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.

Missouri State Startup Program Helps Local Entrepreneurs

Sep 26, 2019
Scott Harvey / KSMU

The efactory was founded in 2013 to help small business owners and entrepeneurs develop their ideas. Dr. Cornelison interviews the director of the efactory, Rachel Anderson, about the story and future of this startup.

You can hear the interview by clicking on the "Play" icon below.

Missouri State University

From a physicists point of view, the study of materials is intended to give insight into the fundamental processes at work.  However, the scientists at MSU are also working to incorporate their findings into practical long-term applications.  Dr. Kartik Ghosh, a Distinguished Professor of Physics, has been doing this sort of work in Springfield for many years.  He stops by STEM Spots to talk about his efforts, collaborators and the atmosphere of diversity needed to get the job done.

mararie / Flickr, Creative Commons

When thinking of all the solids we use in our everyday life, it is striking how many are made by humans instead of occurring naturally. In the past, making new mixtures of common elements was done in the search for better tools and weapons.  Now, scientists search for materials with properties better suited for harvesting solar energy or acting as components in an electronic device.  One such scientist is Dr. Tiglet Besara, a physicist at Missouri State University. He stops by STEM Spots to talk about the need and search for new crystals.

Economics: The "Dismal Science?"

Sep 5, 2019
Nicole Daae / Bēhance

Host Dr. Dave Cornelison discusses the study of economics with Kennith Brown, who's the department chair of the college of Humanities and Public Affairs at Missouri State University. How does economics relate to other sciences and what can be learned from its study?

NRCS Montana / Flickr

STEM Spots host Dr. David Cornelison discusses the effects of climate change with geoscientist and MSU professor Toby Dogwiler. The topics range from research into the effects of climate change and possible responses to the changing world.

Anders Sandberg, Creative Commons

Nuclear power has been struggling for years with a perception that it is inherently unsafe.  At the same time, other considerations, like climate change, have made the search for safer fuels and reactors an important area of research.  One of MSU’s researchers, Bob Mayanovic, happens to be studying these processes in collaboration with a team of MSU students and staff from Los Alamos National Lab.  He talks to STEM Spots about the larger problem and his work to better understand the underlying mechanisms in these materials.

Emily McTavish / KSMU

We all know that many plants need pollinating and that this activity is crucial to the agriculture on which we depend.  However, in most cases, our understanding can be somewhat simplistic, centering on the honeybee and its relationship with various flowers.  It turns out the interactions between pollinators, of which there are many besides honeybees, and plants is a complicated one.  Not only is the development of the characteristics of both plant and animal dependent on each participant, there are other forces at work in the relationship, namely microbes.  Dr.

IRRI Images / Flickr, Creative Commons

Our own immune systems do so much for us.   And yet, we don’t  fully understand how they go about their jobs. To get to the root of the matter takes many years of study, combining cellular biology, clinical work with patients, and animal studies of disease models.   Christopher Lupfer is one of the scientists engaged in teasing out the details and works in the Department of Biology at Missouri State University.  He stops by STEM Spots to talk about the bugs inside us and the machinery that combats them.

NASA Ames/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle

It is now well known that planets orbit nearly every star we can see.  Astronomers are constantly working to fill in the details and understand the development of solar systems from the wide array of candidates visible to us.  This work is done initially by space-based satellites, as finding the exoplanets requires large telescopes and is best done outside the earth’s distorting atmosphere.  However, to lock down the characteristics of the detected bodies requires extensive follow-up work, some of which is being done here in the Ozarks.  Mike Reed, an astronomer here at Missouri State Univ

NASA Ames/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle

It is now well known that planets orbit nearly every star we can see.  Astronomers are constantly working to fill in the details and understand the development of solar systems from the wide array of candidates visible to us.  This work is done initially by space-based satellites, as finding the exoplanets requires large telescopes and is best done outside the earth’s distorting atmosphere.  However, to lock down the characteristics of the detected bodies requires extensive follow-up work, some of which is being done here in the Ozarks.  Mike Reed, an astronomer here at Missouri State Univ

MethoxyRoxy / Creative Commons

Students at Missouri State University are always on the lookout for extracurricular activities to complement the coursework in their majors. 

So when students in the Mechanical Engineering Technology program learned about a national competition sponsored by the Society of Automotive Engineers, they jumped at the chance to participate. 

For this week's episode of STEM Spots, Aaron Abrudan, one of the team members, stops by to talk about the motivation behind and challenges of building a Baja Dune Buggy, as part of a student-comprised group of MET Bears. 

YaelBeer / Flickr, Creative Commons

Host David Cornelison interviews Nicholas Rogers, a student at Missouri State, about his impressions of his summer program in Lincoln, Nebraska. 

From the differences in equipment, knowledge, and research techniques, the discussion explores the opportunities offered to students in different locations.

Ambrose Heron / Flickr

As everyone in the Ozarks knows, small animals abound in our environment.  Many of these are mammals and each has an array of parasitic guests on their person.  Sean Maher is a biologist at Missouri State University and he is mapping out the distribution of various animals and their accompanying “bugs” in locales throughout the region.  Through this work, he is correlating environmental characteristics with the populations.  In doing so,  he hopes to learn more about the connections between population size and health with the supporting ecosystem in which the animals live. 

Matthew Hine / Flickr

As Vice President of Research at Missouri State University, Dr. Jim Baker is responsible for a team that supports the scholarly activities of a large group of faculty, staff and students.  He stops by STEM Spots to talk with Dr. David Cornelison about the goals and challenges of the research endeavor at MSU.

For the last couple decades, a standard refrain, heard far and wide, is that the future of the workforce is tied up with STEM.  And yet, it is sometimes difficult for a town, region or state to make headway in developing strong economic efforts in these fields.  The Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce leads much of this effort in our region and Alex Greiwe, who is the Project Manager for Workforce Development, is responsible for a good deal of it.

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