NIU STEM

The Sound of Science - "New Moons"

Apr 5, 2019

J: This is Jeremy Benson.

K: And Kate Powers from NIU STEM Outreach.

J: And this is the Sound of Science on WNIJ.

K: Today’s question comes from my friend Danielle, who asks, “Why can we sometimes see the full moon during the day?”

J: Great question, Danielle!  We’ve had good moon questions lately - I guess you could say we’re going through a phase!

K: Oh brother…  I think what Jeremy means is that to answer Danielle’s question, we’re going to have to look at the different phases of the moon.

The STEM Read Podcast - The Women of Frankenstein

Mar 22, 2019

Episode 16:  The Women of Frankenstein with Kiersten White and Christine Brovelli-O’Brien  

The Sound of Science: "The Chemistry Of Baking"

Mar 15, 2019

J: I'm Jeremy Benson from NIU STEM Outreach and I'm in the studio with Kate Powers. This is the Sound of Science on WNIJ.

K: Hi Jeremy, I hear you have a delicious question for me today.

J: That's right! This question is about the chemistry of baking. Lynn wants to know why many recipes call for both baking soda and baking powder. And what's the difference between the two?

K: Lynn's right. Many cookie or cake recipes call for both types of chemical raising agents.

J: Chemical raising agent? Are there other types of raising agents?

The Sound of Science - "Gold"

Feb 22, 2019

K: I’m Kate Powers from NIU STEM Outreach here in the studio with Sam Watt and this is the Sound of Science.

S: Kate, I have a question from Colton today. He is wondering why you have to polish silver but not gold?

K: Yeah gold is pretty amazing. Colton is right, gold doesn’t tarnish like other metals. Before we talk about gold, though, we should talk about what is happening when a metal tarnishes. 

S: Well, I know silver turns black when it tarnishes. What other metals tarnish?

Northern Illinois University

Northern Illinois University’s STEMfest is working to be more inclusive this year.

The annual event takes place at NIU's Convocation Center. It features scientific demonstrations, intricate displays, and STEM experts scattered across the large space.  But it’s often a loud, crowded show.  NIU STEM educator Sam Watt says they’re trying to expand access to the event with a low-sensory hour.

The Sound of Science - "What's in the Water?"

Oct 12, 2018

Welcome to the Sound of Science on WNIJ. I’m Sam Watt from NIU STEM Outreach

Sam: Samantha wants to know what water is made of. Luckily, I have Chemist and known water drinker Kate Powers here. Well Kate? What’s water made of?

Kate: Water molecules consist of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. They–

Sam: There we have it! This has been the Sound of Science on WNIJ where you learn–

The Sound of Science - "Windy Days"

Aug 24, 2018

Kate: Welcome to the Sound of Science on WNIJ, I’m Kate Powers from NIU STEM Outreach and I have a question for Jeremy Benson. Jeremy, with cooler weather on its way I think Ellie’s question is very pertinent right now. Ellie wants to know why wind blows.

Slideshow: STEM Divas Camp Empowers Young Female Minds

Aug 6, 2018
Victoria Lunacek

Northern Illinois University held a series STEM Divas workshops this summer to empower young women through science, crafts and robotics. Participants had to program their robot to do a certain set of steps: Move backward, turn in a full circle, and change four colors. It's part of a series of Day Camps hosted by NIU.

The Science Of Cicada Songs

Jun 15, 2018

It’s that time of year again: when cicada songs flood our warm summer nights, announcing their presence as they attract mates. As a kid I was told they only came out every 7 years. I was confused because I heard them every year. It turns out whomever told me they emerge every 7 years was wrong on two counts: some species of cicadas emerge every year, and some emerge every 13 or 17 years.

The Science of Gut Rumbles

Jun 8, 2018

Whoo, that was embarrassing. I accidentally let my borborygmi go. Of course, borborygmi is involuntary, I can’t help it. Borborygmi, the rumbling sound of your gut, doesn’t come from your stomach, nor is it solely because you’re hungry.

WNIJ and NIU STEAM are partnering to create “The Sound of Science,” a weekly series explaining important science, technology, engineering and math concepts using sound. The feature will air at 1:04 p.m. Fridays as a lead-in to Science Friday. The first “Sound of Science” episode airs today.

“STEM is a topic of great interest to our audience – especially with Science Friday listeners," WNIJ General Manager Staci Hoste explained, "so it makes sense to add NIU STEM experts to the mix of information our listeners get during this very popular national program.”

Jessie Schlacks / WNIJ

Hundreds of spectators flocked to the Northern Illinois University courtyard near Davis Hall for the solar eclipse.

Patrons ranged in age and background. Some used eclipse glasses provided by NIU's STEM Department, while others made it a do-it-yourself project. 

Homemade viewing devices included cut-out cereal boxes and paper plates adorned with tinfoil. 

Nicole Henryson is an NIU history professor who brought her kids to work today. She said she's grateful to witness her second solar eclipse as an adult. 

Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

Last week, two dozen teachers from Beijing looked up at large, domed buildings. A translator explained how, inside, the gas from sewage waste is collected and converted into energy. The finished product is clean drinking water.

They were touring Freedom Field Renewable Energy in Rockford, which specializes in commercialized energy solutions.

The not-for-profit provides educational and technical support to businesses and manufacturers, as well as community members and students.

Guy Stephens / WNIJ

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Northern Illinois University’s STEM Cafés bring experts in those fields together with the public in a setting that’s just about as far from a classroom or lecture hall as you can get.

Jeff VanderMeer is that rare author who's about to become a household name.

One of his books, Annihilation, was made into a movie which Paramount Pictures scheduled for release this September. The film stars Natalie Portman.

VanderMeer's best-selling novel is an NIU "STEM Read" selection; that group held an event with the author Monday at the DeKalb Public Library.