SGU Episode 525

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SGU Episode 525
August 1st 2015
Emdrive2.jpg
SGU 524 SGU 526
Skeptical Rogues
S: Steven Novella
B: Bob Novella
J: Jay Novella
E: Evan Bernstein
C: Cara Santa Maria


Quote of the Week
"Science has taught me (Science warns me) to be careful how I adopt a view which jumps with my preconceptions, and to require stronger evidence for such belief than for one to which I was previously hostile.My business is to teach my aspirations to conform themselves to fact, not to try and make facts harmonize with my aspirations."
Thomas Huxley
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Introduction[edit]

  • Jay identifying blaster sounds
  • Steve, Bob, and George Hrab went to see Ant Man together

You're listening to the Skeptics' Guide to the Universe, your escape to reality.

Forgotten Superheroes of Science (3:03)[edit]

  • Gerty Cori: The first woman to win a Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine, for elucidating the metabolism of glucose in the human body

S: But first, Bob, you have your Forgotten Superhero of Science.

B: Yes! For this week's Forgotten Superheroes of Science, I'm covering Gerty Cori (1896 to 1957). She was a biochemist who was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine. She and her husband shared half the prize for elucidating the metabolism of glucose. Ever hear of her?

S: I've heard of glucose.

B: Probably not! Yeah.

S: Glucose metabolism.

E: I've heard of Galloping Gerty, but ...

B: I feel a little bit like a broken record, because this is the point where I cover the problems that these women had decades ago, being a scientist. So, typical for women of her time, Cory had a difficult time procuring jobs in her field. And even when she did get a job, the pay was crap. It was really pathetic.

One thing I find that was interesting, even after they had made their big discovery, and her husband and she were looking a job. One university actually told them that it was un-American for a husband and wife to work together.

E: Okay.

B: Un-American.

E: Yes

B: They said that his career would suffer, even after their major discovery, Mr. Cory would get jobs very easily, but she was offered salaries that were one tenth of his, even though they were equal partners in the lab. So yeah, it was really pathetic. We've come a long way, although we're not where we need to be. But we've definitely come a long way.

So she and her husband did their major work at the State Institute for the Study of Malignant Diseases. Sounds so cool. That's now called a Roswell Park Cancer Institute. Now, they investigated, like I said, carbohydrate metabolism in humans, and the hormones that regulate it. So in 1929, they outlined the biological cycle that describes the breakdown of the carbohydrate glycogen in the muscles to make glucose for energy, and lactic acid. And lactic acid is causes that burning sensation if you're lifting weights,

E: Yeah

B: in your muscles. They also figured out how that lactic acid is converted back into glycogen by the liver for later storage in the muscles. So this is how the body produces and stores energy. Pretty fundamental stuff. Very, very important. And this cycle that I've been talking about became called the Cory Cycle, named after both of them. And it won them the Nobel Prize in 1947. And she was the first American woman to win a Nobel. So that was quite a milestone. Their discovery contributed to our understanding and treatment of diabetes and other metabolic diseases.

But not only was the Cory Cycle named for them. But the Cory Crater on the Moon, and the Corty Crater on Venus are named, also. And I believe after Gerty specifically. See, now I'm thinking about the SGU crater, but we'll address that in a future episode.

So, remember Gerty Cory; mention her to your friends, perhaps when discussing gluconeogenesis, and the conversion of lactate into pyrovate.

C: Yup. I'm always talkin' about that with my friends.

B: Yep, it comes up. It comes up.

S: I have actually had that conversation, but ...

(Laughter)

J: That's awesome, Steve.

E: But they weren't really a friend, were they.

S: Well, you know, classmates. All right.

J: That's awesome.

News Items[edit]

EM Drive Revisited (6:09)[edit]

Hope for Malaria Vaccine (13:53)[edit]

Cannabis Oil (22:35)[edit]

Washington DC is Sinking (33:12)[edit]

Who's That Noisy (38:25)[edit]

  • Answer to last week - longest interior echo

(Commercial at 41:40)

Interview with Kevin Folta (43:15)[edit]

Science or Fiction (1:02:05)[edit]

Item #1: Scientists have created the first artificial ribosome, which is able to manufacture proteins. Item #2: In an extreme case of convergent evolution, DNA analysis indicates that the East African golden jackal is actually more closely related to lions than to jackals. Item #3: Researchers have released a new variety of peanut that has a shelf life 10 times that of current varieties, with greater disease resistance and a healthier fatty acid profile.

Skeptical Quote of the Week (1:20:58)[edit]

"Science has taught me (Science warns me) to be careful how I adopt a view which jumps with my preconceptions, and to require stronger evidence for such belief than for one to which I was previously hostile. My business is to teach my aspirations to conform themselves to fact, not to try and make facts harmonize with my aspirations." - Thomas Huxley

Announcements (1:22:23)[edit]

  • LiCon: Long Island science and science fiction convention. August 14-16 2015SGU will be there for a live show - http://li-con.org/

S: The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe is produced by SGU Productions, dedicated to promoting science and critical thinking. For more information on this and other episodes, please visit our website at theskepticsguide.org, where you will find the show notes as well as links to our blogs, videos, online forum, and other content. You can send us feedback or questions to info@theskepticsguide.org. Also, please consider supporting the SGU by visiting the store page on our website, where you will find merchandise, premium content, and subscription information. Our listeners are what make SGU possible.

References[edit]


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