Dave Schlom

Host, Blue Dot

Dave Schlom has taught the physical sciences at Corning Union High School since 1991. A lifelong amateur astronomer and astronomy educator, he has a passion for both the earth and the space sciences, which are the principal areas of focus for guests on Blue Dot. He started doing radio interviews on space and astronomy topics for local stations like KFM and KPAY in the 1980s and into the 90s, where he was a popular go-to guest for local radio personalities. He is also an expert on the history and geology of Lassen Volcanic National Park, where he has served as a volunteer for decades. Dave enjoys a quiet life at home with his partner in life, Cheryl, and their two dogs, Elvis and Pearl, at their Red Bluff residence.

Dave takes a virtual field trip to one of his childhood haunts -- the Griffith Observatory perched above the Los Angeles Basin in Griffith Park. Our tour guide is the longtime Director, Dr. Edwin C. Krupp.


Ed's passion for astronomy education and the venerable observatory, built in 1935 and extensively renovated in the early 2000s, comes through as he takes Dave on a trip through time and space at one of California's most iconic venues. 

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Unlike the fictional Indiana, there is a real-life Dr. Jones and her name is Lucy. Dave talks to seismologist and disaster preparedness expert Lucy Jones. For decades, Jones has been a major TV outlet fixture whenever a major earthquake strikes in the west, particularly Southern California. Jones was one of the drivers behind the Great California ShakeOut simulation which began in 2008. Designed to prepare the LA area for the inevitable Big One on the San Andreas Fault, the program has been seen as so valuable that it has been used around the country, most notably in the Pacific Northwest.

Don Hankins

Dave learns about fighting fire with fire in this episode as he talks to CSU Chico Professor of Geography Don Hankins. Dr. Hankins teaches a course called "Pyrogeography" examining the role of fire on both landscapes and the communities that inhabit them. Hankins is a firm believer in the importance of using prescribed burning techniques to control fuel loads and enhance the native ecology of areas throughout California that evolved with fire as a natural element of their ecosystems.

Dave talks to one of his favorite people on the planet, Ann Druyan. As the wife of the late Carl Sagan, Ann has worked tirelessly since his passing in 1996 to foster and carry on his legacy. In 2014, Druyan teamed with Seth McFarlane to produce the sequel to Sagan's classic Cosmos: a Personal Voyage. Cosmos: a Spacetime Odyssey, received critical acclaim and 4 emmys and spurred the production for a second series Cosmos: Possible Worlds, which airs on FOX TV beginning September 22. 

Dave talks to longtime friend and fellow astronomer and artist Tyler Nordgren. In 2017 Tyler invited Dave to join his viewing of the Great American Eclipse in Kimberly, Oregon and they'll discuss that experience as well as their mutual love for the national parks and Tyler's ongoing work with them to promote the dark night sky as one of their precious natural resources where "half the park is after dark!"


Tyler's globe trotting eclipse watching came to a halt because of the COVID-19 pandemic but you'll find out that in Tyler's case, that was actually a life saving circumstance. Find out about the next great American eclipse in 2024 as well as a wide ranging conversation about the dark night sky and two kindred souls with a lifetime connection to it.


Dave talks to two NASA climate scientists on the topic of global sea level rise. First, longtime friend of Blue Dot Josh Willis joins us to talk about the difficulties of collecting data from Greenland's massive ice sheets in a time of pandemic and discusses the rigors of peer reviewed research.

Then NASA/JPL Postdoctoral Fellow Thomas Frederickse visits with us from the Netherlands. He led a breakthrough study on the water cycle budget that for decades has mysteriously underestimated the observed rising of global sea levels. Thomas also gives some insight in what its like to be on the faned Jet Propulsion Laboratory campus.


Dave has been thinking a lot lately, like many of us, about the role that market-driven economic policies have on the environment, social justice issues, and the lives of people around the world. So when a copy of Manifesto for A Moral Revolution by Jacqueline Novogratz showed up in the mail, he read it and immediately decided to interview its author. 

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Dave talks to legendary NBC anchor and correspondent Jim Hartz. While perhaps best known for co-hosting the Today Show for two years from 1974-1976, our interest is in his incredible expertise as one of the leading journalists that covered the space program from the Gemini Program in 1966 through the first Space Shuttle Flight in 1980. 

In the conclusion of our two-part series on surfing as a mirror of bigger issues like environmental stress as well as racism and sexism, Dave talks to two surfers with very different backgrounds but a mutual love of the world in the curl.


Airrion Copeland didn't know how to surf when he was given lessons by a filmmaker who went on to enlist Copeland to produce the documentary White Wash about the history of black surfers. Now Copeland is the Executive Director of 5gyres, an organization dedicated to fighting oceanic plastic pollution and making the waves a more inclusive place for all. 


Dave revisits a conversation with two of the Deputy Project Scientists deeply involved with the Curiosity Rover, which has been exploring Gale Crater since 2012, and the new, yet to be named, Mars 2020 Rover that will be launching this July. 

Abigail Fraeman is the DPS for Curiosity and explains how the mobile science laboratory has furthered our understanding of how Mars was once a planet that was suitable for primitive microbial life.