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29 Oct 2019

Hearing Better than a Barn Owl – Saptarshi Das

How can what engineers learn from how barn owls pinpoint the location of the faintest sounds apply to their development of nanotechnologies capable of doing even better? In episode 61, we’re joined by Saptarshi Das, a nano-engineer from Penn State University, who talks with us about his article “A biomimetic 2D transistor for audiomorphic computing,” co-authored with Sarbashis Das and Akhil Dodda, and published on August 1, 2019 in the open-access journal Nature Communications.

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1 Oct 2019

Does Practice Make Perfect? – Brooke Macnamara

In striving to develop expertise, are 10,000 hours of deliberate practice really required, and must it be guided by a teacher or coach? In episode 59, we’re joined by Brooke Macnamara from Case Western Reserve University. She’ll discuss her attempted replication of the study which led to the mantra popularized by Malcolm Gladwell that these parameters are required to master a task.

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17 Sep 2019

The Neuroscience of Terrorism – Nafees Hamid

What can brain scans of radicalized jihadists tell us about how they react to what they perceive as attacks on their sacred values? In episode 58, we’re joined by Nafees Hamid from Artis International who who talks with us about his open access article “Neuroimaging ‘will to fight’ for sacred values: an empirical case study with supporters of an Al Qaeda associate,” published on June 12, 2019 in the journal Royal Society Open Science.

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3 Sep 2019

Not-So Big Personality Traits? – Karen Macours

What changes when we attempt to measure personality outside of the contexts where the instruments were developed and validated? In episode 57, we’re joined by Karen Macours from the Paris School of Economics about her research into practical issues with using a popular Big Five personality measures outside of western, educated, industrialized, rich, and democratic settings.

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20 Aug 2019

Taking Heat in Space – Naia Butler-Craig

How can a satellite the size of a loaf of bread take the heat of operating in the extreme conditions existing in space without overheating? In episode 56, we’re joined by Naia Butler-Craig from the Georgia Institute of Technology to discuss her open access article “An investigation of the system architecture of high power density 3U CubeSats capable of supporting high impulse missions,” which was published in November 2018 in the McNair Scholars Research Journal from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

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6 Aug 2019

Fishing for Color – Zuzana Musilová

How do some fish see color in the black-and-white world of the ocean’s depths? In episode 55, Zuzana Musilová, an evolutionary biologist at Charles University in Prague, discusses her research into the unique way that some fish in the deep ocean’s darkness may be able to see in color.

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23 Jul 2019

Collective Memories – Ida Momennejad & Ajua Duker

Can communication across networks of people be optimized to share information, while at the same time lessening the likelihood of information bubbles and echo chambers? In Episode 54, we’re joined by Ida Momennejad and Ajua Duker from Columbia University and Yale University respectively to discuss their open access article “Bridge ties bind collective memories” which was published with Alin Coman on April 5, 2019 in the journal Nature Communications.

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9 Jul 2019

Behind the Curtain of Algorithms – Been Kim

Might we be better able to understand what’s going on inside the “black box” of machine learning algorithms? In episode 52, Been Kim from Google Brain talks with us about her research into creating algorithms that can explain why they make the recommendations they do via concepts that are relatable by their users.

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25 Jun 2019

Bending the Laws of Physics – Andreas Schilling

“Nothing in life is certain,” writes MIT mechanical engineer Seth Lloyd, “except death, taxes and the second law of thermodynamics.” But is this necessarily so? In episode 52, we’re joined by Andreas Schilling with the University of Zurich, who discusses his development of an amazingly simple device that allows heat to flow from a cold object to a warm one without an external power supply; a process that initially appears to contradict this fundamental law of physics.

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