We’ve all seen the caricature of the unfeeling, cold-hearted, bitter doctor on cable television. Gregory House, after all, is not an exactly a model for compassion. Danielle Ofri argues in her newest book “What Doctors Feel: How Emotions Affect the Practice of Medicine,” that the idea that doctors don’t have feelings, or that they can ignore those feelings, negatively affects patient care. This hour on Focus, we'll relisten to Lindsey Moon talking with Dr. Ofri about why that caricature developed and how it affects the way doctors practice medicine.
At this year’s Insect Fear Film Festival, May Berenbaum says she’s out to explore our complex relationship with pesticides. This hour on Focus, Scott Cameron talks with Berenbaum, professor of entomology and department head at the University of Illinois, about this year’s films, which include Riders of the Whistling Pines (1949), a film in which spraying DDT saves the day.
Berenbaum will also tell us more about new research linking pesticides to the decline in bee populations. Call us to join our conversation on Focus!
Read more to see a full list of films at this year’s festival.
Studies of the brain and its processes are often full of more questions than they are answers, but one such question started to nag at David Randall after he sleep walked into a wall. “Why do we sleep?”
This hour on Focus, we'll listen back to a conversation Lindsey Moon had with Randall about his book “Dreamland: Adventures in the Strange Science of Sleep." We’ll hear about why many of the sleep disorders we classify as problems today weren’t anything to be worried about before the invention of the light bulb, why it’s so hard to pin down the biologic reason for why the human brain needs sleep and will talk about the real reason it’s so hard to drag teenagers from bed before 10 a.m. We’ll also talk about what’s being called sleep crime, cases where sleepwalkers have committed murder while dreaming.
Randall is a senior reporter at Reuters and an adjunct professor at New York University. He’s also been published in the New York Times, New York Magazine and Forbes. Dreamland is his first book.
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!