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41 minutes | Mar 5, 2020
How Can We Best Prepare for Emerging Infectious Diseases?
As of mid-February, there had been more than 73,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 coronavirus infections worldwide, leading to some 1,800-plus deaths. This novel coronavirus is the latest infectious agent that, seemingly, came out of nowhere to cause panic across the globe, joining diseases such as Ebola, Zika, and SARS. Whether it's a disease that causes a pandemic or a particularly difficult strain of influenza, how are researchers more fully understanding these evolving pathogens to be better equipped to contain them in the future? Joining Curiosity Unplugged today are Senior Lecturer of Biology Katie Spink and IITRI Virologist and Study Director David Boltz.
38 minutes | Feb 6, 2020
What Does China’s Rise Mean for the United States?
Some 40 years ago, the People’s Republic of China was described as being “an impoverished backwater.” The nation has achieved remarkable growth in its real annual gross domestic product, which averaged nearly 10 percent through 2018. With the recent signing of the “Phase One” trade pact between China and the U.S., how can our two nations continue to cultivate its relationship as allies? Joining Curiosity Unplugged are Ron Henderson, professor and director of Illinois Tech’s Landscape Architecture + Urbanism Program; Nasrin Khalili, associate professor of environmental management at Illinois Tech’s Stuart School of Business, and director of Stuart’s Sustainable Business Innovation Clinic; and Associate Professor of Political Science Matthew Shapiro.
58 minutes | Jan 9, 2020
Working Toward Zero—How Do We Get Our Buildings to Net Zero Carbon to Help Reverse Climate Change?
As more information becomes available on the causes of climate change and how to reverse its effect, one thing is clear: cities and buildings play a big role in both. Cities contribute 70 to 75 percent of worldwide emissions, with nearly 40 percent of carbon emissions coming from their buildings. The World Resources Institute recently released a report that said that while one of the Paris Agreement's goals is to have every building reach net zero carbon by 2050, not even 1 percent of buildings are currently. How can we reach that goal? Joining Curiosity Unplugged today is Henry R. Linden Professor of Engineering Hamid Arastoopour, Associate Professor of Architectural Engineering Brent Stephens, and Assistant Professor of Architecture Rahman Azari.
46 minutes | Dec 5, 2019
Holding Your Own: Why Do We Sometimes Do Not-So-Good Things?
The high holiday season that began with Thanksgiving is now in full swing. For many individuals, it’s a time of living large and letting go—of cash, of a sensible eating and drinking regimen, or of a positive attitude. What can we do to ensure that for most of the rest of the year, our behavior is aligned with our best physical and psychological health interests? Joining Curiosity Unplugged are Professor of Food Science and Nutrition Britt Burton-Freeman, Associate Professor of Psychology Gregory Chasson, and Assistant Professor of Psychology Alissa Haedt-Matt.
59 minutes | Nov 7, 2019
One Year Out, How Close Are We to a Secure 2020 Election?
The vulnerability of the electronic systems that support most elections became widely publicized during the 2016 United States presidential election following the news of Russian government attempts to compromise voter registration systems. Despite the heightened attention to the integrity of elections, are we moving fast enough to ensure that the issues from 2016 are not repeated next year? Joining Curiosity Unplugged are two Illinois Tech alumni, Adjunct Industry Professor Shawn Davis and Louis F. McHugh IV, adjunct industry professor and director of information technology at the School of Applied Technology.
49 minutes | Oct 3, 2019
Has Politics Enveloped the Supreme Court and the U.S. Judicial System?
The members of the Supreme Court of the United States first assembled in New York City’s Merchants Exchange Building in 1790 and in 1869 the court’s present total of nine judges was established. Amid recent accusations of being too political, too partisan, or too polarized, the Supreme Court is facing as much scrutiny, if not more, than ever before. The courts are now being utilized as a political resource, with politicians focused on stacking the federal circuit, district, and appeals courts with judges that see the law from their perspective. In a country that is sharply divided along political and ideological lines, this brings into question the neutrality of the court, raising doubts that even the Supreme Court is no longer immune. Joining Curiosity Unplugged are Professor of Law Christopher Schmidt and Professor of Law Nancy Marder.
42 minutes | Sep 5, 2019
One Hundred Years After Its Founding, Is the Bauhaus Still Relevant?
Founded in 1919 in Weimar, Germany, by architect Walter Gropius, the Bauhaus existed for 14 years before being shut down. Cited as the “most influential design school in history” by Nature: The International Journal of Science, the Bauhaus has direct links to Illinois Tech’s own architecture and design schools. The university will honor Germany’s Bauhaus this September during its inaugural Shapeshift festival. The event aims to celebrate Illinois Tech’s “legendary, yet largely unknown, Bauhaus heritage.” Why does the Bauhaus matter, especially now, at its 100th anniversary? Joining Curiosity Unplugged are Professor Emeritus of Architecture History Kevin Harrington, Institute of Design Dean Denis Weil, and the John and Jeanne Rowe Endowed Professor in Architecture John Ronan.
44 minutes | Aug 8, 2019
Are Universities Relevant in Today’s Economy?
Stories in the popular media on the value of a college education tend to head in opposite directions. One business publication covers why a notable CEO says that a college degree is not necessary for success while the latest report from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics states that usual median weekly earnings in 2017 for workers who earned a bachelor’s degree was $1,173 as compared with $712 for workers having only a high school diploma. Besides potential economic advancement, what else can prospective students gain by participating in the college experience and ultimately attaining a degree? Joining Curiosity Unplugged are Senior Lecturer of Biomedical Engineering Bonnie Haferkamp; Joe Hakes, Illinois Tech’s director of athletics; and Katherine Stetz, vice provost for student affairs and dean of students.
49 minutes | Jul 3, 2019
Gun Violence and the Second Amendment: Has the Price of Freedom Become Too High?
Believed to be of such importance to its new country that it was included in the Bill of Rights, the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution reads: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” That 27-word sentence had a specific, vital meaning to the Founding Fathers as they went about setting the foundation for their new home country, one free from the tyranny they fought to leave behind. Yet, as we near 250 years since the birth of this nation, those words now present a gray area when it comes to gun regulation. Has our determination to protect the Second Amendment made us numb to the all-too-routine tragedies of gun violence in this country? Joining Curiosity Unplugged is Visiting Assistant Professor of Law Cody Jacobs, Associate Professor of Psychology Arlen Moller, and Senior Lecturer of Design and IPRO Director Jeremy Alexis.
55 minutes | Jun 6, 2019
Is There a Dividing Line Within Freedom of Speech on College Campuses?
The core tenet of higher education in the United States has been that students who attend these institutions will be given a diverse, encompassing experience that offers all viewpoints, no matter how offensive some may be deemed. Yet, in an era where seemingly everything has become a lightning rod for controversy, freedom of expression on college campuses is no different. This leads to a complex question: Are college campuses limiting the right every student has to express their opinion—or is this another area where a divided nation is showing its fissures? Joining Curiosity Unplugged is University Distinguished Professor Emeritus and Professor of Law Emeritus Sheldon H. Nahmod and Professor of Philosophy Michael Davis.
49 minutes | May 2, 2019
Why Do Many Young Women Lose Interest in Pursuing STEM Careers?
By early college, the number of science and engineering courses taken by women decline and gender disparities begin to emerge. How can society better understand the societal, psychological, and cultural factors contributing to this shift? What strategies can educators engage in to ensure an academic environment that encourages young women to consider STEM careers? Joining Curiosity Unplugged are Physics Senior Lecturer and Associate Chair Sally Laurent-Muehleisen, Professor of Sociology Ullica Segerstrale, and Adjunct Faculty Member Vida Winans.
52 minutes | Apr 4, 2019
Has Social Media Changed Us for Better or for Worse?
The emergence of social media over the last decade and a half has been rapid and abrupt. Platforms that, at first, provided an opportunity to connect with friends and family in new and interesting ways online have now also become vessels for misinformation and hate while fundamentally changing the way an entire generation learned to communicate with others. Now, as terms like “fake news” have entered our lexicon, a question arises: Have social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, and others outlived their usefulness? Joining Curiosity Unplugged are Aron Culotta, assistant professor of computer science; Daniel Krieglstein, Illinois Tech alumnus and adjunct instructor in the School of Applied Technology’s Department of Information Technology and Management; and Anthony Michael Kreis, visiting assistant professor of law at Chicago-Kent College of Law.
59 minutes | Mar 7, 2019
Are We Doing Enough as a Nation to Protect Ourselves from Ever-Growing Cyber Threats?
The issue of cybersecurity is beginning to draw more attention in the United States, initiated, in part, by Russian interference in the 2016 presidential elections. Now, amid the almost constant news and discussion over America’s need for a physical wall along its southern border, the quieter danger of cyber threats continues to build in the background. What are we doing to protect ourselves against cyberattacks that could knock our nation’s grid offline, allow rival countries to conduct surveillance, or contribute the repeated data breaches that put individual citizens’ personal data at risk? Joining Curiosity Unplugged is Zuyi Li, professor of electrical and computer engineering in Armour College of Engineering and associate director of the Robert W. Galvin Center for Electricity Innovation; Ray Trygstad, an industry professor of information technology and management in the School of Applied Technology; and Anita Nikolich, a cybersecurity expert and visiting fellow in the College of Science’s Department of Computer Science.
51 minutes | Feb 7, 2019
Is Higher Education Doing Enough to Help Underrepresented Students Succeed?
By their very nature, colleges and universities should celebrate intellectual diversity, the free exchange of ideas, and cultural norms. A commitment to academic engagement and inclusivity should be the norm. But is it? A 2017 Pew Research Center survey found that about half of STEM workers cite limited access to quality education as a major reason for the low number of Blacks and Hispanics in STEM jobs. How can we create a campus environment where all students can more fully realize their potential? Joining Curiosity Unplugged today is Jean-Luc Ayitou, an assistant professor of chemistry in Illinois Tech’s College of Science; Amanda Williams, former adjunct associate professor in the College of Architecture; and Smriti Anand, associate professor of management at Stuart School of Business.
56 minutes | Jan 3, 2019
In Our Search for Truth, Do Science and Religion Collide?
How did we get here? Where did we come from? Where are we going? As humans we have turned to both religion and science for answers to these infinitely daunting questions. Although religion and science have butted heads over topics such as genetics, medicine, and evolution, studies show that arguments between the two are overblown. According to a 2014 Pew Research Center report, while 59 percent of Americans believe that science and religion conflict, most Americans think that science aligns with their own beliefs, and most people who identify themselves as highly religious are less likely to see conflict. When it comes to God or science, whose side are we willing to take, and when? Joining Curiosity Unplugged today are Andy Howard, associate professor of biology and physics; Karl Seigfried, adjunct humanities instructor and pagan chaplain at Illinois Tech; and Jack Snapper, associate professor of philosophy.
58 minutes | Dec 6, 2018
From Automation to Intelligence: Do We Have Anything to Fear in the Coming Techno Evolution?
In a 2017 Pew Research Center survey, 72 percent of Americans expressed some level of worry about the notion that machines might do many of the jobs currently done by humans—with 25 percent describing themselves as very worried. Additionally, 76 percent expect that widespread automation will lead to much greater levels of economic inequality than exist today. As society moves toward new and increased uses of automation technology, can we find a satisfactory way to coexist with our creations? Joining Curiosity Unplugged is Professor of Computer Science Shlomo Argamon, Professor of Philosophy Elisabeth Hildt, and Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering Matthew Spenko.
58 minutes | Nov 8, 2018
How Can Universities Stay Relevant in a Rapidly Changing, Digital World?
Illinois Tech has been on the leading edge of education that incorporates forward-thinking teaching methods. These include team- and project-based courses, learning by doing, exposure to sophisticated tools and research methods, design thinking, and digital technologies. But as technology and the job market evolve, how will universities keep up? What classroom techniques are—and will be—most productive at producing lifelong learners? And which methods are especially suited to teaching students how to succeed in a tech-driven future? Joining Curiosity Unplugged is Karl Stolley, associate professor of digital writing and rhetoric; Jeremy Alexis, senior lecturer at the Institute of Design; and Dean of Lewis College of Human Sciences Christine Himes.
51 minutes | Oct 3, 2018
Is Chicago Poised to Become the Next Great Tech Ecosystem—and How Will It Get There?
According to the Illinois Science and Technology Coalition, Chicago boasts the fifth largest economy in the United States and the fourth largest concentration of Fortune 500 companies. In 2017 Chicago saw $1.9 billion in venture funding and the highest venture capital returns of any U.S. startup hub. As the City of Big Shoulders continues to grow, how can its tech sector move to the number one spot? Joining Curiosity Unplugged today is University Professor Howard Tullman, executive director of Illinois Tech’s Ed Kaplan Family Institute for Innovation and Tech Entrepreneurship; Clinical Professor of Law Heather Harper, the supervising attorney for the Entrepreneurial Law Clinic in the Law Offices of Chicago-Kent College of Law at Illinois Tech; and Nik Rokop, Coleman Foundation Clinical Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship at Illinois Tech’s Stuart School of Business.
58 minutes | Sep 5, 2018
How Does the U.S. Move Confidently Toward Driverless Cities?
How do we move toward driverless cities in the nation that popularized the automobile? The Ford Model T, known widely as the first affordable automobile, hit the road in 1908. Since then it’s been a race to make bigger, better, flashier vehicles with amenities that would’ve been unfathomable to the automobile’s creator. But what happens when the automobile, arguably one of the greatest creations of the 20th century, becomes obsolete? City planners, architects, and designers are working toward a future where cars are no longer a necessity. Joining Curiosity Unplugged today is Hank Perritt, professor of law and former dean at Illinois Tech’s Chicago-Kent College of Law; Boris Pervan, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Illinois Tech’s Armour College of Engineering; and Nilay Mistry, adjunct professor at Illinois Tech’s College of Architecture.
56 minutes | Aug 1, 2018
Not in My America: Is the Real Issue Immigration--or Naturalization?
From the Naturalization Act of 1790 to the Chinese Exclusion Act to various incarnations of the Immigration Act, the United States has throughout its history imposed limits on the settlement of non-native individuals or non-citizens into the country. Since the time our nation was brand new, groups including slaves, Native Americans, Asians, and women, and up to today’s “Dreamers,” have alternately been barred from achieving U.S. citizenship. In the “land of the free,” has history shown us that immigration controls can be interpreted as a form of oppression, especially when it comes to naturalization? Joining Curiosity Unplugged today is Nicole Legate, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Illinois Tech’s Lewis College of Human Sciences, and Associate Professor of Law Carolyn Shapiro, who is on the faculty of Illinois Tech’s Chicago-Kent College of Law.
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