Antimatter has long captured the public’s imagination. It has been used to fuel starships in Star Trek or as a terrorist’s bomb in the book and film of Angels and Demons as well as numerous other sci-fi stories and movies. But does antimatter really exist? The exciting answer is: it does, but typically very briefly. Tonight on Inquiry we speak with FRANK CLOSE, OBE, professor of Physics at Oxford University and a Fellow of Exeter College. Professor Close talks about what we know about positrons, anti-protons and even anti Hydrogen and how scientists at CERN have been using antimatter to unravel the conditions that existed in the universe a billionth of a second after the Big Bang. This is “big science” the reality of which is more is amazing and thrilling than all the stories and movies. Professor Close’s book is titled ANTIMATTER.
The history of the music and recording industries in the last 30 years is a sorry story of consistent short-sightedness and resistance to technological innovation. Tonight’s guest, journalist and editor STEVE KNOPPER, has written a lively insider’s story of how the record industry was dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st Century when they were confronted with CD technology, MP3s, file sharing and Napster The final nail in the coffin was smartly served up by Steve Jobs and the I-Pod. Tune in tonight and find out if there is any future for the consistently behind the times recording industries. Knopper’s dynamic history is titled: APPETITE FOR SELF-DESTRUCTION: THE SPECTACULAR CRASH OF THE RECORD INDUSTRY IN THE DIGITAL AGE.
Famines are one of the most feared human disasters. But what causes famines is more complex than just a shortage of food. Politics, geography and economics all also play a part in creating conditions that can cause famines. Tonight on Inquiry we welcome CORMAC ó GRÁDA, Professor of Economics at University College Dublin and an expert on famines recent and historical. Professor o Grada discusses the causes of famine worldwide, and how we can hopefully prevent future famines. His most recent book on the subject is FAMINE: A SHORT HISTORY.
How have art museums been affected by the recent economic slump? How must art museums evolve to attract new visitors and supporters in the 21st Century? These are just some of the questions that I asked tonight’s guests on Inquiry: DENNIS C. KOIS, Director of the Decordova Sculpture Park and Museum and NICHOLAS CAPASSO, Senior Curator at the Decordova Sculpture Park and Museum. Kois and Capasso talk about the considerable challenges of presenting cutting edge contemporary art to a public that may be largely unfamiliar with the work and the real need for better art education in our schools.
Joe Grafton of the New England 10% Shift & Grace Ross of Worcester Local First.The 10% Shift represents organizations of Local Independents in over 20 communities in every state in New England. They are promoting a New England-wide campaign asking citizens, businesses, nonprofits, and government agencies to shift 10% of their annual purchases from non-local businesses to
Local Independents, which in turn will build stronger and more independent regional economy.
These New England Local Independents are asking the Governors and Lieutenant Governors of the six New England states to personally sign the Pledge; endorse The Declaration of Local Independents -- a document outlining the philosophy behind the 10% Shift -- and actively support the 10% Shift in their states.
Campaign organizers say they understand that moving state procurement policies and practices toward a 10% Shift will take considerable time and effort.
My guest is: Joe Grafton, executive director of Somerville Local First and coordinator of the New England 10% Shift.
For anybody who has struggled through a class on calculus, you probably think that the devil invented mathematics. But is “mathematics” something created by human minds or does mathematics exist separate from us, like the galaxies, moons and stars? This is not just a philosophical question because the most complex and abstract discoveries in pure mathematics seem to end up having practical applications in the real world. As Max Tegmark of M.I.T. has said: “the universe IS mathematics.” Tonight on Inquiry we attempt to answer these heady questions when we talk with MARIO LIVIO, Senior Astrophysicist and head of the Office of Public Relations at the Hubble Space Telescope Science Institute about his thought provoking book IS GOD A MATHEMATICIAN?
It may seem to fly in the face of everything you have experienced in school, but mathematics CAN be fun. Really! Our guest tonight is IAN STEWART, Professor of Mathematics at the University of Warwick. He has spent his life collecting logic puzzles, odd math problems, brainteasers and even jokes mathematicians tell each other and collected it in the miscellany PROFESSOR STEWART’S CABINET OF MATHEMATICAL CURIOSITIES. Tune in and learn about how to color maps; how large a Prime Number can get (hint: ridiculously large) and what state legislature tried to pass a law declaring the “correct” value of pi”.
In the interview, Professor Stewart states a logic problem, reproduced below. Send the correct answer to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will add you the Inquiry Honor Roll listed under this description.
I won’t eat my hat.
If hippos don’t eat acorns, then oak trees will grow in Africa.
If oak trees don’t grow in Africa, then squirrels hibernate in winter.
If hippos eat acorns and squirrels hibernate in winter, then I’ll eat my hat.
Therefore—what? From pp.140 Professor Stewart’s Cabinet of Mathematical Curiosities.
In 1948, Ambassador James D. Zellerbach acquired 200 acres in the Mayacamas Mountains one mile
north of the Sonoma plaza. The Ambassador's ambition was to create a small vineyard and winery dedicated to the best traditions of Grand Cru Burgundy: Pinot Noir and Chardonnay of extraordinary quality and great longevity. The Zellerbachs planted 6 acres in 1953 (now the oldest Pinot Noir vineyard in America) and created the first vintage in 1957. They named their winery Hanzell, a contraction of Mrs. Hana Zellerbach's name, and embarked on what would become recognized as one of California's most enduring and historically important wine estates. The Zellerbachs' achievement passed to the Day family in 1965 and then in 1975 the de Brye family acquired the estate.
Alexander de Brye has presided over Hanzell for the longest period of Hanzell's considerable history and with his patronage the historical property and deep traditions of Hanzell have been honored, protected and promoted.
The original 6 acre vineyard has grown to 42 acres today, allowing Hanzell to produce 6,000 cases annually: three-quarters Chardonnay and one-quarter Pinot Noir. Through five decades Hanzell has pursued empirical winemaking and established traditions on which great cellar-worthy winemaking is predicated. The Hanzell wines honor Ambassador Zellerbach's vision and carry forward one of the greatest legacies of winemaking in the New World.
There are millions of ardent fans of “Regency Romances” and no author of the period is more beloved than Jane Austen. Just look at all the films made for the BBC and PBS of Austen’s novels. But a few people have always felt that these literary classics have lacked a certain “something”. Who would have believed that “something” was a large dollop of the walking dead? Tonight on Inquiry, we speak with columnist, writer SETH GRAHAME-SMITH about his latest novel, (amazingly co-authored with Jane Austen), PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES. Seth has taken this period comedy of manners and spiced it up a bit with zombie hordes, lots or martial arts, and, well, gore, but “period appropriate” gore mind you. Tune in and find out how Elizabeth Bennett fights ninjas and beheads masses of “unmentionables” all the while searching for romance in early 19th Century England.
Sand is one of the most common substances on earth. We have beaches and deserts full of the grainy dry stuff, but what is sand really? Tonight on Inquiry, we speak with MICHAEL WELLAND, Founder and Director of Orogen Limited and Fellow of the Geological Society (London). Welland has written an endlessly fascinating book about sand, where it comes from and how it “works”. Did you know salt and sugar are “sands”? Tune in and learn about beaches of garnets and olivine; how high you can pile sand for a castle before it falls over and if there really is quicksand. Michael Welland’s wonderful book is titled: SAND: THE NEVER-ENDING STORY.
Underwriter of the Week
Arts, sciences and humanities build healthier, more livable, vital communities. They are essential to a strong education system. They contribute enormously to our economy.