The 21st Show

Science Heroes In Children’s Books; Creating Manufacturing Jobs; The Miller Park Zoo


M.J. Mouton

On this encore edition of The 21st: We speak to children's author M.J. Mouton about his book, Richie Doodles: The Brilliance of a Young Richard Feynman. Plus, we revisit our tour of the Miller Park Zoo in Bloomington. But first, what does it take to actually create manufacturing jobs in 2018?

Richard Feynman was one of the world’s great physicists. He was born in 1918 in New York and won the Nobel Prize in 1965. Albert Einstein even attended the first seminar that Feynman ever taught.

He’s known in the scientific community for figuring out how to visually map out the math that determines how subatomic particles behave. But it’s more than that. Feynman is remembered for his passion, for his ability to describe complex physics to everyday people, and for just having a lot of fun exploring science throughout his entire life.

So perhaps it’s fitting that Aurora, Illinois-based children’s book author M.J. Mouton wrote a new book about what Richard Feynman was like as a kid. It’s called Richie Doodles: The Brilliance of a Young Richard Feynman. We spoke with M.J. about Richard Feynman and getting kids excited for science.


For well over a century, people in Bloomington-Normal have been spending time at one of the area’s highlights - the Miller Park Zoo. In fact, for a long time, it was the only zoo between St. Louis and Chicago.Miller Park Zoo opened in the late 1800s. Now, located on Historic Route 66, it continues to be popular with travelers. We were joined by director Jay Tetzloff at the zoo, and he came on the show to talk more about the zoo's history and everything it is home to.

But first—

Often we hear about how manufacturing jobs have declined in the US during these past few decades. Conventional wisdom holds that it’s because of cheaper labor in foreign countries - and, the rise of robotics. And the Great Recession didn’t help - especially in the Midwest.

But research shows that some local labor markets managed to not just survive - but thrive - over the past decade. Take Grand Rapids, Michigan. Its post Recession manufacturing job growth has outpaced the national average.

To talk manufacturing, we were joined on the line by Tim Bartik. Tim is a Senior Economist for the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research in Kalamazoo, Michigan. 

We also spoke with Economist Jared Bernstein from Washington. Jared was chief economist to former Vice President Joe Biden and he is currently a senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Story source: WILL