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アマチュア天文学に革命を起こすSETI研究所-Unistellar社のパートナーシップ締結

Cosmic Diary Marchis - September 04, 2017

2017年7月19日 – Mountain View, CA & Meyreuil, France: SETI研究所とフランスのスタートアップ企業 Unistellar社は、アマチュア天文学者に比類ない宇宙の展望と、最先端の科学に直接貢献する機会を与える新しい望遠鏡を商品化するための、新しいパートナーシップを締結しました。

Unistellarの新しいsVscope™ は、「Enhanced Vision」技術を採用し、このパートナーシップによりこれまでは提供することができなかった3つのユニークな特徴を持っています。

フランス・Baronnies Provençales からのUnistellar望遠鏡によるダンベル星雲 メシア27, 渦巻き銀河メシア51、鷲星雲メシア16の観測結果。この観測は、ユーザーが直接レンズで見ることも、後日SETI研究所のUnistellarデータベースのストレージから再生することもできます。

Enhanced Visionは、非常に暗い天体の光を蓄積し望遠鏡のアイピースに送り込むことで、極めてシャープでディティールに富む画像を作り出します。Enhanced Visionテクノロジーは、より口径の大きな望遠鏡に匹敵する集光力で、これまでアマチュア天文学者には手が届かなかった天体の、驚異的な光景をお届けします。

自律的視野検出 (AFD)はGPSにより、eVscopeは複雑なアライメントや高価な赤道義システムを必要とせずに、ピンポイントで興味のある天体を導入することができます。AFDのインテリジェントな指向とトラッキングのおかげで、初心者からエキスパートまで天文学者はより多くの時間観測に費やすことが可能になり、また正確に何か見ているかを知ることができます。このシステムはまた、数千万の天体のデータベースによりユーザーが観測しているどんな天体の名前も知らせることができます。

キャンペーンモードは、SETI研究所で開発された革新的でエキサイティングな特徴で、先進的な望遠鏡イメージング技術を活用し、世界中のユーザーに特に興味深い天体の観測に参加し、研究者に画像とデータを収集して送ることができます。キャンペーンモードでは、画像データは自動的にシリコンバレーのSETI研究所本部に送られます。国際的な科学コミュニティーは、世界中の何千もの望遠鏡からの、異なる日時の今までにない量の画像データにアクセスすることができます。これは新しい発見と私たちの宇宙をより深く理解することに繋がります。

「これまでのハイエンドの望遠鏡は、主な4つの惑星を観測するには素晴らしいツールです。しかしながら、これまではより遠く暗い天体については、アマチュア天文学者には手が届かないものでした。」とUnistellar社CEOのLaurent Marfisi氏は言います。「私たちの望遠鏡は、アマチュア天文学に革命を起こし、これまでは本やオンライン上でしか見れなかった天体を、リアルタイムで見れるようにするものです。このコンパクトな4.5インチ望遠鏡で、冥王星よりも暗い天体を、1メートル望遠鏡に匹敵する感度で観測することができます。」

「私たちは、先進的なイメージング技術をアマチュア天文学にもたらし、グローバルな市民サイエンスによる新しい研究を可能にする、Unistellar社とのパートナーシップに興奮しています」とSETI研究所所長・CEO Bill Diamond氏は言います。「世界的な望遠鏡ネットワークで得られる画像は、自動的に私たちのデータベースにダウンロードされ、研究者による最新のマシンラーニングアルゴリズムを用いた新しい発見と新イベントの検出のための解析に用いられます」

Unistellar望遠鏡は先行販売クラウドファンディングにより2017年秋から入手可能です。

SETI研究所のシニアサイエンティスト・Unistellar社チーフサイエンスオフィサーであるFranck Marchis氏は次のように興奮を共有しています。「Unistellar社のeVscopeは、天文学者が興味を持つ超新星爆発、地球に接近する小惑星や彗星などの、突発イベントの重要なデータを収集する、パワフルな新しい装置です。世界中にある望遠鏡による途切れることのない観測、彗星や超新星などの暗い天体を研究するために、アラートを出したり観測をコーディネートすることにより得られることは計り知れません」とMarchis氏は言います。「キャンペーンモードによるもう一つのエキサイティングな側面は、ユーザーがリアルタイムでデータを収集する現場に立ち会うことができるということなのです」

 
Unistellar望遠鏡のプロトタイプは、テストとキャンペーンモードデータネットワークのためにSETI研究所に届けられました。アマチュア天文家は2017年秋に始まるクラウドファンディングによtって1000$以下でさらなる装置開発の資金の手助けをするチャンスを持つことができます。

Unistellar SAS社について

Unistellarは、天文学をインタラクティブなものにするために、Enhanced Vision Telescope™の開発、光学・エレクトロニクス・そして特許のイメージプロセス技術を通してポピュラーな天文学に革命を起こしています。Unistellar社は完全に大衆向けの熱意に特化していますが、その技術は既に有名な研究所であるONERA(フランス宇宙航空機関)や、ドローンイメージングから注目を集めています。

SETI研究所について

SETI研究所のミッションは、宇宙における生命の起源の探索と理解を進め、現在と未来の世代にひらめきと指針を与えることです。私たちの研究・教育やアウトリーチプログラムは宇宙の驚異を探索すること、全人類にとっての探検と発見の喜びを称賛しています。

Thanks to Dr. Takayuki Kotani for the translation in Japanese. The original english version is here.

左から右へ:Franck Marchis (CSO・SETI研究所天文学者), Arnaud (Chairman ・ CTO), Laurent (CEO) と、デモ用プロトタイプ (Aix-en-Provence, フランス、2017年6月)

 

Media Contacts:

SETI Institute

Rebecca McDonald
Director of Communications
Email: rmcdonald@seti.org
Phone: 650-960-4526

Unistellar:
Laurent Marfisi
CEO
Email: press@unistellaroptics.com
+33 6 77 98 01 20

Science Contact:
Franck Marchis
Senior Astronomy at SETI Institute & CSO at Unistellar
Email: fmarchis@seti.org
Phone: +1 510 599 0604

Endless wind

Cosmic Diary by Lori Fenton - August 28, 2017


A Piece of Mars: This 2.88×1.13 km (1.79×0.70 mi) scene shows quintessential Mars, with a 670 m diameter impact crater heavily modified by wind erosion. Both the crater floor and the surrounding terrain are covered by what is likely loosely-cemented dust. The texture is that of wind-eroded materials, but to make this texture that material must be fine-grained and uniform in cementation (except where punctuated by craters that are, in turn, also wind-eroded). I’ve never seen a texture like that on Earth. Check out the whole HiRISE image to see how extensive that texture is (and note that I’ve only shown it at half-scale here!) – it’s the dominant feature of this landscape for many hundreds of kilometers. This is in Daedalia Planum, high terrain just southwest of the Tharsis Montes, where equatorial easterly winds might be enhanced by nighttime downslope winds coming down Arsia Mons, the southernmost of the three volcanos (HiRISE ESP_017651_1670, NASA/JPL/Univ. of Arizona)

Wind and maybe water too

Cosmic Diary by Lori Fenton - August 14, 2017


A Piece of Mars: Along the right side of this 0.5×0.5 km (0.31×0.31 mi) scene is the rim of a crater – the stripes are layers exposed (and then perhaps draped by falling ejecta) as the crater formed. To the left is the crater’s interior wall, dropping downward. Deep gullies have been eroded into the crater walls, probably by water, carrying sediment downslope. Rivers and landslides are generally great sources of sand-sized sediment, and this place is no exception. The sediment piled up downslope, and then the wind came along and sculpted it into beautiful cross-hatched patterns (click on the image to see full resolution). (HiRISE ESP_015984_1335, NASA/JPL/Univ. of Arizona)

Exhumed dunes!

Cosmic Diary by Lori Fenton - August 07, 2017


A Piece of Mars: The large dunes in the middle of this 375×450 m (0.23×0.28 mi) scene run along a valley (the small dunes at top and bottom are on high ground). What’s amazing about this is that the ends of the large dunes extend into the valley walls. That is, they’re covered by the stuff in the valley walls. Usually dunes sit on top of all the other geologic structures, but not here. These dunes formed a long time ago. And then a lot of sediment piled on top of them – but without destroying them (which is what usually happens on Earth, so we don’t see this sort of thing here). And then those sediments were later eroded to make the 0.5 km wide valley, revealing the buried dunes. Look at all this geology we can do from space! (HiRISE ESP_018347_1660, NASA/JPL/Univ. of Arizona)

SETI Institute-Unistellar parceira promete revolucionar a astronomia amadora

Cosmic Diary Marchis - August 03, 2017

19 de julho de 2017 -Mountain View, CA e Meyreuil, França: o Instituto SETI e a startup francesa Unistellar, anunciaram hoje uma parceria para comercializar um novo telescópio que promete oferecer uma visão incomparável do cosmos aos astrônomos amadores e oferecer a oportunidade de contribuir diretamente para ciência de ponta.

O novo eVscope™ da Unistellar aproveita a tecnologia de imagem “Enhanced Vision” e agora oferece três recursos únicos nunca antes oferecidos em um instrumento compacto de mercado de massa graças a esta parceria:

Observações de Dumbbell Nebula Messier 27, Whirlpool galaxy Messier 51 e Eagle Nebula Messier 16 usando um telescópio Unistellar do Observatoire des Baronnies Provençales, na França. Esta observação pode ser vista pelo usuário diretamente na lente e uma imagem pode ser gerada posteriormente para armazenamento na base de dados Unistellar no Instituto SETI.

O Enhanced Vision produz imagens extremamente nitidas e detalhadas de objetos astronômicos até mesmo fracos, acumulando a luz e projetando-a na ocular do telescópio. A tecnologia Enhanced Vision imita a capacidade de coleta de luz de telescópios de refletor significativamente maiores, oferecendo visões sem precedentes de objetos do céu noturno anteriormente inacessíveis aos astrônomos amadores.  

Detecção de campo autônomo (AFD) alimentado por GPS, permite que o eVscope identifique objetos celestiais de interesse sem procedimentos de alinhamento complicados ou montagens equatoriais caras. Graças ao apontar e rastrear inteligentes da AFD, astrônomos de novatos a especialistas, podem passar mais tempo observando e sempre sabendo exatamente o que estão olhando. Este sistema também pode nomear qualquer objeto que o usuário esteja observando, graças a uma base de dados de coordenadas de dezenas de milhões de objetos celestes.

 O modo Campanha , um recurso revolucionário e excitante desenvolvido no Instituto SETI, aproveita a tecnologia de imagem avançada do telescópio e permite que usuários em todo o mundo participem da observação de campanhas de imagem e coletam dados sobre objetos de especial interesse para pesquisadores. No modo Campanha, os dados da imagem são enviados automaticamente para um repositório de dados na sede do Instituto SETI no Vale do Silício. A comunidade científica internacional pode acessar volumes de dados de imagem sem precedentes para objetos específicos, de milhares de telescópios ao redor do mundo, em datas e horários diferentes. Isso, por sua vez, pode permitir novas descobertas e melhorar a nossa compreensão do universo que nos rodeia.

“Os telescópios clássicos de ponta são ferramentas maravilhosas para observar os quatro planetas principais. Mas eles geralmente são decepcionantes por ver objetos mais fracos e distantes, que permanecem inacessíveis aos astrônomos amadores “, disse Laurent Marfisi, CEO da Unistellar. “Nosso telescópio revolucionará a astronomia amadora ao permitir que as pessoas vejam em tempo real, objetos celestes que até agora só estavam disponíveis como imagens em livros ou on-line. Nosso telescópio compacto de 4,5 polegadas permite aos observadores ver objetos mais fracos do que Plutão e alcançar sensibilidade equivalente a um telescópio de um metro! “

 “Estamos extremamente empolgados em parceria com a Unistellar para trazer tecnologia de imagem avançada para astronomia amadora e, assim, permitir uma nova pesquisa impactante através da ciência cidadã global”, disse Bill Diamond, presidente e CEO do Instituto SETI. “As imagens coletadas da rede mundial de telescópios serão automaticamente baixadas em nosso banco de dados e analisadas por pesquisadores que usam os mais recentes algoritmos de aprendizado de máquina para facilitar novas descobertas e detectar novos eventos”.

O telescópio da Unistellar estará disponível no outono de 2017 para sua campanha de crowdsunding de pré-vendas

Franck Marchis, cientista sênior do Instituto SETI e diretor de ciência da Unistellar, compartilha essa emoção: “O eVscope da Unistellar é um novo e poderoso instrumento que pode gerar dados importantes sobre eventos transitórios de interesse para astrônomos, incluindo supernovas, asteróides próximos da Terra e Cometas. Há muito a ganhar com observações contínuas do céu noturno usando telescópios espalhados pelo globo e coordenando observações e enviando alertas aos usuários para estudar objetos fracos como cometas ou supernovas “, disse Marchis. “Outra característica emocionante do nosso modo de campanha, é que nossos usuários serão capazes de testemunhar os fenômenos em que estão coletando dados, em tempo real”, acrescentou Marfisi.

 Um protótipo do telescópio Unistellar foi entregue ao Instituto SETI para testar e desenvolver a rede de dados do Modo Campanha. Os astrônomos amadores terão a chance de ajudar a financiar o desenvolvimento do dispositivo comprando-o por menos de US $ 1000 em uma campanha de crowdfunding que será lançada no outono de 2017.

 ###

Sobre Unistellar SAS

A Unistellar está reinventando astronomia popular através do desenvolvimento do Enhanced Vision Telescope ™: uma combinação inteligente de tecnologia óptica, eletrônica e de processamento de imagem proprietária que visa tornar a astronomia interativa. A Unistellar está completamente dedicada à sua ambição popular, mas sua tecnologia já atraiu a atenção de instituições estabelecidas como ONERA (a agência aeroespacial francesa) e Drone Imaging.

 Sobre o Instituto SETI

A missão do Instituto SETI é explorar, compreender e explicar a origem e a natureza da vida no universo e aplicar o conhecimento adquirido para inspirar e orientar as gerações presentes e futuras. Nossos programas de pesquisa, educação e divulgação exploram a maravilha do universo e celebram a excitação da exploração e a alegria da descoberta para toda a humanidade.

Da esquerda para a direita: Franck Marchis (astrônomo CSO e SETI Institute), Arnaud (Presidente e CTO), Laurent (CEO) e o protótipo de demonstração mostrado em Aix-en-Provence, França, em junho de 2017

Translated by Luciana Fontes of EXOSS. Thanks! Obrigado!

What the Hack

ENCORE  A computer virus that bombards you with pop-up ads is one thing. A computer virus that shuts down a city’s electric grid is another. Welcome to the new generation of cybercrime. Discover what it will take to protect our power, communication and transportation systems as scientists try to stay ahead of hackers in an ever-escalating game of cat and mouse.

The expert who helped decipher the centrifuge-destroying Stuxnet virus tells us what he thinks is next. Also convenience vs. vulnerability as we connect to the Internet of Everything. And, the journalist who wrote that Google was “making us stupid,” says automation is extracting an even higher toll: we’re losing basic skills. Such as how to fly airplanes.

Guests:

•   Ray Sims – Computer Technician, Computer Courage, Berkeley, California

•   Eric Chien – Technical Director of Security Technology and Response, Symantec

•   Paul Jacobs – Chairman and CEO of Qualcomm

•   Shankar Sastry – Dean of the College of Engineering, University of California, Berkeley, director of TRUST

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•   Nicholas Carr – Author of The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains and the forthcoming “The Glass Cage”. His article, “The Great Forgetting,” is in the November 2013 issue of The Atlantic.

 

First released November 11, 2013.

Skeptic Check: Evolutionary Arms Race

ENCORE It’s hard to imagine the twists and turns of evolution that gave rise to Homo Sapiens. After all, it required geologic time, and the existence of many long-gone species that were once close relatives. That may be one reason why – according to a recent poll – one-third of all Americans reject the theory of evolution. They prefer to believe that humans and other living organisms have existed in their current form since the beginning of time.

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But if you’ve ever been sick, you’ve been the victim of evolution on a very observable time scale. Nasty viruses and bacteria take full advantage of evolutionary forces to adapt to new hosts. And they can do it quickly.

Discover how comparing the deadly 1918 flu virus with variants today may help us prevent the next pandemic. Also, while antibiotic resistance is threatening to become a major health crisis, better understanding of how bacteria evolve their defenses against our drugs may help us out.

And the geneticist who sequenced the Neanderthal genome says yes, our hirsute neighbors co-mingled with humans.

It’s Skeptic Check … but don’t take our word for it!

Guests:

•   Svante Pääbo – Evolutionary geneticist, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, author of Neanderthal Man: In Search of Lost Genomes

•   Ann Reid – – Molecular biologist, executive director of the National Center for Science Education, Oakland, California

•   Martin Blaser – Microbiologist, New York University School of Medicine, member of the National Academy of Sciences, author of Missing Microbes: How the Overuse of Antibiotics Is Fueling Our Modern Plagues

•   Gautam Dantas – Pathologist, immunologist, Center for Genome Sciences and Systems Biology, Washington University, Saint Louis

First released March 31, 2014.

It's All Relative

A century ago, Albert Einstein rewrote our understanding of physics with his Theory of General Relativity. Our intuitive ideas about space, time, mass, and gravity turned out to be wrong.

Find out how this masterwork changed our understanding of how the universe works and why you can thank Einstein whenever you turn on your GPS.

Also, high-profile experiments looking for gravitational waves and for black holes will put the theories of the German genius to the test – will they pass?

And why the story of a box, a Geiger counter, and a zombie cat made Einstein and his friend Erwin Schrödinger uneasy about the quantum physics revolution.

Guests:

•   Jeffrey Bennett – Astronomer, author of What Is Relativity?: An Intuitive Introduction to Einstein’s Ideas, and Why They Matter

•   Beverly Berger – Theoretical physicist and the Secretary for the International Society on General Relativity and Gravitation

•   Hiawatha Bray – Technology reporter, Boston Globe, author of You Are Here: From the Compass to GPS, the History and Future of How We Find Ourselves

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•  Paul Halpern – Physicist at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, author of Einstein’s Dice and Schrödinger’s Cat: How Two Great Minds Battled Quantum Randomness to Create a Unified Theory of Physics

And To Space We Return

Earth may be the cradle of life, but our bodies are filled with materials cooked up billions of years ago in the scorching centers of stars. As Carl Sagan said, “We are all stardust.” We came from space, and some say it is to space we will return.

Discover an astronomer’s quest to track down remains of these ancient chemical kitchens. Plus, a scientist who says that it’s in our DNA to explore – and not just the nearby worlds of the solar system, but perhaps far beyond.

But would be still be human when we arrive? Hear what biological and cultural changes we might undergo in a multi-generational interstellar voyage.

Guests:

 •   Timothy Beers – Astronomer, University of Notre Dame

•   Chris Impey – Astronomer, University of Arizona, author of Beyond: Our Future in Space

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•   Cameron Smith – Archaeologist, Portland State University

Math's Days Are Numbered

ENCORE  Imagine a world without algebra. We can hear the sound of school children applauding. What practical use are parametric equations and polynomials, anyway? Even some scholars argue that algebra is the Latin of today, and should be dropped from the mandatory curriculum.

But why stop there? Maybe we should do away with math classes altogether.

An astronomer says he’d be out of work: we can all forget about understanding the origins of the universe, the cycles of the moon and how to communicate with alien life. Also, no math = no cybersecurity + hackers (who have taken math) will have the upper hand.

Also, without mathematics, you’ll laugh < you do now. The Simpsons creator Matt Groening has peppered his animated show with hidden math jokes.

And why mathematics = love.

Guests:

•   Andrew Hacker – Professor of political science and mathematics at Queens College, City University of New York. His article, “Is Algebra Necessary?”, appeared in The New York Times in 2012.

•   Bob Berman – Astronomy editor of The Old Farmer’s Almanac, the author of The Sun’s Heartbeat: And Other Stories from the Life of the Star That Powers Our Planet , and columnist for Astronomy Magazine. His article, “How Math Drives the Universe” is the cover story in the December 2013 issue.

•   Simon Singh – Science writer, author of The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets

•   Rob ManningFlight system chief engineer at the Jet Propulsion Lab, responsible for NASA’s Curiosity rover

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•   Edward Frenkel – Professor of mathematics at the University of California, Berkeley, author of Love and Math: The Heart of Hidden Reality . His article, “The Perils of Hacking Math,” is found on the online magazine, Slate.

 

First released December 2, 2015.

Skeptic Check: After the Hereafter

There are few enduring truths, but one is that no one gets out of life alive. What’s less certain is what comes next. Does everything stop with death, or are we transported to another plane of existence? First-hand accounts of people who claim to have visited heaven are offered as proof of an afterlife. Now the author of one bestseller admits that his story was fabricated.

We’ll look at the genre of “heaven tourism” to see if it has anything to say about the possible existence of the hereafter, and why the idea of an afterlife seriously influences how we live our lives on Earth.

Also, a neurologist describes what is going on in the brain during near-death and other out-of-body experiences.

It’s Skeptic Check, our monthly look at critical thinking … but don’t take our word for it!

Guests:

•   Ben Radford – Paranormal investigator, research fellow at the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and deputy editor of the Skeptical Inquirer, and author of the Discovery News article, “Why People Believed Boy’s ‘Visit to Heaven’ Story”

•   Greg Garrett – Professor of English at Baylor University, writer on books, culture and religion for the Huffington Post, and author of Entertaining Judgment: The Afterlife in Popular Imagination

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•   Steven Novella – Professor of neurology at Yale University School of Medicine and host of the “Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe” podcast

They Know Who You Are

You’re a private person. But as long as you’re on-line and have skin and hair, you’re shedding little bits of data and DNA everywhere you go. Find out how that personal information – whether or not it’s used against you – is no longer solely your own. Are your private thoughts next?

A security expert shares stories of ingenious computer hacking … a forensic scientist develops tools to create a mug shot based on a snippet of DNA … and from the frontiers of neuroscience: mind reading may no longer be the stuff of sketchy psychics.

Guests:

•   Marc Goodman – Global security advisor, founder, Future Crimes Institute, author of Future Crimes: Everything Is Connected, Everyone Is Vulnerable and What We Can Do About It

•   Susan Walsh – Forensic geneticist, Indiana University – Purdue University in Indianapolis

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•   Marvin Chun – Psychologist, Yale University

A Fundy Thing Happened

Get ready for déjà vu as you listen to some of our favorite interviews from the past year. It’s our annual fundraising podcast. Come for the great interviews, stay for the great interviews. Lend us your support along the way. 

What’s for dinner? Maybe Soylent. Made by … people! We do a taste test. Then meet your gut microbes. They control your health and even your mood.

Get tips on how to talk to aliens, why you should keep an eye on government surveillance, and the future of 3D printing human tissue. Also, why extraordinary beliefs persist – including Holocaust denial – despite the persistence of evidence to the contrary.

And, global perspective: why Ebola won’t be the next big pandemic but sea level rise could wipe out coasts along Florida and Thailand.

Plus, we imagine life hundreds of years ago for the renegades on the rough seas, and what the world would be like had the dinosaurs not gone extinct.

All this and more on a special Big Picture Science podcast!

Guests:

•   Bill Miller – Physician and author of The Microcosm Within: Evolution and Extinction in the Hologenome

•   Rob Rhinehart – CEO and founder of Soylent

•   Brian Fagan – Emeritus professor of anthropology, University of California, Santa Barbara, author of The Attacking Ocean: The Past, Present, and Future of Rising Sea Levels

•   David Quammen – Science journalist, contributing writer for National Geographic Magazine, author of Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic . His Op Ed article about Ebola appeared in the New York Times.

•   Shari Wells-Jensen – Professor of English, Bowling Green State University

•   Susan Landau – Mathematician and engineer who works on cybersecurity, privacy and public policy at the Worchester Polytechnic Institute, author most recently of Surveillance or Security?: The Risks Posed by New Wiretapping Technologies

•   Will Storr – Journalist, author of The Unpersuadables: Adventures with the Enemies of Science

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•   Ali Khademhosseini – Bioengineer, Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Woman’s Hospital

The Evolution of Evolution

Darwinian evolution is adaptive and slow … millennia can go by before a species changes very much. But with the tools of genetic engineering we can now make radical changes in just one generation. By removing genes or inserting new ones, we can give an organism radically different traits and behaviors. We are taking evolution into our own hands.

It all began with the domestication of plants and animals, which one science writer says created civilization. Today, as humans tinker with their own genome, is it possible we will produce Homo sapiens 2.0?

Also, what happens to those species who can’t control their destiny? How climate change is forcing the biggest genetic reshuffling in recorded history.

Guests:

•   Richard Francis – Science writer, author of Domesticated: Evolution in a Man-Made World

•   Juan Enriquez – Academic, businessman, author, founding director of the Life Sciences Project, Harvard Business School, managing director, Excel Venture Management, and author of Evolving Ourselves: How Unnatural Selection and Nonrandom Mutation are Changing Life on Earth

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•   Jessica Hellmann – Biologist, University of Notre Dame

Invisible Worlds

ENCORE  You can’t see it, but it’s there, whether an atom, a gravity wave, or the bottom of the ocean … but we have technology that allows us to detect what eludes our sight. When we do, whole worlds open up.

Without telescopes, asteroids become visible only three seconds before they slam into the Earth. Find out how we track them long before that happens. Also, could pulsars help us detect the gravity waves that Einstein’s theory predicts?

Plus, why string theory and parallel universes may remain just interesting ideas … the story of the woman who mapped the ocean floor … and why the disappearance of honeybees may change what you eat.

Guests:

•   David Morrison – NASA space scientist and Director of the Carl Sagan Center at the SETI Institute

•   May Berenbaum – Entomologist, University of Illinois

•   Scott Ransom – Astronomer, National Radio Astronomy Observatory

•   Lee Smolin – Theoretical physicist, Perimeter Institute of Theoretical Physics, Canada, author of Time Reborn: From the Crisis in Physics to the Future of the Universe

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•   Hali Felt – Author of Soundings: The Story of the Remarkable Woman Who Mapped the Ocean Floor

 

First released September 23, 2013.

Life in Space

Discovering bacteria on Mars would be big news. But nothing would scratch our alien itch like making contact with intelligent life. Hear why one man is impatient for the discovery, and also about the new tools that may speed up the “eureka” moment. One novel telescope may help us find E.T. at home, by detecting the heat of his cities.

Also, the father of modern SETI research and how decoding the squeals of dolphins could teach us how to communicate with aliens.

Guests:

•   Lee Billings – Journalist and author of Five Billion Years of Solitude: The Search for Life Among the Stars

•   Oliver Guyon – Optical physicist, astronomer, University of Arizona and Suburu telescope; 2012 McArthur Genius award winner

•   Jeff Kuhn – Physicist, Institute for Astronomy in Honolulu, Colossus Telescope

•   Frank Drake – Astronomer, SETI Institute

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•   Denise Herzing – Behavioral biologist and research director of the Wild Dolphin Project

Skeptic Check: Monster Mashup

ENCORE  Monsters don’t exist. Except when they do. And extinction is forever, except when it isn’t. So, which animals are mythical and which are in hiding?

Bigfoot sightings are plentiful, but real evidence for the hirsute creature is a big zilch. Yet, the coelacanth, a predatory fish thought extinct, actually lives. Today, its genome is offering clues as to how and when our fishy ancestors first flopped onto land.

Meanwhile, the ivory-billed woodpecker assumes mythic status as it flutters between existence and extinction. And, from passenger pigeons to the wooly mammoth, hi-tech genetics may imitate Jurassic Park, and bring back vanished animals.

Guests:

•   Donald Prothero – Paleontologist, geologist, former professor at Occidental College, co-author of Abominable Science!: Origins of the Yeti, Nessie, and Other Famous Cryptids

•   Chris Amemiya – Biologist and geneticist at the University of Washington and the Benaroya Research Institute, Seattle

•   John Fitzpatrick – Ornithologist and director, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Cornell University

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•   Ben Novak – Visiting biologist at the University of California, Santa Cruz, lead coordinating scientist of “The Great Comeback” at the Revive and Restore project, Long Now Foundation

 

First released December 9, 2013.

Raising the Minimum Age

We all try to fight it: the inexorable march of time. The fountain of youth doesn’t exist, and all those wrinkle creams can’t help. But modern science is giving us new weapons in the fight against aging. So how far are we willing to go?

Hear when aging begins, a summary of the latest biotech research, and how a lab full of youthful worms might help humans stay healthy.

Also, a geneticist who takes a radical approach: collect the DNA that codes for longevity and restructure our genome. He finds inspiration – and perhaps genes as well – in the bi-centenarian bowhead whale.

But what if age really is mind over matter? A psychologist’s extraordinary thought experiment with septuagenarian men turns back the clock 20 years. Will it work on diseases such as cancer as well?

Guests:

•   Gordon Lithgow – Geneticist, Buck Institute for Research on Aging, Novato, California

•   Manish Chamoli – Post-doctoral researcher, Buck Institute for Research on Aging

•   George Church – Professor of Genetics, Harvard Medical School, author of Regenesis: How Synthetic Biology Will Reinvent Nature and Ourselves

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•   Ellen Langer – Professor of Psychology, Harvard University and author of Counterclockwise: Mindful Health and the Power of Possibility

Hidden History

Archeologists continue to hunt for the city of Atlantis, even though it may never have existed. But, what if it did? Its discovery would change ancient history. Sometimes when we dig around in the past, we can change our understanding of how we got to where we are.

We thought we had wrapped up the death of the dinosaurs: blame it on an asteroid. But evidence unearthed in Antarctica and elsewhere suggests the rock from space wasn’t the sole culprit.

Also, digging into our genetic past can turn up surprising – and sometimes uncomfortable truths – from ancestral origins to genes that code for disease. But do we always want to know?

Guests:

•   Mark Adams – author, Meet Me in Atlantis: My Obsessive Quest to Find the Sunken City

•   David Morrison – Senior scientist, NASA Ames Research Center

•   Peter Ward – Paleontologist, University of Washington, author of A New History of Life: The Radical New Discoveries about the Origins and Evolution of Life on Earth

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•   Christine Kenneally – Journalist and author of The Invisible History of the Human Race: How DNA and History Shape Our Identities and Our Futures

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