Perpetual Notion Machine

April 3, 2014 – You Are Here

04/3/14 6:00 PM | Science

On this show, we explore the history of exploring – the effort of mankind to find itself. Our guest is Hiawatha Bray, a technology reporter for the Boston Globe. His new book is called “You Are Here.” He talked with PNM producer Jim Carrier.

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March 20, 2014 – Dr. Harry Greene

03/20/14 7:18 PM | Science

Tonight’s show is produced by Kaitlin Stack Whitney and engineered by Matthew Zmudka. Our guest tonight is Dr. Harry Greene of Cornell University. His research is on the behavior, ecology, evolution, and conservation biology of vertebrates and is especially interested in snakes. He talked about snakes, outreach, critical anthropomorphism, his path to a science career, and why natural history has all the cool questions (and genomics can help answer them) — among many other things! He’s an inspiration and was great fun to interview.   Check out his fantastic new book, Tracks and Shadows: Field Biology as Art. It’s in the UW library already and can be on your bookshelf ASAP. And his previous book: Snakes: The Evolution of Mystery in Nature.   We’ll put permanent streaming audio link (embedded soundcloud file) up here in a few days; in the meantime download or stream the show via the WORT archives here:

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February 20, 2014 – IceCube Neutrino Observatory

02/20/14 7:32 PM | Science

In this episode, reporter Matthew Zmudka talks to Michael DuVernois, a scientist with the IceCube Neutrino Observatory. A University of Wisconsin-Madison-led research center at the South Pole, IceCube is a large, under-ice telescope that detects neutrinos (small particles) and uses this data to answer questions about the nature of matter. This is also our pledge drive episode, so tune in for heart-felt calls to donate to keep WORT-FM alive as Your Only Sound Alternative.

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January 30, 2014 – The End of Night

01/30/14 3:09 PM | Science

Light pollution in North America (David Lorenz, UW Madison) Tonight, we look at one of the rarest things on earth — the dark of night — and learn that without it, earth is not only less beautiful, it is less healthy as well. Creatures from babies in their cribs, to turtles in the sea, require dark to live. But, for reasons ranging from security fears to 24-hour gas stations, we have increasingly lit up our nights, to the point where most stars are now invisible to the naked eye. At the end of the show, we’ll tell you how Madison rates for darkness. Paul Bogard, is the author of The End of Night – Searching for Natural Darkness in an age of artificial Light. He was interviewed by PNM producer Jim Carrier. We checked with David Lorenz of the University of Wisconsin, who reports that, on the Bortle scale from 1 to 9 – one being the darkest – Madison rates 6. Because of our light pollution, very little of the Milky Way can be seen on clear nights.   Here is a map of the World Atlas of Artificial Night Sky Brightness. Here is a link to David Lorenz’s updated world map of North America. Here is a link to Paul Bogard’s book, THE END OF NIGHT.

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January 16, 2014 – Science Writing & Discover Magazine

01/16/14 4:29 PM | Science

siri carpenter On their January 16 show, Perpetual Notion Machine hosts delved into the mystery of science journalism. PNM reporter Dennis Shaffer talks with Siri Carpenter, an award-winning science writer, who spent 12 years freelancing stories for such publications as “The New York Times”, the “Los Angeles Times”, “Science”, “Science Careers”, “Scientific American Mind”, “Oprah Magazine”, and many others. She’s currently Features Editor at Discover magazine. And last Fall, she was on the UW-Madison campus as the Science Writer in Residence. She discusses her experience on campus, what it’s like writing about science, her responsibilities at Discover magazine, and a couple of the Top 100 science stores of 2013 that appear in the current issue of Discover. Enjoy!

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January 2, 2014 – Emily Graslie of The Field Museum/The Brain Scoop

12/27/13 7:35 PM | Science

Tonight’s show was produced and hosted by Kaitlin Stack Whitney.   Our guest is Emily Graslie, Chief Curiosity Correspondent for The Field Museum in Chicago. She’s also the host of The Brain Scoop, a science education YouTube channel.   Tune in at 7pm central time on January 2nd, 2014 to hear her interview on 89.9 FM or streaming online here at   She discusses her show, her new job with The Field Museum, her recent and incredibly popular posts about skinning wolves and standing up to gender discrimination, what her next big assignment is, and which exhibits to check out when you go to The Field Museum.   Check out some of Emily’s recent Brain Scoop episodes that are mentioned on the show: “Where My Ladies At?” “Skinning the Wolf” (might want parental supervision for this with young kids) “Carl Akeley’s Fighting African Elephants”   The whole channel can be found here: And learn more about Emily here:  

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December 5, 2013 – Citizen Science with Dr. Amy Freitag

12/5/13 1:45 PM | Science

Tonight’s show is produced by Kaitlin Stack Whitney and engineered by Dennis Shaffer.   Our guest tonight is Dr. Amy Freitag, Science Integration Fellow of the California Ocean Science Trust. Learn more about her work with COST here. Learn more about her thesis work at Duke on collaborative fisheries on her website. Or check her out on Twitter.   During the interview, we both mention the 1971 oil spill in the San Francisco Bay. Learn more about that and Dr. John Francis, AKA the Planetwalker, here.   

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November 21, 2013 — Victorian Eyes // Quantitative Methods in the Humanities and Arts

11/21/13 7:12 PM | Science

Tonight’s show is produced and hosted by Kaitlin Stack Whitney and engineered by Matthew Zmudka.   Our guests tonight are Dr. Carrie Roy, Dr. Fred Boehm, and Catherine DeRose. They come from three very different backgrounds and are collaborating on an interdisciplinary project called Victorian Eyes. It’s using quantitative methods for text analysis and creating art to display the results. Much more information can be found on their website:   Their bios from their website: Fred Boehm, M.D., is a Ph.D. student in Statistics and a postdoctoral fellow at the Molecular and Environmental Toxicology Center. He develops methods for high-dimensional statistical inference with applications to genomics, cancer biology, and text mining. Catherine DeRose is a PhD Candidate in English literature. Her work focuses on nineteenth-century British literature, digital studies, and print culture. Carrie Roy, Ph.D. is coordinator for the Humanities Research Bridge and through her research and art explores physical and digital “interfaces” as they relate to cultural ideas and how they serve to order and convey information. Her interests span ethnography, technology, and art.   We’ll soon put the streaming audio here. In the meantime, download or stream it via the WORT archive here:    

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October 31, 2013 – Lee Bishop on Nanotechnology, Blogging, and Nerds

10/31/13 8:53 PM | Science

In this episode, reporter Matthew Zmudka interviewed chemist and blogger Lee Bishop. Lee works on outreach for the Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology at UW-Madison and organizes the popular Madison Nerd Nite events.

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October 3, 2013 – Dr. Matthew Hersch, history of early spaceflight and astronauts

10/3/13 7:10 PM | Science

Tonight’s show is produced by Kaitlin Stack Whitney and engineered by Dennis Shaffer. Our guest is Dr. Matthew Hersch, a lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania. He’s a historian of science and technology; learn more about his research here: He recently wrote a book published in 2012 called Inventing the American Astronaut. Learn more about the book here: Here’s the Amazon info to get yourself a copy of the book!   Streaming audio will be posted here soon after the show — in the meantime, check out the archives to stream or download the show.

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Perpetual Notion Machine
Perpetual Notion Machine
News & Culture
Thursdays @ 7:00 pm
Various Hosts
1st, 3rd, and 5th Thursday evenings of each month. A look at contemporary scientific issues and discoveries in a way that is accessible, understandable and entertaining to the non-scientists of the listening community.
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