John Henshaw

Co-host, Science Matters

Words? Or equations? John Henshaw loves ‘em both! He’s an engineer, professor, and writer – but not necessarily in that order. A TU professor since 1990, he currently serves as Department Chair of Mechanical Engineering. Stints in the petroleum and nuclear power industries honed his technical chops before he succumbed to the siren call of academe.

An expert on metals and plastics and on the engineering design process, he amuses himself by writing books on technical subjects – but for a general audience. John and boyhood buddy Jerry McCoy have been ruminating on all things scientific for longer than either of them can remember. Science Matters is their latest crazy scheme.

A bicycle commuter and avid tennis player, John and wife Mia stay busy keeping up with the doings of three lovely daughters and one granddaughter.

Ways to Connect


Did you know that your smartphone helps prove Einstein's theory of relativity? It's true, although we're pretty sure Albert never imagined that his thought experiments would lead to a Global Positioning System. Without knowing how relativity affects satellite signals, the worldwide GPS system would be worthless. Here's why...

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What can weigh more than 25 lb, measures about 2 ft, beats at twice the rate and has double the blood pressure of a human heart? Despite a popular myth, it isn't really big, but has a secret revealed by John and Jerry.

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You'd think it would be a simple matter to generate electrical power and bring it into your home. Turns out that in the late 1880s, there was a War of the Currents between two titans of industry vying to sell incompatible electric transmissions systems to America. John and Jerry fire up the time machine for a glimpse of the battle which makes today's technology fights pale in comparison.

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It's a miracle: a small flap of skin about the size of a dime or a quarter can produce sound which will fill a room when modulated by vocal folds and our body's resonant cavities. Professors McCoy and Henshaw explore how this is possible.

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We all have a sense of what's hot and what's cold and are able to translate that feeling to some thermometer number. But how did those numbers come about? And why is our temperature scale different from most of the rest of the world? Jerry and John crystallize answers out of this hot topic.



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The placebo effect must be one of the strangest things to influence both man and beast. The fact that it can work, even though the person receiving the treatment knows that it's a placebo, is mind-boggling. But how was the placebo effect first discovered? Jerry and John reveal the origins.


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What do the French Revolution, the dollar bill, and the metric system have in common? A lot, it turns out, as revealed by our intrepid science explorers, Dr. Jerry McCoy and Dr. John Henshaw of The University of Tulsa.

Planet Earth

May 17, 2013

Got your ticket for an interstellar vacation? That trip might be your last, depending on the destination. It turns out that there are very few places in the universe hospitable to lifeforms like us. Jerry and John fill us in on what's out there.

How many scientists does it take to change light bulb behavior? Two plus a spouse. Follow along as professors Henshaw and McCoy explore the topic of how energy affects your life.


Apr 2, 2013
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What's your IQ? Afraid to ask? You won't be scared, though, to learn how the IQ score came into existence. Intrepid science explorers John Henshaw and Jerry McCoy  travel back to 1899 as a French psychologist begins to help children with special needs.

Structural Color

Mar 15, 2013

You thought you learned everything you needed to know about color when mucking around with tempera paints in kindergarden. Not so. Nature has clever ways of revealing colors that we never imagined.


Mar 13, 2013

In the Darwinian struggle for survival, why do some species age so much more quickly than others? Jerry and John slowly come to a quick conclusion. In dog years.

Golden Rectangle

Mar 11, 2013

Some rectangles are really golden and we cherish them enough to carry them in our pockets or purse. But what did Pythagoras and his cronies have to do with this discovery? Let's dive in and explore on this edition of Science Matters.

Henry Mosely

Mar 9, 2013

He should have won a Nobel prize at the tender age of 26 when he introduced amazing physics insights to what exclusively had been a chemistry problem. But World War I intervened.

These days, you aren't required to actually build a model any invention that you're wanting to file at the U.S. Patent Office except for one thing: a perpetual motion machine. And for good reason, it seems.

Albert Einstein's path to the Nobel prize was anything but smooth. He was nominated eleven different years for the prize and finally didn't win what you think that he did.