Exploradio Origins Exploradio Origins ponders the biggest questions in the universe in 90 seconds.
Exploradio Origins

Exploradio Origins


Exploradio Origins ponders the biggest questions in the universe in 90 seconds.

Most Recent Episodes

Exploradio Origins: How Blending Concepts Hold Clues to Cognition

Mark Turner is an Institute Professor and Professor of Cognitive Science at Case Western Reserve University. He studies how our brains can innovate or form new ideas, and one of his methods actually involves digging into our use of language. "If I say, 'You're digging your own financial grave,' well, that's advice about investing. And think of all of the great network in investing. It involves hundreds of thousands of people, and lots of causation, and it goes over time and space, different

Exploradio Origins: Ketones and Human Brain Function

Ketones are small molecules your liver makes from fats. They have featured in popular diets recently, but they first drew attention in the 1920s when clinicians found that some children with epilepsy recovered on the zero-sugar ketogenic diet, but nobody knew why. "The brain ordinarily loves to work on sugar," said Joseph LaManna, Professor of Physiology and Biophysics at the Case Western Reserve School of Medicine. "But if ketones are available, the brain uses those first." LaManna was studying

Exploradio Origins: South America's Evolutionary Experiment

"Well, I think one of the real big questions for evolutionary biology is how do the small scale evolutionary processes, genetics and things like that, function over large spans of time?" Darin Croft is a professor of anatomy at Case Western Reserve University . He teaches head and neck anatomy to medical students, but, he's also a world-renowned expert on South American paleontology and paleo-mammals. "South America's a really neat place if you're interested in mammals because for most of the

Exploradio Origins: What is Dark Matter?

Scientists talk a lot about dark matter. It sounds exciting, but what does it do for us? "If the dark matter wasn't there, the galaxy should fly apart," Case Western Reserve University physics professor Glenn Starkman said. Starkman chases dark matter for a living. Scientists started thinking about dark matter in the middle of the last century, when they looked at galaxies and saw something wasn't quite right. "Really the galaxy should be spinning much, much more slowly in order for it to not

Exploradio Origins: How Wolves Became Dogs

Patricia Princehouse , director of the evolutionary biology program at Case Western Reserve University, wants to know how we got man's best friend, dogs, from wolves. " There is an extraordinary amount of variation present in, you know, Canis domesticus. You don't find that in any other domesticated breed, so it's not just something that we've brought to dogs, " Princehouse says. " There's something about the genome of dogs. " Most dog breeds are descended from the gray wolf, whom humans met

Exploradio Origins: Mining Properties of Gold to Treat Cancer

Gold's gleam has fascinated humans for millennia. Giuseppe Strangi, professor of physics at Case Western Reserve University, wants to use gold's special relationship with light in the fight against cancer. It started centuries ago, when people melted gold into stained glass. Strangi describes the unexpected discovery. "If you go in France and look at the cathedrals, you see that this color is not coming from any pigment, but is coming from gold, coming from the fact that gold is absorbing light

Exploradio Origins: What is LIGO?

In 1916, Einstein made a bold prediction-- that gravity actually travels in waves. These "gravitational waves" would be ripples in the fabric of space a bit like ripples on a pond, and would slightly stretch and squash the distances between things as they passed. "Einstein himself who came up with the theory didn't think that would ever really be detected," says Leslie Wade , assistant professor of Physics at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio. Anything with mass can make gravitational waves by

Exploradio Origins: Tracing the Origins of High-Altitude Adaptation

"For a long time, all the work on how people adapt to high altitude involved Europeans going to high altitude," said Cynthia Beall , a professor of anthropology at Case Western Reserve University . "In the 70s, anthropologists started asking 'does everyone in the world adapt in the same way?' Early work showed, no, they don't." Beall found that, while natives of the Andes mountains have elevated levels of hemoglobin - the oxygen-carrying molecule - natives of the Tibetan Himalayas don't. They

Exploradio Origins: We Came from Clay

"We started out with a planet that was just rocks and water and gasses," says Professor Nita Sahai. "How do you go from that to something that is basically covered with life in every possible environmental niche that you look?" Professor Sahai is a geochemist at the University of Akron . Geochemists usually study the makeup of Earth's rocks and minerals, but Professor Sahai is in pursuit of the origins of life. To make a cell, you first need a membrane. Professor Sahai is researching how

Exploradio Origins: Meteorites and Bigger Things to Come

"Meteorites are delivered to us free of charge," says Ralph Harvey , a professor in the department of Earth, environmental, and planetary science at Case Western Reserve University . "Yes, they're delivered randomly. Yes we have to go pick them up in weird places, but the value of them as specimens is not diminished," says Harvey. Harvey uses meteorites, rocks that have fallen to earth from space, to study the small, seriously weird asteroids they came from. "We really don't know how sticky that

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