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Innovation, Science, & New American Breakthroughs

At the start of a new year, we look at what’s on the frontier, and where the next big innovations will come from.

Generation after generation, the rocket fuel of American economic vitality has been scientific innovation. Free-thinking minds in great labs and humble garages, opening up huge new horizons for life.

So what’s the next steamboat, light bulb, transistor, supercomputer that’s going to crack open the future? What might this year bring?

We’ve got the editor-in chief of Scientific American with us. The west coast chief for Popular Science. And the president of MIT.

We look at algae power, stem cells in eyeballs, grabbing dark matter, and the frontier of scientific innovation in 2011.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests:

Susan Hockfield, president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Mariette DiChristina, editor in chief of Scientific American.

Jacob Ward, deputy editor of Popular Science magazine. He is in Las Vegas attending the Consumer Electronics Show, which starts today. See his magazine’s roundup of best recent innovations.

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ONPOINT
TODAY
Nov 20, 2014
In this file photo, Hillsborough Sheriff deputy patrols outside the gate of JP Morgan Chase annual stockholders meeting held Tuesday, May 15, 2012, in Tampa, Fla. JP Morgan is one of several large financial institutions currently under investigation for alleged violation of Federal bankruptcy laws. (AP)

You’re supposed to have a clean slate after bankruptcy. But that’s not always true. We’ll ask what’s going on.

Nov 20, 2014
A shot from the AMC reality series, "Freakshow." (Jessica Brooks / AMC)

From TV to Broadway, circus sideshows — freak shows — are having a big cultural moment. What’s the history behind the comeback?

RECENT
SHOWS
Nov 19, 2014
In a Friday, March 2, 2012 file photo, Donnie Dawson, 20, left, attends a youth advocacy group meeting at the Ruth Ellis Center, a drop-in shelter for LGBT - lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender youth in Detroit. (AP)

Up to 40 percent of homeless young people are LGBTQ. We’ll hear their stories.

 
Nov 19, 2014
Ultra-Orthodox Jews attend the funeral of Mosheh Twersky, in Jerusalem, Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2014. Two Palestinian cousins armed with meat cleavers and a gun stormed a Jerusalem synagogue during morning prayers Tuesday, killing Twersky and three others in the city's bloodiest attack in years. (AP)

New violence in Jerusalem. The building battle for the Holy City.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
The Explicast, Episode Five: What Is Net Neutrality?
Friday, Nov 14, 2014

The Explicast dives into tech policy territory with a quick look at the real meaning of a complicated bit of tech policy known as ‘Net Neutrality.’

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Our Week In The Web: November 14, 2014
Friday, Nov 14, 2014

On why we tweet, what we like and a Miley Cyrus and “Serial” theme song mashup you never knew you needed.

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Guest Post: U.S.-China Climate Deal is an Important Step In Long Road Ahead
Wednesday, Nov 12, 2014

After a landmark agreement between the US and China on climate change policy and clean energy development, a recent On Point guest reflects on what’s important in this new deal.

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