Big Picture Science – Stopping Ebola

by Gary Niederhoff on November 18, 2019


Big Picture Science – Stopping Ebola

A new vaccine may help turn Ebola into a disease we can prevent, and a new drug may make it one we can cure. But the political crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo has fueled violence against health workers and Ebola treatment centers. Find out why context matters in the efforts to stop Ebola, what new drugs and vaccines are on the horizon, and whether the world is prepared for the next infectious pandemic. Even if Ebola’s threat is diminishing, what about the next pandemic? Is the world prepared?

Listen to individual segments here:
Part 1: Richard Preston / Ebola Outbreak
Part 2: Richard Preston / Ebola Treatment Fear
Part 3: Amy Maxmen / Ebola Politics
Part 4: Yap Boum / Treating Ebola

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Big Picture Science – Supercomputer Showdown

by Gary Niederhoff on November 4, 2019


Big Picture Science – Supercomputer Showdown

Do you have a hard-to-answer question? The Summit, Sierra, Trinity, Frontier, and Aurora supercomputers are built to tackle it. Summit tops the petaflop heap – at least for now. But Frontier and Aurora are catching up as they take aim at a new performance benchmark called exascale.

So why do we need all this processing power? From climate modeling to personalized medicine, find out why the super-est computers are necessary to answer our biggest questions. But is the dark horse candidate, quantum computing, destined to leave classical computing in the dust?

Listen to individual segments here:
Part 1: What is a Supercomputer?
Part 2: What is FLOPS?
Part 3: Supercomputers and AI
Part 4: Quantum Supremacy

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Big Picture Science – Nobel Efforts

October 21, 2019

Big Picture Science – Nobel Efforts For two Swiss astronomers, it’s “Stockholm, here we come.” Their first-ever discovery of a planet orbiting another star has been awarded the most prestigious prize in science. Find out how their exoplanet discovery led to 4,000 more and how that changes the odds of finding life beyond Earth. Also, […]

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Big Picture Science – Go With the Flow

October 14, 2019

Big Picture Science – Go With the Flow Solid materials get all the production credit. Don’t get us wrong, we depend on their strength and firmness for bridges, bones, and bento boxes. But liquids do us a solid, too. Their free-flowing properties drive the Earth’s magnetic field, inspire a new generation of smart electronics, and […]

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Big Picture Science – Battling Bacteria

October 7, 2019

Big Picture Science – Battling Bacteria We can’t say we weren’t warned. More than 75 years ago, bacteriologist Rene Dubos cautioned that misuse of antibiotics could breed drug-resistant bacteria – and he has been proved prescient. In this episode: the rise of superbugs, why we ignored the warnings about them, how some are enlisting an […]

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Big Picture Science – Headed For Trouble

September 30, 2019

Big Picture Science – Headed For Trouble The stone heads on Easter Island are an enduring mystery: why were they built and why were they abandoned and destroyed? The old ideas about cultural collapse are yielding to new ones based on careful investigation on the ground – but also from above. What surprising explanations have […]

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Big Picture Science – Keeping Humans in the Loop

September 23, 2019

Big Picture Science – Keeping Humans in the Loop Modern technology is great, but could we be losing control? As our world becomes more crowded and demands for resources are greater, some people worry about humanity’s uncertain prospects. An eminent cosmologist considers globe-altering developments such as climate change and artificial intelligence. Will we be able […]

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Big Picture Science – Rip Van Winkle Worm

September 16, 2019

Big Picture Science – Rip Van Winkle Worm Your shower pipes are alive. So are your sinks, books, and floorboards. New studies of our homes are revealing just what species live there – in the thousands, from bacteria to flies to millipedes. Meanwhile, life keeps surprising us by popping up in other unexpected places: the […]

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Big Picture Science – For Good Measure

September 9, 2019

Big Picture Science – For Good Measure The reign of Le Grand K has come to an end. After 130 years, this hunk of metal sitting in a Parisian vault will no longer define the kilogram. The new kilogram mass will be defined by Planck’s constant, joining three other units for redefinition by fundamental constants. […]

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Big Picture Science – Skeptic Check: Data Bias

September 2, 2019

Big Picture Science – Skeptic Check: Data Bias Sexist snow plowing? Data that guide everything from snow removal schedules to heart research often fail to consider gender. In these cases, “reference man” stands in for “average human.” Human bias also infects artificial intelligence, with speech recognition triggered only by male voices and facial recognition that […]

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