Expanding the Universe

« previous episode | next episode »

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Only 4 percent of the universe is understood by astrophysicists, and we’ll look at what makes up the other 96 percent: dark matter. Also, soprano Sondra Radvanovsky talks about performing the title role in the Metropolitan Opera's new staging of Puccini’s Tosca! Then, Paul Clemens follows the closing of a Detroit auto plant. Plus, our word maven Patricia T. O’Connor takes your calls on English...and why some people believe there are conspiracies to control language.

Dark Matter, Dark Energy, and the Universe

Richard Panek explains how we know that only 4 percent of the universe consists of the matter that makes up people, planets, stars, and galaxy. The other 96 percent of the universe is completely unknown. The 4 Percent Universe: Dark Matter, Dark Energy, and the Race to Discover the Rest of Reality tells the story of how scientists reached this conclusion, and what they’re doing to find dark matter, dark energy, and to help paint a complete picture of the universe.

Comments [7]

Soprano Sondra Radvanovsky

Soprano Sondra Radvanovsky, one of the great emerging stars of her generation of singers, discusses her first Met performances of Puccini’s Tosca, the iconic dramatic soprano role in the controversial Luc Bondy production of the opera.


One Year in a Closing Auto Plant

Paul Clemens, a Detroit native, talks about the slow death of a Detroit auto plant and of the working-class culture that once defined America. Built in 1919, the Budd Company stamping plant on Detroit’s East Side was one of the city’s oldest active auto plants before it closed. Punching Out: One Year in a Closing Auto Plant is an account of the process of picking the plant apart and sending it, piece by piece, to the countries that have use for its machines.

Comments [3]

Patricia T. O’Conner on Controlling Language

Our word maven Patricia T. O'Conner talks about the belief among some segments of society that there’s a conspiracy by those in authority to control language. She also answers questions about our confounding and complex English language. An updated and expanded third edition of her book, Woe is I: The Grammarphobe's Guide to Better English in Plain English, has recently been published in paperback, and a paperback version of Origins of the Specious, written with Stewart Kellerman, was just issued.

Comments [70]

Guest Picks: Sondra Radvanovsky

What is Sondra Radvanovsky listening to right now? Read more to find out!


Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.