Academic Minute

Species interaction dictates a great deal of a location's biodiversity.

Susan Kalisz, professor of biology at the University of Pittsburgh, is linking the diet of deer to the success of the animals' surrounding flora.

Any real estate agent will tell you, when you look for a place to live...it's location, location, location. We all like to make a home in a nice, livable neighborhood. But what makes a neighborhood livable? Some extremely small organisms can live in some extremely nasty places.

Today on the Best Of Our Knowledge, our Astrobiology series continues with a look at the extreme environments some microbial life calls home.

We'll also spend an academic minute with science fiction that's not quite fiction any more.

Direct trauma clearly has negative effects on the brain.

Dr. Raj Morey, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University, discusses the potential harm that may arise even from indrect exposure to explosions.

As hip hop culture expands, schools are expanding with it.

Dr. Muhammad Khalifa, assistant professor of educational administration at Michigan State University, is studying this trend.

In a recent commentary, I raised the question of whether the United States is losing its global competitiveness in the area of scientific research. And yet, despite the fact that major reductions have been made in our research infrastructure and productivity due to cuts arising from sequestration and over a decade of federal research budgets which have not exceeded inflation, I was startled to learn that “only 38% of Americans feel science [research] is getting too little funding” (reported in The Chronicle of Higher Education article, “Strapped,” February 28, 2014). Why isn’t the message getting out? Why do so few Americans see the risk in falling behind in areas of research critical to understanding disease processes, to addressing environmental issues, to developing alternative energy, and on and on?

Can math be used to better understand history?

Peter Turchin, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Connecticut, is doing just that through complex mathematical algorithms.

Dr. Phillip Sponenberg, Virginia Tech - Fainting Goats

May 14, 2014

The Latin name myotonia congenita might not mean much to you, but you've likely seen them in action.

Dr. Phillip Sponenberg, professor of pathology and genetics at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech, fills us in on one of the internet's favorite animal oddities: the fainting goat.

buildOn.org

We’ve heard many times that the key to getting out of poverty is education.

But schools cost money…something that is in short supply in the most impoverished areas of the world.  That’s a problem that Jim Ziolkowski has spent the last 20 years trying to solve. Today on the Best Of Our Knowledge, we’ll hear about the beginnings of the non-profit called buildOn that is helping the poorest around the world find education…including here in the US.

We’ll also spend an academic minute trying to find out what a livable wage looks like.

RNA seems like the unsung little brother of DNA and protein.

But Yehuda Ben-Shahar, assistant professor of biology at Washington University in St. Louis, is learning a great deal about their very important molecular responsibilities.

Dr. Yehuda Ben-Shahar is an assistant professor of biology at Washington University in St. Louis. His research focuses on the roles of genes, genetics, and evolution in shaping and driving specific animal behaviors. He earned a PhD from the University of Illinois in 2002.

Economic inequality and minimum wage are becoming increasingly discussed topics during these turbulent economic times.

Chris Fee, professor of English at Gettysburg College, asks what constitutes a living wage?

Dr. Christopher Fee is a professor and chair of the Department of English at Gettysburg College. Fee has published numerous articles and has given conference presentations on many interdisciplinary topics. He earned his PhD in English at the University of Glasgow.

During the 1800s, segregation was even visible in the medical arena.

King Davis, professor and director of the Institute for Urban Policy Research & Analysis at the University of Texas at Austin, is studying the medical records  from the Central Lunatic Asylum for the Colored Insane.

The amazing technology we see in science-fiction is fast becoming reality.

Radu Sporea, academic research fellow at the University of Surrey, is helping to bring some of these future-thinking inventions to life.

A University of Utah scientist is making engineering breakthroughs in the field of plasmonics using ink-jet printers.

Dr. Ajay Nahata, professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Utah, is developing new technology using parts borrowed from some somewhat old technology!

Are strict police codes having unintended effects?

Dr. Lawrence Sherman, professor of criminology at the University of Cambridge, examines the nature of certain law enforcement practices.

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster is having significant consequences on our environment.

Dr. Lee Newman, associate professor at the State University of New York's College of Environment Science and Forestry, discusses phytoremediation as a potential clean-up method. 

Usually when we talk about class on this program, it’s one of those things they have in school.  Today, not so much.  Social status , or class isn’t something we really talk about much in the US. OK during election season we hear the term middle class thrown around like crazy, but other than that it’s almost a taboo topic.  But ignoring the issue doesn’t change the issue…class matters. Today on the Best Of Our Knowledge, we’ll talk to the author of a new book about class in the US…and a new study which focused on the class divisions in the activist community.

Studying the area surrounding a cancerous tumor may provide new medical insights.

Dr. Marco Bisoffi, associate professor of biological sciences at Chapman University, is studying field cancerization to help treat the deadly disease.

Where do galaxies get their gas?

D.J. Pisano, assistant professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at West Virginia University, is studying chemical elements present in space to unlock mysteries of the universe.

Does the pain felt by an infant affect them later in life?

Anne Murphy, associate professor of neuroscience at George State University, is observing the relationship between pain felt as an infant and the related long-term effects.

You may be surprised to learn of the widespread uses of helium.

Nicholas Leadbeater, associate professor of chemistry at the University of Connecticut, details the wide application of this chemical element and explains why its days of filling party balloons may be coming to an end.

It has been 20 years since the genocide in Rwanda.

Susan Thomson, assistant professor of peace and conflict studies at Colgate University, examines life in the African nation since those tragic days.

How does depression affect one's personal goals?

Joanne Dickson, research director on the Doctorate of Clinical Psychology Programme in the Institute of Psychology, Health and Society at the University of Liverpool, surveyed the personal goals of people with depression and people who have never suffered from the mood disorder to study the results.

The constraints of physical shape have helped guide life's evolutionary path.

Jayanth Banavar, dean of the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences (CMNS) at the University of Maryland, discusses how geometry plays a significant role in development and evolution.

Prejudice is a highly complicated and nuanced concept.

Dr. Jessica Remedios, assistant professor of psychology at Tufts University, examines the perplexing issue of prejudice by taking a look at the variables present in nearly all social interactions.

The leatherback turtle population is getting some much needed help.

Dr. John Roe, assistant professor of biology at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, is tracking, studying and helping to develop strategies that will help to revitalize the leatherback population.

What is left after a star explodes and dies? The answer is a neutron star.

Dr. Victoria Kaspi, professor of astrophysics and cosmology at McGill University, is piecing together the structure of a specific type of neutron star called a magnetar.

Maybe you should let your children play with their food!

It seems like a mess just waiting to happen, but Larissa Samuelson, associate professor of psychology at the University of Iowa, is demonstrating that playing with one's food might be a beneficial part of the learning process.

The feeling of gratitude can positively influence all the other factors of one's life.

Dr. Jeffrey Froh, associated professor of psychology at Hofstra University, is studying the far reaching effects that gratitude has on children.

Studying how insects metabolize and process oxygen could bring some relief for farmers hoping to protect their crops without using dangerous pesticides.

Dr. Scott Kirkton of Union College is learning a great deal about the biochemistry that triggers a grasshopper's molting process.

The clarity of one's memories is referred to as memory resolution.

Dr. Phillip Ko, a post-doctoral fellow at Vanderbilt University, is studying the sharpness of memory in order to better understand the aging of the brain, memory loss and diseases like Alzheimer's. 

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