STEM Spots

Thursdays at 9:45 a.m.

STEM Spots is a weekly look into science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Hosted by Dr. David Cornelison, professor in the department of Physics, Astronomy and Materials Science at Missouri State University, STEM Spots invites local experts to discuss advances, issues and theories dealing with all matters of STEM.

When scientists discover something, they want to tell the world.  Such was the case in 1939 when word spread that the nucleus had been split.  Such was the state of the world that a group of physicists pushed to develop a weapon based on the new discovery and, in the short span of a few years, the world was changed forever.  When science is coopted for what appear to be essential but destructive needs, what are the  consequences?  In light of developments in North Korea, that question is more pertinent than ever.

The Voyager missions were intended to study the outer planets and they did so with a bang, sending back picture after picture of astounding clarity and beauty.  The public was transfixed by these images and the two missions helped lead the way to newer and better probes that would give even more insights into the solar system.  One particular picture, taken at the end of the lifetime for the cameras was of little scientific value and yet, for me, has meant more than all the others.   That is the look back onto our own earth, taken at the suggestion of Carl Sagan.

Missouri State University

It would seem that the mechanism by which our bodies live is rather simple; we eat, breathe and drink.  However, on a cellular level a great array of processes must act in a coordinated fashion if our individual cells are to do the jobs necessary for our survival.  Dr.

Well, it is almost on us, the total eclipse that will arrive late in the morning on August 21st.  For those of you who have been away, Missouri State is hosting an eclipse event, which will be held at 10:30 AM in Plaster Stadium on Monday, August 21. 

This week Becky Baker, who has worked tirelessly to arrange the activities, stops by to talk about everything that will happen.  Listen in as we discuss the eclipse itself, the activities for Plaster stadium and the motivation to use this natural event as a way to celebrate science and our place in the universe.


Google hasn’t had a great week.  Once again, evidence of trouble in Silicon Valley was on display as an engineer at the tech firm distributed a long memo positing possible explanations for the dearth of women in tech fields, specifically at Google.  Although the memo called for more diversity, in many cases the explanations for the disparity seen in tech were based on possible gender differences, such as more neuroticism, that seemed to enforce negative stereotypes. The response was near universal condemnation and, in fact, led to the engineer’s termination as a Google employee.