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
Fri March 1, 2013

Dr. William Marling, Case Western Reserve University – Urbanization and the Detective Novel

In today’s Academic Minute, Dr. William Marling of Case Western Reserve University traces the roots of the detective novel to the process of urbanization.


William Marling is a professor of literature at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, where his research is focused on detective novels, globalization, and American Modernism. He has published books on Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, and is currently writing about the rise of “world literature.” He holds a Ph.D. from the University of California Santa Barbara.

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Academic Minute
5:00 am
Thu February 28, 2013

Dr. William Wright, Chapman University – Territorial Limpets

In today’s Academic Minute, Dr. William Wright of Chapman University explains how limpets battle it out for the best section of the tide pool. 

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Academic Minute
5:00 am
Wed February 27, 2013

Dr. Samuel Sober, Emory University – How Birds Learn to Sing

In today’s Academic Minute, Dr. Samuel Sober of Emory University reveals how birds listen to themselves to get their songs right every time.


Sam Sober is an assistant professor of biology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. His current research on singing behavior in finches investigates the relationship between neural activity, muscular activation, and task performance by using a range of techniques to describe how neural circuits drive vocal output. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of California San Francisco.

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Academic Minute
5:00 am
Tue February 26, 2013

Dr. Angel Yanagihara, University of Hawaii – Venom of the Box Jelly

In today’s Academic Minute, Dr. Angel Yanagihara of the University of Hawaii reveals what makes the venom of the box jelly so deadly.

Angel Yanagihara is Director of the Pacific Cnidaria Research Lab and an assistant researcher with the Pacific Biosciences Research Center at the University of Hawaii. Her lab’s current objective is the systematic biochemical and pathophysiological characterization of novel toxins and bioactive compounds from venomous marine invertebrates.

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Academic Minute
5:00 am
Mon February 25, 2013

Dr. Samer Hattar, Johns Hopkins University – Night, Light, and the Brain

In today’s Academic Minute, Dr. Samer Hattar of Johns Hopkins University explains the negative effects of exposure to bright light during the night.

Samer Hattar is an associate professor of biology at Johns Hopkins University where his current research seeks to understand the relationship between vision and physiology. His work has been featured in a number of peer-reviewed publications and he holds a Ph.D. from the University of Houston.

About Dr. Hattar

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Academic Minute
5:00 am
Fri February 22, 2013

Dr. Suzanne Wagner, Michigan State University – Non-Standard Speech and Higher Education

In today’s Academic Minute, Dr. Suzanne Wagner of Michigan State University explores the connection between the use of non-standard English and choices about higher education.

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Academic Minute
5:00 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Dr. Jean-Philippe Lessard, McGill University – Mapping Biodiversity

In today’s Academic Minute, Dr. Jean-Philippe Lessard of McGill University explains how modern techniques are being used to refine an iconic map of the world’s biodiversity.

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Academic Minute
5:00 am
Wed February 20, 2013

Dr. Jan Amend, University of Southern California – Seafloor Microbes

In today’s Academic Minute, Dr. Jan Amend of the University of Southern California explains efforts to understand microbes that live deep below the surface of the earth.


Jan Amend is a professor of earth sciences and biological sciences at the University of Southern California. His lab carries out research in microbial geochemistry with particular interests in shallow-sea hydrothermal systems and the deep subsurface biosphere.

About Dr. Amend

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Academic Minute
5:00 am
Tue February 19, 2013

Dr. Ed Baptist, Cornell University – Cotton and the American Economy

In today’s Academic Minute, Dr. Ed Baptist of Cornell University explores the cultural and economic importance of cotton in antebellum America.

Ed Baptist as an associate professor of history at Cornell University where his teaching and research interests are focused on the nineteenth-century United States, and particularly, the history of slavery in the South. His work has been featured in numerous peer-reviewed journals and he holds a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania.

About Dr. Baptist

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Academic Minute
5:00 am
Mon February 18, 2013

Dr. Larisa DeSantis, Vanderbilt University – Megafauna Diets and Extinction

In today’s Academic Minute, Dr. Larisa DeSantis of Vanderbilt University reveals what North America’s largest predators were eating just before they died out.

Larisa DeSantis is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Vanderbilt University.  Her research focuses on revealing the ecology and biology of ancient mammals, with a focus on assessing past responses to climate change.  She earned her Ph.D. in Zoology at the University of Florida.

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