Duke University

"The Physics of Life" by Adrian Bejan
Adrian Bejan

What is life and its meaning?

That question has perplexed philosophers and other theoretical scientists for centuries.

They have sought both spiritual and intellectual guidance to come up with intricate conclusions for what it means to be alive.

But mechanical engineer Adrian Bejan says there is a much simpler conclusion: physics.

Triangle-Area Universities Welcome Class Of 2020

Aug 24, 2016
North Carolina Central University in Durham, NC
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

College students are back in the Triangle. UNC-Chapel Hill begins classes this week and the class of 2020 is settling in at Duke.

Photo of Simone Manuel
Natacha Pisarenko / AP Photo

The Olympics are heralded as an international event rooted in intense competition, national pride and athletic successes. But the Olympic Games can often reveal complex race issues and overzealous displays of nationalism.

During the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, athletes of color like U.S. swimmer Simone Manuel and U.S. gymnast Gabby Douglas have been in the spotlight.

An image of Doriane Lameblet Coleman
Doriane Lambelet Coleman

Growing up, Doriane Lambelet Coleman did not see herself as an athlete, but she always had a talent for running. She moved back and forth between her home country of Switzerland and the United States as a kid, and she never found a stable community until she started running track in high school.

Photo of patient using virtual reality system
Neurorehabilitation Laboratory, Alberto Santos Dumont Association for Research Support (AASDAP), São Paulo, Brazil

Eight paraplegic patients have regained partial control of their lower limbs, according to a recent rehabilitation study led by a Duke University neuroscientist.

Photo of Dr. Cynthia Toth and Dr. Francesco LaRocca
Francesco LaRocca / Duke University

A team of engineers and physicians at Duke University has developed a new device that can capture high-quality images of retinas. It can produce high-resolution images of photoreceptor cells, or rods and cones.

Previous technology required the patient to sit still and concentrate for a few minutes, something children can't do very well. This lightweight handheld device fixes that problem.

******Photo of Kyrie Irving
Marcio Jose Sanchez / ASSOCIATED PRESS

The 2016 Summer Olympics kick off in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil tomorrow.

This year, dozens of athletes with connections to North Carolina are competing in events ranging from basketball, track, and swimming to air rifle and canoe slalom.

Basketball players Harrison Barnes and Kyrie Irving are part of the star-studded men’s basketball team coached by Duke University’s Mike Krzyzewski, and women’s soccer player Tobin Heath will be playing with the hopes of winning a third gold medal.

More than two decades ago Father Greg Boyle (middle) founded 'Homeboy Industries,' the largest gang-internvention program in the country. Here he is on Thanksgiving day in 2012 at Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles.
Homeboy Industries

Note: This segment originally aired February 2, 2016.

In 1986, Jesuit priest Father Greg Boyle was appointed to a poor parish in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles.

Frank C. Curtin / Associated Press

Note: This segment originally aired February 19, 2016.

Pauli Murray and Eleanor Roosevelt could not have come from more different backgrounds. Murray was the granddaughter of a mixed-race slave, while Roosevelt’s ancestry gave her membership in the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Jedediah Purdy
Travis Drove

  This show originally aired on October 6, 2015.

In an era where humans and the environment are inextricably tied, how do we approach environmental politics, economics and ethics?

In what ways do the historical perspectives on the relationship between humanity and nature shape how policymakers approach current environmental issues like climate change and global warming?

Photo of Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James speaking at the ESPY Awards.
Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

In the past two weeks, violence by and against police has dominated headlines and rattled the country. Protests from movements like #BlackLivesMatter continue while celebrities use speeches and social media as a platform to make their voices heard.

Meanwhile, the ESPN documentary series "O.J.: Made In America" looks at race relations since the 1960s through the life of former athlete O.J. Simpson.

photo of Joseph R. Winters
Joseph Winters

For some, the election of America's first black president marked the victory of a long-fought struggle for racial equality.

photo of Muhammad Ali
AP / AP

In 2009, President Obama declared June "African-American Music Appreciation Month." The tribute started as "Black Music Month" in the 1970s. While the name has changed, it continues to be a time to celebrate the ways black artists have shaped music. These artists include three people who have recently died; Prince, Billy Paul and Phife Dawg. They each left a dynamic legacy in different genres.

Ryan Gibson of Raleigh is among the hundreds of people who filled a parking lot outside of the gay night club Legends in downtown Raleigh to support the victims of the Orlando shooting.
Jorge Valencia / WUNC

Just one day after the deadliest mass shooting in American history, many questions remain.

Thus far, investigators have confirmed that on Sunday morning, alleged shooter Omar Mateen attacked a popular gay nightclub in Orlando, killing 49 people and injuring 53 others. According to reports, Mateen pledged his allegiance to ISIS in a 911 call during the attack but no direct link has been confirmed between him and the terrorist group.

photo of a unisex bathroom sign
Tombe / Wikipedia

North Carolina’s House Bill 2 has stirred up numerous conversations about the lives of transgender Americans. It has also illuminated many misconceptions about what gender identity is and how it is formed.

Groups of scientists have stood up in opposition to HB2, arguing that there are genetic and biological causes of gender differences, and for the vast majority of trans individuals, their gender identity is not a choice.

Mayor Alice Butler points to a map hanging in Roseboro Town Hall.
Patrick Nichols

Second to Pennsylvania, North Carolina has the most small towns in the United States. And it has been able to remain the so-called “small town state” because of the many miles of state highways connecting dispersed towns to one another.

An image of a mortar board crossed out.
Michael Kellen / Wikipedia

Researchers at Duke University have new, concrete evidence that dropping out of high school leads to joblessness, hardship and incarceration. But the same study also reveals ways to help dropouts have more positive outcomes.

State of Things Host Frank Stasio hosts a broadcast at the Duke Chapel on Wednesday, May 11, 2016 to commemorate the chapel's reopening.
Duke Photography

Duke University has reopened the iconic chapel at the center of its Durham campus after a $19 million renovation.

Crews have been working for a year to restore the limestone walls and ceiling that define the chapel's Gothic architecture. 

In a special broadcast at Duke Chapel, university archivist Valerie Gillispie told WUNC’s "The State of Things" the chapel has served as an institutional icon at Duke for nearly 90 years.

An image of Duke anthropology professor J. Lorand Matory
J. Lorand Matory

Ethnic identity can be shaped by cultural practices and heritage. But in his new book, Stigma and Culture: Last-Place Anxiety in Black America (The University of Chicago Press/2015)

An image of Zoe Saldana
Wikipedia Creative Commons / Public Domain

Last month, comedian Chris Rock hosted the Oscars amid controversy around the awards' lack of diversity. Rock's jokes jabbed at the Academy Awards lack of recognition for any actors of color.

But controversy around race in Hollywood continued after Rock's performance. The new biopic "Nina" depicts the struggles of iconic musician Nina Simone, a singer and civil rights activist. But critics say the movie disgraces Simone's legacy because lead actress Zoe Saldana used dark makeup to change her light-skinned complexion. 

Image of children eating lunch
U.S. Department of Agriculture

A report out of Duke University says the Great Recession had a multi-year negative impact on child well-being in America.

Though the recession occurred from 2007-2009, children felt the effects from the downturn through 2012.

Image of Omid Safi with students on a trip
Omid Safi

In the past decade, Omid Safi has become one of the country’s leading voices in discourse around Islam and Islamophobia. 

His public commitments range from writing a weekly column for the public radio program “On Being” to being a go-to expert for national networks like NPR and Al Jazeera.

Rapper Kendrick Lamar recently won five Grammys, but it's his performance at the awards show that's grabbing attention.
Jon Elbaz / Wikimedia Commons

In the last two weeks, musicians Beyonce and Kendrick Lamar have used two of pop culture's biggest stages to showcase their political message.

Beyonce's Super Bowl halftime show included her controversial new song "Formation." Meanwhile, Lamar took home five Grammy awards and offered a visually and lyrically stunning performance of his own songs at the awards show.

The death of conservative U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has sparked a political battle in Washington.
Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is being remembered as a conservative justice known for his sharp dissents from the bench.

Scalia died Saturday at the age of 79. And his death almost immediately started a political battle in Washington. Senate Republican leaders say they will refuse to vote on a nominee to replace Scalia while President Obama is still in office.

Image of Ken Dodge, professor of public policy at Duke
Duke University

Note: This is a rebroadcast from last year.

There is a common metaphor in the scientific community that uses flowers to describe children’s sensitivity to their environments. A child like a dandelion will turn out fine despite the circumstances she is raised in, while a child like an orchid will flounder without a nourishing environment, but blossom with care and support. 

Val Kerry / Flickr Creative Commons

President Obama has repeatedly called for the closure of the prison at Guantanamo Bay, but this month marks 14 years since the first detainees landed on Cuban shores.

Several detainees have participated in hunger strikes in protest of their imprisonment. A federal judge has ordered the release of videos showing guards force-feeding detainees but the government has until Friday to appeal the ruling.

Host Frank Stasio talks with VICE News reporter Jason Leopold about the latest.

Don Taylor is a professor of public policy at Duke University.
Duke University

Eighty percent of people who die in the United States are on Medicare, making end-of-life policies a crucial component of the Medicare system.

This month marks a number of significant changes to Medicare’s policies including the once-controversial funding for physicians to discuss end-of-life issues with their patients as well as updates to the hospice payment system. 

The image of Martin Luther King Jr. has become a symbol of the civil rights movement. Durham-based printmaker Bill Fick is making prints of this image to spur conversation about what iconography means in the digital age.
Bill Fick

Martin Luther King Jr. has become a symbol of the civil rights movement. His portrait is often displayed alongside those of presidents and religious figures.

For many, his image evokes the ongoing fight for racial equality, but his image also spurs controversy. Not everyone agrees about how to use it, and more broadly, whether he should be considered the central civil rights icon.

The debate over gun control continues after President Obama's executive action this week designed to curb gun violence.
Peretz Partensky / Flickr Creative Commons

President Obama issued an executive action this week designed to curb gun violence. The president said this country's routine mass shootings compelled him to act.

Republican members of Congress swiftly responded with promises to defend Americans' constitutional right to bear arms. But it's not yet clear whether the president's action will change the culture of gun ownership in the United States or where it fits into the national conversation about gun laws. 

There are more than 70,000 missing black men in North Carolina.
Nicolas Alejandro / Flickr Creative Commons

Note: This is a rebroadcast from earlier this year.

Young African-American men are dying and being incarcerated at higher rates than African-American women and white men and women.

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