science

Richard M. Cohen is the author of two New York Times bestsellers: a memoir, "Blindsided," detailing his struggles with MS and cancer and his controversial career in the news business; and "Strong at the Broken Places," following the lives of five individuals living with serious chronic illnesses. His distinguished career in network news earned him numerous awards, including three Emmys and a Peabody.

After more than four decades living with multiple sclerosis, New York Times bestselling author Richard M. Cohen finds a flicker of hope in a groundbreaking medical procedure. His new book is "Chasing Hope."

"Typhoid Mary" - a new play by Mark St. Germain - is playing at Barrington Stage Company's St. Germain Stage in Pittsfield, MA through June 16.

The play tells the true story of Mary Mallon, one of the most infamous women in America, she was incredibly stubborn, ambitious, and in fierce denial of any wrongdoing. Master storyteller Mark St. Germain ("Freud’s Last Session" and "Dancing Lessons") has captured the woman behind the myths while exploring the battle between science and religion.

St. Germain has another play running in our region. "Relativity" is running at Penguin Rep Theatre in Stony Point, NY through June 10.

Why do we do the things we do? Robert Sapolsky, celebrated Stanford primatologist and neurobiologist and recipient of a MacArthur Foundation genius grant, tackles this age-old question in his investigation into the science of human behavior, "Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst," now available in paperback.

From violence and aggression to cooperation and empathy, Sapolsky explores what we can do to better understand our relationships to one another. He argues that we should not distinguish between aspects of a behavior that are biological and those that are cultural because they are utterly intertwined.

Lucy Cooke is an award-winning filmmaker who has written, produced, and directed several popular documentary series for the BBC, PBS, Discovery, and National Geographic. Her first book, "A Little Book of Sloth," was a New York Times bestseller. She hold an MA in zoology from the University of Oxford.

In her new book, "The Truth About Animals: Stoned Sloths, Lovelorn Hippos, and Other Tales from the Wild Side of Wildlife," she takes the reader on a worldwide journey to meet everyone from a Colombian hippo castrator to a Chinese panda porn peddler, all to lay bare the secret (and often hilarious) habits of the animal kingdom.

Wikimedia Commons/Tweenk

After more than a month-long hiatus, the science panel has returned to Vox Pop. Today we welcome Barbara Brabetz, Ed Stander and Jim Pickett. WAMC's Ray Graf hosts.

Research biologist and cancer survivor Sandra Steingraber was inspired to activism by the classic book "Silent Spring" by Rachel Carson, becoming one of America's leading environmental writers and anti-pollution advocates.

Steingraber has now edited the Library of America edition of Carson’s writings - an unprecedented collection of letters, speeches, and other writings that reveal the extraordinary courage and vision of its author.

The volume presents one of the landmark books of the twentieth century together with rare letters, speeches, and other writings that reveal the personal courage and passionate commitment of its author.

Sandra Steingraber is the Distinguished Scholar in Residence at Ithaca College.

Andrea Barnet’s new book "Visionary Women" tells the story of four visionaries who profoundly shaped the world we live in today. Together, these women, linked not by friendship or field but by their choice to break with convention, showed what one person speaking truth to power can do.

Jane Jacobs fought for livable cities and strong communities; Rachel Carson warned us about poisoning the environment; Jane Goodall demonstrated the indelible kinship between humans and animals; and Alice Waters urged us to reconsider what and how we eat.

Barnet traces the arc of each woman’s career and explores how their work collectively changed the course of history.

Scientists such as Richard Dawkins, Lawrence Krauss, and Sam Harris tell us that our most intimate actions, thoughts, and values are mere byproducts of thousands of generations of mindless adaptation. We are just one species among multitudes, and therefore no more significant than any other living creature.

Now comes Brown University biologist Kenneth R. Miller to make the case that this view betrays a gross misunderstanding of evolution. Natural selection surely explains how our bodies and brains were shaped, but Miller argues that it’s not a social or cultural theory of everything. In "The Human Instinct," he rejects the idea that our biological heritage means that human thought, action, and imagination are pre-determined, describing instead the trajectory that ultimately gave us reason, consciousness and free will.

Janice Kaplan has enjoyed wide success as a magazine editor, television producer, writer, and journalist. The former editor-in-chief of Parade magazine, she is the author of thirteen popular books including the New York Times bestseller "The Gratitude Diaries."

She and Dr. Barnaby Marsh (an expert on risk taking) have written the new book "How Luck Happens: Using the Science of Luck to Transform Work, Love, and Life."

Using original research, fascinating studies, and engaging interviews, Kaplan and Marsh reveal the simple techniques to create luck in love and marriage, business and career, and health, happiness, and family relationships.

Matthew Walker is a professor of neuroscience and psychology at UC Berkeley, the Director of its Sleep and Neuroimaging Lab, and a former professor of psychiatry at Harvard University. He has published over 100 scientific studies.

His first book, "Why We Sleep," reveals his groundbreaking exploration of sleep, explaining how we can harness its transformative power to change our lives for the better.

Using a trove of footage unearthed from the National Geographic archives, the new documentary film "Jane" tells the true story of Jane Goodall as a young woman whose chimpanzee research challenged the male-dominated scientific consensus of her time and revolutionized our understanding of the natural world.

Filmmaker Brett Morgen joins us. Dubbed the “mad scientist” of documentary film by the New York Times, Brett Morgen has been directing, writing, and producing ground breaking documentary films for the past 15 years.

Civil unrest. War. Terrorism. Epidemics. Inequality. Environmental degradation. Famine and poverty. When you read the news, it looks like the world is falling apart, but is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Harvard Psychology Professor and New York Times bestselling author Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, which play to our psychological biases, and instead, follow the data.

In his new book, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise, not just in the West, but worldwide. This progress is not the result of some cosmic force. It is a gift of the Enlightenment: the conviction that reason, science, and humanism can enhance human flourishing. The title of Pinker’s new book is “Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress.”

The Mystery Of Sleep

Feb 28, 2018

We spend a third of our lives in bed, but how much do we really understand about how sleep affects us? In the past forty years, scientists have discovered that our sleep (or lack of it) can affect nearly every aspect of our waking lives. Poor sleep could be a sign of a disease, the result of a vitamin or iron deficiency, or the cause of numerous other problems, both sleeping and waking. Yet many people, even medical personnel, are unaware of the dangers of poor sleep.

Enter Dr. Meir Kryger, a world authority on the science of sleep, with a comprehensive guide to the mysteries of slumber that combines detailed case studies, helpful tables, illustrations, and pragmatic advice.

The book is The Mystery of Sleep: Why a Good Night's Rest Is Vital to a Better, Healthier Life.

WAMC Elizabeth Hill

Dr. Gina Gould has stepped into her new role as president of the Museum of Innovation and Science in Schenectady, New York. WAMC’s Elizabeth Hill Spoke with Gould about her move to the Capital Region and her aspirations for MiSci moving forward.

nycedc.com

  Our tech guru Jesse Feiler joins us this morning to talk about health tech.

Jesse Feiler is an app developer, author, and consultant specializing in small business and nonprofit organizations. His most recent books are “The Nonprofit Risk Book: Finding and Managing Risk in Nonprofits and NGOs” written with Gail B. Nayowith and “Learn Computer Science with Swift.” His most recent apps are “CyberContinuity,” a free app to learn about your vulnerabilities and “The Nonprofit Risk App,” a companion to the book.

Brew Your Business

Jan 11, 2018

Craft beer culture and industry have recently grown exponentially with over 4000 craft brewers operating in the United States alone.

The new book: "Brew Your Business: The Ultimate Craft Beer Playbook" incorporates cultural, legal, business, public relations, management, science, networking, and brewing experience into one easily accessible book for everyone wanting to know more about craft beer brewing, tasting, and selling.

Karen McGrath has been researching, writing, and teaching for over 30 years, and has co-authored a book with Regina Luttrell entitled "The Millennial Mindset: Unraveling Fact from Fiction." Sean McGrath is a committed homebrewer with over 20 years of experience and many more years of enthusiasm regarding craft brews.

Regina Luttrell spent the first half of her career managing high-level public relations and marketing activities for Fortune 500 companies, governmental entities, as well as non-profit organizations. She now teaches public relations and social media at Syracuse University, S.I. Newhouse School. Todd Luttrell is a craft beer enthusiast and an accomplished scientist and business professional with nearly 20 years of discovery and leadership experience.

We’re also joined by Mike Wenzel Co-owner and Head Brewer at Helderberg Mountain Brewing Company.

We all want to be happy. Yet as we consume ever more in a frantic bid for happiness, global warming worsens. Alarmed by drastic changes now occurring in the Earth's climate systems, the author, a climate scientist and suburban father of two, embarked on a journey to change his life and the world. He began by bicycling, growing food, meditating, and making other simple, fulfilling changes. Ultimately, he slashed his climate impact to under a tenth of the US average and became happier in the process.

Being the Change explores the connections between our individual daily actions and our collective predicament. It merges science, spirituality, and practical action to develop a satisfying and appropriate response to global warming.

Peter Kalmus is a climate scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory with a Ph.D. in physics from Columbia University. His new book is Being the Change: Live Well and Spark a Climate Revolution.

Alan Alda At Proctors

Nov 7, 2017

Alan Alda is an actor, director, screenwriter, author and seven-time Emmy Award and Golden Globe Award winner. He is widely known for playing Captain Hawkeye Pierce in the TV series "M*A*S*H," hosting "Scientific American Frontiers," and playing Arnold Vinick on "The West Wing."

A lifelong lover of science, Alda would like everyday people and science to shake hands. Just as he knew to get to a doctor, because of what his body was telling him, Alda believes that people should have an easier time understanding and relating to science. So aside from hosting PBS specials for over two decades, Alda has helped found the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science, where scientists learn the communicative skills to help the world understand science better without all the jargon.

Alan Alda will be at Proctors in Schenectady, NY on Thursday, November 9 presenting a program entitled "Getting Beyond A Blind Date with Science."

Everybody knows -- or thinks they know -- Charles Darwin, the father of evolution and the man who altered the way we view our place in the world. But what most people do not know is that Darwin was on board the HMS Beagle as a geologist -- on a mission to examine the land, not flora and fauna.

Retracing Darwin’s footsteps in South America and beyond, geologist Rob Wesson treks across the Andes, cruises waters charted by the Beagle, hunts for fossils in Uruguay and Argentina, and explores sites of long vanished glaciers in Scotland and Wales. As he follows Darwin’s path, Wesson experiences the land as Darwin did, engages with his observations, and tackles the same questions Darwin had about our ever-changing Earth.

Wesson's book is Darwin's First Theory: Exploring Darwin's Quest for a Theory of Earth.

Prescription drug use in America has increased tenfold in the past 50 years, and over-the-counter drug use has risen just as dramatically. 

 In addition to the dozens of medications we take to treat serious illnesses, we take drugs to help us sleep, to keep us awake, to keep our noses from running, our backs from aching, and our minds from racing. Name a symptom, there's a pill to suppress it. In Mind over Meds, bestselling author Dr. Andrew Weil alerts readers to the problem of overmedication.

You Never Think Alone

Jul 25, 2017

The human mind is both brilliant and pathetic. We have mastered fire, created democratic institutions, stood on the moon, and sequenced our genome. And yet each of us is error prone, sometimes irrational, and often ignorant.

The fundamentally communal nature of intelligence and knowledge explains why we often assume we know more than we really do, why political opinions and false beliefs are so hard to change, and why individually oriented approaches to education and management frequently fail. But our collaborative minds also enable us to do amazing things. This book contends that true genius can be found in the ways we create intelligence using the world around us.

Steven Sloman is a professor of cognitive, linguistic, and psychological sciences at Brown University. He is the editor in chief of the journal Cognition. Philip Fernbach is a cognitive scientist and professor of marketing at the University of Colorado’s Leeds School of Business. 

Lucas Willard / WAMC

A company based in the Capital Region has been awarded a $9.1 million federal contract to develop a new generation of living building materials.

Until the late 1960s, tens of thousands of American children suffered crippling birth defects if their mothers had been exposed to rubella, popularly known as German measles, while pregnant; there was no vaccine and little understanding of how the disease devastated fetuses. In June 1962, a young biologist in Philadelphia, using tissue extracted from an aborted fetus from Sweden, produced safe, clean cells that allowed the creation of vaccines against rubella and other common childhood diseases. Two years later, in the midst of a devastating German measles epidemic, his colleague developed the vaccine that would one day wipe out homegrown rubella. The rubella vaccine and others made with those fetal cells have protected more than 150 million people in the United States, the vast majority of them preschoolers. 

Meredith Wadman covered biomedical research politics from Washington for twenty years. She is a reporter at  Science and has written for NatureFortune, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal. A graduate of Stanford and Columbia, she began medical school at the University of British Columbia and completed her medical degree as a Rhodes scholar at the University of Oxford.

Her new book is The Vaccine Race: Science, Politics, and the Human Costs of Defeating Disease

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We welcome back our esteemed panel of experts to respond to your scientific inquiries. Barbara Brabetz, Jim Pickett and Ed Stander make up our panel. WAMC's Ray Graf hosts.

NPR's Richard Harris
Doby Photography/NPR

We often hear NPR science reporter Richard Harris covering a new discovery or scientific advancement on WAMC — but as Harris writes in his new book, bona fide groundbreaking biomedical research has increasingly become the exception, not the rule. Harris has been reporting for NPR since 1986. In Rigor Mortis: How Sloppy Science Creates Worthless Cures, Crushes Hope, and Wastes Billions, he describes a scientific culture in which “publish or perish” imperatives come at the expense of truth.

March for Science button designed by student Mason Martin
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Students at Clinton Community College are organizing a March for Science this weekend, one of thousands occurring Saturday across the nation.

Neil deGrasse Tyson
MILLER MOBLEY / REDUX

  Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson is director of the Hayden Planetarium, hosts Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey and is the former host of NOVA ScienceNOW on PBS. On April 24 he returns to Proctors with an all-new show: "The Cosmic Perspective."

There is no view of the world as emotionally potent as the one granted by a cosmic perspective. It's one that sees Earth as a planet in a vast empty universe. It profoundly influences what we think and feel about science, culture, politics, and life itself.

WAM Theatre is currently presenting a limited run remount of the company’s very successful 2013 production of Emilie: La Marquise Du Châtelet Defends Her Life Tonight, written by Lauren Gunderson and directed by WAM Artistic Director Kristen van Ginhoven.

The production will run through April 9 at Shakespeare & Company’s Tina Packer Playhouse in Lenox, MA.

Marie Curie was the first woman to win a Noble Prize, the first person and only woman to win twice, the only person to win a Nobel Prize in two different sciences, and was part of the Curie family legacy of five Noble Prizes. She was also the first woman to become a professor at the University of Paris, and in 1995 became the first woman to be entombed on her own merits in the Pantheon in Paris.

The play Radiance; The Passion of Marie Curie by Alan Alda is a moving chronicle of the years between 1898 and 1911, between Marie’s first and second Noble Awards and a stirring look at the challenges and passions of a scientific pioneer.

The Theatre Institute at Sage is presenting a production of Radiance in the Meader Little Theater on the Russel Sage Campus in Troy, NY April 5th through the 15th.

Here to tell us more are the show’s Director, David Bunce; actor Taylor Hoffman; and the productions Science Advisor, Dr. Donna Heald.

In 2005, beekeepers in the United States began observing a mysterious and disturbing phenomenon: once-healthy colonies of bees were suddenly collapsing, leaving behind empty hives full of honey and pollen. 

Vanishing Bees takes us inside the debates over widespread honeybee deaths, introducing the various groups with a stake in solving the mystery of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), including beekeepers, entomologists, growers, agrichemical companies, and government regulators. Drawing from extensive interviews and first-hand observations, Sainath Suryanarayanan and Daniel Lee Kleinman examine how members of each group have acquired, disseminated, and evaluated knowledge about CCD.

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