Big Picture Science – Skeptic Check: Your Inner Lab Coat

by Gary Niederhoff on April 25, 2016


Big Picture Science – Skeptic Check: Your Inner Lab Coat

Sherlock Holmes doesn’t have a science degree, yet he thinks rationally – like a scientist. You can too! Learn the secrets of being irritatingly logical from the most famous sleuth on Baker Street. Plus, discover why animal trackers 100,000 years ago may have been the first scientists, and what we can learn from about deductive reasoning from today’s African trackers.

Also, the author of a book on teaching physics to your dog provides tips for unleashing your inner scientist, even if you hated science in school.

And newly-minted scientists imagine classes they wish were available to them as grad students, such as “You Can’t Save the World 101.”

Listen to individual segments here:
Part 1: Louis Liebenberg / Cybertracker
Part 2: Maria Konnikova / Sherlock’s Science
Part 3: Chad Orzel / Your Inner Scientist
Part 4: Science Course Wish List

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Big Picture Science – Moving Right Along

by Gary Niederhoff on April 18, 2016


Big Picture Science – Moving Right Along
click to listen!

You think your life is fast-paced, but have you ever seen a bacterium swim across your countertop? You’d be surprised how fast they can move.

Find out why modeling the swirl of hurricanes takes a roomful of mathematicians and supercomputers, and how galaxies can move away from us faster than the speed of light.

Also, what happens when we try to stop the dance of atoms, cooling things down to the rock bottom temperature known as absolute zero.

And why your watch doesn’t keep the same time when you’re in a jet as when you’re at the airport. It’s all due to the fact that motion is relative, says Al Einstein.

Listen to individual segments here:
Part 1: Mike Smith – Hurricane Tracking
Part 2: Bob Berman – Small Scale Movement
Part 3: Seth Shostak – Relative Motion
Part 4: Bill Phillips – Absolute Zero
Part 5: Bob Berman – Large Scale Movement

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Big Picture Science – Surfeit of the Vitalest

April 11, 2016

Big Picture Science – Surfeit of the Vitalest In the century and a half since Charles Darwin wrote his seminal On the Origin of the Species, our understanding of evolution has changed quite a bit. For one, we have not only identified the inheritance molecule DNA, but have determined its sequence in many animals and […]

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Big Picture Science – Tale of the Distribution

April 4, 2016

Big Picture Science – Tale of the Distributionclick to listen! We all have at least some musical talent. But very few of us can play the piano like Vladimir Horowitz. His talent was rarefied, and at the tail end of the bell curve of musical ability – that tiny sliver of the distribution where you […]

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Big Picture Science – Skeptic Check: How Low Can You Go

March 28, 2016

Big Picture Science – Skeptic Check: How Low Can You Goclick to listen! Baby, it’s cold outside… but you still might want to be there. Some people claim that chilly temperatures are good for your health, and proponents of cryotherapy suggest you have a blast – of sub-zero air – to stave off wrinkles and […]

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Big Picture Science – Gene-y in a Bottle

March 21, 2016

Big Picture Science – Gene-y in a Bottleclick to listen! You can’t pick your parents. But soon you may be able to change the DNA they gave you. CRISPR technology is poised to take DNA editing to new levels of precision and speed. Imagine deleting genes from your body that you don’t like and inserting […]

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Big Picture Science – Who’s Controlling Whom?

March 14, 2016

Big Picture Science – Who’s Controlling Whom?click to listen! A single ant isn’t very brainy. But a group of ants can do remarkable things. Biological swarm behavior is one model for the next generation of tiny robots. Of course, biology can get hijacked: a fungus can seize control of an ant’s brain, for example. So […]

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Big Picture Science – Land on the Run

March 7, 2016

Big Picture Science – Land on the Runclick to listen! Hang on to your globe. One day it’ll be a collector’s item. The arrangement of continents you see today is not what it once was, nor what it will be tomorrow. Thank plate tectonics. Now evidence suggests that the crowding together of all major land […]

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Big Picture Science – The Crater Good

February 29, 2016

Big Picture Science – The Crater Goodclick to listen! It was, “a giant leap for mankind,” but the next step forward may require going back. Yes, back to the moon. Only this time the hardware may come from China. Or perhaps Europe. In fact, it seems that the only developed nation not going lunar is […]

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Big Picture Science – Eve of Disruption

February 21, 2016

Big Picture Science – Eve of Disruptionclick to listen! Only two of the following three creations have had lasting scientific or cultural impact: The telescope … the Sistine Chapel ceiling … the electric banana. Find out why one didn’t make the cut as a game-changer, and why certain eras and places produce a remarkable flowering […]

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