Episode 7: Philosophy of Science

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Philosophy can be a tool to address fundamental questions about knowledge, reason, and the mind. At the Rotman Institute of Philosophy at Western University, philosophers from a variety of backgrounds and educational levels come together to interact in a lab of ideas and contribute to a greater philosophical understanding of our world. This episode, we spoke with two professors who lead research in the area of philosophy of science.

We joined Dr. Michael Anderon first to hear about how psychology and computer science can give rise to the interesting philosophical issue of embodied cognition. His research shows that parts of the brain are used and re-used for different cognitive tasks, depending on the environment.

Next, we spoke with Dr. William Harper, a few doors down the hall at the Rotman Institute, to hear about Sir Isaac Newton’s unique method of scientific inquiry. He used this particular approach to discover his most famous gravitational and cosmological theories.

Or instead of listening to the two interviews separately, check out the link to our full episode [42 minutes] below:

Hosted by Mike Ge and Maximillian Soltysiak.

Research review by Andrey Petropavlovskiy.

Episode 6B: Competition Part 2

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Competition is a characteristic that is common to many facets of our lives, and we have explored the role it plays in evolution by natural selection and economic auction theory in our last episode.

This time, we explored the idea of how the phenomenon of competition plays an important role in athletics between members of a team and also different teams. We joined Dr. Volker Nolte, an Assistant Professor in the School of Kinesiology and former head coach of Western Mustangs Men’s Rowing team. Here Dr. Nolte’s thoughts on the role of competition in his profession:

Hosted by Mike Ge and Rahul Sapra.

Research review by Andrey Petropavlovskiy.

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Thank you to Rahul Sapra, an HBA1 student at the Ivey School of Business, for his help with interviewing Dr. Nolte. Outside of his studies, he is a competitive rock climber on Team Canada who has won competitions at the national level. It was great to work with you this episode!

Episode 6A: Competition

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What does competition look like in different disciplines? Is it a driving force for the better or worse? We feature four Western professors, each with their own unique research areas, to speak about this phenomenon with us in this two-part series.

Episode 6A features competition in evolution and the natural world, as well as in the economics underlying our modern society.

What role does competition play in evolution by natural selection? Dr. MacDougall-Shackleton shares some interesting phenomenon resulting from the types of competition in different ecosystems.

Economics professor Dr. Zheng joins us on the show to speak about his investigation into bidding behaviour and belief updating from the perspective of auction theory.

To listen to the full episode, as played on Radio Western 94.9 FM:

Hosted by Mike Ge, Maximillian Soltysiak, and Srobona Podder.

Research review by Andrey Petropavlovskiy and Srobona Podder.

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Thank you to Srobona Podder, a 2nd year Economics student, for helping our team with research, interviewing, and hosting this episode of Sound of Science. It was fascinating to hear your perspective on this topic!

Episode 5: The search for life

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The idea of life beyond Earth is one that has fascinated many of us from a young age and has made its way into much of our popular culture. This episode, we bridge the disciplines of linguistics and physics to feature the story of our search for extraterrestrial life and how it may change how we see our human society.

Dr. Cami (Western professor and SETI scientist) introduces his research into molecular spectroscopy and how he has used it to find amino acids, basic protein building blocks, in space!

Dr. de Looze draws upon his extensive background in linguistics to discuss the basic components of communication and what a conversation with alien life may look like.

Hosted by Mike Ge, Maximillian Soltysiak, and Erik Weise.

Research review by Andrey Petropavloskiy and Erik Weise.

Episode 4: Inventing the Future

Synthetic biology is a rapidly growing field of science that is uncovering more about the molecular processes that give rise to complex life. In fact, it has developed to the point where we talk about engineering life and how this affects our greater relationship with the world around us. It is with this thought that we begin our 4th episode of the Sound of Science, covering Western University’s symposium into the fascinating, yet uncertain, world of synthetic biology.

Hosted by Mike Ge.
Research review by Andrey Petropavloskiy.

In part one, conference organizers Dr. David Edgell and Dr. Bogumil Karas share their vision for synthetic biology and how Western is involved at the forefront of the field.

In part two, we speak to a visiting biology professor from the University of Waterloo, Dr. Trevor Charles. He presents his fascinating research about how bacteria can be engineered to turn methane into plastic.

In part three, we meet a Western alumnus who is turning synthetic biology discoveries into real businesses. Ihor Boszko speaks about speaks about his unique role at Ontario Genomics.

In part four, we ask the question, “How is Synthetic biology affecting our human identity?” Dr. Juan-Luis Suarez speaks on the moral and philosophical implications of synthetic biology.