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Scientist Looks To Fish For New Technologies and Materials

Kathy Cowell

A childhood spent in downtown Manhattan did not dampen Adam Summers’ passion for the outdoors. His family took yearly trips to Canada’s woods and streams, which instilled in him a special passion for marine life. Now a comparative bio-mechanist, Summers is an expert in the evolution, anatomy and movement of fish. He has consulted with Pixar on its animated films “Finding Nemo” and “Finding Dory.” Summers is also leading a sweeping new initiative to scan and digitize all of the planet’s 33,000 species of ray-finned fish.

Summers is a professor at the University of Washington’s Friday Harbor Laboratories and a Nannerl-Keohane visiting distinguished professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke University. Host Frank Stasio talks with Adam Summers about his passion for marine life and how it could inspire solutions for human problems.

Note: This segment is a rebroadcast. The program originally aired on 4/25/2017.

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Jennifer Brookland is the American Homefront Project Veterans Reporting Fellow. She covers stories about the military and veterans as well as issues affecting the people and places of North Carolina.
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.