In this hour we hear about the secret behind red dye. Then we discuss the challenges to making STEM fields more representative.
With: Amy Butler Greenfield
Cochineal, a parasitic insect native to Mexico, is the source of a vibrant red dye called carmine, which Spain’s Conquistadors encountered for the first time in 1519. Greenfield is the author of A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire, about the history of this highly sought-after commodity that eluded pirates, scientists, and kings.
With: Kristin Wustholz, College of William & Mary and Shelley Svoboda
When restoring priceless works of art, conservators often want to know the origins of the paint. One chemist works with art curators to trace the molecular “fingerprints” of rare paint pigments and has produced a technique that allows precise chemical analysis from a single near-microscopic particle excised from the painting.
With: Gail Dodge, Old Dominion University
Nuclear physicist has taken a leading role in atom-smashing experiments. Dodge, who won an Outstanding Faculty Award from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, is also devoted to growing the number of women in a field that is still dominated by men.
As part of our ongoing series about STEM education, we ask: what does a scientist look like? Short, tall, black, brown, male or female?
With: Shirley Malcom, American Association for the Advancement of Science
We discuss why women and minorities continue to face barriers to entering STEM fields.
With: Laura Puaca, Christopher Newport University
We also hear about what might be keeping American girls out of laboratories and the WWII history of Edna the Engineer.
With: William and Mary’s Virginia Institute of Marine Science
In 2009, fewer than 2% of physical science degrees—like physics and chemistry—went to African-Americans. Considering African-Americans make up 12% of the U.S. population, these numbers are shockingly low. And they’re getting even lower. We talk to four young scientists about their outreach project.