Can You Hear Me Now? 100 Years of Wisconsin Broadcast

From Morse code to the search for E.T., explore an interactive journey through the past 100 years of broadcast and beyond.

The Discovery Building atrium in Madison will be transformed with hands-on stations, including glass blowing, drawing through radio, electric circuit challenges, creating your own tiny podcast story, radio telescopes, virtual reality and more!

Put yourself in the 1917 shoes of Physics Professor Earle Terry and broadcast on a replica of the original 9X-M transmitter that is being re-created for the Wisconsin Science Festival.

Broadcast and microwaved themed concession-style food will be available for purchase. Options will include homemade hot pockets, homemade bagel bits, compartmentalized TV dinners, “easy bake oven” chocolate cake, popcorn balls and more from Steenbock’s on Orchard.

Join in this interactive celebration with Wisconsin Public Radio and Wisconsin Public Television over the air the last 100 years!

At 8 p.m., stay tuned for our Beyond Broadcast Panel: Our Health, Broadcast to Narrowcast, and Extraterrestrial Life.


• Steve Paulson (moderator and panel contributor), the executive producer of To the Best of Our Knowledge, a Peabody Award-winning radio program produced at Wisconsin Public Radio and distributed nationally by PRX. His radio reports have also been broadcast on NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered. He has co-organized and moderated six series of panel discussions at the New York Academy of Sciences, including The Emerging Science of Consciousness, Rethinking Mortality, and Beyond the Big Bang. He has written for various publications, including Salon, Slate, Nautilus, Huffington Post, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Atlantic Online, and The Los Angeles Review of Books.

• Maggie Turnbull, Ph.D., an astrobiologist at the SETI Institute who has used radio waves in her search for habitable planets across the cosmos and in the development of the Catalog of Nearby Habitable Systems (HabCat). Turnbull is a principal investigator for NASA’s WFIRST project, which will deploy an origami star shade to enable a better search for habitable planets unique electromagnetic spectrum details.
• Chris Schmidt, senior producer for NOVA at WGBH, an award-winning director and producer for PBS, Dreamworks Animation, The Discovery Channel, History Channel and National Geographic who also has executive produced the NOVA series Making Stuff. Schmidt’s rich history will lend itself to the story of the transformation of science media from a broadcast philosophy to embracing dynamic, narrow media delivery platforms.

• Melissa Skala, Ph.D., a research scientist at the Morgridge Institute for Research and an Associate Professor at UW–Madison who uses photonics-based and hyperspectral imaging techniques to combat cancer. Hyperspectral imaging uses a collection of electromagnetic waves across the spectrum to bring about new viewpoints on how cancers works and how cancer may be treated.

Don’t miss the interactive stations from 6 to 8 p.m., all with connections to electromagnetic waves:

• Make your own mini-podcast along with professor Erica Halverson’s FIG course

• The Drawing Niche Grand Opening – Let’s Draw Through Radio with assistant professor Lynda Barry

• Associate professor Daniel Grabois ushers in electronic music with the Moog synthesizer and the theremin – Want to play? You can!

• Discover Aztalan and the tech tools to investigate this archelogy site in southern Wisconsin with professor Sissel Schroeder

• Investigate your galaxy with a radio telescope with help from astronomy professor Snezana Stanimirovic

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