Academic Minute

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. 

Studying the DNA of the ancient Amborella flower is opening up new insights into the evolution of certain plants and animals.

The University at Buffalo's Dr. Victor Albert is looking deeply into the ancient origins of this Amborella and working to sequence its genome in order to better understand how life has developed on Earth.

Rising temperatures are threatening the biodiversity of the Arctic.

Dr. Hans Meltofte, senior scientist at Denmark's Aarhus University, describes the negative impact of climate change in this area as "already visible" and details the serious ecological consequences that are resulting.

Is there a measurable limit to the amount of self-control each person possesses?

Dr. Michael Inzlicht, associate professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, studies self-control and is helping to debunk a popular theory regarding the now widely studied topic.

A decrease in the amount of snowfall in Canada may have far reaching results.

Dr. Frederic Bouchard, post-doctoratal research fellow at Université Laval, is studying the climate models of many areas across Canada and making predictions about the ecology of the area based on his findings.

Frederic Bouchard PhD is a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Laval's Center for Northern Studies. He's published many papers focusing on the ecology of the Arctic, his main research focus.

The undersea discovery of a large seep of methane in the North Atlantic may hold the key to learning a great deal about the underwater ecosystem.

Dr. Steve Ross, research professor at the University of North Carolina Wilmington's Center for Marine Science, calls the ocean floor the last great frontier on Earth. His work into the depths of the Atlantic will help scientists better understand a wide variety of things about oceanic life and beyond.

Whether you realize it or not, we use distance metaphors every day.

Dr. Thalia Wheatley, associate professor of psychological and brain sciences at Dartmouth College, scientifically deconstructs the way humans use figurative language to convey abstract ideas.

Despite all the advances in technology, Mother Nature remains our most skilled engineer.

Dr. Craig Vierra, professor and assistant chair of the University of the Pacific's College of Biological Sciences, is working on a way to replicate spider silk. 

What can we extrapolate from the cries of a baby?

Dr. Neil Johnson, professor of physics at the University of Miami, studied the patterns of children's cries and used that information to make some interesting conclusions.

Dr. Neil Johnson is a professor of physics at the University of Miami. He has published over 200 articles in a wide range of international publications and currently is the associate editor for the Journal of Economic Interaction and Coordination. As a Kennedy scholar, he earned his PhD from Harvard University.

Everyone is fascinated by the possibility of supernatural phenomena.

Dr. Piers Howe, professor of psychology at the University of Melbourne, investigates the legitimacy of those who claim to have a sixth sense.

Dr. Piers Howe is a professor of psychology and senior lecturer at the University of Melbourne. His research focuses mainly on the areas of cognitive psychology and behavioral neuroscience.

About Dr. Howe

Studying the fossilized remains of animals and plants can teach us a great deal about the natural world.

In today's Academic Minute, Dr. Peter Wilf, professor of geosciences at Penn State University, traces the path of conifer fossils from New Zealand to Argentina.

Advances in biotechnologies have been vital in the analysis of the DNA of the first peoples of America.

Dr. Ripan Malhi, associate professor of anthropology at the University of Illinois, Urbana, discusses both the importance and the difficulty of this type of research.

How will your fantasy baseball team do this season?

In today’s Academic Minute, Dr. Dae Kwak, assistant professor of sports management at the University of Michigan, discusses the psychological impact fantasy sports advertising has on even experienced players.

Is there a formula for delivering an effective speech?

In today’s Academic Minute, Dr. William Doll, visiting fellow at Case Western Reserve University, outlines a few  rules for crafting an engaging oration.

People have an affinity for things.

In today’s Academic Minute, Dr. Brent Plate, visiting associate professor of religious studies at Hamilton College, examines how objects can have a rich personal significance.