University of Vermont

University Communications


Vermont Public Television’s ‘Emerging Science’ Features UVM

By The View and VPT Staff Article published April 23, 2008

Nearly 20 University of Vermont researchers and entrepreneurs in science and technology are featured in Vermont Public Television’s newest series, “Emerging Science.”

Four weekly programs that will begin on Wednesday, April 30 at 7:30 p.m. focus on nanotechnology; weather and climate change; water and the landscape; and remote wireless sensing.

The potential audience for the programs goes far beyond VPT’s viewing area, to anyone with access to a computer that can display Web-based video. During the premiere broadcast of each “Emerging Science” episode, VPT will feature a live webcast and online chat at The chats will be hosted by experts featured in the programs.

Additionally, the programs will be available to view as video-on-demand files on the VPT website, and related podcasts are online now. This multi-platform project will also include educational materials for Vermont high school teachers, available this fall.

Funding for “Emerging Science” comes from Vermont EPSCoR, the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research. Located at UVM, Vermont EPSCoR supports Vermont scientists and business leaders — including many of those who appear in the series — through funding, outreach and technology development.

Producer Vic Guadagno said, “What has been the most exciting thing about this project for me is seeing the holistic approach to science and engineering here in Vermont. Within the academic community and the private sector, diverse groups really come together to work on critical issues with global impact. Our TV series will introduce you to some of these inspiring, passionate people.”

The first program, airing April 30, looks at nanotechnology, the ability to engineer specific attributes of materials and machines by controlling their features at an amazingly small scale — one billionth of a meter. UVM chemist Chris Landry gives a glimpse of how nanotechnology may increase the efficacy of cancer drugs. UVM professor of engineering Darren Hitt is at work on tiny satellites using nanomaterials in their fuel supply systems.

The second program, airing May 7, focuses on weather and climate change. Scientists from UVM, Lyndon State College, and the Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium in St. Johnsbury explain how the earth’s climate system works and explore the impact of global warming. A sugarmaker and UVM researcher Tim Perkins show that maple is one Vermont industry that may already be affected.

Water is the focus of the third program, airing May 14. This episode explores a complex system — the Lake Champlain watershed. UVM faculty collaborate, using their expertise in geology, hydrology, ecology, computer science and other disciplines to develop complex modeling. Their work will help to quantify human impacts on Vermont’s water systems.

The final program, on May 21, looks at how remote wireless sensing is being applied to enhance health and quality of life. One example is monitoring the strength of structures like bridges. In other applications, computer scientists are developing ways to monitor environmental conditions and natural resources.

Amy Seidl, who completed her doctorate at UVM in biology, is the program’s host.

UVM faculty who appear in “Emerging Science”:
Program 1: Nanotechnology, April 30

Randall Headrick, associate professor, physics
Darren Hitt, associate professor, engineering
Chris Landry, professor, chemistry
Frederic Sansoz, assistant professor, engineering and materials science
Walter Varhue, professor, engineering

Program 2: Weather and Climate Change, May 7

Lesley-Ann Dupigny-Giroux, associate professor, geography, and Vermont state climatologist
Timothy Perkins, director, UVM Proctor Maple Research Center

Program 3: Water and the Landscape, May 14

Paul Bierman, professor, geology and natural resources
Roelof Boumans, associate research professor, Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources/Gund Institute
William “Breck” Bowden, Patrick professor of watershed science and planning, Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources
Margaret J. Eppstein, assistant professor, computer science, and director, Complex Systems Center
George Pinder, professor, engineering, computer science and mathematics and statistics
Donna Rizzo, assistant professor, engineering
Mary Watzin, professor, Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources
Beverly Wemple, associate professor, geography

Program 4: Remote Wireless Sensing, May 21

Jeff Frolik, assistant professor, engineering
Byung Lee, associate professor, computer science
Christian Skalka, assistant professor, computer science
Sean Wang, Dorothean professor, computer science

Web chat experts
As each program airs, experts who appear in the program lead web chats on The chats begin during the broadcast and continue for a half hour after the broadcast ends.

Wednesday, April 30, 7:30 p.m.
Chat 7:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Chris Landry, UVM

Weather and Climate Change
Wednesday, May 7, 7:30 p.m.
Chat 7:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Lesley-Ann Dupigny-Giroux, UVM
Mark Breen, Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium

Water and the Landscape
Wednesday, May 14, 7:30 p.m.
Chat 7:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Paul Bierman, UVM

Remote Wireless Sensing
Wednesday, May 21, 7:30 p.m.
Chat 7:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Steve Arms, MicroStrain Inc.

For additional information contact:

Ann Curran, Vermont Public Television, (802) 655-8059,
Jeff Vande Griek, Vermont Public Television, (802) 655-8062,
Joshua Brown, University of Vermont, (802) 656-3039,