August 26, 2004

Dark Light: Electricity and Anxiety from the Telegraph to the X-ray

Guest: Linda Simon.

More than thirty years after Thomas Edison invented the light bulb, barely ten percent of American homes were wired for electricity. At the same time, electrotherapy emerged as a popular medical treatment for everything from depression to digestive problems. Why did Americans welcome electricity into their bodies, but not their homes? Today on Focus, Linda Simon joins us to talk about her new book Dark Light and its use of journalism and fiction to explore public anxiety and awe over electricity.

August 17, 2004

The Hubble Telescope and the Space Telescope Program

Guests: Mario Livo and John Bahcall.

Over the past fourteen years, the Hubble Space Telescope has added greatly to our knowledge of the universe, yet its future is in doubt. Unless a repair mission can be organized, Hubble will come to the end of its useful life in the next few years. Today on Focus, we're joined by Mario Livo and John Bahcall to talk about the efforts to keep Hubble going, as well as plans for the next-generation space telescope.

June 29, 2004

The Commercialization of Space

Guest: Robert Zimmerman.

Last week, test pilot Michael Melville became the first person to reach space in a privately funded program. The designers of the craft, called "SpaceShipOne," have their sights set on a prize offered to anyone who can put a crew of three into space, bring them back safely, and repeat the feat within two weeks. Many people believe that Melville's flight, and the presence of contests like these, are opening the doors to space tourism. Today on Focus we'll explore the commercialization of space with award-winning sicence writer Robert Zimmerman.

June 01, 2004

The Hype About Hydrogen: Fact and Fiction in the Race to Save the Climate

Guest: Joseph Romm.

In his State of the Union address last year, President Bush called for the development of hydrogen as an energy source. This morning on Focus we'll talk with former Department of Energy official Joseph Romm about whether hydrogen could be powering our world in the near future. Romm says he doubts that hydrogen-powered cars will become available anytime soon—but hydrogen fuel cells could power our homes and businesses. He'll also discuss his recent book, The Hype About Hydrogen.

May 06, 2004

Current Developments in Nanotechnology

Guests: Brenda Wilson, Thomas Mackin, and David Kellner.

Many scientists believe that nanotechnology has great potential to change both our economy and the way we live. This morning we'll look at recent developments in the field with University of Illinois microbiologist Brenda Wilson, Thomas Mackin from Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, and David Kellner, the CEO of a company that uses nanoscale technology in environmental monitoring.

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