SMU Dallas Speed Scientist Featured In PBS NOVA Series Segment “Making Stuff: Faster” (Oct 16)

What amazing new inventions will revolutionize our lives in the near future — how we compute, commute, and tackle health & safety? What is is the cutting-edge “stuff” powering the next wave of science and tech innovation?

Will it be levitating trains; self-driving cars; wing-flapping hummingbird drones; supercomputing machines; fish slime stronger than bulletproof Kevlar, ultra-fast sailboats; bomb-sniffing plants; firefighting goo; swarms of flying robots? Civilization is built on the human ability to invent — to create new materials and technologies from the raw materials of the earth. So what will the stuff of the future be made of? New York Times technology correspondent and best-selling author David Pogue will guide viewers through a new generation of cutting-edge materials that is powering a next wave of scientific and technological innovation in a four-part NOVA series: “MAKING STUFF: Faster, Wilder, Colder, Safer” premiering on consecutive Wednesday nights on October 16, 23, 30 and November 6, at 9pm ET/8c on PBS (check local listings).


In the premiere episode, “MAKING STUFF: Faster,” In “Making Stuff Faster,” Mr. Pogue wants to find out how much we can tweak physiology and engineering to move humans and machines even faster. He investigates everything from lightning-fast electric muscle cars to ultra-sleek sailboats to ultra-fast cameras and

simmonssmuquantum teleportation. Mr. Pogue meets with Dr. Peter Weyand, Associate Professor of Applied Physiology and Biomechanics at Southern Methodist University in Dallas’s SMU Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development. Dr. Weyand, introduced as a professor of speed, explains how we can be faster. His lab at SMU (a high-tech facility equipped with superfast cameras) helps him on his singular mission: to make humans faster. Dr. Weyand’s work has led him to believe that the force of steps when we run is the key to human speed and, in a unique experiment, and he demonstrates to NOVA viewers how a complete and utter amateur like David Pogue can have off significant amounts of time off the clock by adjusting the way he runs. NOVA also explores important questions: Is it possible to go too fast? Have we hit a point where innovation outpaces our human ability to keep up?

WeyandPeterA physiologist and biomechanist, and one of the world’s leading scholars and experts on the scientific basis of human performance, Dr. Weyand is a frequent source for journalists worldwide researching the topic of athletic performance limits, such as how fast humans can run. He was a lead investigator on the scientific team that performed experimental work to appeal the Olympic/IAAF ban of double amputee, South African sprinter Oscar Pistorius, aka the “blade runner,” (who sadly is currently awaiting trial in the fatal shooting of his former girlfriend) to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland In the Spring of 2008. Dr. Weyand’s research integrating the biomechanical and physiological basis of athletic performance has reportedly advanced scientific understanding and stimulated evidence-based approaches to performance and athletic training practices worldwide.

Dr. Weyand joined SMU’s Department of Applied Physiology and Wellness in the Fall of 2008. He earned his Ph.D. in Exercise Physiology from the University of Georgia in 1992, and subsequently directed research efforts at Harvard University’s Concord Field Station, a large animal facility specializing in terrestrial locomotion and later the Locomotion Laboratory of Rice University. Dr. Weyand has also served as a Senior Research Fellow at the US Army’s Research Institute for Environmental Medicine and as a television science analyst for the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics Science Media Group.

As noted, Dr. Weyand is an expert in the locomotion of humans and other terrestrial animals with broad research interests that focus on the relationships between muscle function, metabolic energy expenditure, whole body mechanics and performance. His research draws on the largely distinct traditions of human exercise physiology and comparative biomechanics to consider basic functional issues. IN addition to the NOVA appearance with David Pogue, Dr. Weyand’s research on the limits of human and animal performance has led to featured appearances on the British Broadcasting Corporation, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, CNN, the Discovery Channel, the History Channel, NHK Television Japan, National Public Radio and others.

Dr Weyand’s specific expertise on the mechanical basis of sprint running performance led to his involvement in the “Michael Johnson, Wired Athlete” project undertaken in conjunction with FitSense Inc. and NBC prior to the Sydney Olympics in 2000.

YouTube Sneak peek:

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About Charles Moore

Charles Moore
Charles Moore is a syndicated columnist for several major Canadian print newspapers and has an extensive background in covering technology. He serves as a Contributing Science and Technology Editor for BioNews Texas.
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