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 Thursday afternoons during WKSU’s All Things Considered.

photo of brain painting
ABHIJIT BHADURI / FLICKR/CREATIVE COMMONS

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.

DIGITALBOB8 / FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS

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."

VELIZAR SIMEONOVSKI

"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?"

photo of spiral galaxy
NASA

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.

JON NUNGESSER / WKSU

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.”

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