Big Picture Science – Quantum: Why We Want ‘Em

by Gary Niederhoff on February 19, 2018

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Big Picture Science – Quantum: Why We Want ‘Em

ENCORE Einstein thought that quantum mechanics might be the end of physics, and most scientists felt sure it would never be useful. Today, everything from cell phones to LED lighting is completely dependent on the weird behavior described by quantum mechanics.

But the story continues. Quantum computers may be millions of times faster than your laptop, and applying them to big data could be transformational for biology and health. Quantum entanglement – “spooky” action at a distance – may not allow faster-than-light communication, but could be important in other ways. And there’s even the suggestion that quantum mechanics defines the difference between life and death.

Quantum physics. It’s weird and exotic. But it’s how the universe works.

Listen to individual segments here:
Part 1: Michael Raymer / Quantum Physics
Part 2: Seth Lloyd / Quantum Computing
Part 3: Johnjoe McFadden / Quantum Biology

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Big Picture Science – Bacteria to the Future

by Gary Niederhoff on February 12, 2018


Big Picture Science – Bacteria to the Future

Why did the chicken take antibiotics? To fatten it up and prevent bacterial infection. As a result, industrial farms have become superbug factories, threatening our life-saving antibiotics.

Find out how our wonder drugs became bird feed, and how antibiotic resistant bugs bred on the farm end up on your dinner plate. A journalist tells the story of the 1950s fad of “acronizing” poultry; the act of dipping it in an antibiotic bath so it can sit longer on a refrigerator shelf.

Plus, some ways we can avoid a post-antibiotic era. The steps one farm took to make their chickens antibiotic free… and resurrecting an old therapy: enlisting viruses to target and destroy multi-drug resistant bacteria. Set your “phages” to stun.

Listen to individual segments here:
Part 1: Antibiotics on the Farm
Part 2: Antibiotics off the Farm
Part 3: Set Phages to Kill

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Big Picture Science – Creative Brains

February 5, 2018

Big Picture Science – Creative Brains Your cat is smart, but its ability to choreograph a ballet or write computer code isn’t great. A lot of animals are industrious and clever, but humans are the only animal that is uniquely ingenious and creative. Neuroscientist David Eagleman and composer Anthony Brandt discuss how human creativity has […]

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Big Picture Science – Skeptic Check: New UFO Evidence

January 29, 2018

Big Picture Science – New UFO Evidence It was a shocker of a story, splashed across the New York Times front page: The existence of a five-year long, hidden Pentagon investigation of UFOs. With one-third of the American public convinced that aliens are visiting Earth, could this study finally provide the proof? We consider how […]

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Big Picture Science – DIY Spaceflight

January 22, 2018

Big Picture Science – DIY Spaceflight For a half-century, space has been the playground of large, government agencies. While everyone could dream of becoming an astronaut, few could actually do so. Things have changed. We hear how a geeky son of immigrant parents incentivized the ground-breaking launch of SpaceShipOne, and spawned the commercial rocket industry. […]

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Big Picture Science – Geology is Destiny

January 15, 2018

Big Picture Science – Geology is Destiny The record of the rocks is not just the history of Earth; it’s your history too. Geologists can learn about events going back billions of years that influenced – and even made possible – our present-day existence and shaped our society. If the last Ice Age had been […]

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Big Picture Science – Are Animals Really That Smart?

January 8, 2018

Big Picture Science – Are Animals Really That Smart? You own a cat, or is it vice versa? Family friendly felines have trained their owners to do their bidding. Thanks to a successful evolutionary adaptation, they rule your house. Find out how your cat has you wrapped around its paw. And it’s not the only […]

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Big Picture Science – Weather Vain

January 1, 2018

Big Picture Science – Weather Vain ENCORE Everyone talks about the weather but no one does anything about it. Not that they haven’t tried. History is replete with attempts to control the weather, but we’d settle for an accurate seven-day forecast. Find out how sophisticated technology might improve accuracy, including predicting the behavior of severe […]

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Big Picture Science – DIY Diagnosis

December 25, 2017

Big Picture Science – DIY Diagnosis ENCORE Got aches and pains? Critters in the Cretaceous would have been sympathetic. A new study reveals that painful arthritis plagued a duck-billed dinosaur. Scientists impressively diagnosed the animal’s condition without a house call by examining its 70 million-year old bones. The technology we use for health diagnoses are […]

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Big Picture Science – Rerouting… Rerouting

December 18, 2017

Big Picture Science – Rerouting… Reroutingclick to listen! Lost your sense of direction? Blame your GPS. Scientists say that our reliance on dashboard devices is eroding our ability to create cognitive maps and is messing with our minds in general. We don’t even look at landmarks or the landscape anymore. We’ve become no more than […]

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