Our guest this evening is a genuine Renaissance man. Conor Myhrvold is a senior in the geosciences department at Princeton University. He is also a wildlife photographer, inventor, and javelin thrower.
Conor joins us to discuss a couple of research projects he is currently working on—one of which involves heat conduction in elephant hair. (That’s right. Elephants actually have some pretty cool hairdos, so to speak.) Find out what it’s like to be stranded on Namibia’s Skeleton Coast without water, to be charged by wild elephants, and to invent a device that could save the elderly from potentially fatal tumbles. Listen here: Conor Myhrvold.
To view some of Conor Myhrvold’s wildlife photographs, visit his website.
Transistor Water Tower - Photo by Bill Wetzel
Bell Labs is the single most important reason we live in the so-called “digital age.” Consider the following inventions:
- The transistor. Invented at Bell Labs in 1947.
- The laser. Invented at Bell Labs in 1958.
- The UNIX operating system. Invented at Bell Labs in 1969.
- Cell phone technology. Invented at Bell Labs in 1978.
So far, seven Nobel Prizes have been awarded for work completed at Bell Labs. For decades Bell Labs churned out a relentless stream of shear brilliance. Then one day it all came to a screeching halt. Learn from Princeton Professor Sigurd Wagner how the Holmdel, NJ site of Bell Labs came to be abandoned like some forgotten colossus. Listen here: Professor Sigurd Wagner on Bell Labs.
Alfred Miller and Aaron Smargon bring you audio and commentary from the recent speech given on campus by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke. Listen here: WPRB News Bernanke Special 09.27.2010.
Princeton Professor of Chemical Engineering, Yueh-Lin Loo, joins us to talk about “conducting polymers,” the exciting field of “plastic electronics,” and the new technique she invented that allows scientists to shape plastics into a useful form while maintaining high conductivity. Her breakthrough paves the way for plastics to replace metals in a wide range of electronic devices, including plastic solar panels.
Learn about polymers, find out how they can be made to conduct electricity, and imagine a world of plastic electronics. Listen here: Professor Lynn Loo 4-18-10.
A conversation with Eden Full, the teenage inventor whose system of “dynamic photovoltaics” could change the way we harness solar energy and make solar power a more viable option in the developing world. Learn about bimetallic strips, the power of bamboo, and the life of an inventor. Listen now!
A conversation with Princeton Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Michael McAlpine, about his invention of piezorubber—the new hybrid smart material that could change the way we power tomorrow’s portable devices and more…
Learn how some materials can convert mechanical energy into useful electricity via the piezoelectric effect. Discover how a quartz watch keeps accurate time. Hear about the exciting future applications of piezorubber. All here on wprb.com/news. Listen now!
photo credit: Frank Wojciechowski
This week on Discourse, Professor of Electrical Engineering Andrew Houck ’00 joins us to discuss the latest in quantum computing. Earlier this year, Professor Houck’s work in this exciting new field prompted the editors of Technology Review magazine to include him on their list of the top 35 young innovators for 2009. The TR35, as it is called, is described as an eclectic list of “technologists and scientists, all under the age of 35” whose work is changing the world. In our interview, Professor Houck explains what distinguishes quantum computers from classical computers, describes the fundamental building block of quantum computers (the “qubit”), and touches upon the most important question of theoretical computer science–”does p = np?” Listen here.
Photo credit: Wonderlane
From Discourse, Sunday April 12 at 12:00 pm EST, produced by Nikki Leon and Alfred Miller.
In this episode, we take a look at a new technology, “nanoimprint lithography” developed by Princeton University scientist Stephen Chou. We explore how this method of building things on a “nano” scale can be used in a variety of areas, from building microchips to examining DNA. Chou reflects his work with Science correspondent Alfred Miller. MIT’s Technology Review has named nanoimprint lithography one of the “10 emerging technologies that will change the world” twice—first in 2003, and again this year, for its applications in DNA sequencing.
Photo credit: BotheredByBees
Sunday at 12:00 pm EST, join producer Sophie Jin for an interview with Jon Greenwald, Vice President of the International Crisis Group and former director of the U.S. Department of State Office of Counter-Terrorism. Greenwald discusses the state of American involvement in the Middle East and how the Obama administration is shaping perspectives on America worldwide.
Then, at 12:30 pm EST, Nikki Leon and Alfred Miller take a look at a new technology, called “nanoimprint lithography,” developed by Princeton University scientist Stephen Chou. Nanoimprint lithography allows scientists to build structures on the tiniest scale—including ever-smaller microchips and special molds used in DNA sequencing. Miller speaks with Chou about his discoveries.
If you miss the broadcast or want to hear it a second time, come back here to listen to both episodes.
This Sunday, March 8, The Dispatch turns to the sciences at Princeton University:
Alfred Miller speaks with leading synthetic biologist Prof. Ron Weiss on “programming bacteria.”
Nikki Leon interviews Dr. Roberta Hotinski, of the Princeton Environmental Institute, about the ways in which scientists are educating business leaders and the greater public about climate change.
Discourse will not air this week, due to a Sports broadcast beginning at 12:40.