The Academic Minute

Weekdays, 7:34am and 3:56pm

The Academic Minute features researchers from colleges and universities around the world, keeping listeners abreast of what's new and exciting in the academy.

Hosted by Dr. Lynn Pasquerella, President of Mount Holyoke College, The Academic Minute features a different professor each day, drawing experts from top research institutions. You'll enjoy updates on groundbreaking scientific research, an explanation of the accidental discovery of chocolate and an analysis of how social media is transforming the workplace, to name a few.

The Academic Minute airs each weekday at 7:34 a.m and 3:56 p.m.  You can also stay connected by following us on Twitter and liking us on Facebook.

If you have a pitch for a segment, or any questions or comments about the segment, please e-mail us.

The Academic Minute opens with a selection by WAMC contributor and renowned cellist Yehuda Hanani, who appears on Classical Music According to Yehuda during WAMC's Roundtable program. The piece is Bach's Suite No. 2 in D Minor.

Production support for The Academic Minute comes from Newman's Own, giving all profits to charity and pursuing the common good for over 30 years, and from Mount Holyoke College.

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Academic Minute
5:00 am
Mon October 7, 2013

Dr. C. David Williams, Harvard University – Muscles and Energy Storage

In today’s Academic Minute, Dr. C. David Williams of Harvard University explains how our bodies store and release energy as we move. 

David Williams is a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University. His work in the Biewener Lab at the Concord Field Station is focused on understanding the control of biological motion, scaling from the molecular dynamics of individual motor molecules to the kinematics of animal movement.

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Academic Minute
5:00 am
Fri October 4, 2013

Dr. Alicia Melis, University of Warwick – Cooperation and Chimpanzees

In today’s Academic Minute, Dr. Alicia Melis of the University of Warwick explores the similarities of cooperation between humans and chimpanzees.

Alicia Melis is an assistant professor in the Behavior Sciences Group at the University of Warwick where her research is focused on the evolution of cooperation. More specifically, her work examines the psychological mechanisms supporting human cooperative and prosocial interactions.  She has been widely published on the subject of cooperation in chimpanzees and she holds a Ph.D. from the University of Leipzig.

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Academic Minute
5:00 am
Thu October 3, 2013

Dr. Shermali Gunawardena, University at Buffalo - Neuronal Blockages and Alzheimers

In today’s Academic Minute, Dr. Shermali Gunawardena of the University of Buffalo explains how traffic moves along the neuronal highways in the brain. 

Shermali Gunawardena is an assistant professor of biological sciences at the University at Buffalo. Her research seeks to determine if the degeneration of neurons in Alzheimer’s disease and Huntington’s disease is related to a defect in neuronal transport systems.

About Dr. Gunawardena

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Academic Minute
5:00 am
Wed October 2, 2013

Dr. Anthony Kontos, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center – Youth Sports and Head Injuries

In today’s Academic Minute, Dr. Anthony Kontos of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center reveals when athletes playing youth sports are most likely to receive a concussion.

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Academic Minute
5:00 am
Tue October 1, 2013

Dr. Yagesh Bhambhani, University of Alberta – Hands-Free Phones and Driving Errors

In today’s Academic Minute, Dr. Yagesh Bhambhani of the University of Alberta reveals why hands-free cell phone use makes driving dangerous. 

Yagesh Bhambhani is a professor of occupational therapy at the University of Alberta.  His study of hands-free cell phone use and driving safety was conducted with the help of graduate student Mayank Rehani. Bhambhani holds a Ph.D. from the University of Alberta. 

About Dr. Bhambhani

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Academic Minute
5:00 am
Mon September 30, 2013

Dr. Nicolas Cowan, Northwestern University – Heat and Tidally-Locked Planets

In today’s Academic Minute, Dr. Nicolas Cowan of Northwestern University explains how cloud cover moderates the temperature of tidally-locked exoplanets orbiting red dwarf starts. 

Nicolas Cowan is a research assistant professor in the Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics at Northwestern University where his research is focused on understanding the climate of exoplanets. His research projects involve creating maps of distant planets by monitoring their brightness and color change.  He earned his Ph.D. at the University of Washington.

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Academic Minute
5:00 am
Fri September 27, 2013

Dr. Jodi Tommerdahl, University of Texas at Arlington – Analyzing Language Samples

In today’s Academic Minute, Dr. Jodi Tommerdahl of the University of Texas at Arlington explains efforts to understand how children use language in different social settings.

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Academic Minute
5:00 am
Thu September 26, 2013

Dr. Michael Vuolo, Purdue University – Smoking and Familial Influence

In today’s Academic Minute, Dr. Michael Vuolo of Purdue University examines how smokers can influence a family member’s decision to pick up the habit. 


Michael Vuolo is an assistant professor of sociology at Purdue University. His research within crime, law, and deviance examines whether laws can affect individuals' substance use, the effect of low-level criminal offenses on employability, and the relationship between music listenership and substance use. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota.

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Academic Minute
5:00 am
Wed September 25, 2013

Dr. Kenneth Noll, University of Connecticut – Microbes and Termite Digestion

In today’s Academic Minute, Dr. Kenneth Noll of the University of Connecticut reveals why termites would not be a threat to your home without the help of microbes. 

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Academic Minute
5:00 am
Tue September 24, 2013

Dr. Tamar Makin, University of Oxford – The Source of Phantom Limb Pain

In today’s Academic Minute, Dr. Tamar Makin of the University of Oxford explains how the brain creates pain in phantom limbs. 


Tamar Makin is a postdoctoral research fellow in the FMRIB unit at the University of Oxford. Her research utilizes functional magnetic resonance imaging of the brain to explore structural and functional plasticity in amputees.

About Dr. Makin

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