Last year, University of Illinois professor May Berenbaum was awarded the National Medal of Science, the nation's highest honor for achievement and leadership in science and technology. She is an expert in the interaction of insects with plants, and in 2006 was one of the scientists called upon to investigate the mysterious collapse of honeybee colonies.
But her claim to fame goes beyond that: She is the founder of the annual Insect Fear Film Festival—now in its 32nd year—had a character (Bambi Berenbaum) named after her on the X-Files, and more recently bought the naming rights to a new species of cockroach, Xestoblatta berenbaumae.
Professor Berenbaum joins us to discuss how a young girl scared of insects became a leader in the field of insect research.
In November 2014, Berenbaum was awarded the National Medal of Science by President Barack Obama. Watch a video of the ceremony.
Also in 2014, Berenbaum received the naming rights to a new species of cockroach discovered in Guiana. Watch the video below.
In April 2010, Berenbaum spoke about Colony Collapse Disorder, which occurs when “seemingly healthy bees” abandon hives, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. Watch her TEDxUillinois Talk.