October 02, 2006

A Crack in the Edge of the World: America and the Great California Earthquake of 1906

Guest: Simon Winchester.

On April 18, 1906, a magnitude 8.5 earthquake rocked San Francisco and left the city in ruins within a minute. Today on Focus, geologist and author Simon Winchester joins the show to talk about the event's impact on human history and how recent scientific advances have revealed the ancient subterranean processes that fueled it—and almost certainly will cause history to repeat itself.


September 11, 2006

Analogy as the Core of Cognition

Guest: Douglas Hofstadter.

In the field of cognitive science, our own minds can only take us so far. Today on Focus, we're joined by professor and leading researcher Douglas Hofstadter, who has spent years building computer models of human thinking. Hofstadter believes that thinking is all about taking complex situations and paring them down to an essential core, making it possible for us to leap from one complex idea to another—and form surprising connections between them in the process.


August 03, 2006

The Summer Skies

Guest: Jim Kaler, Professor of Astronomy at the University of Illinois.

As the seasons change, so does the sky. This morning on Focus, Professor of Astronomy Jim Kaler joins us to guide us through our corner of the universe. He will point out some of the more interesting features currently on display in the night exhibit and take general questions about astronomy and space exploration.


April 26, 2006

A Crack in the Edge of the World: America and the Great California Earthquake of 1906

Guest: Simon Winchester.

On April 18, 1906, a magnitude 8.5 earthquake rocked San Francisco and left the city in ruins within a minute. Today on Focus, geologist and author Simon Winchester joins the show to talk about the event's impact on human history and how recent scientific advances have revealed the ancient subterranean processes that fueled it—and almost certainly will cause history to repeat itself.


April 13, 2006

Monitoring The Progress of Science In The Digital Age

Guest: Katy Börner.

Today we have access to more information than ever before in human history, but our ability to absorb that information hasn't changed much. How do we go about organizing all that can be known in a way that makes it accessible? Today on Focus, Katy Börner joins us from the School of Library and Information Science at Indiana University. A leader in the field of visualization of information. Börner talks about how mapping techniques can be used to describe entire landscapes of knowledge.


April 07, 2006

Nanotechnology: Small Matter, Big Risk?

Guest: Robin Frewell Wilson.

Nanotechnology is one of the fastest-growing areas of scientific research. Those who work in the field say the potential benefits are great, but the challenges involved in regulating the technology cannot be ignored. Is this powerful emerging technology developing in a regulatory vacuum? Today on Focus, we're joined by law professor Robin Wilson to explore how society thinks about technologies that are still developing.


March 28, 2006

The Mars Mission

Guest: Steven Squyres, Professor of Astronomy at Cornell University.

Twin robotic explorers Spirit and Opportunity have added a great deal to our understanding of Mars. Among other things, they have found substantial evidence that at one time, there was water on the surface of the planet. Today on Focus, Cornell University astronomer Steven Squyres talks us through what we know so far and the big question... was there ever life on the Red Planet?


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