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Carnegie Science Center's Podcast
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Category: Science & Medicine
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
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Mission Carnegie Science Center delights, educates, and inspires through interactive experiences in science and technology. ...


by Carnegie Sc...
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June 09, 2014 06:10 AM PDT

Dr. Alison Barth
Associate professor
Carnegie Mellon University
Department of Biological Science

How do our experiences change us? How are memories stored and retrieved?

Scientists believe the answers lie in how connections between neurons, called synapses, can be strengthened or weakened over time. The brain contains about 100 billion neurons and 1 quadrillion synapses, so figuring out which ones are changed during learning is the ultimate needle-in-the-haystack problem. Learn how contemporary neuroscientists are tackling this age-old question, using sophisticated, state-of-the-art techniques for neuronal imaging as well as the recording of tiny electrical impulses from task-related neurons. Figuring out what regulates learning promises new methods to boost memory and improve perception or performance.

Alison Barth, associate professor in Carnegie Mellon University's Department of Biological Science, will give an introduction to brain plasticity, explaining how molecules become linked to the mind. Dr. Barth studies the organization of and plasticity of neocortical circuits in rodents. Her work centers on how synapses are altered by behavioral experience. She's the recipient of numerous awards, and she holds a patent for the fosGFP transgenic mouse. She is an inventor on multiple applications for other neuroscience-related methods and treatments.

Recorded Monday, June 2, 2014, at Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh, PA.

June 09, 2014 06:07 AM PDT

This is the Q&A portion of Dr. Barth's presentation.

Dr. Alison Barth
Associate professor
Carnegie Mellon University
Department of Biological Science

How do our experiences change us? How are memories stored and retrieved?

Scientists believe the answers lie in how connections between neurons, called synapses, can be strengthened or weakened over time. The brain contains about 100 billion neurons and 1 quadrillion synapses, so figuring out which ones are changed during learning is the ultimate needle-in-the-haystack problem. Learn how contemporary neuroscientists are tackling this age-old question, using sophisticated, state-of-the-art techniques for neuronal imaging as well as the recording of tiny electrical impulses from task-related neurons. Figuring out what regulates learning promises new methods to boost memory and improve perception or performance.

Alison Barth, associate professor in Carnegie Mellon University's Department of Biological Science, will give an introduction to brain plasticity, explaining how molecules become linked to the mind. Dr. Barth studies the organization of and plasticity of neocortical circuits in rodents. Her work centers on how synapses are altered by behavioral experience. She's the recipient of numerous awards, and she holds a patent for the fosGFP transgenic mouse. She is an inventor on multiple applications for other neuroscience-related methods and treatments.

Recorded Monday, June 2, 2014 at Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh, PA.

May 06, 2014 09:45 AM PDT

Matthew C. Lamanna, Ph.D.

Assistant Curator
Section of Vertebrate Paleontology
Carnegie Museum of Natural History

Birds are today's most diverse group of land-living backboned animals. They comprise more than 10,000 species. But their origins remain poorly understood. Lamanna's expeditions have unearthed dozens of exquisitely-preserved avian fossils – many of them including soft-tissues such as feathers and skin – from ~120 million-year-old sediments in the Changma Basin of northwestern Gansu Province, China. More recently, Lamanna and his team have conducted expeditions to latest Cretaceous exposures in the James Ross Basin of the Antarctic Peninsula in search of what may be the world's most ancient neornithines.

Dr. Lamanna studied at Hobart College and the University of Pennyslvania. He serves as an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Geology and Planetary Science at University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Lamanna has extensive paleontological field experience in Antarctica, Argentina, Australia, China, Egypt, and the United States. In 2000, he co-led a research team that unearthed Paralititan stromeri, one of the largest dinosaurs yet discovered, in Egypt's Bahariya Oasis. More recently, Lamanna served as chief scientific advisor to Carnegie Museum of Natural History's $36M dinosaur exhibition, Dinosaurs in Their Time, which opened in 2008.

Recorded on Monday, May 5, 2014 at Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh, PA.

May 06, 2014 09:41 AM PDT

This is the Q&A portion of Matthew Lamanna's talk, The Origin of Modern Birds.

Matthew C. Lamanna, Ph.D.

Assistant Curator
Section of Vertebrate Paleontology
Carnegie Museum of Natural History

Birds are today's most diverse group of land-living backboned animals. They comprise more than 10,000 species. But their origins remain poorly understood. Lamanna's expeditions have unearthed dozens of exquisitely-preserved avian fossils – many of them including soft-tissues such as feathers and skin – from ~120 million-year-old sediments in the Changma Basin of northwestern Gansu Province, China. More recently, Lamanna and his team have conducted expeditions to latest Cretaceous exposures in the James Ross Basin of the Antarctic Peninsula in search of what may be the world's most ancient neornithines.

Dr. Lamanna studied at Hobart College and the University of Pennyslvania. He serves as an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Geology and Planetary Science at University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Lamanna has extensive paleontological field experience in Antarctica, Argentina, Australia, China, Egypt, and the United States. In 2000, he co-led a research team that unearthed Paralititan stromeri, one of the largest dinosaurs yet discovered, in Egypt's Bahariya Oasis. More recently, Lamanna served as chief scientific advisor to Carnegie Museum of Natural History's $36M dinosaur exhibition, Dinosaurs in Their Time, which opened in 2008.

Recorded on Monday, May 5, 2014 at Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh, PA.

April 10, 2014 12:07 PM PDT

Margee Kerr, "Scare-ologist" at ScareHouse

Using her background in sociology, Margee Kerr will explain why we enjoy fear. She will focus on the biological, psychological, and sociological reasons we can, and do, enjoy thrilling and scary activities and material. From roller coasters and haunted attractions to scary movies and video games, her talk will explain the many upsides to fear and how our consumption of and engagement with scary material has changed over the last 100 years.

Margee Kerr currently lives in Pittsburgh, PA where she teaches courses in sociology for the University of Pittsburgh. She grew up outside of Baltimore and attended Hollins University in Roanoke, VA where she earned her Bachelor's Degree in 2002. Moving to Pittsburgh for graduate school, she studied Sociology at the University of Pittsburgh completing her Masters degree in 2004 and her PhD in 2009. Margee has extensive experience in research, co-authoring scholarly articles on the history of medicine and doctor/patient communication. She is also a nationally recognized expert on professional haunted houses. She was a featured presenter at The American Sociology Association's annual meeting in 2005, HauntCon (National Haunted Attraction Convention) in 2012, and at TransWorld (the largest national haunted attraction convention in the world) in 2013.

Margee works year-round for ScareHouse consulting with the creators and owners on how to be scientifically scary and in developing, implementing, and analyzing data on customers and employees. In 2012 Margee helped to create, write, and host the Scare U web series with the ScareHouse which aired in October of 2012. Scare U presents fast-paced and entertaining lessons all about fear, covering everything from the evolution of the fight or flight response to the fear of zombies and clowns, to why people love to be scared. Margee is turning her research into why people enjoy fear into a book with PublicAffairs Press, tentatively titled SCREAM: Adventures in the upside of fear due for publication in 2015.

Follow Margee's adventures researching fear on her blog at www.margeekerr.com.

Recorded Monday, April 7th, 2014 at Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh, PA.

April 10, 2014 12:05 PM PDT

This is the Q&A portion of Margee Kerr's talk.

Margee Kerr, "Scare-ologist" at ScareHouse

Using her background in sociology, Margee Kerr will explain why we enjoy fear. She will focus on the biological, psychological, and sociological reasons we can, and do, enjoy thrilling and scary activities and material. From roller coasters and haunted attractions to scary movies and video games, her talk will explain the many upsides to fear and how our consumption of and engagement with scary material has changed over the last 100 years.

Margee Kerr currently lives in Pittsburgh, PA where she teaches courses in sociology for the University of Pittsburgh. She grew up outside of Baltimore and attended Hollins University in Roanoke, VA where she earned her Bachelor's Degree in 2002. Moving to Pittsburgh for graduate school, she studied Sociology at the University of Pittsburgh completing her Masters degree in 2004 and her PhD in 2009. Margee has extensive experience in research, co-authoring scholarly articles on the history of medicine and doctor/patient communication. She is also a nationally recognized expert on professional haunted houses. She was a featured presenter at The American Sociology Association's annual meeting in 2005, HauntCon (National Haunted Attraction Convention) in 2012, and at TransWorld (the largest national haunted attraction convention in the world) in 2013.

Margee works year-round for ScareHouse consulting with the creators and owners on how to be scientifically scary and in developing, implementing, and analyzing data on customers and employees. In 2012 Margee helped to create, write, and host the Scare U web series with the ScareHouse which aired in October of 2012. Scare U presents fast-paced and entertaining lessons all about fear, covering everything from the evolution of the fight or flight response to the fear of zombies and clowns, to why people love to be scared. Margee is turning her research into why people enjoy fear into a book with PublicAffairs Press, tentatively titled SCREAM: Adventures in the upside of fear due for publication in 2015.

Follow Margee's adventures researching fear on her blog at www.margeekerr.com.

Recorded Monday, April 7, 2014 at Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh, PA

March 19, 2014 07:22 AM PDT

In his first story, "Ouch! Let Me See Where It Hurts," Dr. Pollock will explore aspects of the basic biology of chronic pain and how in some cases, it arises from a dynamic interplay of the nervous system and the immune system. Along with his colleagues he has found that specially formulated nano-particles can be used to label immune cells that can then be visualized in live animals revealing where the pain is originating. He'll look at some of the data that demonstrates this technique and discuss how such techniques may be able to deliver drug therapy precisely to the site of pain in the future.

In his second story, "So, This Is How We Learn," Dr. Pollock will talk about why science literacy is so important and how he uses stories to reveal fundamental principles of science in museum exhibits, video games, Apps, digital dome animated shows and television dramas for kids. Through these productions, Dr. Pollock, along with his team of experts, have specifically tested how well people learn and what they learn. He'll look at some of the data and discuss how he thinks some of our learning will be happening in the not so distant future.

Dr. John Archie Pollock is a graduate of Syracuse University with a B.S in Physics and a second major in Philosophy, an M.S. in Physics and a Ph.D. in biophysics. During his time at CALTECH in Pasadena CA, Dr. Pollock established a research program that focused on studying the developmental biology of the nervous system, work that he continues to the present. After nearly six years at CALTECH, Dr. Pollock moved to Carnegie Mellon University in 1989 to serve as assistant, then associate professor of biological sciences and director of graduate programs. In 2001, Dr. Pollock moved his research laboratory to Duquesne University to serve as an associate professor of biological sciences. At Duquesne University, he has continued his research on neural development and has initiated a new basic science research program investigating chronic pain.

Another dimension of Dr. Pollock's work has been development of a broad collection of STEM and health literacy teaching resources for children and the general public that are used in museums, schools and broadcast television. His scholarly work on the assessment and evaluation of these pieces explores how people learn from multimedia.

Recorded Monday, March 10, 2014 at Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh, PA.

March 11, 2014 07:55 AM PDT

Jake Marsico, Master of Tangible Interaction Design Candidate at Carnegie Mellon University steps in to answer the questions, what is computational design and what is the CoDe Lab?

What do craft, tectonics, aesthetics, interaction, and architecture techniques that navigate between digital and analog have in common?

SciTech Days are a special kind of field trip for middle and high school students that features the growth areas of Pittsburgh: biotech & health, nanotechnology & advanced materials/processes, information technology & robotics, and eco-tech (think environment & energy).

Recorded Friday, March 7, 2014 at Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh, PA.

March 13, 2014 11:19 AM PDT

In his first story, "Ouch! Let Me See Where It Hurts," Dr. Pollock will explore aspects of the basic biology of chronic pain and how in some cases, it arises from a dynamic interplay of the nervous system and the immune system. Along with his colleagues he has found that specially formulated nano-particles can be used to label immune cells that can then be visualized in live animals revealing where the pain is originating. He'll look at some of the data that demonstrates this technique and discuss how such techniques may be able to deliver drug therapy precisely to the site of pain in the future.

In his second story, "So, This Is How We Learn," Dr. Pollock will talk about why science literacy is so important and how he uses stories to reveal fundamental principles of science in museum exhibits, video games, Apps, digital dome animated shows and television dramas for kids. Through these productions, Dr. Pollock, along with his team of experts, have specifically tested how well people learn and what they learn. He'll look at some of the data and discuss how he thinks some of our learning will be happening in the not so distant future.

Dr. John Archie Pollock is a graduate of Syracuse University with a B.S in Physics and a second major in Philosophy, an M.S. in Physics and a Ph.D. in biophysics. During his time at CALTECH in Pasadena CA, Dr. Pollock established a research program that focused on studying the developmental biology of the nervous system, work that he continues to the present. After nearly six years at CALTECH, Dr. Pollock moved to Carnegie Mellon University in 1989 to serve as assistant, then associate professor of biological sciences and director of graduate programs. In 2001, Dr. Pollock moved his research laboratory to Duquesne University to serve as an associate professor of biological sciences. At Duquesne University, he has continued his research on neural development and has initiated a new basic science research program investigating chronic pain.

Another dimension of Dr. Pollock's work has been development of a broad collection of STEM and health literacy teaching resources for children and the general public that are used in museums, schools and broadcast television. His scholarly work on the assessment and evaluation of these pieces explores how people learn from multimedia.

Recorded Monday, March 10, 2014 at Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh, PA.

February 04, 2014 12:56 PM PST

Amidst great fanfare, three American racing airplanes were shipped to France to fly in the prestigious Gordon Bennett Race in the fall of 1920. None completed a single lap of the race. American aviation plunged to a nadir. The Pulitzer Trophy Air Races, endowed by his sons in memory of publisher Joseph Pulitzer, lifted American aviation to the top. In 1923, after the first three of six Pulitzers and an American racer setting world speed records, a French magazine lamented American "pilots have broken the records which we, here in France, considered as our own for so long." Winning speeds increased 60 percent to 249 mph, and Pulitzer racers set closed course and straightaway speed records in 1922, 23, and 25. The winning racers in the 1922 and 25 Pulitzers, mounted on floats, won the most prestigious international air race – the Schneider Trophy Race for seaplanes in 1923 and 25. More than a million people saw the Pulitzers; millions more read about them and watched them in newsreels. Commercially, the Pulitzer racers’ successes promoted sales of American airplanes, engines, propellers, and other equipment both domestically and internationally. This first book about the Pulitzers highlights businessmen, generals and admirals who saw racing as a way to drive aviation progress, designers and manufacturers who produced record-breaking racers, and dashing pilots who gave the races their public face. It emphasizes the roles played by the communities that hosted the races - Garden City (Long Island), Omaha, Detroit and Mt. Clemens, Michigan, St. Louis, and Dayton. The book concludes with an analysis of the Pulitzers' importance, their end, and why their story has languished in obscurity for 85 years.

Michael Gough (PhD, Brown University, biology) was a professor at the Baylor College of Medicine and the State University of New York at Stony Brook. He was a program manager at the Office of Technology Assessment, United States Congress, served on and chaired national committees dealing with various risk assessment controversies in the White House, at the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Veterans Affairs, and testified before congressional committees 30 times. Before his retirement, he worked at middle-of-the road and libertarian think tanks and consulted in toxic substances legal proceedings.

He published 30 papers in basic science, about the same number of articles about technology assessment and health risk assessment in technical journals, and two dozen newspaper op-eds. His book Dioxin, Agent Orange [Plenum Press, 1986] sold about 6,000 copies, and he has co-authored and edited other books.

Since his retirement, he has volunteered at aviation museums and as a teacher of English as a Second Language. He has written articles about airplane racing in the 1910s and 20s and presented talks about them. His book, The Pulitzer Air Races: American Aviation and Speed Supremacy, 1920-1925 [McFarland & Co] was published in May 2013.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/078647100X/ref=rdr_ext_tmb

Recorded Monday, February 3, 2014 at Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh, PA.

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