© 2021 WKSU
Public Radio News for Northeast Ohio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Exploradio Origins Line-up

Exploradio Origins

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

Each episode highlights the work of one of the more than 200 fellows at the Institute for the Science of Origins at Case Western Reserve University. Their research examines the origins of life, the universe, and the strands that connect all of science. Host Kellen McGee delivers a distillation of discoveries that touch on the mysteries of dark matter, language, gender, and evolution. Exploradio Origins is a collaboration between WKSU and the Institute for the Science of Origins.  Tune-in Thursdays during WKSU’s All Things Considered.

Here's what to expect from the first season of Exploradio Origins (check back weekly for links to audio as stories air)!:

10/04/18         Ralph Harvey –Meteorites and bigger things to come
Meteorites are an earlier warning system, says Case Western Reserve University’s Ralph Harvey. They give clues to what asteroids are made of, and what risks they pose to earth.  

10/11/18         Nita Sahai – We came from clay   
Life began in the mud, according to University of Akron researcher Nita Sahai, who studies the origin of cellular structures in mineral matrices.

10/18/18         Cynthia Beall – Tracing the origins of high-altitude adaptation
Humans have adapted to mountain living in different ways. Cynthia Beall of Case Western Reserve University found that modern Tibetans may owe their adaptability to an extinct race of Middle-Eastern hominins.

10/25/18         Leslie and Madeline Wade – What is LIGO? 
A husband and wife team unlocks the mysteries of gravity. Leslie and Madeline Wade both teach at Kenyon College, and both work on the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory.

11/01/18         Pino Strangi – Gold’s special gleam
Case Western Reserve University researcher Pino Strangi has discovered a new tool in treating cancer by shining light on gold nanoparticles attached to tumor cells. The light cooks the cells thanks to gold’s unique vibrational properties.

11/08/18         Patricia Princehouse – How wolves became dogs
Canines’ genes are amazingly variable, and Case Western Reserve University’s Patricia Princehouse says that might have led wolves to adopt humans as hunting partners long ago.

11/15/18         Glenn Starkman – What is Dark Matter?
Our understanding of the universe has gaps, according to Case Western Reserve University’s Glenn Starkman, but we know something heavy is holding the galaxies together. We call it dark matter.

11/29/18         Darin Croft – South America’s evolutionary experiment
The continent of South America was isolated for millions of years, and Case Western Reserve University’s Darin Croft says that led to unique diversity of mammals but many unfilled ecological niches.

12/06/18         Joseph LaManna – Ketones and human brain function
Our brains need sugar to survive, but Joseph LaManna at Case Western Reserve University found that ketones can also fill those energy needs, and that’s good news for kids with a rare form of epilepsy.

12/13/18         Mark Turner – How blending concepts hold clues to cognition
Case Western Reserve University’s Mark Turner co-developed the theory of conceptual blending. Our habit of putting conflicting ideas together to form a new concept is a uniquely human act of creation.

12/20/18         Glenn Starkman – The moon as a dark matter detector
The problem with dark matter, according to Case Western Reserve University’s Glenn Starkman, is that it’s invisible, hence the name. But he says the moon, like a big bowl of jello, might respond to dark matter’s passage.

12/27/18         Madeline Wade – How to see gravity waves
Kenyon College professor Madeline Wade works on LIGO- the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory in a Texas desert. She does precise calibrations that allow the instrument to detect gravitational ripples in space 1000 times smaller than an atom.

01/03/19         Michael Weiss – Unlocking the secrets of maleness
All embryos are female, until one genetic switch tells some to become male, according to Michael Weiss of Indiana University. But he says nature didn’t program one model of masculinity and that spectrum of male expression could have evolutionary advantages.

01/10/19         Christopher Cullis – Taming the wild marama bean
Marama could be the proverbial magic bean, according to Case Western Reserve University’s Christopher Cullis. It’s drought resistant and thrives in poor soils, produces protein rich beans, high quality oil, and nutritious tubers, and that’s why he and others are looking for ways to cultivate wild marama.  

01/17/19         Robert Brown – How magnets can detect malaria
Malaria claims nearly half a million lives each year, and effective treatment often relies on early detection. Case Western Reserve University’s Robert Brown has developed a sensitive, cheap, and portable early detection system that uses a magnet to align the tiny iron particles discarded by the malaria parasites. The technique uses light to measure even low amounts of iron.

01/24/19         Leslie Wade – Echoes of colliding neutron stars
Understanding matter so dense it sends gravity waves splashing across space is part of Leslie Wade’s work at Kenyon College.  He uses LIGO - the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory to examine the inner workings of colliding neutron stars.

01/31/19         Mike Hinczewski – How modern cells communicate

The math developed to track enemy aircraft during WWII is now being used to better understand how cells communicate, according to Case Western Reserve University’s Mike Hinczewski.

02/14/19         Stan Gerson -  The birth of cancer immunotherapy

One of the biggest breakthroughs in treating cancer has been the use of the body’s own immune system to attack cancer cells. Dr. Stan Gerson of Case Western Reserve University and University Hospitals says exploiting cancer cell’s broken DNA repair system provides the key.

02/21/19         Yohannes Haile-Selassie Lucy’s ancient cousin Ardi

Cleveland Museum of Natural History curator of physical anthropology Yohannes Haile-Selassie was part of the team that discovered Ardipithecus ramidus in his native Ethiopia, in 1994. His predecessor, Donald Johannsen, had discovered the 3.2 million year-old ‘Lucy’ specimen 20 years earlier. The 4.4 million-year-old Ardi represents a major new branch in the tree of human evolution.

02/28/19         Nandini Trivedi -  A super-cooled glimpse into the quantum world

Stuff gets weird when cooled down close to absolute zero. Ohio State University physics professor Nandini Trivedi studies quantum phase transitions to reveal the mysteries of subatomic matter.