State Considering New Elder Care Plan, The World Of Science Writing, Modern Mexican Recipes

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Science writing often covers fresh ideas, the latest technology and new discoveries, which is what attracted our guest to the field. A producer of Radiolab joins us to talk about the importance of science writing today. We also learn some Mexican recipes with a modern twist, and learn about a new plan that would change the way senior citizens and the disabled receive care.

Featured in this Show

  • Radio Producer Details The Art Of Science Storytelling

    As a discipline, science is dedicated to the uncovering of truth. And in a broadcast setting, the truth is that science can be a tricky subject to appeal to an audience.

    One program that has seemingly uncovered a way to make science something that can galvanize an audience is “Radiolab,” a nationally-syndicated show that explores everything from synesthesia to the origins of lithium, and it does so with a deep narrative storytelling unlike other science offerings.

    The show has a strong connection to Wisconsin as Soren Wheeler, a senior editor for the program, recently moved from New York to Madison, where he works remotely for the show. He was also a science writer in residence at the University of Wisconsin-Madison last fall.

    With shows like “Radiolab,” “Science Friday” and “Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey,” cultural interest in science appears to be growing.

    Wheeler said the key to generating interest in science issues is in the art of storytelling. In his work, he said the science usually supports the story — not the other way around.

    “There should be some sense of purpose for using science, rather than just saying, ‘OK, it’s science time,’” said Wheeler.

    He said if someone hears a story, the story should raise a question that science helps one make sense of. He said this approach to science storytelling broadens the audience rather than narrowing it to only those predisposed to the topic.

    “That’s the way to make science a genuine authentic partner in the conversation,” he said.

    Wheeler suggested that the storytelling approach to science could also be applied to the classroom. As someone trained in science education, Wheeler said he was steeped in thinking about how to teach children science before turning to storytelling.

    “We are, in part because of our testing system, dedicated to making kids learn a list of facts, learn a list of vocabulary words,” he said.

    He said the problem extends into the classroom as well.

    “(When children) get to middle school and start trying to learn the Krebs Cycle, you’re going to shut out 90 percent of the kids who feel like (they can’t learn) this,” he said.

    He said it’s much more effective to try to figure out a problem without a predetermined answer, and the process is more authentic to the actual experience of using science.

    Editor’s Note: “Radiolab can be heard on WPR’s Ideas Network on Saturdays at 3 p.m.

  • State Looking At Shifting Elder Care To For-Profit Insurance Companies

    The state is looking at a proposal that would shift the care of more than 50,000 elderly and disabled Wisconsinites to plans created by for-profit companies. A reporter breaks down the plan, and talks about the impact it could have.

  • Radiolab And The Art Of Science Storytelling

    We’ll talk with the Senior Editor of the public radio hit “Radiolab” about what it takes to bring science to life on the radio.

  • Food Friday: Mexican Today

    Contemporary Mexican cooking is more than just tacos, enchiladas, and other familiar foods, according to our Food Friday guest. Chef and PBS TV series host Pati Jinich discusses her new book, “Mexican Today: New and Rediscovered Recipes for Contemporary Kitchens.”

Episode Credits

  • Rob Ferrett Host
  • Veronica Rueckert Host
  • KP Whaley Producer
  • Marika Suval Producer
  • Veronica Rueckert Producer
  • Amanda Magnus Producer
  • Soren Wheeler Guest
  • Jason Stein Guest
  • Pati Jinich Guest

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