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Exploradio Origins

Weekly segments of Exploradio Origins continue in January on WKSU, Kent State University’s radio station. The segments will air Thursdays from 4 to 6 p.m. during local broadcasts of National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered” for Exploradio Origins.

WKSU has partnered with the Institute for the Science of Origins to offer this segment.

During Exploradio Origins, host Kellen McGee and origins scholars ponder some of the biggest questions in the universe in 90 seconds. McGee is a former CWRU research assistant in biophysics and structural biology now pursuing a PhD in nuclear and accelerator physics at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory at Michigan State University.

Tune in to 89.7 to listen live. Installments also will be posted, along with additional information, on the WKSU website.

The January lineup will be:

“Unlocking the Secrets of Maleness”

Jan. 3

All embryos are female, until one genetic switch tells some to become male, according to Michael Weiss of Indiana University. But he says nature didn’t program one model of masculinity and that spectrum of male expression could have evolutionary advantages.

“Taming the Wild Marama Bean”

Jan. 10

Marama could be the proverbial magic bean, according to Case Western Reserve University’s Christopher Cullis, the Francis Hobart Herrick Professor of Biology. It’s drought resistant and thrives in poor soils, produces protein-rich beans, high-quality oil, and nutritious tubers, and that’s why he and others are looking for ways to cultivate wild marama.

“How Magnets Can Detect Malaria”

Jan. 17

Malaria claims nearly half a million lives each year, and effective treatment often relies on early detection. Case Western Reserve University’s Robert Brown, Distinguished University Professor and Institute Professor, has developed a sensitive, cheap and portable early detection system that uses a magnet to align the tiny iron particles discarded by the malaria parasites. The technique uses light to measure even low amounts of iron.

“Echoes of Colliding Neutron Stars”

Jan. 24

Understanding matter so dense it sends gravity waves splashing across space is part of Leslie Wade’s work at Kenyon College. He uses LIGO—the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory—to examine the inner workings of colliding neutron stars.

“How Modern Cells Communicate”

Jan. 31

The math developed to track enemy aircraft during WWII is now being used to better understand how cells communicate, according to Case Western Reserve University’s Mike Hinczewski, assistant professor of physics.