When Subra Suresh was unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate as director of the National Science Foundation in September 2010, he made history as the first Asia-born director of the organization. Today, he serves as President of Carnegie Mellon University. This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Suresh about the NSF, making the transition from director to university president and about the changing nature of scientific research, which Suresh says is taking on an increasingly interdisciplinary identity.
Kim Stanley Robinson’s interest in science fiction all started with an orange grove. When he was young, he says he watched southern California suffer what he calls “future shock,” – a process by which the natural landscape was rapidly replaced with apartment buildings and roads. This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Robinson about how this inspires his writing.
We’ll also talk with Robinson about his Mars Trilogy that depicts a society where people have colonized Mars to escape overpopulation and ecological disaster on Earth. We’ll hear how he imagined life on Mars and how he deals with questions of plausibility as he writes about future time.
Illinois State University English Professor Emeritus Curtis White has spent much of his career writing fiction, but he’s recently released his newest book “The Science Delusion,” a non-fiction work devoted to investigating the way we think about the intersection between science and religion. This hour on Focus, Jack Brighton talks with White about what the two camps can learn from each other. Can science resolve our questions about the origins of the universe, the basis of morality and the source of creativity? Is it wrong to say science can’t?
This hour on Focus, we also talk about “scientism,” atheism, and religion’s influence on scientific research. Do you have faith in the unseen? Or do you have to see it to believe it? We want to hear from you this hour! Tweet us @Focus580 or find the show on Facebook.
White is also author of the book “Memories of My Father Watching TV and Requiem. His Book, “The Middle Mind: Why American Don’t Think for Themselves” was an international best-seller and his essays have appeared in Harper’s Magazine, Orion and Playboy.
During this episode of Focus, host Jim Meadows talked with author David Toomey about his new book, “Weird Life: The Search for Life that is Very, Very Different From Our Own.” He tells us about organisms that live off acid rather than water, those that reproduce without DNA and thrive in temperatures and pressures so extreme that they really shouldn’t be alive in the first place. Meadows also talked with Toomey about our fascination with exotic life forms here on Earth and why we’re so fascinated with the possibility of the discovery of life in the rest of the universe.
Tens of millions of viewers were captivated by Fox’s “The X-Files” in the late 1990’s. Inspired by shows like The Twilight Zone, The X-Files resonated with skeptics, conspiracy theorists and those who see reason to mistrust the government. This hour on Focus, host Craig Cohen talks with the show’s creator, Chris Carter, about what inspired the show, what made it a hit and why he slept on a couch in Fox studios' lobby after pulling an all-nighter to finish the pilot. We’ll also ask Carter about his character Bambi Berenbaum, a knock-out entomologist who appears in season 3 and was named after University of Illinois Professor May Berenbaum.
Carter joins Focus in preview of his visit to this year’s Insect Fear Film Festival.
In the second half of the hour, we’ll talk with John Grant, the author of “Denying Science: Conspiracy Theories, Media Distortions and the War Against Reality” about conspiracy theories in popular culture and why they persist.
Ten years ago, the Space Shuttle Columbia exploded on re-entry over Texas, killing seven astronauts. While the shuttle program continued for some years thereafter, state-funded space flight dwindled in the decade that followed. Now, space is becoming more of a private industry. This hour on Focus, we’ll talk about the future of space travel. Michael Lopez-Alegria, a former astronaut and President of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation will be here to talk about his experiences in space and what needs to happen for commercial space tourism and research to become a reality. We’ll also talk with Philippe Geubelle, a Professor of Aerospace Engineering at the UIUC and the Director of the Illinois Space Grant Consortium about funding for aerospace education for next generation and Jonathan Card, Executive Director of the Space Frontier Foundation.
Winter is here. You ready?
Guest: Ed Kieser, Meteorologist, American Electric Power, Columbus, OH; Visiting Lecturer in the Department of Journalism at the University of Illinois
It's been one of the the warmest years on record, but that doesn't mean the Midwestern winter won't bring it's own challenges. On the first Monday of meteorological winter, we'll talk with former WILL meteorologist Ed Kieser about how to prepare for and what to expect from winter weather. We'll also offer you an opportunity to win a prize suitable for stocking stuffing in our Focus Winter Weather Preparedness quiz!
It’s hard to pass up any book that promotes itself as an “existential detective story.” That’s the subtitle of author Jim Holt’s new book “Why Does the World Exist?” In it, Holt traces efforts to grasp the origins of the universe, and suggests along the way that many discussions revolving around the classic question “why are we here?” are simply too narrow – that there are many more possible answers than the old God versus the Big Bang debate would suggest. Holt talks with philosophers, physicists, and a Buddhist monk, among others, as he seeks big answers to the biggest of questions.
This is a repeat broadcast from Friday, September 07, 2012, 10 am.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a form of anxiety disorder -- obsessions can consist of images or unwanted thoughts that cause anxiety or distress and compulsions can be mental and or physical actions. The line between personal habits or rituals and OCD is whether or not and how much these interfere with one's ability to function in daily life.
Diagnoses of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder have been on the rise over the past two decades as more attention is being paid to the disorder in clinical research. But because the symptoms can be very subtle, the time between onset of OCD symptoms and treatment is often very long, years or even decades if it is treated at all.
We'll talk about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and related anxiety disorders with Shayla Parker, Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor with Kevin Elliot Counseling in Champaign. Parker has 11 years of experience in counseling and has treated a wide variety of mental health issues while working at inpatient and outpatient levels of care.
Ed Kieser, Meteorologist
Kelly Formoso, Volunteer and Youth Coordinator, American Red Cross, Champaign IL
Jim Angel, Illinois State Climatologist
Host: Craig Cohen
“Super storm” Sandy continues to wreak havoc over the eastern seaboard and mid-Atlantic states. New York’s subways are flooded. The stock exchange closed for two days – the first time that’s happened for a weather emergency since 1888. A blizzard has blanketed portions of West Virginia and nearby states. The death toll continues to rise as a result of the storm, millions are without power, and the cost of damage to homes and businesses from the storm, its high winds, and subsequent flooding, is projected to be in the billions.
While the impact on the Midwest is significantly less, we are feeling Sandy’s effects. Loved ones are stranded, workers and volunteers from the two state region are headed to, or in the states affected.
While we all continue to monitor the damage caused by Sandy, we thought you might like an opportunity to understand, a bit deeper, exactly what happened to cause this “super storm.” So, our old friend, meteorologist Ed Kieser will join us. He’s been monitoring the storm from the moment it developed, and he’ll take your questions about Sandy, how it compares to other storms, and what conditions are necessary to create it. We’ll also be joined by Illinois’ State Climatologist, Jim Angel, to talk about the climate conditions necessary for such a storm, and whether we can characterize Sandy, amid more violent weather conditions of recent years, as a collective demonstration of our changing climate. We will also talk with Kelly Formoso, Volunteer and Youth Coordinator of the American Red Cross in Champaign about local relief efforts and ways to get news about friends and loved ones in the affected areas.