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Science

Connecticut’s Governor has staked a lot on reforming the state’s educational system. And a large part of the motivation is to provide a workforce literate in science, technology, engineering and math – the STEM skills. But the pace of technological change is getting quicker every year, and figuring out how to train workers for the high value industries of the 21st century is ever more challenging. This week on the business report we begin a series of reports on three industries vital to Connecticut’s future, and ask whether the state is living up to its reputation for a superior workforce.

Chion Wolf

After years of speculation, rumors, and whispers, we finally heard this week what we had long expected. The only problem is I can't tell whether I'm talking about the Higgs boson or Anderson Cooper.

prilfish, Flickr Creative Commons

The problem with invasive species is, of course, that they compete for resources with local species, and sometime they're a lot better at it. and sometimes they just incidentally wipe something out. 

Digging Into Soil

Jun 15, 2012
Soil Science, Creative Commons

Last week on the show, we talked about big rocks, and Connecticut’s glacial history, but what about the tiny stones and sediment beneath our feet?

Yes, today, where we live, we’re digging in to soil.

According to one of our guests, soil is the foundation of everything. It’s where our food grows, of course, but did you know that soil stores more carbon than vegetation?

And do you know why our soil here in New England is so rocky and shallow?  What about our obsession with picture-perfect lawns and what that means for the soil below?

Flickr Creative Commons, Horia Varlan

Jack Hitt will speak at R.J. Julia Booksellers Thursday, May 17, at 7 p.m.

Today I got into a Twitter debate with a guy who thinks the press spends too much time covering candidates who aren't really legitimate contenders.

I'm on the other side of that these days. I told him I think anybody running should be invited to the debates.

Fringe Physicists

May 8, 2012
Caption & photo used with permission - Jim Carter

Somewhere in the United States today, an envelope will arrive at a university math or science department, and in it will be some person's paradigm-shattering idea -- a novel theory that drastically violates or disrupts settled science.

The world is full of outsider physicists and rouge mathematicians. And, of course, one or two of them are basically correct about something. Einstein worked in a patent office. Michael Faraday did not have a university degree.

Catie Talarski

We know that music, pets, and exercise make us feel good - but did you know they can also make our aging brains stronger? 

It used to be that getting older meant forgetting more, slowing down, and acting more and more like our grandparents. But no more. We can add years to our lives and boost our brain power by learning to play an instrument, jog around the block, or even bond with our dog.

Rusty Clark/flickr creative commons

Does what we eat control our thoughts and feelings? After many studies, a neuroscientist says it's true.

AJ Cann/flickr creative commons

While we're obsessed with keeping germs away, our go-to science guy, Carl Zimmer, says we and the planet are covered in viruses. Which ones are harmless and which can do us in?

North Charleston (Flickr Creative Commons)

Some 2400 high school students on 64 robot building teams gather at the Connecticut Convention Center today and tomorrow for the FIRST Regional robotics competition. FIRST stands for For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology. Joining us by phone this morning is one of the participants Dave Givens, he is a junior at Wolcott High School and a member of Team MAX.

Flickr Creative Commons, EssjayNZ

If I tell you that today's show looks into the near future and sees a wave of new drugs and other therapies that can enhance moral behavior, maybe you'll tell me: enough with the science fiction. But in some ways, the drugs are already here.

Oxytocin, sometimes known as the love hormone, increases empathy and social bonding.  And oxytocin can already be taken -- for other reasons -- in nasal spray form.

Awards Celebrate Women In STEM Careers

Mar 8, 2012
Connecticut Technology Council

  Women are severely under-represented in science and technology professions in Connecticut and across the nation. Each year, the Connecticut Technology Council aims to highlight the work of women who ARE making it in those fields, with its Women of Innovation Awards. WNPR’s Sarah Miner went along.

Deirdre Arcand is sophomore at Mercy High School in Middletown. She says even in her generation she still sometimes finds she’s a gender pioneer.

Chris Devers (Flickr Creative Commons)

Yale paleontologists say two Dinosaurs previously thought to be the same species are actually two different creatures.

There is no denying that the Torosaurus and the Triceratops look a lot alike.

Can Human Genes Be Patented?

Feb 22, 2012

Doctors, researchers, and patent lawyers are waiting to see whether the U.S. Supreme Court takes up a case about patenting a human gene. As WNPR’s Neena Satija reports, a Yale Cancer Center employee is among the plaintiffs.

Harriet Jones

Connecticut’s students are falling behind in science, technology, engineering and math. All this week WNPR is examining this problem, and its implications for our 21st century workforce. Today, Harriet Jones reports on efforts by employers to address the lack of STEM skills. 

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