Véronique La Capra / St. Louis Public Radio

Charles Darwin revolutionized science. His theory of evolution was based on careful observations of birds and other wildlife in places like the Galapagos Islands.

One thing that has been really slow to evolve is the gender mix in science. Men still dominate many scientific fields, just like they did in Darwin’s day, more than 150 years ago.

But gradually, more women are breaking in. I met up with two young women scientists in ― where else? ― the Galapagos. Here are their stories.

Maricruz Jaramillo fulfills a dream

wikimedia commons

The Higgs-Boson is said to be the key to understanding why mass exists and how atoms are possible. Some call it "The God Particle."

Nanobots swimming in your bloodstream may not be the stuff of science fiction for too much longer.

Penguin Group (USA)

A fact is something that actually exists; reality; truth.  Until it isn't anymore.  How does that happen?

Fossil Facebook: Digitization of Fossils Going Public

Jun 26, 2012
Una Farrell

If some people are worried about pictures from freshman year surfacing on the internet, imagine this: a 290 million year old organism gets put on a publicly accessible database, from its specific location all the way to a picture from its deathbed.

Coming soon to your newsfeed:  Fossil Facebook.

Charlie Upchurch / KCUR

In the early 19th century, it was commonly believed that humans were a relatively new species, existing for only about 6,000 years. 

flightsaber / Flickr

According to a KU professor, we have evidence that periodic changes in marine biodiversity are tied to uplifting continents.

Wikimedia Commons

Matt Tocheri knows hobbits pretty well: he’s been studying their wristbones for years.

Well, not quite hobbits, per se, but homo floresiensis, a hominid fossil discovered on the island of Flores in Indonesia, which at first glance appeared to be a small version of a modern human. However, researchers argue that these ‘hobbits’ are in fact h. floresiensis, and make up a new branch of the human evolutionary tree.

The Traveling Trunk Of African American & Latino Inventors

Apr 18, 2012
tibit.biz

If you're a young black or latino student plotting your future, do you look up to athletes or entrepreneurs? Entertainers or innovators?

The Race To Create The Best Antiviral Drugs

Apr 17, 2012

If you've ever had a bacterial infection like staph or strep throat, your doctor may have prescribed penicillin. But if you've had the flu or a common cold virus, penicillin won't work. That's because antibacterials only kill bacteria, and both the flu and the common cold are viruses. So for illnesses like the flu, doctors prescribe antiviral drugs, which target the mechanisms that viruses use to reproduce.

Roger Cone is a microbiologist, not a politician. He struggles with a basic truth: For all the scientific acceptance of evolution, many Americans simply don't believe it is factually accurate.