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.

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.”

JEFF ST.CLAIR / WKSU

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 in a way which is extraordinary and very selective." 

CALTECH/MIT/LIGO LAB

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. 

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