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 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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KNAU and Arizona News
4:32 am
Thu May 29, 2014

Brain Food: The Alter G Treadmill...Like Running In Space

Physical Therapy Professor Dirk de Heer on the Alter G Anti-Gravity Treadmill
Credit Bonnie Stevens/KNAU

A machine that helped astronauts get used to what it feels like to walk in space is now being used at Northern Arizona University. Physical Therapy Professor Dirk de Heer says the Alter G Anti-Gravity Treadmill teaches students about biomechanics.

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KNAU and Arizona News
4:00 am
Thu May 8, 2014

Brain Food: Living Soil

NAU biologist Egbert Schwartz conducting research in Antarctica's McMurdo Dry Valleys
Credit Egbert Schwartz

Biologist Egbert Schwartz has developed a technique to identify whether micro-organisms can grow in places where no other signs of life can be found, like the rocky, icy region of Antarctica's McMurdo Dry Valleys.

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KNAU and Arizona News
9:44 am
Thu April 17, 2014

Brain Food: Designing Wildlife Corridors

An elk crossing a wildlife corridor
Credit Courtesy photo

As highways, cities, canals and railroads continue to be built across the West, some natural landscapes are becoming fragmented into patches, too small to support populations of certain animals.

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KNAU and Arizona News
6:00 am
Thu April 10, 2014

Brain Food: Rethinking Energy Storage and Design with Smart Materials

Credit fraunhofer.de

In the near future, so-called smart materials may eliminate the need for batteries in hybrid cars and in solar panels. Cornell Ciocanel is a mechanical engineer at Northern Arizona University. He’s developing a new smart material that’s strong enough to be used in the body of a car and also stores electricity like a battery.

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