Living Lab Radio: August 12th, 2019

Aug 11, 2019

A beautiful Perseid meteor, captured by astronaut Ron Garan aboard the International Space Station in 2011.
Credit NASA /

"The Perseids are caused by the debris left behind by comet Swift-Tuttle, which is one of the bigger comets in the solar system. And every year in middle of August we run into the debris trail. And when that debris hits our atmosphere at  132,000 miles per hour, it burns up and leaves these brilliant streaks of light we call Perseid meteors." - Bill Cooke

This week on Living Lab Radio:

  • Suzanne Schindler of Washington University in St. Louis says a new blood test for Alzheimer's disease could be a game changer, allowing new drugs to be tested on high-risk patients before they develop memory loss.
  • Stephen Sturley of Columbia University and Barnard College shares the story of a rare disease, called Niemann-Pick Type C, that affects a protein that's also involved in Ebola virus, and how an ingredient in Febreze became a candidate for treating the disease.  It's an improbable story that highlights the importance of rare disease research.
  • NASA's Bill Cooke says Perseid (and other) meteor showers may be eye-catching, but the threat they pose to Earth or orbiting spacecraft is negligible compared to all the trash we've left in space. (He also has some viewing tips.)
  • Humanities dean Tyrus Miller and environmental scientist Steven Allison argue that science, alone, can't solve climate change; for that, we'll need the humanities on board.