April 23, 2012

The Earth Moved: On the Remarkable Achievements of Earthworms

Guest: Amy Stewart.

To most people, worms may be nothing more than things to avoid on the sidewalk after a summer shower. But earthworms do much more than that: they plow the soil, fight diseases, and make fertile land out of ordinary dirt. Today's guest on Focus, writer Amy Stewart, takes us underground to investigate the numerous different species of this creature and how they contribute to the health of our planet and population.

April 09, 2012

The Long Divergence: How Islamic Law Held Back the Middle East

Guest: Timur Kuran, Ph.D.

Between the years 1000 and 1800, the Middle East—a region that was early on at least as advanced as Europe—failed to economize modernly and thus fell drastically behind the West. What caused this, and why does the Middle East remain drastically underdeveloped? Today on Focus, we'll explore the history of this region with political scientist and Islamic Studies professor Timur Kuran.

February 07, 2012

Knocking on Heaven’s Door

Guest: Lisa Randall, Ph.D.

Today on Focus we're joined by eminent physicist Lisa Randall to discuss her new book Knocking on Heaven's Door. Randall offers a rousing defense of the role of science in our lives—and backs it up with her cool knowledge of particle physics, cosmology, and the engineering behind the Large Hadron Collider.

January 09, 2012

How the Hippies Saved Physics: Science, Counterculture, and the Quantum Revival

Guest: David Kaiser, Ph.D.

In the 1970s, severe cutbacks in physics funding drove a group of eccentric scientists to take a different approach on their field, studying quantum entanglement alongside mind reading and Eastern mysticism. Today on Focus, our guest David Kaiser will explain how their work helped pave the way for numerous other breakthroughs in quantum mechanics.

October 13, 2011

A More Perfect Heaven: How Copernicus Revolutionized the Cosmos

Guest: Dava Sobel.

The fact that the earth revolves around the sun may seem like common sense to us, but in the early sixteenth century, it was nothing short of ridiculous. Today's guest on Focus, writer Dava Sobel, explores the publication of Copernicus' heliocentric theory and the revolution of truly astronomical size that it would launch.

October 07, 2011

The Future of the U.S. Space Program

Guest: Louis Friedman, Ph.D.

He earned his Ph.D. in Aeronautics and Astronautics from MIT. He worked for NASA at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He co-founded the Planetary Society with Carl Sagan and Bruce Murray. Today, he joins Focus 580 to discuss the future of the American space program.

August 25, 2011

Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain

Guest: David Eagleman, Ph.D.

To us, it may seem that our conscious minds—the parts that we consider to be us—are the only thing running our brains as we make our way through our days. But what's happening behind the scenes? Today, neuroscientist David Eagleman joins the show to discuss the subconscious brain and just what it's capable of.

August 23, 2011

The Sun’s Heartbeat and Other Stories from the Life of the Star That Powers Our Planet

Guest: Bob Berman.

Without the sun, there would be no life on Earth. Today on Focus, we're joined by author Bob Berman to talk about his new book The Sun's Heartbeat. He provides a lively biography of our star, from its birth to its spectacular future death, and addresses some of the mysteries regarding the sun and sunlight. We'll tackle all this and more on the show.

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