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Quirks & Quarks: Debut episode

For over three decades, David Suzuki has been Canada's foremost environmental conscience. From his experiments with fruit flies to his warnings about genetically modified food, Suzuki has made science relevant, interesting and full of wonder to his audiences. As a broadcaster for the CBC, he has issued frank warnings against industry, the economy and his fellow scientists. Passionate and outspoken, he has also won his fair share of critics. But despite, or perhaps because of this, Suzuki remains undeterred in his message.

"You don't have to have a PhD to be interested in science," says David Suzuki, host of a brand new radio program called Quirks & Quarks. The 1975 debut episode begins with science writer Isaac Asimov explaining the origins of the word "alcohol." Then, the connection between hair dyes and cancer is explored. Subsequent segments look at flying cars, a burglarproof lock, and chemical and biological warfare. The program ends with the question of the week: "Why does it get dark at night?"
• The debut episode of Quirks & Quarks set the stage for what would be a fairly standard format during the 1975-76 season:
• Scientific word origins with Isaac Asimov.
• Two long-form interviews on a variety of scientific subjects.
• "Visions of the Future" - a fun segment that looks back at what scientific advancements were being predicted for "the future" decades earlier.
• "Inventor of the week," in which an amateur inventor describes his or her invention.
• Richard Lubbock's question of the week (science-related questions from listeners are answered.) • The connection between hair dye and cancer is still debated. It's now well accepted that before 1980, many hair dyes did contain chemicals known to cause cancer in rodents, but those chemicals aren't being used in hair dyes anymore. Some scientists believe today's hair dyes could still be hazardous to health in some instances, but most recent studies - including a 2005 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association - conclude that evidence of any link between today's hair dye and cancer is weak.

• Flying cars have been a staple of science fiction for decades. And in fact, a number of companies were actually working on developing flying cars in 2008, including California-based Moller and Israel-based Urban Aeronautics. "We believe that it will still be quite a while - decades - before the fantasy of an everyman's flying car becomes a reality," said Urban Aeronautics's Janina Frankel-Yoeli in a 2007 CNN.com article. Hurdles include high cost, and the fact that a whole new transportation infrastructure would be required accommodate flying cars.

Medium: Radio
Program: Quirks & Quarks
Broadcast Date: Oct. 8, 1975
Guest(s): Bruce Ames, Martin Samoilov
Commentator: Isaac Asimov, Richard Lubbock
Host: David Suzuki
Duration: 57:56

Last updated: March 29, 2012

Page consulted on December 5, 2013

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