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NC State Physicist Explores Mysteries Of The Universe

Stephen Reynolds is an astrophysicist at North Carolina State University.
http://www.physics.ncsu.edu/people/faculty_reynolds.html
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In the age of the Internet, it sometimes seems as though no questions remain unanswered. But for Stephen Reynolds, the mystery is only beginning. He's an astrophysicist at North Carolina State University, and he spends a lot of time ferreting out the facts about supernova.

"Supernovae are exploding stars," he told host Frank Stasio on The State of Things. "That's always a cool thing. Most stars don't do this, but those that do make a critical contribution..."

He went on to explain that most of the elements found in our universe are created and spread in these exploding stars. 

Reynolds told Stasio about his first experiences with science and math, which developed as a kid. 

"My father was an electrical engineer and I had always done well in math," he said.

Still, Reynolds spent a portion of his life playing music professionally. But he ultimately decided to pursue a career in science. 

When he went to college and began looking into a specialty, physics stuck out. 

"I looked at various options and it seemed that they all required that you begin with physics." 

Astrophysics, he realized, utilized all aspects of physics in general, so he set his course for the stars. 

He ended up the first astrophysicist at NC State in the 1980s, though it almost didn't happen. 

"I looked them up and realized that they didn't have any astronomy and wrote them off," he said.  

But a friend told him the university was trying to expand and that he should apply. So he did. He's been here ever since. 

Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.
Alex Granados joined The State of Things in July 2010. He got his start in radio as an intern for the show in 2005 and loved it so much that after trying his hand as a government reporter, reader liaison, features, copy and editorial page editor at a small newspaper in Manassas, Virginia, he returned to WUNC. Born in Baltimore but raised in Morgantown, West Virginia, Alex moved to Raleigh in time to do third grade twice and adjust to public school after having spent years in the sheltered confines of a Christian elementary education. Alex received a degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He also has a minor in philosophy, which basically means that he used to think he was really smart but realized he wasn’t in time to switch majors. Fishing, reading science fiction, watching crazy movies, writing bad short stories, and shooting pool are some of his favorite things to do. Alex still doesn’t know what he wants to be when he grows up, but he is holding out for astronaut.