Science

From physics to social studies, and paleontology to computers, science is important to our everyday lives. This page is a collection of such topics and stories.

Jamesêking-holmes

Political scientists Erika Allen Wolters and Brent Steel have written that the United States is experiencing a political era in which facts are fluid and the truth is subjective, and that the consequences of ideology trumping science can be devastating. And they wrote that back in 2017. This week we’ll talk to them about how their fears have shifted in the past four years.

Have you ever found it strange that one of the ways that we let people know we care about them is by gently making fun of them? Teasing is a weird sort of thing – a combination between aggression and play. And researchers from UCLA wanted to know where it came from. This week, we’re going to talk about what they learned.

Health in Harmony

Stopping the decimation of rainforests is unquestionably important to slowing climate change. But simply protecting forests often excludes and disenfranchises local communities. This week we’re talking about a different way of addressing this problem — a pairing of ecology with healthcare.

Mike Boswell, creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en

2020 has been rough. I don’t know about you, but there were a lot of times this year that I just wanted to go to sleep and wake up a few months later. Well, it turns out that someday we might be able to do that. Some scientists think humans might, in the future, be able to hibernate. And while that’s a long ways off, there’s a lot we can learn from hibernating species in the meantime.

Ghedo, creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en

Although the national election and COVID-19 pandemic continue to dominate the news cycle, there is other news out there — and the worlds of science, exploration and research are moving along with fascinating new discoveries.

We’re discussing ancient hibernation, tiny robot surgeons, a new kind of thermometer, and the world-changing power of CRISPR.

For millions of years, evolution has shaped our behavior — we do what we’re designed to do. Or, at least, we did. Because today’s world stresses and confuses our bodies in ways that we are simply ill-adapted for. Now, the psychologist Erik Peper says it’s time for reckoning.

Andrew Brooks, creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

We’re talking about fires and fossils, sea butterflies and stonehenge, and parasitic plants and saving the planet — well, saving ourselves, anyway. Our guests are researchers from across the nation with a diversity of expertise.

{{PD-US}}

For decades, researchers assumed the monkeys depicted on a 3,500-year-old painting in Greece were from Africa, just across the Mediterranean. But recently a team of experts looked at these animals and said – wait a second, that’s not right at all – and that’s forced a lot of other scientists to reconsider what they know about the Bronze Age.

Jeff Meldrum is Professor of Anatomy and Anthropology at Idaho State University. He is author of “Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science.” He is a leading expert on Bigfoot or Sasquatch, or the term he prefers: “Relict Hominoid.” He says “...[I]t is one matter to address the theoretical possibility of a relict species of hominoid in North America, and the obligate shift in paradigm to accommodate it, but there must also be something substantial to place within that revised framework.

Jeff Meldrum is Professor of Anatomy and Anthropology at Idaho State University. He is author of “Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science.” He is a leading expert on Bigfoot or Sasquatch, or the term he prefers: “Relict Hominoid.” He says “...[I]t is one matter to address the theoretical possibility of a relict species of hominoid in North America, and the obligate shift in paradigm to accommodate it, but there must also be something substantial to place within that revised framework.

Woman with net stands in high elevation grassland with green hills in the background
Joan Meiners

This week on UnDisciplined, we're talking about bee biodiversity, blood platelets, genetic engineering, environmental journalism, the fast-changing world of medicine, and the future of our planet. 

Soil Judging- Judging The Wanted Dirt

Oct 17, 2019
Nicepik

As a way of helping to identify the difference between unwanted dirt and valuable soil, soil science students hold soil judging contests.  The most recent soil judging contest happened in Northern Utah.

Earth.com

This week on UnDisciplined, we're talking about risk reduction. 

First, we'll talk to a researcher who wants to know how to get people who are at risk of skin cancer to stay out of the sun. Then we'll chat with a scientist who believes a simple drop of medicine under the tongue could protect children who have peanut allergies. 

Encyclopedia Britannica

John DeVilbiss writes in USU Magazine, "It flashes like a beacon to millions of birds on migratory marathons. It is a sea in the sand that shimmers lavender in one glance and pale turquoise in another. A place you can go for an entire day without seeing a single soul, yet where two million people live within an hour's drive. It is a lake of paradoxes, said historian Dale Morgan, a liquid lie, said Terry Tempest Williams. The salty truth, however, is that the Great Salt Lake, the largest saline lake in the Western hemisphere, is drying up."

HarperCollins

A terminal cancer patient rises from the grave. A medical marvel defies HIV. Two women with autoimmunity discover their own bodies have turned against them. Matt Richtel's An Elegant Defense uniquely entwines these intimate stories with science's centuries-long quest to unlock the mysteries of sickness and health, and illuminates the immune system as never before.

University of Toronto Magazine

Have you ever wondered where your dreams come from? Why they’re so hard to remember? Today on Access Utah, we explore the mysteries of the unconscious mind. We'll go over tips on how to get a good night’s sleep, remember more about what you dream, and conjure lucid dreams. 

Allan Peterkin is Professor of Psychiatry and Family Medicine at the University of Toronto where  he heads the Program In Health, Arts and Humanities and serves as Humanities Faculty Lead for Undergraduate Medical education and Post-MD Studies.

 

USU Research and Graduate Studies

David Brown is Professor of Mathematics and Statistics at Utah State University. A while back he gave a talk in the Science Unwrapped series from the College of Science titled “Artificial Intelligence: Too Late to Stop the Robot Apocalypse?” Professor Brown says “Perhaps ironically, salient technology superstars, like Elon Musk and Bill Gates, and publicly known geniuses, like Stephen Hawking, have spoken out and warned us about the advent of artificial intelligence (AI).

Encyclopedia Britannica

John DeVilbiss writes in USU Magazine, "It flashes like a beacon to millions of birds on migratory marathons. It is a sea in the sand that shimmers lavender in one glance and pale turquoise in another. A place you can go for an entire day without seeing a single soul, yet where two million people live within an hour's drive. It is a lake of paradoxes, said historian Dale Morgan, a liquid lie, said Terry Tempest Williams. The salty truth, however, is that the Great Salt Lake, the largest saline lake in the Western hemisphere, is drying up."

kobo.com

Over the next several decades, as human populations grow and developing countries become more affluent, the demand for energy will soar. Parts of the energy sector are preparing to meet this demand by increasing renewable energy production, which is necessary to combat climate change. But many renewable energy sources have a large energy sprawl—the amount of land needed to produce energy—which can threaten biodiversity and conservation. Is it possible to meet this rise in energy demand, while still conserving natural places and species?

 

According to Utah's Division of Air Quality, roughly 50% of Utah's air pollution comes from vehicle emissions. The Utah Foundation and the Utah Clean Air Partnership, or UCAIR, are studying alternative fueled cars as a way to lessen the amount of pollution in the air. 

USU Office of Research

Over 70% of Americans—and two-thirds of Utahns—think that climate change is happening. Research led by Dr. Peter Howe reveals this statistic, along with much more detailed data about how Americans think about climate change from the national to the local level. Drawing from large surveys of the American public, Dr. Howe’s research has developed statistical methods to map public opinion, risk perceptions, and responses in every state, county, and even neighborhood across the country.

Twitter: @mdlaplante

The world's largest land mammal could help us end cancer. The fastest bird is showing us how to solve a century-old engineering mystery. The oldest tree is giving us insights into climate change. The loudest whale is offering clues about the impact of solar storms.

For a long time, scientists ignored superlative life forms as outliers. Increasingly, though, researchers are coming to see great value in studying plants and animals that exist on the outermost edges of the bell curve.

HarperCollins

A terminal cancer patient rises from the grave. A medical marvel defies HIV. Two women with autoimmunity discover their own bodies have turned against them. Matt Richtel's An Elegant Defense uniquely entwines these intimate stories with science's centuries-long quest to unlock the mysteries of sickness and health, and illuminates the immune system as never before.

Amazon

In their new book “Breakpoint: Reckoning with America's Environmental Crises,” eminent ecologist Jeremy B. C. Jackson and award-winning journalist Steve Chapple examine the looming threats from recent hurricanes and fires, industrial agriculture, river mismanagement, extreme weather events, drought, and rising sea levels that, they say, are pushing the country toward the breaking point of ecological and economic collapse.

 

Patrick Alexander / Flickr

This week on UnDisciplined, we're talking about the intersection of science and personal decision-making — and, of course, we're looking at it from two very different perspectives. 

Daphne Zaras / NSSL

This week on UnDisciplined, we're talking about climate, but at two very different scales. 

Amazon

In the spring of 2005, acclaimed environmental photographer James Balog headed to the Arctic on a tricky assignment for National Geographic: to capture images to help tell the story of the Earth’s changing climate. Even with a scientific upbringing, Balog had been a skeptic about climate change. But that first trip north opened his eyes to the biggest story in human history and sparked a challenge within him that would put his career and his very well-being at risk.

Getty Images

In UnDisciplined's first ever monthly science news roundup, we're joined by three researchers, plus a fellow science enthusiast, to take a look at recent science news through a bunch of different perspectives. 

National Institutes of Health

This week on UnDisciplined, we're talking about why we don't do the things we know we should do. Why, for instance, don't we get as much sleep as we're supposed to? And why do we often withhold information from our doctors? 

Utah Pulbic Radio

2018 is going to be remembered as a huge year in science. 

It was the year we took tremendous leaps forward in aritificial intelligence. It was when we faced the contorversial case of the world's first gene-edited babies. And,  it was the year we shot a billionaire's car into space. 

But here at Utah Public Radio, we're hoping 2018 is remembered for another reason: as they year we first started broadcasting UnDisciplined. 

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