The Sound of Science

The Sound of Science - "Apples to Apples"

Oct 5, 2018

Kate: I’m Kate Powers from NIU STEM Outreach and this is the Sound of Science on WNIJ. I’m joined by Sam Watt who has a question for me.

Sam: Hi Kate – this is a great autumn question from Lily. Lily wants to know why there are so many different types of apples in the grocery store compared to other types of fruit.

K: There does seem to be lots of different types! But did you know we have very few apple varieties today compared to two centuries ago?  

The Sound of Science - "3D Printed Hearts"

Sep 21, 2018

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

Jeremy: Today’s question comes from Ryan. He asks “How do you make a 3D printed heart that actually works?” To help me answer this, I’ve brought in recent NIU graduate and 3D printing expert Mackenzie Thompson. So, Mackenzie, let me start by asking if it’s even possible to print with things other than plastic.

The Sound of Science - "Don't Drink the Salt Water"

Sep 7, 2018

K: I’m Kate Powers from NIU STEM Outreach, with Jeremy Benson and this is the Sound of Science on WNIJ.

J: Kate, I have a question from Ariana, it sounds like she may have been reading Swiss Family Robinson or watching Cast Away. Ariana wants to know why you can’t drink sea water as a source of hydration?

The Sound of Science - "Why So Many Geese?"

Aug 31, 2018

J: Welcome to The Sound of Science on WNIJ. I’m Jeremy Benson from NIU STEM Outreach, and I’m joined by Kate Powers.

K: Jeremy, I hear you have a question from Sara today -- one that is close to the hearts of all the staff, faculty and students at NIU.

J: Yeah, Sara wants to know: Why are there so many Canada Geese everywhere? They seem to rule campus and can be quite aggressive, chasing poor innocent pedestrians around the lagoon.

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.

The Sound of Science - "Frizzy Hair"

Aug 17, 2018

Welcome to the Sound of Science. I’m Kate Powers – And I’m Mackenzie Thompson.

M: Kate, this week we have a burning question that comes to mind during the hot summer months. What is it about humidity that makes your hair so frizzy and curly?

K: As a curly hair girl, Pati, this question is close to my heart. And the basic answer to the question is simply: chemistry.

M: Chemistry? Are there chemical reactions between humid air and your hair?

The Sound of Science - "Coffee"

Aug 10, 2018

Kate: Welcome to the Sound of Science on WNIJ. I’m Kate Powers, and today’s question comes from Alex who wants to know why coffee tastes so weird. With me is STEM Outreach’s resident coffee enthusiast Sam Watt. Sam loves his coffee so much, he even went out of his way to pick and roast his own coffee in a coffee grove in Cambodia!

The Sound of Science - "Noise"

Jun 25, 2018

Welcome to The Sound of Science on WNIJ.

We're pretty comfortable with vision and glasses. We have our eyes checked regularly, and when our sight becomes blurry we put on glasses to bring the view back into focus. But do we get our ears checked regularly? And if our hearing becomes “blurry” do we put on hearing devices to help us hear? Why can't hearing aids “fix” hearing loss as simply as glasses can “fix” vision? 

The Sound of Science - "Hemholtz Resonators"

Jun 22, 2018

With me today I have a Hemholtz resonator. This is an incredibly complex instrument, so I’ll do my best to describe it. It’s a glass bottle with a long neck, and I got 6 for about 10 bucks. Okay, it’s a beer bottle, but it is in fact a Hemholtz resonator.”

The Sound of Science - "Resonance"

Jun 22, 2018

What do kids on a swing, musical instruments, and microwave ovens have in common? They all use an underlying scientific concept called resonance as well as being common parts of our daily lives.

With me are two tuning forks, each tuned to 256 Hz. I’m going to strike one and only one tuning fork. After a second or two I’ll put my hand on that tuning fork to stop it. I’m not going to touch the second fork at all. Listen closely.

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.