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Past Recordings

Explore PLATO's video offerings. View past Lectures and Course recordings. The listing below is in order of most recent to oldest or use the button below to visit our YouTube channels. While there, subscribe to the channels to receive notification when new material is available.

Pathways to a Sustainable Planet
Thorcon's Reactor Design and Indonesia

April 12, 2021

Dr. Robert Hargraves, author of Thorium energy cheaper than coal (2012) and Electrifying Our World: for climate, for people, with fission (2021) discusses potential fast-build and thorium conversion options for future nuclear energy production in Indonesia.

Watch the video now at  https://youtu.be/VwJSKHcmdNw


Whither the State
Development Trends and Challenges in the Madison Area

April 6, 2021

A panel of Aaron Olver, Director of University Research Park, Marc Eisen a reporter and analyst, and Susan Springman, who has worked for Madison city government, Wisconsin state government and private companies on property and development issue led a discussion of development trends and challenges in the Madison area. They covered the impacts of the pandemic and then went beyond to talk about the importance of the University and technology companies, small businesses and online shopping on State Street, neighborhoods, and sprawl.

Watch the video now at https://youtu.be/vGwncfm4UKw



Pathways to a Sustainable Planet
A Canadian Perspective on Management of Used Nuclear Fuels

April 5, 2021

Dr. Neil Alexander, Bucephalus Consulting, Ontario describes historic and current use of nuclear fuels and contrasts with the development of hydro electricity generation options in the Canadian provinces.

Watch the video now at https://youtu.be/llOIf88dqWY


Pathways to a Sustainable Planet
On the Back of Tortoises

March 29, 2021

Dr. Elizabeth Hennessy, Associate Professor of History and Environmental Studies at UW-Madison and author of On the Back of Tortoises: Darwin, the Galapagos, and the Fate of an Evolutionary Eden (Yale University Press, 2019) offers an overview of her research and studies of the Gal√°pagos archipelago and the iconic Galapagos tortoise. 

Watch the video now at https://youtu.be/IISPS9mcD48

Pathways to a Sustainable Planet
No Ordinary Genius

March 22, 2021

No Ordinary Genius, by Dr. Bulent Atalay, theoretical nuclear physicist, University of Mary Washington, blog writer for National Geographic Newswatch, author "Math and the Mona Lisa: The Art and Science of Leonardo da Vinci" (2004) and "Leonardo's Universe: The Renaissance World of Leonardo da Vinci" (with Keith Wamsley; 2009).

Watch the video now at  https://youtu.be/cmN5-3RZ6cc


Life's a Daring Adventure and 
You're Not Done Yet!

March 18, 2021

Host & Moderator: Joy Cardin     Speaker: Mary Helen Conroy

Author and lecturer Mary Helen Conroy examines the good, the bad and the ugly, the scary and sad, and the awesomeness of building our lives after we end our career. Whether you’re nearly or newly retired, Mary Helen shares 15 essential tips for making your next chapter your best chapter. Her Amazing Itty Bitty Retirement Book became a #1 best seller by focusing on these invaluable tips and strategies. 

Watch the video now at https://youtu.be/Y9NbbFCQxvU



Whither the State
The Pandemic and Employment

March 16, 2021

Scott Resnick, Tim Casper, and Kurt Sipple discussed the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on employment. On the one hand, the covid-induced recession has caused increased poverty and the loss of some jobs--some permanently. The pandemic has also accelerated by about a decade trends in working from home. The discussion provided perspectives from employers and from individuals seeking new skills.

Watch the video now at https://youtu.be/m_gw4Vjjvfs



Pathways to a Sustainable Planet
Fusion: A Review with Updates

March 15, 2021

Fusion: A Review with Updates, by Dr. Bulent Atalay, theoretical nuclear physicist, University of Mary Washington.

Watch the video now at https://youtu.be/jXhc3VpLBD4



Pathways to a Sustainable Planet
The Atlantic Ocean’s Circulation and Climate

March 8, 2021

The Atlantic Ocean’s Circulation and Climate, by Dr. Elizabeth Maroon, Assistant Professor - Oceans and Climate Lab, Atmospheric & Oceanic Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Watch the video now at https://youtu.be/abrUosRQDo4



Whither the State
Transportation Panel Discussion

March 2, 2021

The panel offered a variety of perspectives on transportation issues, including the interactions between technologies and transportation policies, the impacts of Covid-19, the effects of various strategies on low-income communities, and the roles of state, local and national governments. Panel members were Aileen Switzer, Administrator of the Division of Budget and Strategic Initiatives at the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, Tom Lynch, Transportation Director of the City of Madison, and Kyle Shelton, Deputy Director of the Kinder Institute for Urban Research at Rice University.

Watch the video now at https://youtu.be/h5KdaWgyu3Y


Pathways to a Sustainable Planet
Future Sea

March 1, 2021

Future Sea, by Deborah Rowan Wright, marine conservation advocate, Bristol, UK; reviewed by R. Steeves

Watch the video now at https://youtu.be/Rlr9NQG7lio



Pathways to a Sustainable Planet
Shorting the Grid

February 22, 2021

Shorting the Grid, by Meredith Angwin, former project manager at the Electric Power Research Institute, reviewed by Richard and Meredith, as co-hosts.

Watch the video now at https://youtu.be/l4dGgp1vD3Q


Madison College’s Role Promoting Social Justice in the Community

February 18, 2021

In this PLATO lecture honoring Black History Month, Dr. Jack E. Daniels, III, President of Madison College, will discuss the college's long-standing work to be the leader in accessible affordable education that meets the evolving needs of our diverse communities. He will share about the work to create an environment where racial equity and respect of differences becomes woven into the fabric of our culture and the action we must continue to take if we want to provide a learning environment that is fair, equitable and just.

Watch the video now at https://youtu.be/D-Qo4ObrkU0


Whither the State
Future of the Media: Misinformation, Bias and Facts

February 16, 2021

Terry Shelton moderated a panel that included Neil Heinen, Dee Hall, and David Stoeffler. They led a thoughtful, informed and insightful discussion of the trends in newspaper, television, magazine and digital coverage of the news. Panelists distinguished between investigative, commentary, civic and other types of journalism and suggested how we might deal with efforts to spread misinformation and demonization of the media.

Watch the video now at https://youtu.be/s11HxfayyA4

Whither the State
Future of the Media: Misinformation, Bias and Facts

February 16, 2021

Terry Shelton moderated a panel that included Neil Heinen, Dee Hall, and David Stoeffler. They led a thoughtful, informed and insightful discussion of the trends in newspaper, television, magazine and digital coverage of the news. Panelists distinguished between investigative, commentary, civic and other types of journalism and suggested how we might deal with efforts to spread misinformation and demonization of the media.

Watch the video now at https://youtu.be/s11HxfayyA4


What We Need to Know About Corona Virus Vaccines

February 10, 2021

A Corona Virus vaccine may soon be available. Each of us must decide whether to be vaccinated and, if so, which vaccine to choose and when to get the shot. Over the past year we have been bombarded with information, some good and some bad, regarding the virus and possible treatments and vaccines. To decide for ourselves, we should understand the risks and benefits of vaccination based upon the safety and efficacy profile of each vaccine and then make a personal decision regarding Corona Virus vaccination.

Presented by PLATO member, Michael Roy.  Michael studied infectious diseases for over 40 years developing vaccines for biopharmaceutical firms and federal agencies. This talk will introduce concepts of vaccine development and marketing approval, discuss the concept of measuring risk versus benefit, review reliable information regarding safety and efficacy profiles for current or pending Corona Virus vaccines and provide sources of trustworthy information readily available to consumers.

Handout: Risk Benefit and Reference Lists

Watch the video now at https://youtu.be/p_uRbr0Ff6A

What We Need to Know About Corona Virus Vaccines

February 10, 2021

A Corona Virus vaccine may soon be available. Each of us must decide whether to be vaccinated and, if so, which vaccine to choose and when to get the shot. Over the past year we have been bombarded with information, some good and some bad, regarding the virus and possible treatments and vaccines. To decide for ourselves, we should understand the risks and benefits of vaccination based upon the safety and efficacy profile of each vaccine and then make a personal decision regarding Corona Virus vaccination.

Presented by PLATO member, Michael Roy.  Michael studied infectious diseases for over 40 years developing vaccines for biopharmaceutical firms and federal agencies. This talk will introduce concepts of vaccine development and marketing approval, discuss the concept of measuring risk versus benefit, review reliable information regarding safety and efficacy profiles for current or pending Corona Virus vaccines and provide sources of trustworthy information readily available to consumers.

Handout: Risk Benefit and Reference Lists

Watch the video now at https://youtu.be/p_uRbr0Ff6A


Whither the State
Understanding the Behavior of the Stock Market

February 2, 2021

Kyle Tetting, Director of Research at Landaas and Company, and Tony Nichols, Trader at First Business Trust and Investment, provided a comprehensive and thoughtful analysis of Stock Market behavior. Their discussion included the relationships between the stock market and the economy, the effects of the pandemic on various sectors of the economy, social issues and investments, and prospects for the future.

Watch the video now at https://youtu.be/bWTteef_zYs

View Kyle Tetting's slides: WTS - What's Going on with the Stock Markets Tetting Slides.pdf


Exploring Art & History: Max Beckmann’s [Paris] Society
at Weimar’s End (1925, 1931, 1947)

January 27, 2021

Dr. Barbara (Suzy) Buenger, Professor Emerita of art history at UW-Madison, discusses Max Beckmann’s sardonic Society based on the March 1931 reception at the German Embassy in Paris that honored the opening of his first one-man exhibition in that city. The canvas was begun six years earlier, during the first flourishing of the Weimar Republic, as a depiction of Frankfurt high society at the moment Beckmann came to enjoy new professional and social prominence and prepared to marry an aristocrat. His painting is far more than just a satire of human interactions at the Paris reception; it reverberates with tensions of the world economic crisis and annus horribilis that uncoiled as he completed the work from June through late October 1931.

Watch the video now at https://youtu.be/JkOH5RxYXFY


Whither the State
The Future of the Republican Party

January 19, 2021

Professor Ryan Owens, Director of the Tommy G. Thompson Center for Public Leadership at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, shared his thoughts about the future of the Republican Party. Professor Owens identified three major conservative philosophies that have defined the contemporary Republican Party and provided a framework for understanding divisions in the party.

Watch the video now at https://youtu.be/jWR0Qo_P5hw


Let’s Talk Hearing - Advice to Make Your Ears Smile!

January 14, 2021

Hearing loss comes on gradually and can have a big impact on a person’s life. Many people with hearing loss will say they can hear just fine but that they have difficulty understanding speech, particularly in background noise, watching TV or while attending religious services or theater performances, even while using hearing aids. This informative session goes beyond hearing aids. Audiologist Dr. Juli√ętte Sterkens, with the Hearing Loss Association of America (www.hearingloss.org), explains how to become an informed consumer to get the hearing care and technology that will work for you. Learn about hearing care best practices, what’s new in hearing technology and how it can help users hear their best. Find further information on Dr. Sterkens' resource page: Hearing Loss Consumer Info. Here is the Better Hearing Institute Paper and Pencil Hearing Test mentioned in this lecture.

Watch the video now at https://youtu.be/EHjXG4_Mi4Y


Whither the State
Climate Change Politics: A Comparative View of Nations

January 5, 2021

Dennis provides a brief update on the Georgia Senate runoff election and presidential politics followed by the main presentation by Bill Kakenmaster, Doctoral Candidate in Comparative Politics and International Relations at Notre Dame.

Watch the video now at https://youtu.be/-XR1t5r2QAg


Whither the State
Economic and Monetary Policy Issues Facing the Biden-Harris Administration

December 15, 2020

After a brief update on the Electoral College, Kurt Sippel explains the nature of economic challenges facing the incoming Biden-Harris administration.  Kurt discusses the fundamental dynamics of economic and monetary policies and the options for restoring health to the U.S. economy.  His presentation includes short videos.

Watch the video now at https://youtu.be/rH6wai3wqkE


Hygge, Health and Happiness

December 3, 2020

Grab a warm beverage, put on your favorite sweater, cuddle up in a big chair by the fireplace,and find out how Hygge (pronounced hoo-guh or hue-guh) can help us through another cold, dark Wisconsin winter.  How can we embrace winter, especially this coming pandemic winter, instead of dreading it? 

We”ll learn about the Danish concept of Hygge from Dr. Claus Elholm Andersen, a Denmark native and professor of Scandinavian Studies at UW-Madison during a PLATO Madison lecture on "Hygge, Health and Happiness" on Thursday, December 3 from 10-11am. 

In this talk, Professor Claus Elholm Andersen will introduce the concept of hygge, explain how it relates to the Scandinavian way of life, and show what Americans can learn from it.

Watch the video now at https://youtu.be/wOY34pym4Qs



Pathways to a Sustainable Planet, Session 09
Advanced Reactors

November 23, 2020

Advanced Reactors: Why We Need Them to Save the Planet, by Richard Steeves

Watch the video now at https://youtu.be/7NGjjXd78LE



Patrick J. Lucey: A Lasting Legacy

Wednesday November 18, 2020

Through exclusive interviews and unprecedented access to archival materials, Prof. Emeritus Dennis L. Dresang shares the story of Patrick Lucey, a pivotal figure in Wisconsin history. The talk covers from Lucey’s small-town rural roots to his wide-ranging influence as Governor of Wisconsin from 1971-1977, to a U.S. ambassador and beyond.

Watch the video now at https://youtu.be/UQ24-vV0Od8



Whither the State, Session 8
COVID 19 Pandemic

November 17, 2020

Jim Conway, Associate Director of the Global Health Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Madison explained the characteristics of viruses generally and COVID-19 in particular and described the origin and spread of the pandemic. He also analyzed the public health crisis that currently challenges us and outlined what needs to be done both now and when effective vaccines are available.

Watch the video now at: https://youtu.be/t63qFrFct1k



Pathways to a Sustainable Planet, Session 8
Climates Change, Can People?

November 16, 2020

Dr. Ankur Desai, Professor of Climate, People, and Environment, U.W. Madison

Watch the video now at: https://youtu.be/-BrshE0pnS8



Whither the State, Session 7
Results and Implications of 2020 Elections

November 7, 2020

The discussion of last week's elections included results of the presidential and U.S. Senate elections, issues raised by polling, implications of the refusal of President Trump to concede defeat, voter turnout, and the runoff elections in Georgia. We also looked ahead to the 2022 U.S. Senate election to anticipate consequences if the Republicans maintain a majority after the Georgia runoffs in January 2021.

Watch the video now at: https://youtu.be/HCSCcZ_UeT8


Whither the State, Session 6
Campaign Challenges in 2020

November 3, 2020

Nada Elmikashfi discussed her campaign experiences and her perspectives on politics in our community and the state of Wisconsin. Nada was born in the Sudan and moved to Madison when she was six years old. She graduated from UW-Madison and became active in state government and politics. She was a candidate for the State Senate and is the Chief of Staff to Representative-Elect Francesca Hong.

Watch the video now at: https://youtu.be/Kri5vTYt0sk



Pathways to a Sustainable Planet, Session 6
Nature’s Best Hope

November 2, 2020

Douglas Tallamy, professor of entomology and wildlife ecology, wants to understand how insects interact with plants and how this determines the diversity of animal communities.

Watch the video now at: https://youtu.be/LEjxGTarisI



We Stand on Their Shoulders: A History of Wisconsin Women and Voting

Thursday October 29, 2020

A new exhibition at the Wisconsin Historical Museum marks the centennial of the 19th Amendment that gave women the right to vote. Laurel Miller and Simone Munson present the exhibit that was produced to shine a light on iconic Wisconsin women suffragists and political leaders, and how they helped to gain the long overdue rights and recognition for women in Wisconsin and the nation.

Watch the video now at https://youtu.be/qzNp0fOajXM



Whither the State, Session 5
Rural Development Initiatives in Wisconsin

October 27, 2020

Kelliann Blazek, Director of the Office of Rural Prosperity, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, and Brittany Beyer, Executive Director of Grow North, in Rhinelander, reported on the work of the Governor's Blue Ribbon Commission on Rural Prosperity. They discussed challenges and opportunities in Wisconsin's rural areas and described responses of local and tribal governments, small businesses, and farmers.

Watch the video now at https://youtu.be/Oa5BSFoNbho



Pathways to a Sustainable Planet, Session 5
Climate Change Model

October 26, 2020

En-ROADS:  A Useful Model for Predicting Climate Change

Watch the video now at https://youtu.be/7Zw7hPmdMBE



Whither the State, Session 4
Mark Pocan: View from Congress

October 20, 2020

Representative Mark Pocan discussed issues before the U.S. House of Representatives, with emphasis on the Covid 19 pandemic. Rep. Pocan is a member of the critical House Committee on Appropriations and he described the testimony of Dr. Anthony Fauci and other health experts before that committee. Also discussed were elections to the Wisconsin State Legislature.

Watch the video now at https://youtu.be/4OMEFHNJQVc



Pathways to a Sustainable Planet, Session 4
Dane County

October 19, 2020

Dane County’s Plan to Address Climate Change

Watch the video now at https://youtu.be/v2H4PDnnq44



Deciding What's True in a Polarized Society

October 15, 2020

In this lecture UW-Madison Professor Michael Wagner will review research on fake news, fact-checking, and selective exposure to like minded media outlets.  He will describe the implications of each of these for democracy.

Watch the video now at https://youtu.be/nn9qqWn9Ek4



Whither the State, Session 3
Polling Update

October 13, 2020

Professor Charles Franklin, Director of the Marquette University Law School Poll, presents the results of his latest poll of likely voters in Wisconsin. He describes how various groups intend to vote for president November 3. Charles compares the results of his polls with ones taken for past elections and describes in detail how his polling is done.

Watch the video now at https://youtu.be/ZvzG-hmTfykA



Whither the State, Session 2
Voting Procedures and Issues

October 6, 2020

Reid Magney, Public Information Officer of the Wisconsin Election Commission describes the options available for casting a vote in the November 3, 2020 election. Reid explains step-by-step ballots are received and recorded, making certain that there is security and accuracy.

Watch the video now at https://youtu.be/wtolAaGLtmA



Pathways to a Sustainable Planet, Session 2
Water

October 5, 2020

Water: Its Power, Promise and Turmoil in North America

Watch the video now at https://youtu.be/aW6ylmN0oG0



How Computing May Change Our World. Prof. Mark D. Hill

September 17, 2020

While computing has already changed how we communicate, work, and play, more big impacts are afoot. UW-Madison Prof. Emeritus Mark Hill will define and discuss impacts of three important examples on the horizon: (a) why artificial intelligence will free humans from more repetitive tasks, (b) how quantum computing will eventually enhance discovery, and (c) how computing and very human issues like fairness will increasingly interact. This talk assumes no background in computer science and is based on visioning work Prof. Hill collaborated on when he led the Computing  Community Consortium (CCC) https://cra.org/ccc/about/

Watch the lecture now at https://youtu.be/YQcW9-P3aYA


To view the slides from the lecture in PDF form, click here. (Note: this is a large file and may take a while to open.)



PLATO COVID-19 Online Town Hall

September 10, 2020

Pandemic update from PLATO members - Hank Weiss, PhD, MPH, MS, an epidemiologist with years of experience in government and academia will cover how we got here as of 9/10/20, current status of the pandemic, and where we are going; along with recommended sources of information about COVID-19. Other speakers include Brittany Grogan, MPH is a public health analyst with Public Health Madison & Dane County (PHMDC). Meg Taylor, B.S.N. in Public Health previously at the State of Wisconsin Public Health Agency, and Prof. Ted Goodfriend, emeritus Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology at UW-Madison and retired coordinator of research at the VA.

Watch the lecture now at https://youtu.be/fHpSI4QUxXk


To view the slides from the lecture in PDF form, click here.


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