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 January 14, 2013

Dr. Francois Blanchette, University of California Merced – Warmth of the Penguins

In today’s Academic Minute, Dr. Francois Blanchette of the University of California Merced reveals the math behind the warmth of a penguin huddle.

Francois Blanchette is an associate professor of natural sciences at the University of California, Merced. He is an applied mathematician and primarily interested in problems involving fluid dynamics, but more recently, his work has involved describing the thermodynamics of penguin huddles. He holds a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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Academic Minute
5:00 am
Fri January 11, 2013

Dr. Lars Hinrichs, The University of Texas at Austin – Disappearing Texasisms

In today’s Academic Minute, Dr. Lars Hinrichs of the University of Texas at Austin reveals why many features of Texas-English are disappearing. 

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Academic Minute
5:00 am
Thu January 10, 2013

Prof. Randy Zwally, Messiah College – Banjo D-Tuners

In today’s Academic Minute, Professor Randy Zwally of Messiah College explains the invention of hardware that allows the banjo to be played in and out of tune. 

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Academic Minute
5:00 am
Wed January 9, 2013

Dr. George Poinar, Oregon State University – Ancient Spider Attack

In today’s Academic Minute, Dr. George Poinar of Oregon State University reveals what a piece of amber has to say about the behavior of a long-extinct spider.

George Poinar is an entomologist at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon and a leading authority on amber. He is also the author of numerous books, including The Amber Forest: A Reconstruction of a Vanished World, Life in Amber, and The Quest for Life in Amber. He holds a Ph.D. from Cornell University.

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Academic Minute
5:00 am
Tue January 8, 2013

Dr. Florin Dolcos, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign – Psychology of the Handshake

The authors of the study shaking hands

In today’s Academic Minute, Dr. Florin Dolcos of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign explains the importance of the handshake in making a good first impression.

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Academic Minute
5:00 am
Mon January 7, 2013

Dr. Thomas House, University of Warwick – Mathematics and Mapping Epidemics

In today’s Academic Minute, Dr. Thomas House of the University at Warwick reveals how mathematical models are increasing our understanding of how epidemics move through a population.

Thomas House is a Career Acceleration Fellow in the Mathematics Institute at the University of Warwick. His research interests include epidemiology, network theory, numerical probability, and public health. He is also involved in the development of open-source software for epidemic modeling.

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Academic Minute
5:00 am
Fri January 4, 2013

Dr. Taya Cohen, Carnegie Mellon University – Guilt and Moral Character

In today’s Academic Minute, Dr. Taya Cohen of Carnegie Mellon University reveals why our moral nature may depend on our response to guilt.

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Academic Minute
5:00 am
Thu January 3, 2013

Dr. Charles Mitchell, University at Buffalo – Simple Organism and Evolutionary Security

In today’s Academic Minute, Dr. Charles Mitchell of the University at Buffalo explores the evolutionary advantage of keeping things simple.


Charles Mitchell is the SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Geology at the University at Buffalo. Broadly, his research seeks to understand the evolutionary processes that have formed the world in which we live and that have given shape to its history. He holds a Ph.D. from Harvard University.

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Academic Minute
5:00 am
Wed January 2, 2013

Dr. Anthony Jack, Case Western Reserve University – Empathy and Analytic Thought

In today’s Academic Minute, Dr. Anthony Jack of Case Western Reserve University explains why it’s hard to be analytical and empathetic at the same time.

Anthony Jack is an assistant professor of cognitive science, philosophy, and psychology at Case Western Reserve University where he is the principal investigator in the Brain, Mind, and Consciousness Lab.  The lab investigates high-level cognitive processes using brain imaging (fMRI), behavior and introspective reports. He holds a Ph.D. from University College London.

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Academic Minute
5:00 am
Tue January 1, 2013

Dr. Kristen Hawkes, University of Utah – Grandmothering and the Human Lifespan

In today’s Academic Minute, Dr. Kristen Hawkes of the University of Utah reveals how the grandmothering impulse has contributed to the length of the human lifespan. 

Kristen Hawkes is Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at the University of Utah where her research is focused on human life history evolution. Her current approach is guided by the hypothesis that grandmothering is a fundamental shift in our genus underlying a suite of key features that distinguish humans from other great apes. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Washington.

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