Vermont Researchers and Business Innovators in Second Season of VPT's Emerging Science

Paul Hines of the UVM School of Engineering
describes the basic science of electricity.

Vermont's researchers and entrepreneurs in science and technology are expanding knowledge about the natural world and developing new businesses. Vermont Public Television began telling the stories of people doing such notable work at the University of Vermont, other academic communities, businesses and homes last year in the first season of VPT's Emerging Science project. The second season of five weekly broadcast/webcast programs premieres Tuesday, Jan. 27, at 9 p.m. on VPT and www.vpt.org. The multi-platform project features video podcasts, science discussions and an educational component to spark high school students' interest in scientific careers.

"I'm just a guy on a dirt road in Vermont and look what I was able to build," says electric car designer Stephen Miracle of Montpelier, and viewers will find such innovators throughout Emerging Science.

Funding for the project comes from Vermont EPSCoR, the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research. Located at UVM, Vermont EPSCoR supports Vermont scientists and business leaders - including many who appear in the series - through funding, outreach and technology development.

Amy Seidl, a scientist and environmental researcher, returns as program host. The lineup is as follows:

  • Jan. 27 Energy
    Vermont scientists explore the history of energy in human society, examining how it is used and the challenges and opportunities associated with adapting to new, renewable sources. Included: how Vermont scientists are contributing to the growth potential of wind energy and helping redefine the electric grid to accommodate alternative energy sources.

  • Feb. 3 Food Webs
    This episode explores two Vermont “food webs”: the aquatic food web of Lake Champlain and the terrestrial food web in the time since wolves disappeared from the Vermont landscape. While food webs can be relatively simple to understand, Vermont scientists are delving into their complexities by modeling one of the smallest self-contained food webs known: the aquatic habitat in the pitcher plant.

  • Feb. 10 Technology of Social Sciences
    What are the technological tools used by today’s social scientists to understand the behavior of large populations? This episode explains how Vermont scientists are studying child behavior and “teaching” robots how to learn. Also, a look at how the Internet is affecting behavior and how data mining enables scientists to understand the collective behavior and emotions of hundreds of thousands of people.

  • Feb. 17 Transportation
    This episode starts with a lesson in how the combustion engine works, then investigates the challenges of continued dependence on gasoline vehicles in the face of climate change and declining oil reserves. Also, a look at emerging transportation alternatives including electric vehicles and a renewable system called “vehicle-to-grid.”

  • Feb. 24 Fresh Water
    This look at one of Vermont’s most plentiful resources also includes a broader discussion of the status of fresh water across the U.S., and highlights case studies and research programs -- from coastal Maine to the Mississippi bayou to the dry landscapes of the West. What are scientists doing to ensure clean water for the future?

Podcasts and full episodes from the first season are available on demand on www.vpt.org. Working with AP science teachers, VPT will develop a teacher's guide.

The producer of Emerging Science is Vic Guadagno. Executive producer is Enzo Di Maio.

People Who Appear in Emerging Science Broadcasts; Place of Residence Listed Where Available.

  • Jan. 27 Program 1: Energy
    Paul Hines, School of Engineering, Univ. of Vermont
    Julie Marble, Williston, Vt., Sentient Corporation
    John LaRue, Underhill, Vt., Natural Horizons
    David Morris, Minneapolis, Minn., Institute for Local Self-Reliance
    David Blittersdorf, Williston, Vt., Earth Turbines
    Bob Hargraves, Hanover, N.H., Dartmouth ILEAD
    Jito Coleman, Warren, Vt., Green Toolbox
    Mary Powell, S. Hero, Vt., Green Mountain Power
    John Irving, Jericho, Vt., Burlington Electric Dept.
    Mark Sardella, New Mexico, Local Energy
    Dick Valentinetti, Center for Climate Change and Waste Reduction, State of VT
    A.J. Rossman, Burlington, Vt., Draker Labs
    Beth Sachs, Vermont Energy Investment Corp.

  • Feb. 3 Program 2: Food Webs
    Nick Gotelli, Dept. of Biology, Univ. of Vermont
    Aaron Ellison, Petersham, Mass., Harvard Forest, Harvard University
    Ellen Marsden, Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, UVM
    Peggy Struhsacker, wolf biologist, National Resource Defense Council
    David Zuckerman, Burlington, Vt., organic farmer and state representative

  • Feb. 10 Program 3: Technology of Social Sciences
    Josh Bongard, Dept. of Computer Science, Univ. of Vermont
    Peter Dodds, Dept. of Mathematics and Statistics, Univ. of Vermont
    Chris Danforth, Shelburne, Vt., Dept. of Mathematics and Statistics, Univ. of VT
    Elizabeth Pinel, Dept. of Psychology, Univ. of Vermont
    Tom Streeter, Burlington, Vt., Dept. of Sociology, Univ. of Vermont

  • Feb. 17 Program 4: Transportation
    Steven Letendre, Management and Environmental Studies, Green Mountain College
    Lisa Aultman-Hall, Transportation Research Center, Univ. of Vermont
    Giuseppe Petrucci, Dept. of Chemistry, Univ. of Vermont
    Topher Waring, Glover, Vt., Science Dept., Lake Region Union High School
    Stephen Miracle, Montpelier, Vt., Miracle Energy Systems
    Anju Dahiya, Gund Institute/ Rubenstein School of Environment
             and Natural Resources, Univ. of Vermont
    Roelof Boumans, Charlotte, Vt., Gund Institute/Rubenstein School of Environment
             and Natural Resources, Univ. of Vermont
    Harold Garabedian, Agency of Natural Resources, State of Vermont

  • Feb. 24 Program 5: Fresh Water
    KathiJo Jankowski, Essex Jct., Vt., VT EPSCor Streams Project
    Declan McCabe, S. Burlington, Vt., Biology Dept., St. Michael's College
    Julie Moore, Center for Clean and Clear, Agency of Natural Resources,
             State of Vermont
    Venkat Lakshmi, S. Carolina, Dept. of Geological Sciences, Univ. of S. Carolina
    Jessica Leahy, Maine, School of Forest Resources, Univ. of Maine
    Mary Smith, Audubon Arkansas
    Thomas Piechota, Nevada, Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering,
             Univ. Las Vegas Nevada

Emerging Science