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
5:00 am
Thu August 21, 2014

Brain Food: Soft Ticks and Relapsing Fever

Soft ticks are carriers of the tick-born relapsing fever. It is treated by antibiotics and is similar to but milder than Lyme disease.
Credit pathmicro.med.sc.edu

Soft ticks are arachnids, like spiders. They live in pine and hardwood forests and thrive on the blood of mice, squirrels, chipmunks and sometimes birds. They don’t usually feed on humans, but, as in the case that closed Camp Colton near Flagstaff recently, it does happen once in awhile. Northern Arizona University Forest Entomology Professor Rich Hofstetter explains.

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KNAU and Arizona News
5:00 am
Thu August 14, 2014

Brain Food: Social Change Through Community Outreach

Credit communication4health.files.wordpress.com

A program at Northern Arizona University encourages students to use their own life experiences to develop community projects. Students with NAU’s Campus and Community Based Action Research Teams are digging deep within themselves to recall significant events, even painful ones like domestic violence or abuse, and use them to connect with the community. Lauren Berutich is the program coordinator.

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KNAU and Arizona News
10:14 am
Thu July 31, 2014

Brain Food: Arctic Research Reveals Evidence Of Climate Changes

Lake coring in the Arctic
Credit Nick McKay/NAU

Scientists say droughts and wet periods come and go between ice ages. To understand and predict long-term climate changes, Northern Arizona University assistant research professor Nick McKay examines sediment samples from Arctic lakes.

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KNAU and Arizona News
4:02 am
Thu July 24, 2014

Brain Food: Souvenir Research...Why Do We Buy Them?

Arizona souvenirs.
Credit Musings by Maravin

Travelers love souvenirs, and now research being done at Northern Arizona University proves that.

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KNAU and Arizona News
5:00 am
Thu July 17, 2014

Brain Food: The Active Seismic Zone of Northern Arizona

Northern Arizona University professor Dave Brumbaugh is the director of the Arizona Earthquake Information Center.
Credit Bonnie Stevens

Earthquakes can’t be predicted, but Professor Dave Brumbaugh says Northern Arizona can expect seismic activity simply because there are a number of faults here. Brumbaugh is the director of the Arizona Earthquake Information Center on the Northern Arizona University Campus. He says the Earth’s crust in the region is expanding.

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KNAU and Arizona News
5:00 am
Thu July 10, 2014

Brain Food: Understanding the Land’s Role in a Changing Climate

Much of the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere from human activities — like burning fossil fuel — is taken up as plant food. Northern Arizona University’s Debbie Huntzinger, a researcher of climate change models, says the land’s surface is currently storing more of the greenhouse gas than it’s giving off. 

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KNAU and Arizona News
5:00 am
Thu June 26, 2014

Brain Food: Impact Craters and the Search for Water

Nadine Barlow, physics and astronomy at Northern Arizona University.
Credit Bonnie Stevens

Nadine Barlow studies impact craters throughout the solar system. This professor of physics and astronomy at Northern Arizona University calls these craters nature’s drills because they tell us what’s buried beneath the surface.

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KNAU and Arizona News
5:00 am
Thu June 19, 2014

Brain Food: Harvesting Energy

As part of an NAU research project, a bird wears a transmitter powered by its own movement.
Credit Courtesy photo

When a bird flaps its wings or a seal dives into the ocean, it’s generating energy. Michael Shafer, an assistant professor in mechanical engineering at Northern Arizona University, says it’s possible to harvest the energy that an animal produces and use it to power transmitters that collect information for biologists.

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KNAU and Arizona News
8:39 am
Thu June 12, 2014

Brain Food: Space Shuttle Commander Mark Kelly Comes to Flagstaff

Former commander of the Space Shuttle Endeavor Mark Kelly.
Credit Politico

Astronaut Mark Kelly says New York’s Times Square is the brightest place on Earth when looking down from space. After that, the next brightest is the Strip in Las Vegas. What may not be readily seen from space is Flagstaff, the first International Dark Sky City. That’s a designation he and his wife, former congresswoman Gabby Giffords, fully support. Kelly recently spoke on the campus of Northern Arizona University.

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KNAU and Arizona News
1:50 pm
Thu June 5, 2014

Brain Food: Hydrologic Systems And Forest Restoration

Hydrogeologist, Abe Springer and student researcher, Karissa Ramstead in the field
Credit Ecological Restoration Institute

Many scientists say intense wildfires, like the Slide Fire in Oak Creek Canyon, underscore the urgency for forest restoration. Hydrogeologist Abe Springer studies how forest treatments, like thinning and prescribed burns, are impacting natural water systems. He say 80-85 percent of precipitation evaporates or transpires in northern Arizona's over crowded forests. Most of the rest runs off with very little left to recharge the aquifers.

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