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Pizza Lunch Podcasts

About once a month at Sigma Xi headquarters, we liven up the lunch hour with an American Scientist Pizza Lunch talk. In these informal lectures, scientists describe new research to non-scientists. Each Pizza Lunch offers an in-depth look at its subject, whether it's bedbugs or the smart grid.

After each talk, American Scientist editors chat with the speakers about their research. Anyone can listen in via our American Scientist Pizza Lunch podcast. Don’t miss our rich archives of full-length audio slideshows of earlier lectures, too.

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Retracing the Evolution of African Penguins

"Penguins are 10 times older than humans and have been here for a very, very long time,"said Daniel Ksepka, African PenguinsPh.D., a North Carolina State University research assistant professor. Dr. Ksepka researches the evolution of penguins and how they came to inhabit the African continent. 

Because penguins have been around for over 60 million years, their fossil record is extensive. Fossils that Dr. Ksepka and his colleagues have discovered provide clues about migration patterns and the diversity of penguin species.

Dr. Ksepka goes into more depth about how his research is piecing together the evolutionary puzzle of penguins and other related bird species.

Science Hangout: Dr. Gruss on Advancing Research 

Scientist research

In American Scientist 's first Google Hangout On Air, managing editor Fenella Saunders talks with Prof. Dr. Peter Gruss, president of the Max Planck Society, a nonprofit research organization that has promoted research at its own institutes since 1948, about growing basic research and the various ways to do so.

Click the title to view the recorded discussion!

Smart Materials Deliver Drugs to Targeted Areas in the Body

Dr. Darlene Taylor is an associate professor in the Department of Chemistry at Uterine FibroidClick to Enlarge Image North Carolina Central University. She uses molecular engineering to develop what she calls “smart materials”- substances that can sense and respond in some way to a change in their environment. Perhaps the most exciting use for smart materials is helping to deliver powerful drugs to specific target sites deep inside the body without affecting other tissues along the way.

Dr. Taylor discusses her research in an interview with Sandra Ackerman, senior editor at American Scientist magazine

Pancreatic Cancer and More Effective Treatments

PancreasClick to Enlarge Image

Dr. Antonio Baines is an associate professor in the Department of Biology at North Carolina Central University, an adjunct professor in the Department of Pharmacology in the School of Medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a cancer researcher.

Dr. Baines’ research focuses on understanding a gene called Ras, and its role as a molecular target in pancreatic cancer. His research aim is to target certain points in the pathway of pancreatic cancer in order to increase the effectiveness of treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation. Dr.Baines goes into more depth about how his research could increase understanding of how to combat pancreatic cancer.

How to Better Communicate Your Science

Most scientists will tell you that one of the inspirations for their work is to somehow benefit mankind, whether that’s through new medicines or a better understanding of the formation of the universe. But how can scientists ensure that mankind knows about their work?

Science author and journalist Dennis Meredith discusses how scientists can become better communicators of their research.

In this podcast, he discussed with American Scientist managing editor, Fenella Saunders, some of the ways he’s found to help scientists become more effective communicators.

LungFlexibleRobot Robots in Clinical and Home Environments

Dr. Ron Alterovitz , an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, talks about current and future research and challenges involving robots used in clinical and home environments.

In this podcast, Dr. Alterovitz talks about his research on creating algorithms for robots and their use mainly in surgical and home environments.

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