Curious

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It's often said of poetry that there's a kind of music to it.  You'll get no disagreement there from Stephen Rodgers

He's a professor of music theory and musicianship at the University of Oregon, and his research focuses on the relationship between poetry and music.  19th century composers get Rodgers's greatest scrutiny. 

This month's edition of Curious: Research Meets Radio features a visit with the professor. 

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Maybe you do not relish the idea of all those other living things in you and on you, yet there they are.  As as we've come to understand the microbiome--the collection of micro-organisms that inhabit our bodies--a lot of different terms have been used. 

Nicolae Morar at the University of Oregon thought some of the terms were not especially helpful.  So he took his skills in philosophy and got together with UO microbiologist Brendan Bohannon. 

They recently put out a joint paper outlining suggested terminology for the microbiome, and that's the subject of this month's Curious: Research Meets Radio. 

University of Oregon

There are still people who spend their summers on mountaintop perches, scanning the horizon for wildfires.  But lookouts staffed by live humans have largely been replaced with remote cameras. 

And networks of cameras are being combined into a system called ALERTWildfire, a joint project of the University of Oregon and several other schools and agencies.  It bears some resemblance to the ShakeAlert system for earthquake early warnings. 

And the two programs share some people, including Leland O'Driscoll at UO. 

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Anybody who watches a fair amount of sports is used to the concept of concussion.  It's bad enough when adults get their brains rattled; it can derail a life plan for a young person working to get through school. 

So the University of Oregon's Center for Brain Injury Research and Training (CBIRT) started a project to help teachers help students with brain injuries.  We learn about the project from CBIRT Director Ann Glang and Project Coordinator Melissa McCart in this month's edition of Curious: Research Meets Radio, our joint venture with UO. 

SPA Research Lab

It only takes a small difference in temperature for what might have been snow to fall instead as rain.  Subtle changes in many realms add up to big ones as the planet warms. 

These are the kinds of changes Lucas Silva studies in his work at the Soil Plant Atmosphere lab at the University of Oregon.  Understanding how natural processes work now can help us preserve or restore those processes as needed (and if possible). 

Dr. Silva is our guest in this month's edition of Curious: Research Meets Radio. 

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We've been hearing for a while now about the importance of the microbiome within each of us, the collection of bacteria and other living things inside us that help us stay healthy. 

If you stop and think for a moment, you realize microorganisms are all around us.  So buildings have microbiomes, too. 

The Biology and the Built Environment Center (BioBE) at the University of Oregon studies that microbiome.  Dr. Suzanne Ishaq is right in the middle of the work. 

Midnightblueowl, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=38559469

We give credit to the British for a wicked sense of satire.  But maybe the credit really should go to their Anglo-Saxon forebears. 

We'll be sure to ask Martha Bayless, a professor of English at the University of Oregon.  Her research focuses on Anglo-Saxon England and many aspects of its culture... including its entertainments and diversions. 

Maxim Kozin, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=45205912

  The history of science--for that matter the history of knowledge--begins with curiousity.  It's what drives people to ask questions like "how do birds fly," and "what causes diseases?"  Vera Keller at the University of Oregon studies and teaches the history of science, and she refines her approach to the study of the history of curiosity.  Only fitting that we have this discussion with Dr. Keller in our monthly "Curious: Research Meets Radio" segment. 

University of Oregon

It's astonishing to look at maps from hundreds of years ago and realize just how accurate some of them are, despite their creators possessing very primitive mapping tools. 

Things are just a bit easier for the people at the University of Oregon's InfoGraphics Lab.  They have satellites and myriad other technologies available in helping them create maps and other visual aids for the Department of Geography, the University at large, and Oregon state government agencies. 

One of the lab's recent projects: an atlas showing wildlife migration routes, made in collaboration with the University of Wyoming. 

Stillwaterising, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9688821

We forget which movie character said "I'm addicted to breathing." 

We all can relate, but Andy Lovering at the University of Oregon understands better than most people HOW we make use of the air we breathe. 

Dr. Lovering runs the Cardiopulmonary & Respiratory Physiology Laboratory, examining issues like how people live well at very high altitudes, and what breathing issues show up later in life for people who were born prematurely. 

Dr. Lovering is our guest in this month's edition of cUriOus: Research Meets Radio. 

Robert & Mihaela Vicol, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18653150

We depend on language a lot, often taking for granted how speech works. 

It only takes one slight hiccup--in either speaking or hearing--for "excuse me while I kiss the sky" to become "excuse me while I kiss this guy." 

This is the research zone in which the University of Oregon's Melissa Baese-Berk works.  She's an associate professor in the Department of Linguistics, studying speech production and perception. 

An example of her work: trying to figure out if Neil Armstrong said "small step for A man." 

Wikimedia

Washington was one of the first states to legalize marijuana for personal use.  And you can bet people in Oregon counties bordering Washington crossed that border to buy pot. 

And then Oregon passed its own personal use law, and the cross-border traffic cooled. 

A study led by University of Oregon health economist Ben Hansen finds that much of the marijuana grown in Washington stays in Washington, counter to concerns that much of it is exported to the black market. 

Wikimedia

"All science is either physics or stamp collecting," said Lord Rutherford, the nuclear physicist. 

A little harsh, perhaps, but Raghu Parthasarathy can probably relate.  Parthasarathy is a physicist at the University of Oregon whose work crosses over into biology, chemistry and neuroscience. 

His work includes researching the microbiome of the gut, which influences a person's overall health. 

U.S. Army/Public Domain

Your child may know all the letters in the alphabet and reads aloud pretty well... but can't seem to tell you what the paragraph is about. 

This is where reading and comprehension come apart.  And it's what Gina Biancarosa studies in her research at the University of Oregon Center on Teaching and Learning

Dr. Biancarosa helps develop systems to assess reading comprehension in elementary school students. 

University of Oregon

The academic year is drawing to a close at the University of Oregon, but the work never stops. 

This month we visit with Leslie Leve from UO's Counseling Psychology and Human Services Department. She updates us on the University's Phil and Penny Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact, UO's $1 billion initiative fueled by the Knights' $500 million gift last fall.  Dr. Leve will talk about her own research and how the Knight Campus' approach will help. 

University of Oregon

At least one journalism professor we know reports more people signing up for classes in the Donald Trump/Fake News age. 

And the business of journalism got a shot in the arm from the 2016 campaign and its outcome: more people paying for some major newspapers and their web pages. 

We get a perspective on the news business and renewed interest in it from Ed Madison at the University of Oregon School of Journalism

He worked for CNN when it started up and has worked many places since. 

BLM

The area around Clovis, New Mexico yielded many archaeological treasures over the years. 

That's why the earliest human inhabitants of North America are generally referred to as The Clovis People.  But digs in Southeastern Oregon continue to turn up finds that pre-date Clovis sites. 

The University of Oregon has devoted faculty and students to digs in the region, including at the Rimrock Draw site. 

Yves Picq, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=28335609

About a third of American adults are considered obese, and the percentage among children is growing close to that rate. 

Science is looking at obesity from a number of angles, including at the University of Oregon. 

The Health Promotion and Obesity Prevention Initiative is one focus of the Prevention Science Institute at the U of O. 

cUriOus: University Focuses On Volcanoes

Feb 10, 2017
NASA/Public Domain

Even volcanoes in remote places can cause problems for people. 

Example: the eruption of a volcano in Iceland in 2010; the ash plume shut down airports across Europe. 

Volcanology is one of the study areas addressed by a "Cluster of Excellence" at the University of Oregon. 

Volcanoes in and near Oregon made this a natural program emphasis. 

In this month's installment of "cUriOus: Research Meets Radio," Professor Paul Wallace lays out the cluster of excellence model and how it will help study volcanoes. 

cUriOus: Weather And Ocean Explorers

Jan 6, 2017
Francis Sinclair/Public Domain

You have to admit, it took courage for our ancestors to get in rickety boats and travel across vast expanses of ocean to find lands new to them. 

It took luck, too... and ocean currents and a number of other factors. 

Archaeologist Scott Fitzpatrick at the University of Oregon studies the history of colonization in the Pacific and in the Caribbean.  And his studies take in weather patterns and other forces that may have forced choices on ancient explorers. 

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