On October 4, 1957, the Soviet Union launched what would be the first man-made object to enter space. Today on Focus, we'll explore the dramatic history of Sputnik's launch, the instantaneous impact it made on the next decade to come, and the developments that brought America into the space race. Our guest will be writer Paul Dickson, author of Sputnik: The Shock of the Century.
Today on Focus we'll review what is arguably the most ambitious medical research project ever undertaken: the exploration of the human genome. Our guest will be Eric Green from the National Human Genome Research Institute. He'll explain some of their technology and give us a progress report. Much has been accomplished, he says, but we are only partway up the mountain.
The sequencing of the human genome is set to change medicine forever. Today on Focus, science writer Nicholas Wade joins the show to explore the impact genetic science will have on how diseases are diagnosed and treated. We'll also review stem cell research, the treatment it may be able to offer treatment for a range of debilitating conditions, and the ethical controversy still surrounding it.
One of the oldest human skeletons found to date is referred to as "Kennewick Man." This skeleton was discovered by two young men along the Columbia River in 1996 and brought to the attention of James Chatters, a forensic anthropologist and our guest today on Focus. Controversy arose when the U.S. government reclaimed Kennewick Man and placed him in storage—but Chatters had done enough tests to reveal the skeleton to be nearly 9,500 years old. Today on Focus, Chatters will explain how, armed with this information, he set out on a multicontinental quest to understand the origins of Kennewick Man.
Most historians agree that the compass has its origins in ancient Chinese lodestones. It was not utilized for sea travel, however, until the Italians unleashed its formidable powers in the twelfth century. Amir D. Aczel, author of The Riddle of the Compass, joins us today on Focus to share the story of navigation through the ages and the impact that the rise of the compass made on history.