Confessions of a Motion Addict – Stephen Petronio

8232Like a written story that starts one word at a time and builds, Stephen Petronio choreographs a story that begins one step at a time, set in motion until a dance appears.

He understands that to some, modern dance is a beautiful interpretation of thoughts set to music. To others, it is an enigma, requiring explanation to understand. Petronio says you should forget about understanding it. He wants to challenge your intuitive mind and subvert your rational inquiry.

Petronio, an award-winning dancer, choreographer and performer, shares the story of his life journey from a modest Italian family through Hampshire College then to a 25 year career building a unique and powerful language of movement. In conversation with UC Davis Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Ralph Hexter, tune in to Confessions of a Motion Addict, part of the UC Davis Chancellor’s Colloquium Series.

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Behind “Health Matters”: Ten Questions for Host Dr. David Granet

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Back when Dr. David Granet was an undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania, he fulfilled his passion for sports by calling radio and TV play-by-play action for Penn’s Ivy League basketball team.

Equally comfortable behind a microphone as when he’s performing delicate eye surgery – his specialty is childhood eye misalignments and disorders – Granet also has always enjoyed teaching about health and medicine.

Since 1995, he has served as the only host of “Health Matters,” a 30-minute interview show produced by UCSD-TV, a program of UC San Diego Extension. His monthly guest list is dominated by doctors, professors and medical experts with close connections to UC San Diego, along with guests from other institutions.

A range of recent interview topics has included technology addictions, brain tumors, e-cigarettes, and ALS (for links to sample shows, see below).

As a concession to his hectic schedule, he tapes several editions the same day, moving easily from each show’s guest as he elicits lively, instructive conversation on complex issues and topics. Over the years, “Health Matters” ranks among UCSD-TV’s most-viewed casts, with composite numbers now reaching in the multiple millions.

The chief of UC San Diego’s Division of Pediatric Ophthalmology & Strabismus, as well as an Adult Eye alignment specialist with UC San Diego’s Shiley Eye Center, Granet has built a wide media reputation for his expertise.

Along with six guest appearances on the nationally syndicated TV series “The Doctors,” he also regularly records video interviews with fellow experts at high-level medical conferences that he attends around the world.

While Granet is not compensated for “Health Matters,” he regards the role as a privilege, a way to give back to his profession.

11-7-14 DR. DAVID GRANET 3, HEALTH MATTERS

“I’ve always enjoyed educating; it’s fun for me.”

1) How do you walk that line between being a medical expert yourself and an inquiring interviewer?
What I try to do is say something like, “I’m not sure everybody realizes this, but asthma can sometimes be dangerous, right?” Then I let them go into their area of expertise. I don’t pretend that I don’t know the basics of what we’re talking about.

2) How has your approach changed over the years?
First, I had to find my own “voice.” It wasn’t as automatic as I thought it would be. [UCSD-TV managing director] Lynn Burnstan and her staff were great, very supportive. In fact, she had more confidence in me than I did – she wouldn’t even let me use a teleprompter. She told me, “You talk so well, you don’t need those things.”

3) So your questions are not scripted at all?
I’ll write notes to myself on the topics I want to cover, but I never write out my questions beforehand.

4) How do you prepare for each show?
The show’s producer, Rachel Bradley, does a huge amount of the background work. I also do a lot of my own preparation beforehand, so I have a pretty good grasp of what I’m going to ask. After I’ve read everything they give me, I’ll go on “chat sites” to find out what patients want to know.

5) What happens when your guest goes off in a different direction, one you didn’t expect?
Sometimes, it’s fabulous and off they go. And sometimes, the direction they go isn’t all that interesting, so I have to bring it back with another topic.

6) At what point do you start to think about your closing remarks?
About two-thirds of the way into the show. While the guest is talking, I’m trying to think: What’s the best way to wrap this up? What do I want to highlight from our conversation? When that time comes, I’m ready.

7) What skills make a good TV host and a good doctor?
You can be a hellaciously good doctor – know all your stuff – but not be great on TV. You’ve got to be able to communicate with your guests just like you talk with your patients. At some level, every doctor needs those skills. I don’t get nervous being on TV, but some people aren’t as comfortable – it is a different skill set. That’s my job, to make the guest at ease so they can communicate what they are expert in.

8) With your ultra-busy schedule, what motivates you to continue doing the show?
It’s my passion. How do you not chase your passions? That would be a very empty life. I’ve always enjoyed educating; it’s fun for me. Can you tell that I love doing it? I am lucky to have the opportunity to make a difference.

9) From a professional standpoint, how would you access the impact of the show?
When I’m in the office with a patient, I consider that to be “retail medicine” – strictly one-on-one. The way I do “wholesale medicine” is that I teach courses and I train doctors, medical students, and residents – thus I can influence a lot of people. And when they care for their patients, that gives my teaching an even wider impact. So I feel I affect a lot of people in what I do. Doing the show is another way to make a difference.

10) So doing the show is your way of giving back?
If you’re going into medicine strictly for the money, that’s the wrong reason. If any of the medical students tell me they’re going into medicine for that reason alone, I tell them: This is the wrong job for you. In general, doctors are not poor, not by any means. But you work really hard and the commitment you have to make, it rivals the commitment you have to make to your spouse and your kids. As doctors, we all have a huge responsibility. Because being a doctor isn’t only what you do – it’s who you are.”

Recent “Health Matters” topics, guests and introductory comments from Dr. Granet:

  • E-Cigarettes, Vaping and MRSA (with Dr. Laura Crotty Alexander): “I’m not sure I even understand what an e-cigarette is. Is an e-cigarette like an iPhone? Whatever it is, it’s catching on because it’s done over $2 billion worth of sales. We need to know whether or not these things are safe. We need to know whether or not it’s something we should be promoting. We need to know whether this has any role in our society going forward.”
  • Buzzed Driving (with Dr. David Phillips): “One way or another, we can all be touched by someone who makes a bad decision and gets behind the wheel when it’s inappropriate. When is it wrong to get behind the wheel and take control of a two-ton vehicle when you’ve had too much to drink? What is too much to drink? We need some answers.”
  • Reversing Paralysis (with Dr. Justin Brown): “When I say the word ‘re-animation’ with regard to the human body, it’s sounds like science fiction. But today, we’re going to find out, like we do a lot here on ‘Health Matters,’ that science fiction is becoming science fact.”
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What Part Neanderthal Are You?

8232Turns out, there’s a little Neanderthal in all of us.

• In 2010, Svante Pääbo and his colleagues unveiled the Neanderthal genome.

• Pääbo is a biologist and evolutionary anthropologist. He is also the director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.

• His research shows that Humans and Neanderthals interbred in the prehistoric past.

• Thus Neanderthal DNA makes up 1% to 2% of the genome of many modern humans…

• …Except Africans, who have no Neanderthal contribution. (Watch the video to learn why).

• Our Neanderthal relatives became extinct 30,000 years ago. See what other extinct forms of humans there are.

What makes humans human? Find out:

Watch A Neanderthal Perspective on Human Origins with Svante Pääbo.

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Eight (Really) Big Ideas in Science

8232Eight UC Berkeley Lab scientists present eight game-changing concepts in eight minutes each. You can watch one at a time, but once you get started, you might not want to stop.

Inspired by the problems of our time and the mysteries of the universe, these scientists are working to answer questions we may have never thought to ask – and they’re succeeding. For instance:

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a “Google” for materials – a way to enter certain properties and easily find materials that meet those properties?

What about Mass Spectrometry Imaging – what is it and how could it revolutionize medicine?

What does an atom really look like… in 3-D?

Can we generate electricity from viruses? (Hint: yes!)

What about materials? Can we put two materials together to generate energy?

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a pill to treat people exposed to radioactive material?

Can computers be used to search for supernovae, the largest explosions in the universe?

And finally, physicist Ian Hinchliffe answers perhaps the most important question of all – why should we care about fundamental research? (He also talks about the Higgs…)

Watch Eight Big Ideas 2013 – Science at the Theater to learn more about the incredible work at UC Berkeley.

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That’s One Smart Puppy!

8232Hey! Do you want to know what causes magnetism, have a real sense of how small atoms are, or see that sometimes physics allows things that, well, seem like magic?

Or, do you just want to watch cute puppies and kitties?

Well, now you can have both!

Smart Puppy and Friends is a new series of short science videos for kids. (Hey, we’re all a kid inside somewhere, right?) With support from both the American Physical Society and the Materials Research Society, the wacky duo at Not Too Serious Labs decided to turn science educa – er, I mean science entertainment on it’s head to bring physics and materials concepts like magnetism and quantum tunneling to unsuspecting internet visitors in search of cute animal tricks.

What? That’s cheating you say!? You bet! People looking for physics can find physics online — a lot of it. But people not looking for physics? Well, we don’t want anyone to miss out. So we’re putting a friendly, lovable and entertaining face on the sometimes intimidating subjects of physics and science in general. Who doesn’t like the antics of a cute puppy or kitten? And when it’s a lovable puppy and kittens that talk, the kid in all of us responds. Khan Academy it’s not – there are no long lessons. But you will still learn something… and you won’t even know that you did!

Watch Smart Puppy and Friends today!

If you like this, you may also like When Things Get Small from Not Too Serious Labs.

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