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May 18, 2006

Walter Murch, Academy Award-winning Film Editor and Sound Designer, Part 1, 5/17/06


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Walter Murch has been editing and mixing sound in San Francisco since starting on Francis Ford Coppola's film “The Rain People” (1969). He supervised the sound on George Lucas’s “THX-1138”, Coppola’s “The Godfather,” Lucas’s “American Graffiti” (1973), and Coppola’s “The Godfather Part II” (1974), won his first Academy Award nomination for “The Conversation” (1974) for which he was also picture editor, won his first Oscar for “Apocalypse Now” (1979), and won unprecedented double Oscars for sound mixing and picture editing for his work on “The English Patient” (1996).

Mr. Murch helped reconstruct “Touch of Evil” to Orson Welles’s original notes, and edited Anthony Minghella’s “The Talented Mr. Ripley”. Mr. Murch was, along with George Lucas and Francis Coppola, a founding member of northern California cinema. Mr. Murch has written and directed — Return to Oz (1985) — but as an editor and sound man he is one of the few universally acknowledged masters in his field. While working on “Apocalypse Now”, Mr. Murch coined the term Sound Designer, and along with colleagues at San Francisco’s Dolby Laboratories originated the current standard film-sound format, the 5.1 channel array, helping to elevate the art and impact of film sound to a new level.

Mr. Murch edited Anthony Minghella’s “Cold Mountain” on Apple's sub-$1000 Final Cut Pro software using off-the-shelf Power Mac G4 computers. This was a leap for such a big-budget film, where expensive Avid systems were the standard non-linear editing system. He received an Academy Award nomination for this work and his efforts on the film were documented in Charles Koppelman's 2004 book Behind the Seen.

Unlike most film editors today, Mr. Murch works standing up, comparing the process of film editing to “brain surgery and short-order cooking”, since both cooks and surgeons stand when they work. In 1976 he invented a film splicer which conceals the evidence of the splice by using extremely narrow but strongly adhesive strips of special polyester-silicone tape.

Mr. Murch is perhaps the only film editor in history to have received Academy nominations for films edited on four different systems:

“Julia” (1977) using upright Moviola
“Apocalypse Now” (1979), “Ghost” (1990), and “The Godfather”, Part III (1990) using KEM flatbed
“The English Patient” (1996) using Avid
“Cold Mountain” (2003) using Final Cut Pro

Mr. Murch has written one book on film editing, In the Blink of an Eye (2001) and was the subject of Michael Ondaatje's book The Conversations (2002).

Posted by David Lemberg at 11:30 AM Return to Science and Society Podcasts Main Index

Walter Murch, Academy Award-winning Film Editor and Sound Designer, Part 2, 5/17/06


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We continue the "Science and Society" conversation with Walter Murch.

Posted by David Lemberg at 11:23 AM Return to Science and Society Podcasts Main Index

May 11, 2006

Dr. James Tour, Chao Professor of Chemistry at Rice University's Richard E. Smalley Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology, and Director, Rice University Carbon Nanotechnology Laboratory, 5/10/06


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Dr. James Tour is the Chao Professor of Chemistry at Rice University’s Richard E. Smalley Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology. Dr. Tour is the director of Rice’s Carbon Nanotechnology Laboratory, and he holds appointments in Rice’s departments of chemistry, computer science, and mechanical engineering and materials science.

Dr. Tour is a synthetic organic chemist. His research comprises three main areas: molecular computing, bottom-up molecular nanofabrication, and carbon nanotube growth and modifications for composites. Dr. Tour holds 20 U.S. patents and has published more than 270 research papers.

Dr. Tour’s first paper on single-molecule nanocars, published October 2005 in the journal, Nano Letters, was the most-accessed article from any American Chemical Society journal for all of 2005.

Posted by David Lemberg at 10:48 AM Return to Science and Society Podcasts Main Index

Dr. Arnie Miller, Paleontologist, and Professor and Head of the Department of Geology, University of Cincinnati, and Adjunct Curator, Cincinnati Museum of Natural History, 5/10/06


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Dr. Arnie Miller is a paleontologist at the University of Cincinnati, where he has been a faculty member since completing his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago in 1986. Currently, Dr. Miller is Professor and Head of the Department of Geology, a Fellow of the Graduate School, and an Adjunct Curator at the Cincinnati Museum of Natural History. He is a former editor of Paleobiology, which is widely regarded as the preeminent peer-reviewed journal in the field of paleontology, and he is currently an associate editor of the Journal of Geology, Palaios, and Palaeoworld.

Dr. Miller’s current research focuses on the history of biodiversity throughout geological time at regional and global scales. In particular, he is has sought to calibrate and understand the biological effects of major global episodes of species diversification (radiations) and decline (mass extinctions). Partly as an outgrowth of these efforts, he became a charter member in 1998 of the Paleobiology Database project, a web-hosted effort to capture data from the fossil record of life in cyberspace. The project has expanded to include over 200 scientists from around the world, and Dr. Miller currently serves on the Steering Committee that oversees the collaboration. Dr. Miller’s research has been published in Science, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Paleobiology, Geology, Journal of Geology, Palaios, and several other journals, and his work has been funded by NASA, NSF, NOAA, and the American Chemical Society (Petroleum Research Fund).

Dr. Miller is co-author, with Michael Foote (University of Chicago), of the forthcoming book, Principles of Paleontology, 3rd ed. (W.H. Freeman and Company; Summer 2006). He is also organizing the North American Paleontological Convention, a quadrennial event that will take place at the University of Cincinnati in 2009, coinciding with the bicentennial of the birth of Charles Darwin and the sesquicentennial of the publication of The Origin of Species.

Posted by David Lemberg at 10:41 AM Return to Science and Society Podcasts Main Index

May 04, 2006

Dr. Carole Banka, Director, Women's Health Research, La Jolla Institute for Molecular Medicine, 5/3/06


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Dr. Carole Banka is Associate Professor of Vascular Biology and Cancer, and Director of Women’s Health Research at La Jolla Institute for Molecular Medicine (LJIMM). Her research focuses on
— Modeling peri-menopause and menopause for investigating inflammation, heart disease, and obesity in females
— Examining the roles of sex steroids in mediating gender differences in heart disease and obesity
— Modeling breast cancer and non-reproductive cancers for investigating the role of estrogen on healthy host tissues

Dr. Banka has authored more than 25 publications and has been quoted in editorials in Science and The Wall Street Journal. She has been interviewed on television and radio regarding issues of women’s health. Dr. Banka has served on peer review committees for the American Heart Association (AHA) and the National Institutes of Health, and serves as a reviewer for many scientific journals.

Dr. Banka’s research has been supported by the American Association of University Women, NIH, the Department of Defense, the AHA, and the State of California. She has consulted to several pharmaceutical and biotech companies and presented her work at universities through out the U.S. as well as national and international conferences. Dr. Banka has recently been named to the writing group for the “Evidence-Based Guidelines for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease in Women” by the AHA.

The La Jolla Institute for Molecular Medicine (LJIMM) was founded in 1989 as an independent nonprofit biomedical research institute focused on cancer and vascular biology. The Institute has become a center for molecular and biomedical research and training in the areas of cancer biology, molecular immunology, and vascular biology.

Posted by David Lemberg at 12:13 PM Return to Science and Society Podcasts Main Index

May 03, 2006

Carl Zimmer, Science Writer, 4/12/06


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The New York Times Book Review calls Carl Zimmer "as fine a science essayist as we have". He is the author of four books about science.

In our 4-12-06 podcast, Mr. Zimmer discusses the evolution of our vertebrate ancestors and what fossils have shown us about the origin of vertebrates. Mr. Zimmer also discusses where our vertebrate brains came from and how vertebrate fins turned into legs.

Soul Made Flesh, published in 2004, chronicled the dawn of neurology in the 1600s. The Sunday Telegraph called it a "tour-de-force", and it was named one of the 100 notable books of 2004 by The New York Times Book Review. His latest book is Smithsonian Intimate Guide to Human Origins, published in November 2005 by Smithsonian Books.

Mr. Zimmer writes regularly about science for The New York Times, as well as for magazines including National Geographic, Science, Newsweek, and Discover, where he is a contributing editor. His book reviews appear in The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post Book World, Newsday, and Scientific American.

He is author of the award-winning web log, The Loom.

Mr. Zimmer's honors include the American Association for the Advancement of Science's 2004 Science Journalism Award. His work has appeared in The Best American Science and Nature Writing series. In 2002 Mr. Zimmer was named a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellow.

Posted by David Lemberg at 11:01 AM Return to Science and Society Podcasts Main Index