Brain Food

Hungry for more stories on science, culture and technology?

Check out Brain Food: Insights and Discoveries from Northern Arizona. From ground breaking scientific research to global music projects, Brain Food profiles some of the unique projects happening in the region and the interesting people behind them.

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KNAU and Arizona News
9:13 am
Thu February 26, 2015

Brain Food: New Horizon To Study Dwarf Planets In Kuiper Belt

KNAU's Bonnie Stevens interviews planetary scientist Alan Stern at a lecture in Flagstaff. Stern is heading up the New Horizons mission to study Pluto.
Credit KNAU/Bonnie Stevens

Eighty-five years ago, almost to the day, astronomers at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff discovered Pluto. It was considered the 9th planet from the sun. But, several decades later, it was demoted to dwarf planet status. Alan Stern is a planetary scientist heading up the New Horizons mission to study its surface. At a recent lecture in Flagstaff he said there are hundreds of dwarf planets in the Kuiper Belt where Pluto lives.

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KNAU and Arizona News
5:06 am
Thu February 19, 2015

Brain Food: NAU Physicist Creates Nanorobots That Could Fight Cancer

NAU physicist, John Gibbs
Credit KNAU/Bonnie Stevens

Tiny nanorobots may be the next big breakthrough in fighting cancer. About the size of a virus, the magnetic, metal machines could be used to detect and treat tumors from inside malfunctioning cells. John Gibbs is a physicist at Northern Arizona University and makes these microscopic nanomachines.

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KNAU and Arizona News
5:30 am
Thu February 12, 2015

Brain Food: Studying Pluto's Ice

NAU's ice lab
Credit KNAU/Bonnie Stevens

Pluto has a surface of nitrogen and methane ice. Scientists know this from telescope observations. But, when the New Horizons spacecraft flies by the dwarf planet in July, they hope to know far more about its icy composition. Flagstaff astronomer Stephen Tegler will be analyzing the data.

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KNAU and Arizona News
5:09 am
Thu February 5, 2015

Brain Food: For Retired NAU Engineering Prof, Classic Cars Were A Way To Engage Students

Retired NAU electrical engineering professor, Jerry McGlothin poses with his 1964 Vetta Ventura coupe at the Barrett Jackson Car Auction in Phoenix.
Credit KNAU/Bonnie Stevens

Every year, generations of classic car enthusiasts flock to sunny Phoenix for the Barrett Jackson Collector Car Auction. It's the essence of automobile artistry, power and engineering. And that's a perfect combination for Jerry McGlothin, a retired engineering professor at Northern Arizona University, and an antique car junkie.

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KNAU and Arizona News
5:46 am
Thu January 22, 2015

Brain Food: NAU Bark Beetle Researcher Fights Back With Fungus

NAU entomologist Rich Hofstetter tests his "fungal spray" on bark beetles
Credit KNAU/Bonnie Stevens

Growing microscopic organisms in a lab to conduct biological warfare might sound like the makings of a science fiction movie. But in the case of the bark beetle, it's real. An entomologist at Northern Arizona University is using a fungus to combat the beetles' deadly attack on forests across the West. As Arizona Public Radio's Bonnie Stevens reports, the fungus is the latest in a string of unconventional methods to stop the bugs' rampage.

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KNAU and Arizona News
5:00 am
Thu January 15, 2015

Brain Food: The Human Microbiome

If you’re one of those people who puts on weight while another person eating the same meal doesn’t, blame your gut! Greg Caporaso says it’s all about the microbiome — or the microbes living in our bodies — that determines how many calories we extract from food and also, how susceptible we are to disease.

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KNAU and Arizona News
9:31 am
Thu November 20, 2014

Brain Food: Thriving At Home After A Hospital Stay

Credit hillsidehealthcare.com

Very few people want to go to the hospital. Even fewer want to be readmitted after an illness or injury. Now there's a new local program designed to keep you from going back.

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KNAU and Arizona News
5:00 am
Thu November 13, 2014

Brain Food: The Emotional Impact of Climate Change

Credit thenorthsratnews.com

Thousands of scientists worldwide are studying the environmental impact of climate change. But now, two professors of English are studying its emotional impact. SueEllen Campbell and John Calderazzo are co-directors of a climate change outreach and discussion group at Colorado State University. And, they recently visited Northern Arizona University to share this message about the Earth’s changing climate:

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KNAU and Arizona News
4:42 am
Thu October 16, 2014

Brain Food: Flagstaff Becomes Test Site To Track E. coli

Artistic representation of E. coli and the urinary tract
Credit Baliga Diagnostics

E. coli is commonly thought of as a gut bug, but many times it presents itself in the urinary tract. Now, researchers in Flagstaff are studying how the germ gets there.

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KNAU and Arizona News
9:22 am
Thu October 9, 2014

Brain Food: Endangered Black Footed Ferrets Released Near Flagstaff

A black footed ferret is released on the Babbitt Espee Ranch near Flagstaff.
Credit Bonnie Stevens/KNAU

If you've clicked on the audio link for this story, then the sound you're hearing is the chatter of one of the most endangered mammals in North American, the black footed ferret. It's a sound that hasn't been heard much in Arizona's grasslands since 1931. That's when the animals were thought to have gone extinct after a strain of plague nearly wiped out their main food source, prairie dogs.

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