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Curious Campus

Join us for a discussion about science, discovery and culture. Curious Campus is produced by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, in cooperation with its research partners.

Latest Episodes
  • You can’t effectively study the Great Lakes by simply looking at them from above the water. All the action lies beneath the surface.Faculty and staff members at UWM’s School of Freshwater Sciences sail Lake Michigan aboard a converted vintage Army T-boat when they need to conduct research. On this episode of Curious Campus, we talk with Max Morgan, captain of the research vessel Neeskay, and Harvey Bootsma, a professor of freshwater sciences.Morgan and Boostma discuss topics including the impact of quagga mussels, the importance of buoys and what it’s like to work on the Neeskay. They also help us take a peek into the future of research on the Great Lakes.
  • Nanomaterials are miniscule particles made of various chemicals that are incorporated into products like cosmetics, medicine and food. They’re also constantly shed into our environment, including our rivers and lakes. How do these nanomaterials affect organisms that live in Lake Michigan and the Great Lakes ecosystem?It’s one of the many topics under the microscope at UWM’s School of Freshwater Sciences, which is the only such school of its kind in the United States. Rebecca Klaper is vice dean and a professor. On this episode of Curious Campus, Klaper discusses her research into nanomaterials and building safer chemicals to help protect plants, fish, algae and other organisms that call the Great Lakes home.
  • Cost may prevent many people who need a hearing aid from getting one. Those with hearing aids get relief, but it may not be a cure-all. Basic Medicare does not cover the devices, a situation that has caused hearing health-care inequity for lower-income and rural residents. Untreated hearing loss can be serious because it’s associated with dementia, depression, falls and social isolation.On this episode of Curious Campus, we talk with two experts about novel technologies that can help people hear better. Yi Hu is an associate professor of electrical engineering at UWM. Juliette Sterkens is a retired audiologist and the national advocate of “hearing loops” for the Hearing Loss Association of America.
  • In the wild, frog romance is a raucous affair. When it’s time to mate, the female eastern gray tree frog makes her way to the pond, when there could be hundreds of potential suitors each calling to her in loud chirps that have different audible characteristics.In this nocturnal chorus, the male aims to charm the female with his particular call. But what makes a call “attractive?” On this episode of Curious Campus, we talk with two researchers who specialize in amphibian communication — how frogs message each other and then decide how to respond.Gerlinde Höbel is an associate professor in biological sciences at UW-Milwaukee. Michael Reichert is an assistant professor of integrative biology at Oklahoma State University.
  • Peter Dunn is one of the country’s preeminent bird researchers. A distinguished professor of biological sciences, Dunn is part of a team that studied the common yellowthroat, which is a type of songbird found throughout much of North America.On this episode of Curious Campus, we talk with Dunn about the research that looked at the courtship preferences of the female common yellowthroat. Hint: It’s not just about the distinctive sounds of the male. For veteran birders, the study might help answer questions about why these songbirds have those distinctive black “masks” around their eyes. For those interested in getting into birding as a hobby, Dunn offers some tips on how to get started, too.
  • We know that obesity can be harmful to our health, but dieting and exercise for the single goal of weight loss can often be disheartening and may even be harmful. What will it take for the fitness industry — and society — to make fitness more inclusive for both body types and marginalized identities?On this episode of Curious Campus, we talk about research and activism around body image and fitness with Christy Greenleaf, a professor of kinesiology in UWM’s College of Health Sciences, and Chrissy King, a certified personal trainer and creator of the Body Liberation Project. Both are members of the Future of Fitness Advisory Board for SELF magazine.
  • How many of you have heard of the video game Pong? Released in 1972, Pong looked like a pixelated version of pingpong. It might seem simplistic now, but 50 years ago, Pong was a smash hit.The first home video game console, the Magnavox Odyssey, also was released 50 years ago. On this episode of Curious Campus, we talk with Michael Newman, a professor of English who also teaches in the Media, Cinema and Digital Studies program in UWM’s College of Letters and Science. Newman is the author of the 2017 book, “Atari Age: The Emergence of Video Games in America,” which covers the arrival of Pong, the early days of video games and the impact of what was then a nascent form of entertainment had on pop culture and discussions around the family dinner table.
  • How much worse was the mental health of tweens, children between the ages of 10 and 14, during the height of COVID-19, compared to before the pandemic?Using their involvement in the ABCD study, a sweeping nationwide project, UWM researchers took the opportunity to gain insight into this question and others related to the pandemic. The study aims to identify what impact individual life experiences have on developing brains.On this episode of Curious Campus, we talk with Krista Lisdahl, professor of psychology, and Ashley Stinson, a graduate student in psychology in UWM’s College of Letters & Science, about how kids were able to manage — or not manage — additional stress from the pandemic and how it may have changed their brains.
  • Obesity affects nearly one in five children, with higher rates among communities of color. A review of research on childhood obesity during the pandemic indicates that what was a problem before COVID-19 is even more so after the last two years of altered behaviors.According to one 2021 study, researchers found that young people ages two–19 had a monthly rate of increase in BMI that nearly doubled during COVID when compared with a pre-pandemic period.On this episode of Curious Campus, we chat with two experts in childhood obesity. Julie Snethen is a professor and director of the Ph.D. program at UWM’s College of Nursing. Cindy Greenberg is dean of the College of Health and Human Development at California State University, Fullerton.
  • Mathematics and science are core subjects in school and form the base for many career opportunities in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields.However, many children may not view themselves as mathematicians or scientists. And students of color especially may not get opportunities in schools that could encourage them to continue pursuing courses in higher-level math or STEM-related fields.On this episode of Curious Campus, we talk to two guests who are looking at ways to expand opportunities in math and encourage diversity in STEM fields. DeAnn Huinker is a professor of mathematics education at UWM’s School of Education. Danielle Robinson is a mathematics coach for Milwaukee Public Schools.