University of Vermont

University Communications

UVM Scientists Featured on Upcoming Public Television Series

Release Date: 01-27-2010

Author: Joshua E. Brown
Email: joshua.brown@uvm.edu
Phone: 802/656-3039 Fax: (802) 656-3203

Numerous researchers from the University of Vermont are featured in four upcoming broadcasts of Emerging Science on Vermont Public Television.

A new season of the program premieres Tuesday, Feb. 2, at 9 p.m. on VPT and online at www.vpt.org. Programs will repeat on VPT Sundays at 1 p.m. and be archived online.

In the first show, Emerging Science explores the wonders of the cosmos with two astronomical physicists including Joanna Rankin of the University of Vermont. She uses radio astronomy to explore one of the strangest of all celestial bodies: the pulsar. These city-sized stars are so dense that one teaspoon of pulsar would weigh as much as 3000 Empire State Buildings.

On Tuesday, Feb 9, at 9 p.m., Bob Costanza and Jon Erickson of UVM's Gund Institute for Ecological Economics explain the Emerging Science propelling their field. They argue that, with the recent failings of our financial system, new economic models need to be considered. As Earth's ecological systems continue to be strained, the aim of the Gund Institute is to shift the world's economies away from their present emphasis on infinite growth and toward a focus on sustainable human well-being.

As a case study, Emerging Science explores a new interdisciplinary project at UVM, bringing together chemists, soil scientists, agronomists, ecologists and economists to test whether small-scale biofuel production can aid dairy farming in Vermont. Heather Darby of UVM Extension, an agronomist and farmer, visits a farm in Alburgh where test crops are being grown for fuel. Others on the team are Mary Watzin and Don Ross of the University of Vermont, who explain aspects of water and soil in the project.

From tainted spinach to recalled hamburgers, the U.S. has seen health scares involving salmonella, E. coli and other causes of food-borne illness. On Tuesday, Feb. 16, at 9 p.m., Emerging Science follows researchers who identify and track food pathogens. The University of Vermont's Jane Hill explains the complex issues of pathogen migration and the work her lab is doing to prevent it. UVM scientists Catherine Donnelly and Paul Kindstedt contrast large scale and regional food production.

Infectious diseases such as SARS and the H1N1 virus threaten people throughout the world. The final Emerging Science broadcast, airing Tuesday, Feb. 23, at 9 p.m., reports on the science of disease origins and transmission. Much of the current research is going on in Africa. University of Vermont professor Arne Bomblies' work models hydrology and entomology factors related to malaria. Jon Erickson and Michel Masozera of UVM's Gund Institute introduce viewers to the HALI Project in Tanzania and explain the concept of "one health," which encourages interaction among physicians, veterinarians, ecologists and others in the study and prevention of disease transmission among humans, domestic animals and wild animals.

Vermont EPSCoR (Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research) funds the project. Located at UVM, Vermont EPSCoR supports Vermont scientists and business leaders -- many of whom appear in the series -- through funding, outreach and technology development.

Amy Seidl, an ecologist who received her doctorate at UVM, is program host.

Emerging Science has won several awards, including a recent National Telecommunications Association award. In May 2009, Emerging Science was recognized with an Emmy Award in the category of "Advanced Media."

Podcasts and full episodes from the two previous seasons of Emerging Science are available at www.vpt.org.