Archive for September 16th, 2008

Science Friday is coming to Tucson!

Posted on September 16, 2008. Filed under: Culture, Science, Travel |

The National Public Radio (NPR) program “Science Friday” with its host Ira Flatow, will be broadcasting live from the Science Operations Center at the University of Arizona in Tucson on Friday, September 19th!!! I know I keep bragging about the University of Arizona’s involvement in the current Mars mission (as if I had anything to do with it), but signs of life in the universe are rare (not to mention intelligent life) and the thought that our University here could be a major player in experiments which have far-reaching consequences for years to come just has me jazzed!

The University of Arizona is really the cultural center of our area. This is the case in many University towns. There are large cities which also happen to have one or more colleges and universities (like Boston), and then there are cities such as Tucson where much of the local economy and cultural activities either take place there, or exist because the U does. For instance, we have an amazing number of professional theater companies here. The U has a fine drama department, and people from there branch out and start their own. This in turn attracts new residents looking for a milder climate, or a more relaxed lifestyle than they had in, say, Chicago or Los Angeles, but still want access to the “goodies”—plays, concerts, and fine restaurants—they had back home. So, they move here, join the theater guild or the museum association, and those organizations continue to flourish.

Even so, let’s face it; Tucson is not London or Sydney; New York or San Francisco. So, when the eyes of the WORLD are focused on our li’l ol’ University because it’s instrumental in building and maintaining the Mars Lander, we get a tad excited out here back o’beyond.

Alright, I’ll cut the colloquialisms and get to the point. I listen to Science Friday every chance I get because it features interviews with those doing the most amazing research, with the most exciting implications for our culture. The show looks all over the world for those scientists doing work which can actually impact our lives for the good! It’s beautifully produced, and always fascinating, and this Friday they’ll be at the Science Center interviewing Peter Smith, principal investigator of the Mars Lander program. The Center itself is worth visiting both virtually and in person, as I’ve reported here, but I’m also looking forward to hearing the latest news on what has been a worthwhile, though, at times, controversial mission. This story has all the drama of a stage play, and it continues to unfold, in real time, right before our eyes via Phoenix’s cameras, and transmissions of data from the countless experiments it’s programmed to do.

The lander has already found and identified ice (oh my!) and all of us humanoids SO want to know if there were ever, or could ever be conditions favoring life! on Mars! If you want the answer to these, and many other questions, tune in Friday (live!) from 11am-1pm Pacific Time; 2-4pm East Coast time, and I’ll leave you in the rest of the world to figure out when it is there. If you don’t have NPR in your area, you can listen to the live stream at our local affiliate, or find one on the Science Friday page. You can also download the program there for later listening.

(And, no, I don’t work for them. Honest. Actually I pay them; they don’t pay me. You, know, because I’m a member and all.) 🙂

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