Grad Jobs Outlook, Sniffing Robots, Chocolate and Depression

Top of Mind with Julie Rose - Radio Archive, Episode 71

  • May 27, 2015 9:00 pm
  • 1:44:37 mins

Job Outlook for Recent Grads (1:04) Guest: Andrea Koncz, Research Manager for the National Association of Colleges and Employers  Good news for the college class of 2015.  As they head off with their newly-minted degrees, they face some of the best prospects of landing a job since the Great Recession. Students graduating in Engineering and Computer Science have the best opportunities, but all students have been having more luck this year.  “Sniffing” Robots (14:06) Guest:  Brian Smith, Ph. D., Professor of Behavioral Neuroscience at Arizona State University  Robots are becoming more human every day. We’ve programed them to clean our houses, manufacture goods, and even fight our wars. They can move, speak, see, and interact with their environment – often better than humans. But here’s one thing robots can’t do even remotely as well as we can – sniff an odor on the air and figure out what it is.    Robots that could smell could detect threats without endangering lives—like gas or bomb threats, for example. Brian Smith, behavioral neuroscientist at Arizona State University, looks at other animals for inspiration on how to create robots that could smell.  Nanotechnology and Cancer Treatment (32:44) Guest:  Ramazan Asmatulu, Ph. D., Mechanical Engineering Professor at Wichita State University  A cancer diagnosis is bad. The treatment is bad, too. And the after-effects of the treatment are bad. But magnetic nanoparticles have shown promise in getting chemotherapy drugs to cancer tumors in a more targeted way, so there’s less collateral damage to surrounding cells. The particles can take many shapes—but are incredibly small: 100,000 times smaller than a human hair . That’s not just invisible to the naked eye—but even to most conventional microscopes.  American Heritage: The Birth of Modern Politics (52:23) Guest: Grant Madsen, Ph. D., History Professor at Brigham Young University  BYU history professor Grant Madsen brings his introductory American History course right to us. We get a college history lesson—and we don’t have to worry about quizzes or grades! Each week features a new topic and a deeper understanding of significant milestones in American history. This week Marcus Smith asked Grant Madsen where the political divide between liberals and conservatives originated.  Healthy Chocolate (1:20:15) Guest: Larry Stevens, Ph. D., Professor of Psychophysiological at Northern Arizona University  60-percent, 70-percent – 86-percent – that’s what my favorite claims to have - Ghirardelli’s Intense Dark Midnight Reverie chocolate bar. The percentage indicates how much of the bar comes from the cocoa bean – as opposed to other stuff like milk or sugar.  I happen to spend a lot of time perusing the chocolate aisle, so I can tell you with some authority that we’re seeing more and more dark – and really dark – varieties for sale.  I suspect this has less to do with taste preferences and more to do with all the research we’re seeing about how dark chocolate is good for you. . .  Exactly how and why it’s good for us is the subject of a new study published in the journal NeuroRegulation. Northern Arizona University psychology researcher Larry Stevens co-authored the study, and joined us to discuss it.  Vitamin D and Depression (1:34:56) Guest: David Kerr, Ph. D, Psychology Professor at Oregon State University  While we’re on the subject of health, let’s turn now to some new research about depression and Vitamin D. Researchers have long suspected a connection between the two, but a proven link has been evasive. However, a recent study published in the journal of Psychiatry Research seems to have found clear evidence that the proper levels of Vitamin D can, in fact, ease depressive symptoms in healthy young women.  Oregon State University psychology professor David Kerr was lead author of the study. He spoke with Top of Mind student producer Kim Anderson about the effects of Vitamin D on mood.

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