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Living Lab Radio: June 30, 2019

This image from the Hubble Space Telescope indicates that a huge ring of dark matter likely exists surrounding the center of CL0024+17 that has no normal matter counterpart. The failure of detectors to find dark matter on earth is leading to new research.

“With 24 candidates, there are 620 billion trillion possible rankings. When there are many candidates, there are many more ways for people to disagree than to agree.”     -Alexander Strang

This week on Living Lab Radio:

  • Twenty candidates for president took the stage for the first Democratic debate of the 2020 elections. It took two nights. And there are four more Democratic candidates that didn’t make the cut. If that seems like too many candidates to you, you’ve got company.  And, you have math to back you up. We talk to Alexander Strang, PhD candidate in math at Case Western Reserve University.

  • There’s an unfortunate update on the decline of North Atlantic right whales. There are just over four hundred individuals remaining, and there were six deaths in the month of June. That’s over one percent of the entire remaining population. We talk to Peter Corkeron, who leads the large whale research program at NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center.

  • The teen brain has long an enigma to parents. In recent years, it’s also become a hot topic for brain researchers. What they’ve learned has surprised many: teens aren’t just inexperienced adults. Their brains are still developing, and the result is a unique set of both strengths and weaknesses. We talk to Frances Jensen, chair of the neurology department at University of Pennsylvania and author of The Teenage Brain: A Neuroscientist's Survival Guide to Raising Adolescents and Young Adults.

  • Dark matter is thought to make up a little over a quarter of the universe. That’s six times more than all the matter ever observed. And, yet, dark matter is called that because it’s a mystery. Its identity is unknown and it’s never been observed. That’s not for lack of trying. Millions of dollars have been poured into detectors around the world. Now, the failure of those purpose-built detectors to find what they were looking for is sparking a revolution in particle physics. We talk to Flip Tanedo, assistant professor of physics at UC Riverside.

Elsa Partan is a producer for Living Lab Radio. She first came to the station in 2002 as an intern and fell in love with radio. She is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. From 2006 to 2009, she covered the state of Wyoming for the NPR member station Wyoming Public Media in Laramie. She was a newspaper reporter at The Mashpee Enterprise from 2010 to 2013. She lives in Falmouth with her husband and two daughters.