Heather Goldstone

Science Editor and Host of Living Lab

Heather Goldstone is science editor at WCAI and host of Living Lab on The Point, a weekly show exploring how science gets done and makes its way into our daily lives. Goldstone holds a Ph.D. in ocean science from M.I.T. and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and spent a decade as researcher before leaving the lab to pursue journalism. She has reported extensively on Woods Hole’s unique scientific community and key environmental issues on Cape Cod. Her stories have appeared in outlets ranging from Cape Cod Times and Commercial Fishery News to NPR and PBS News Hour. Most recently, Goldstone hosted Climatide.org, an NPR-sponsored blog exploring present-day impacts of climate change on coastal life.

Ways to Connect

It’s time for your yearly flu shot. But why do we have to do this every year? Why can’t we get a flu shot once – maybe a booster now and again – and be done with it, like we do with other vaccinations? There are scientists working to accomplish just that. David Topham at University of Rochester Medical Center is on the task, but he warns that some efforts to develop a universal flu vaccine may not be as successful as hoped.

NASA

This fall marks 20 years since NASA began continuous, global measurements of life on Earth from space. This kind of thing is unprecedented, and it helps us get a much better idea of how climate change and other environmental factors are affecting life on Earth. 

biomimicry.org

Humans have always been designers and engineers, but we’ve only been on this planet a few million years. Life and evolution have been going for nearly four billion years. And the millions of species on this planet today have evolved millions of ways to meet the challenges of survival. Increasingly, human engineers are turning to nature for solutions to our own challenges, like energy production, water use, transportation, and advanced materials. For example, there’s a way to make concrete using the same method as corals do, to build their structures.

There are scientists studying how spending time in nature restores us physically and mentally.

A cognitive neuroscientist at the University of Utah noticed that after he spent a few days backpacking in nature, he got great ideas. He wanted to quantify it, so he gave people pencil-and-paper tests before and after they took hikes. The scientist, Dr. David Strayer, found that the people experienced a 50 percent increase in their creativity after the hike.

Florence Williams is the author of The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative. She says even 15 minutes of walking in the woods reduces the blood pressure, reduce your cortisol stress hormones, and change your heart rate variability – all things that lead to better health.  

Florence Williams is a journalist and contributing editor to Outside magazine. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, the New York Times Magazine, and National Geographic among others. Her first book, Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History, was a New York Times Notable Book of 2012 and the winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in Science and Technology. Williams lives in Washington, DC.

Yoshiki Hase, mos.org

There are a lot of questions, in life and politics, that science can inform, but not answer. What should we do about gun violence? Should we ban high concussion risk sports for young athletes? Boston’s Museum of Science is asking provocative questions, and getting interesting results.  We talk to Christine Reich of the Boson Museum of Science.

 

Alzheimer’s disease affects an estimated 50 million people worldwide, yet there are only a handful of drugs to treat the symptoms. None of them address the underlying disease processes, and it’s been years since a major new drug got approved. But there are 126 drugs in clinical trials. A leading researcher breaks down the prospects and obstacles to treating Alzheimer’s disease. We talk with Rudy Tanzi of Harvard & Massachusetts General Hospital. 

There have been ten mass shootings this year, and plenty of talk about the factors that contribute to the high rate of these devastating events in the U.S. Most research points to gun availability, but social contagion also plays a role. And, as with contagious diseases, researchers say early intervention is best. Sherry Towers of Arizona State University joins us. 

J. Junker

We turned our clocks back an hour yesterday, and plenty of us feel a bit strange today. No wonder. Our body clocks influence everything from blood pressure to mental health. To learn more about circadian rythms we turn to Michael Rosbash, the Peter Gruber Endowed Chair in Neuroscience at Brandeis University. He’s also a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. And as of a month ago, he’s a Nobel laureate. He and two colleagues won this year’s Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their work on circadian rhythms.  

NASA - Ball Aerospace

NASA and NOAA are teaming up to launch a new weather satellite on Friday. It’s going to make it easier for meteorologists to predict extreme weather events up to 7 days out. We talk to Vanessa Griffin, NOAA’s Director of Satellite Operations.

The political relationship between the U.S. and Russia is tense right now, but scientific collaboration between the two countries is on the rise, particularly when it comes to the Arctic. Earlier this year, the U.S. and Russia were among the eight parties who signed the and Arctic science agreement. And this week, the International Arctic Science Committee is meeting at the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow to discuss next steps. For more we talk to Paul Berkman, Professor of Practice in Science Diplomacy at the Tufts Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. 

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