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After each of the following episodes of Scientific American Frontiers, scientists from the shows answered questions our viewers sent to this website. Select any name for a brief biography of the scientist and a transcript of viewers' questions and the scientist's answers.
Show 905
(premiered 4/21/99)

Thiemo Krink Thiemo Krink of the University of Aarhus in Denmark answers you questions about how "digital spiders" living inside computers can help explain the evolution of webmaking.

Stim Wilcox Ask Stim Wilcox of the University of Birmingham about the clever and cunning Portia fimbriata spider.

David Clark Ask David Clark of Alma College about the fascinating Maevia inclemens.

Susan Riechert Susan Riechert of the University of Tennessee tells you more about the 1,500 spiders in her natural laboratory -- and how they may give us a glimpse of evolution in action.

Leticia Avilés Leticia Avilés of the University of Arizona shares her knowledge about spider colonies in Ecuador.

Rick West Rick West shares his enthusiasm for the tarantula species -- including one named after Alan Alda.

Hunter Hoffman & Al Carlin Hunter Hoffman and of the University of Washington and Al Carlin, a clinical psychologist, explain how their collaboration and use of virtual reality helped ease a woman's fear of spiders.

Show 904
Life's Little Questions:
...and Some Very Big Answers (premiered 2/24/99)

Linda Bartoshuk Linda Bartoshuk answers questions about capsicums (peppers), our response to their heat -- and their potential as analgesics.

Scott Campbell Scott Campbell of Cornell University Medical College tells about a surprising solution to reset our biological clocks.

Michael Dickinson Michael Dickinson of the University of California at Berkeley discusses research into the fruit fly's extraordinary feats of locomotion.

Claire Balint Claire Balint of the University of California at Berkeley discusses research into the fruit fly's extraordinary feats of locomotion.

Kai Nagel Kai Nagel explores what research done at the Los Alamos National Laboratory reveals about why traffic jams.

Chris Barrett Chris Barrett explores what research done at the Los Alamos National Laboratory reveals about why traffic jams.

Sidney Nagel Sidney Nagel reports from the University of Chicago where research with grains of sand helps explain how particles move.

Heinrich Jaeger Heinrich Jaeger reports from the University of Chicago where research with grains of sand helps explain how particles move.

Show 903
Animal Einsteins:
How Smart Are They? (premiered 1/20/99)

Irene Pepperberg Irene Pepperberg discusses her research with Alex, a parrot with amazing communication skills.

Ronald Schusterman Ronald Schusterman answers questions about sea lions' communication and reasoning abilities.

Susan Carey Susan Carey talks about her investigation of primates' counting skills and what it reveals about the roots of human thinking.

Bernd Heinrich Bernd Heinrich answers questions about the capabilities of ravens.

Marc Hauser Marc Hauser explains what he's learned about the problem-solving abilities of tamarins.

Sally Boysen Sally Boysen discourses about her work with chimps and how they communicate.

Show 902
Journey to Mars:
Getting There...and Back (premiered 11/11/98)

Robert Zubrin Robert Zubrin answers questions about his pioneering research and Mars Direct, his revolutionary plan for going to Mars.

Donna Fender Donna Fender answers questions about inflatable habitats that may be home for astronauts on Mars.

Kathie Thomas-Keprta Kathie Thomas-Keprta answers questions about Mars meteorites and what they tell us about the history of the red planet.

Andrew Thomas Andrew Thomas, who spent time on the Mir space station, answers questions about the physical and psychological challenges of life in space.

Malcolm Cohen Malcolm Cohen answers questions about life in a weightless environment and teaching astronauts how to compensate for its effects.

Show 901
Science in Paradise:
A Science Expedition to the Carribean (premiered 10/7/98)

Zandy Hillis-Starr Zandy Hillis-Starr, a biologist with the National Park Service at Buck Island, tells you about how she captures and tracks hawksbill turtles as part of a successful program to save this endangered species.

Richard Herd At the Montserrat Volcano Observatory, Richard Herd takes a close look at the volcano that buried much of this lush island and gives Frontiers viewers a first-hand report.

Clement Imbert Clement Imbert of the University of the West Indies answers questions about the fascinating music -- and science -- of the famous steel pan of Trinidad.

Jim Cordes Jim Cordes answers questions about how the Arecibo Observatory tunes into the universe searching for pulsars, far-away galaxies, asteroids -- and signals from distant space.

Garriet Smith Garriet Smith, a marine biologist at the University of South Carolina, answers question about his work and what he has learned about a disease threatening Caribbean coral reefs.

Show 805
The New Zoos:
Enriching the Minds and Lives of Animals - (4/15/98)

JoAnne Simerson At the San Diego Zoo's Polar Bear Plunge exhibit, animal behaviorist JoAnne Simerson treats polar bears to a varied "enrichment program" designed to keep them happy and healthy. Read JoAnne's answers to viewers' questions about the programs she creates for the bears and her work with other species at the zoo.

Suzanne MacDonald Suzanne MacDonald, an animal behaviorist at the Metropolitan Toronto Zoo, creates enrichment programs by applying her knowledge of how animals think and their natural behaviors in the wild. Frontiers viewers asked Suzanne about her work with orangutans, Saki monkeys and other species.

Howard Krum At Boston's New England Aquarium, the medical center is a real hospital where visitors can observe exams and emergency care for animal patients. Veterinarian Howard Krum and his team have operated on some unusual patients, like the bridled burrfish we see on this episode, to build up a repertoire of advanced surgical techniques. Learn more about Howard's work and his patients by reading his answers to viewers' questions.

Tom Williams
Heidi Dewar
The Monterey Bay Aquarium is known for pioneering new techniques in animal husbandry and its interpretation of living organisms. After the New Zoos, Aquarium veterinarian Tom Williams fielded questions about his work and Heidi Dewar responded to queries about her projects with bluefin tuna.

Don Lindburg Don Lindburg is Panda Team Leader at the Center for Reproduction of Endangered Species (CRES), part of the Zoological Society of San Diego devoted to conserving endangered animals. Read Don's answers to viewers' questions to learn more about the giant panda and CRES's efforts to preserve this critically endangered species.

Benjamin Beck Benjamin Beck, Associate Director for Biological Programs at the National Zoo in Washington, specializes in reintroducing animals to the wild by teaching them survival skills such as how to search for food. What's it like to run the "jungle boot camp" we see on The New Zoos? Check out these questions and answers for a firsthand report.

Show 804
The Art of Science:
Enhancing Creativity Through Science & Technology - (2/18/98)

Gerhard Finkenbeiner German-born glassblower Gerhard Finkenbeiner first heard about the glass harmonica while living and working in Paris in the 1950s. Using original plans, he created a modern version of the instrument originally invented by Benjamin Franklin in 1761. Find out more about this unusual instrument and its strangely beautiful sounds by reading Finkenbeiner's answers to questions from Frontiers viewers.

Nick Campbell Several technologies of the future are combined to create a "digital double" of Alan Alda. Nick Campbell of Interpreting Telecommunications Research Laboratories in Kyoto, Japan, took on the challenging assignment of creating speech for "Digital Alan" using a speech synthesizing system called CHATR. Campbell answered viewers' question about this new technology and how it may be used in the future.

Harold Cohen Harold Cohen has been the creator and mentor of AARON, a painting robot, for more than 20 years. The result is the first robot in human history to paint original art. AARON mixes its own paints, creates striking artwork and even washes its own brushes. Read Cohen's answers to questions about AARON and his creative process with this highly evolved expert system.

Tod Machover Tod Machover is Director of the Experimental Media Facility at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and creator of The Brain Opera. This musical experience allows an audience to generate music on hyperinstruments and then incorporates the sounds into live performances. See what Machover has to say about this collaborative event, his latest musical projects and exciting research at the MIT Media Lab.

Shelley Sturman National Gallery of Art conservator Shelley Sturman helped restore an important part of American art and history. The Shaw Memorial was originally created in 1897 by Augustus Saint-Gaudens and is America's first monument to African-America soldiers. Sturman took Frontiers viewers behind the scenes as she answered questions about conservation and restoration at the National Gallery.

Show 803
Nordic Sagas: Science in Scandinavia - (12/21/97)

Ole Crumlin-Pedersen For nearly three centuries, the Vikings ruled the seas in sleek, streamlined vessels. Now, reconstructions of ancient ships reveal the technological innovations of Viking sailors. Discover more by reading answers to viewer's questions from Ole Crumlin-Pedersen at the Viking Ship Museum.

Kari Stefansson DeCode Genetics studies the unique genetic heritage of Iceland's population. What makes Icelanders unique -- and what does the company hope to find? To learn more, read answers about this topic from deCode Genetics president, Kari Stefansson.

Borgthor Magnusson
Sigurdur Magnusson
How does life develop on a new part of the Earth? Find out more from two plant ecologists who study the once-sterile landscape of Surtsey: Borgthor Magnusson and Sigurdur Magnusson.

Bodil Jonsson Technology can be a powerful tool to enhance the lives of individuals who are distanced from society by disability. You can learn more from Bodil Jonsson, a researcher and professor in the field of rehabilitation engineering, who answered viewers' questions about this topic.

Birgitta Ahman After the nuclear explosion at Chernobyl in 1986, fallout contaminated Lapland, home of the Sami people and their reindeer herds. Birgitta Ahman of the Reindeer Husbandry Unit at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences responded to questions about radioactivity and reindeer.

Show 802
Beyond Science? Investigations into Pseudoscience - (11/19/97)

Ray Hyman What's behind the claim that people can locate water hundreds of feet below the surface of the Earth simply by using the ancient art of dowsing? After watching a test of dowsing on Beyond Science? viewers learned more from cognitive psychologist Ray Hyman.

Philip J. Klass In July 1947, an alien spacecraft crash landed in the desert near Roswell, New Mexico. Or did it? Frontiers viewers learned more about what really happened in Roswell when prominent UFO skeptic Philip Klass answered their questions.

Hal Puthoff & Steven Weinberg Is free unlimited energy really a possibility? Frontiers viewers gained some insights from two physicists who have explored this intriguing topic: Hal Puthoff and Steven Weinberg.

Barry L. Beyerstein Neuroscientist Barry Beyerstein investigates the use of handwriting analysis as a tool for psychological measurement. Find out more about Barry's research into graphology by reading his answers to questions from Frontiers viewers.

Emily Rosa At 10 years old, Emily Rosa may be one of the youngest people to submit a paper for publication in a scientific journal. After repeating her experiment to investigate Therapeutic Touch, Emily answered questions from the Frontiers audience.

Show 801
Expedition Panama: Science at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute - (10/8/97)

Elisabeth Kalko One of the world's leading authorities on bats -- biologist Elisabeth Kalko of the Smithsonian Natural History Museum -- answered viewers' questions about these fascinating nocturnal creatures.

Antonio Telesca Antonio Telesca from the conservation organization ANCON answered questions about efforts to domesticate the paca and other innovative conservation projects in the region.

David Ward Roubik and James Nieh What's the latest buzz in bee communication? Frontiers viewers found out from two who know: David Ward Roubik, resident bee expert at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute; and James Nieh, who studied stingless bees while completing his Ph.D. at Cornell University.

Ulrich Mueller Discover more about the role of ants in the complex of ecology of the rain forest by reading Ulrich's answers to questions from Frontiers viewers.

Tony Coates Tony Coates, a geologist and Deputy Director of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, answered viewers' questions about the formation of the Isthmus of Panama and its far-reaching consequences.

Show 705
Robots Alive: Robots with Minds of Their Own - (4/9/97)

Chuck Thorpe Senior research scientist at the Robotics Institute of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

Kurt Konolige Creator of Flakey the robot and affiliated with SRI International in Menlo Park, California.

Rodney Brooks Professor of computer science and engineering and associate director of the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at MIT.

W. Thomas Miller Professor and chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of New Hampshire.

Show 704
Going to Extremes: Testing Nature's Limits - (2/19/97)

Rodger Kram Assistant Professor in the Human Biodynamics Department at the University of California, Berkeley.

Susan Reichert Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and UTK Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Kenneth Storey Professor of Biochemistry in the Departments of Biology and Chemistry at Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada.

Show 703
Pieces of Mind: Inside the Human Brain - (1/22/97)

Michael Gazziniga The David T. McLaughlin Distinguished Professor at Dartmouth College and Director of the Program in Cognitive Neuroscience.

James McGaugh Founding Director of the Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory and Research Professor of Psychobiology and Pharmacology at the University of California, Irvine (UCI).

Helen Neville Director of the Brain Development Lab and a Professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of Oregon in Eugene, Oregon.

Robert Stickgold Assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and affiliated with the Laboratory of Neurophysiology in the Massachusetts Mental Health Center, Boston.

Show 702
Science Safari: A Scientific Expedition Through South Africa - (11/20/96)

Hilary Deacon Professor of Archaeology and Head of Department at the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa.

David le Sueur Physician and Senior Specialist Scientist with the National Malaria Research Programme at the University of Natal's Medical School in South Africa.

Pete Goodman Biologist and wildlife management specialist affiliated with the Natal Parks Board in Mkuze Park.

Sydney Miller Archaeologist at the Thulamela excavation inside the Kruger Park near the border of Mozambique and Zimbabwe in South Africa.

Khotso Mokhele President of the Foundation for Research Development (FRD), South Africa's funding agency for research in science, engineering and technology.

Sipho Ngxongo Regional director for the Department of Health in the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal.

Richard Symmonds Horticulturalist affiliated with the Silver Glen Nursery, a project of the Parks Department in the City of Durban, South Africa.

Show 701
Inventing the Future: A Tour of the MIT Media Lab - (10/23/96)

Justine Cassell Professor in the Learning and Common Sense section, and director of the MIT Media Laboratory's Gesture and Narrative Language Group.

Tod Machover Composer and creator of the Brain Opera.

Pattie Maes Founder and director of the MIT Media Laboratory's Autonomous Agents Group.

Rosalind Picard NEC Development Professor of Computers and Communications Associate Professor of Media Technology.
Sandy Pentland Head, Perceptual Computing Section, MIT Media Laboratory, discussing virtual reality and computerized cars

Thad Starner A Ph.D. candidate at MIT in Media Arts and Sciences with an interest in wearable computers.


Scientific American Frontiers
Fall 1990 to Spring 2000
Sponsored by GTE Corporation,
now a part of Verizon Communications Inc.