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Chalk Radio

English, Education, 5 seasons, 44 episodes, 13 hours, 41 minutes
About
Chalk Radio is an MIT OpenCourseWare podcast about inspired teaching at MIT. We take you behind the scenes of some of the most interesting courses on campus to talk with the professors who make those courses possible. Our guests open up to us about the passions that drive their cutting-edge research and innovative teaching, sharing stories that are candid, funny, serious, personal, and full of insights. Listening in on these conversations is like being right here with us in person under the MIT dome, talking with your favorite professors. Hosted by Dr. Sarah Hansen. New episode every other Wednesday, starting February 19, 2020.
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Everything Here Is Sacred (Terrascope Radio Replay)

In a departure from our usual format, in which we interview an exceptional faculty member to learn about their approach to teaching, this time we’re showcasing an exemplary piece of student work: an exploration of ways in which seemingly everyday places and activities, such as a cornfield, the meeting place of two rivers, or the process of planting and tending crops, are imbued with sacredness in Diné (Navajo) tradition. This episode was created by first-year students as a semester-long project in the course SP.360 Terrascope Radio as part of MIT Terrascope, a learning community for first-year undergraduate students focused on solving complex environmental problems. (For more information on the Terrascope learning community and its approach to student-led problem-solving, check out our interview with Dr. Ari Epstein in Season 5 Episode 5, which we’re releasing simultaneously with this special episode!) Follow along with the Terrascope students as they visit the Navajo Nation and learn firsthand about how the Diné people’s traditional relationship with the land survives as a powerful force in their lives, both shaping their response to environmental issues and marking their identity as a distinct people.This episode was produced by the Spring 2023 MIT Terrascope Radio class: Xiner Luo, Jacqueline Prawira, Nevena Stojkovic, and Elisa Xia. Relevant Resources:MIT OpenCourseWareThe OCW Educator PortalS5 E5 Chalk Radio interview about Terrascope with Ari EpsteinTerrascope RadioThe Navajo Nation at WikipediaNMSU Agricultural Science Center at FarmingtonThe Gold King Mine incidentMusic in this episode by Blue Dot Sessions Connect with UsIf you have a suggestion for a new episode or have used OCW to change your life or those of others, tell us your story. We’d love to hear from you! Call us @ 617-715-2517On our siteOn FacebookOn XOn InstagramOn LinkedInStay CurrentSubscribe to the free monthly "MIT OpenCourseWare Update" e-newsletter. Support OCWIf you like Chalk Radio and OpenCourseware, donate to help keep these programs going! CreditsSarah Hansen, host and producer Brett Paci, producer  Dave Lishansky, producer Show notes by Peter Chipman
5/22/202418 minutes, 47 seconds
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The Power of Experience with Dr. Ari Epstein

You thought Chalk Radio was a podcast about inspired teaching at MIT? Yes and no! “We don't do a lot of teaching,” says Dr. Ari Epstein, our guest for this week’s episode. Dr. Epstein is associate director of the Terrascope program, a learning community for first-year undergraduates. Each year the program focuses on one particular issue relating to sustainability, and participants in the program learn by direct experience, launching themselves into projects focused on solving complex environmental problems. The role of the program’s instructional staff, Dr. Epstein says, is to create an environment where learning can happen, rather than to impart knowledge or teach skills directly. Toward the end of the semester, the students create a website describing their proposed solutions in as much technical detail as they can. And then a week later, they present their proposals in front of an invited panel of outside experts. In the process of preparing for this presentation, students often come to realize that understanding the history and cultural implications of an issue are just as important as understanding the science behind it and the technology available for dealing with it.Relevant Resources:MIT OpenCourseWare The OCW Educator Portal Dr. Epstein’s faculty page The Terrascope program RES.12-002 Terrascope on MIT OpenCourseWare DigDeep Music in this episode by Blue Dot Sessions  Connect with UsIf you have a suggestion for a new episode or have used OCW to change your life or those of others, tell us your story. We’d love to hear from you! Call us @ 617-715-2517On our siteOn FacebookOn XOn InstagramOn LinkedInStay CurrentSubscribe to the free monthly "MIT OpenCourseWare Update" e-newsletter. Support OCWIf you like Chalk Radio and OpenCourseware, donate to help keep these programs going! CreditsSarah Hansen, host and producer Brett Paci, producer  Dave Lishansky, producer Show notes by Peter Chipman
5/22/202419 minutes, 28 seconds
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Economics and Real-World Impact with Dr. Sara Ellison and Prof. Esther Duflo

In this episode we meet professor and Nobel laureate Esther Duflo and her colleague Dr. Sara Ellison for a discussion about economics: what it is, how it differs from sociology, how it incorporates classic intellectual tools like probability and statistics with newer technologies like machine learning, and how it can itself be a tool for improving the world by solving problems of inequity one problem at a time. As Duflo and Ellison explain, economics has shifted in recent decades from a primarily solo endeavor to an intensely collaborative one, in which any given paper is likely to have multiple co-authors but also to be based on the work of an even larger group of people—not only professional economists but also psychologists, teachers, NGO workers, and so on. (Fittingly, Duflo’s and Ellison’s teaching is collaborative as well; they work together as co-instructors on the course 14.310x Data Analysis for Social Scientists, available on both MITx Online and MIT OpenCourseWare.) Other topics covered in the episode include why online shopping isn’t as cheap as it seems like it should be and why you should disable some of your spreadsheet’s default settings.    Relevant Resources:MIT OpenCourseWare The OCW Educator Portal Professor Duflo’s faculty page Dr. Ellison’s faculty page 14.310x Data Analysis for Social Scientists on MIT OpenCourseWare14.310x Data Analysis for Social Scientists on MITx OnlineMITx MicroMasters Program in Statistics and Data Science Music in this episode by Blue Dot Sessions  Connect with UsIf you have a suggestion for a new episode or have used OCW to change your life or those of others, tell us your story. We’d love to hear from you! Call us @ 617-715-2517On our siteOn FacebookOn XOn InstagramOn LinkedInStay CurrentSubscribe to the free monthly "MIT OpenCourseWare Update" e-newsletter. Support OCWIf you like Chalk Radio and OpenCourseware, donate to help keep these programs going! CreditsSarah Hansen, host and producer Brett Paci, producer  Dave Lishansky, producer Show notes by Peter Chipman
5/15/202436 minutes, 54 seconds
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The Lumpy Universe with Prof. David Kaiser

This conversation with Prof. David Kaiser, who teaches physics and the history of science at MIT, covers a vast timespan, from the beginning of the universe to the present day. Prof. Kaiser explains that inflationary cosmology helps connect our understanding of quantum fluctuations—what he calls the “jitters” that particles undergo at subatomic levels—to the irregular distribution of matter in the universe. What’s most exciting, he says, is that simulations based on inflationary theory produce predictions that closely match detailed measurements of the cosmos. Later in the interview, Prof. Kaiser discusses how he teaches his course on 20th-century science, seeking to demythologize Albert Einstein (“He was no Einstein as a young person!”) and examining the historical context of the development of nuclear weapons as portrayed in the 2023 film Oppenheimer. He hopes his students will learn to see science not as happening in isolation but as a product and producer of historical events and cultural changes. Lastly, he discusses what he’s learned from his years of teaching the course, and in particular how he helps students who are anxious about writing papers to overcome their fears.Relevant Resources:MIT OpenCourseWareThe OCW Educator PortalProfessor Kaiser’s faculty page (MIT Physics department) Professor Kaiser’s faculty page (MIT Program in Science, Technology, and Society) STS.042 Einstein, Oppenheimer, Feynman: Physics In The 20th Century on OCWMIT’s communication requirementOppenheimer (2023) on IMDBContainment (2015) on IMDBMusic in this episode by Blue Dot Sessions Connect with UsIf you have a suggestion for a new episode or have used OCW to change your life or those of others, tell us your story. We’d love to hear from you! Call us @ 617-715-2517On our siteOn FacebookOn XOn InstagramOn LinkedInStay CurrentSubscribe to the free monthly "MIT OpenCourseWare Update" e-newsletter. Support OCWIf you like Chalk Radio and OpenCourseware, donate to help keep these programs going! CreditsSarah Hansen, host and producer Brett Paci, producer  Dave Lishansky, producer Show notes by Peter Chipman
5/8/202453 minutes, 26 seconds
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Reimagining Cities with Prof. David Hsu

Paradoxically, urban planning professor David Hsu doesn’t consider himself a “city person,” but he has great appreciation and enthusiasm for cities as places where meaningful steps can be taken toward climate mitigation. In this episode, Prof. Hsu explains that urban planners can help move cities to take action to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions from the construction, heating, power, and transport sectors. But he observes that the most lasting and successful actions are ones that are implemented democratically, with the consent and participation of the affected communities. To win over those communities, he says, technical experts have to learn to communicate solid facts using math that even a layperson can follow. And they need to learn that sometimes there can be more than one defensible position in response to a given problem—which is why Prof. Hsu often asks his students to read multiple papers that take conflicting positions on a particular problem, and to evaluate which paper’s (or papers’) arguments are more persuasive. Because in the end, it’s people who need to be persuaded to take action against climate change—solutions won’t implement themselves.         Relevant Resources:MIT OpenCourseWare The OCW Educator Portal Professor Hsu’s faculty page 11.165J Urban Energy Systems and Policy on MIT OpenCourseWare Music in this episode by Blue Dot Sessions  Connect with UsIf you have a suggestion for a new episode or have used OCW to change your life or those of others, tell us your story. We’d love to hear from you! Call us @ 617-715-2517On our siteOn FacebookOn XOn InstagramOn LinkedInStay CurrentSubscribe to the free monthly "MIT OpenCourseWare Update" e-newsletter. Support OCWIf you like Chalk Radio and OpenCourseware, donate to help keep these programs going! CreditsSarah Hansen, host and producer Brett Paci, producer  Dave Lishansky, producer Show notes by Peter Chipman
5/1/202410 minutes, 37 seconds
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The Kitchen Cloud Chamber with Prof. Anne White

You don’t need a multibillion-dollar supercollider to detect subatomic particles. In fact, you can build a working cloud chamber—a device capable of revealing the cosmic radiation and radon decay events that go on continuously around us—with just a block of dry ice, some rubbing alcohol, and a few objects you probably already have in your kitchen. What’s more, constructing the cloud chamber only takes about an hour, making it an ideal project for an introductory physics class, for intellectually engaged nonscientists, or even for curious kindergartners (with some adult supervision!). In this interview, engineering professor Anne White discusses the pedagogical usefulness of such hands-on activities—and at the other end of the spectrum, she describes her enthusiasm for a much, much larger physics project, the decades-long effort to put nuclear fusion to practical use as a source of clean power for the world. The interview also touches on Prof. White’s experience of mentorship, both as mentee in her youth and as mentor now, and on the formative influence of childhood toys in paving the way for the kind of creative goal-driven tinkering that nuclear scientists and engineers practice.Relevant Resources:MIT OpenCourseWare The OCW Educator Portal Professor White’s faculty page 22.011 Nuclear Engineering: Science, Systems and Society on MIT OpenCourseWarePBS NOVA video on making a kitchen cloud chamber Music in this episode by Blue Dot Sessions  Connect with UsIf you have a suggestion for a new episode or have used OCW to change your life or those of others, tell us your story. We’d love to hear from you! Call us @ 617-715-2517On our siteOn FacebookOn XOn InstagramOn LinkedInStay CurrentSubscribe to the free monthly "MIT OpenCourseWare Update" e-newsletter. Support OCWIf you like Chalk Radio and OpenCourseware, donate to help keep these programs going! CreditsSarah Hansen, host and producer Brett Paci, producer  Dave Lishansky, producer Show notes by Peter Chipman
4/24/202444 minutes, 19 seconds