© 2023
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

51% Show #1312

Dr. Barbara Oakley

On this week’s 51%, it’s back to school. First we’ll hear from an engineer and author who says changing the way we learn could help attract girls and women to math and science. And it takes more than just following one’s passion.

Then we head to Germany to meet a woman who is providing education about the plight of Afghan women and children, and is on a mission to help, plus, a few professors and their robot want to wage war on ticks. 

  As our nation struggles with education reform, poor academic performance in international rankings, and the latest frustration over the Common Core education standards, one educator offers a way to learn more easily and effectively, in STEM, or science, technology, engineering, and math. Dr. Barbara Oakley is an engineering professor at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. She is a fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering and vice president of members for IEEE-Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. IEEE is the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.  Before a life of engineering took hold, though, Oakley served as a radio operator at the South Pole Station in Antarctica and, for several fishing seasons, was a Russian translator aboard Soviet trawlers in the Bering Sea, about which she wrote a book. Her latest book is A Mind For Numbers: How To Excel At Math And Science (Even If You Flunked Algebra). I asked her why she wrote the book . 

Dr. Barbara Oakley is an engineering professor at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. She has received many awards for her teaching, including the National Science Foundation New Century Scholar Award. 

  We now turn to education of a very different kind, and outside the United States. A young Afghan woman living in Germany, Zohra, is on a mission to help children struggling in Afghanistan, by educating children in schools in Germany about the kind of life women and their children in Afghanistan face daily. Falk Steinborn reports from Siegen, Germany.

We wrap up this week’s show by returning to the U.S., to backyards, where parts of the U.S. find unwanted trespassers. There’s a new robot that could help you clear your yard of nearly all the ticks. Invented by three professors at Virginia Military Institute, this device could help reduce the risk of tick-borne illness. Kelley Libbey has the story.  

And that’s our show for this week. Thanks to Katie Britton for production assistance.  Our executive producer is Dr. Alan Chartock. Our theme music is Glow in the Dark by Kevin Bartlett. This show is a national production of Northeast Public Radio. 

Related Content
  • On this week’s 51%, we’ll hear about how a program for girls learning about science and technology is faring. Then, we’ll return to a forum on women’s…
  • On this week’s 51%, we’ll hear from Ken Burns on his soon-to-be-aired documentary about the Roosevelts. On Eleanor Roosevelt. Then, a documentary…
  • On this week’s 51%, we’re going to talk about it – suicide. First, we turn to an author who explores some philosophies against suicide. Then we hear from…
  • On this week’s 51%, we turn to a woman who talks about her unstill life and what it was like to have a father who worked among art and artists during the…