Perpetual Notion Machine

Stem Cells: Progress and Promise

07/4/14 9:58 AM | Science

stem cells On this week’s episode, Matthew Zmudka interviews Fima Zaltsman, a graduate student at UW-Madison who researches stem cell differentiation. We discuss what a stem cell is, why some are opposed to using them, and recent research advances and failures.

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June 5, 2014 – Pledge Drive With Old Clips

06/9/14 4:25 PM | Science

On this special pledge drive show, PNM takes its new time machine for a spin to several shows in the past. First, we hear the opening intro of a pledge drive show from March 6, 1997 with PNM founder Kris Wedding. However, the time machine busted a gear or two, and we returned to today’s time, where Bill Scanlon and Dennis Shaffer continued highlighting the achievements of PNM to you, our listening audience, to get you to support us with a small donation. All of a sudden, the time machine kicked in again, and we were transported to the Great Dane Pub on Oct. 15, 1998. We did a challenging ‘live’ remote broadcast with several head beermeisters to talk about ….

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April 17, 2014 – Extinction of Species

05/20/14 1:05 AM | Science

ROM-BirdGallery-PassengerPigeon This month is the 100th anniversary of the extinction of the Passenger pigeon, a very shameful anniversary for a bird that once numbered as many as 5 billion. The last one died in captivity at the Cincinnati Zoo. Extinctions of species are not uncommon when the delicate balance of nature occasionally veers off-course. Tonight, our very special guest, Stanley Temple, discusses the causes, potential future threats, and possible animal traits needed to weather these threats. Stan is the Beers-Bascom Professor Emeritus in Conservation at UW–Madison, and Senior Fellow at the Aldo Leopold Foundation. Human impacts have been the most devastating. In just a 50 year time span, humans hunted the Passenger pigeon into extinction. Stan mentions the number ….

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April 3, 2014 – You Are Here

04/3/14 6:00 PM | Science

On this show, we explore the history of exploring – the effort of mankind to find itself. Our guest is Hiawatha Bray, a technology reporter for the Boston Globe. His new book is called “You Are Here.” He talked with PNM producer Jim Carrier.

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March 20, 2014 – Dr. Harry Greene

03/20/14 7:18 PM | Science

Tonight’s show is produced by Kaitlin Stack Whitney and engineered by Matthew Zmudka. Our guest tonight is Dr. Harry Greene of Cornell University. His research is on the behavior, ecology, evolution, and conservation biology of vertebrates and is especially interested in snakes. He talked about snakes, outreach, critical anthropomorphism, his path to a science career, and why natural history has all the cool questions (and genomics can help answer them) — among many other things! He’s an inspiration and was great fun to interview.   Check out his fantastic new book, Tracks and Shadows: Field Biology as Art. It’s in the UW library already and can be on your bookshelf ASAP. And his previous ….

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March 6, 2014 – The Brain, Learning, and Education

03/8/14 11:57 PM | Science

In tonight’s show, we delve a little into the mysteries of the brain. We don’t quite answer the question “How do we learn?” completely. But we do learn about some of what happens in the brain when learning occurs. And we learn how neuroscience, studying the functions of the brain, can provide insights to educational processes for our children. PNM reporter Dennis Shaffer talks with Edward Hubbard, a UW-Madison neuroscientist in the Dept. of Educational Psychology. Educational Psychology is an emerging field of study combining parts of neuroscience, psychology, and education. Using the tools of neuroscience, such as electroencepholography (EEG), Hubbard’s lab can see what happens in the brain when a child experiences a teaching moment or is ….

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February 20, 2014 – IceCube Neutrino Observatory

02/20/14 7:32 PM | Science

In this episode, reporter Matthew Zmudka talks to Michael DuVernois, a scientist with the IceCube Neutrino Observatory. A University of Wisconsin-Madison-led research center at the South Pole, IceCube is a large, under-ice telescope that detects neutrinos (small particles) and uses this data to answer questions about the nature of matter. This is also our pledge drive episode, so tune in for heart-felt calls to donate to keep WORT-FM alive as Your Only Sound Alternative.

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January 30, 2014 – The End of Night

01/30/14 3:09 PM | Science

Light pollution in North America (David Lorenz, UW Madison) Tonight, we look at one of the rarest things on earth — the dark of night — and learn that without it, earth is not only less beautiful, it is less healthy as well. Creatures from babies in their cribs, to turtles in the sea, require dark to live. But, for reasons ranging from security fears to 24-hour gas stations, we have increasingly lit up our nights, to the point where most stars are now invisible to the naked eye. At the end of the show, we’ll tell you how Madison rates for darkness. Paul Bogard, is the author of The End of Night – Searching for Natural Darkness in an age of artificial Light. He was interviewed by ….

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January 16, 2014 – Science Writing & Discover Magazine

01/16/14 4:29 PM | Science

siri carpenter On their January 16 show, Perpetual Notion Machine hosts delved into the mystery of science journalism. PNM reporter Dennis Shaffer talks with Siri Carpenter, an award-winning science writer, who spent 12 years freelancing stories for such publications as “The New York Times”, the “Los Angeles Times”, “Science”, “Science Careers”, “Scientific American Mind”, “Oprah Magazine”, and many others. She’s currently Features Editor at Discover magazine. And last Fall, she was on the UW-Madison campus as the Science Writer in Residence. She discusses her experience on campus, what it’s like writing about science, her responsibilities at Discover magazine, and a couple of the Top 100 science stores of 2013 that appear in the current issue of Discover. Enjoy!

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January 2, 2014 – Emily Graslie of The Field Museum/The Brain Scoop

12/27/13 7:35 PM | Science

Tonight’s show was produced and hosted by Kaitlin Stack Whitney.   Our guest is Emily Graslie, Chief Curiosity Correspondent for The Field Museum in Chicago. She’s also the host of The Brain Scoop, a science education YouTube channel.   Tune in at 7pm central time on January 2nd, 2014 to hear her interview on 89.9 FM or streaming online here at   She discusses her show, her new job with The Field Museum, her recent and incredibly popular posts about skinning wolves and standing up to gender discrimination, what her next big assignment is, and which exhibits to check out when you go to The Field Museum.   Check out some of Emily’s recent Brain ….

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Perpetual Notion Machine
Perpetual Notion Machine
News & Culture
Thursdays @ 7:00 pm
Various Hosts
1st, 3rd, and 5th Thursday evenings of each month. A look at contemporary scientific issues and discoveries in a way that is accessible, understandable and entertaining to the non-scientists of the listening community.
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