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 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. 

Surfrider Foundation

After the killing of George Floyd, Blue Dot's Oceanographer Emeritus Bill Patzert called "Big Wave Dave" to ask him to check out a New York Times Opinion piece titled "The Long Strange Tale of California’s Surf Nazis," by journalist Daniel Duane. 


Conversations ensued about racism, localism, and the environment and how surf culture has reflected those complex currents through time since the Malibu explosion of the early 1960s. 




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.

Kim Fulton Bennett

Dave traveled to the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) earlier this summer where he learned about many of the institute's scientific programs.

In this episode we look at the use of sound to study the oceans and the life that inhabits them. MacArthur Foundation Fellow Kelly Benoit Bird uses sonar for her MBARI research to study how animals find food sources in the vast oceanic environment. 



Dave is joined by Brendan Byrne for a conversation about the state of crewed spaceflight in the US in 2020. Brendan is the host of Are We There Yet, produced by NPR affiliate WMFE in Orlando. 


He gets to cover the space beat from the front row on Florida's "Space Coast" and had an amazingly personal and powerful experience covering the SpaceX Dragon Demo 2 Mission that launched astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to the International Space Station. 

Jim Faulds


Dave investigates the idea that the boundary between the North American and Pacific tectonic plates may be in the process of "stepping" eastward from the San Andreas Fault to the so called "Walker Lane." He visits with Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology tectonics expert Jim Faulds, who is one of the leading proponents of the new theory. 

We take a virtual geologic field trip from the Gulf of California, up through the Eastern California Shear Zone (where the July 4-5 Ridgecrest earthquakes rocked the high desert) and up one of the most scenic highways in the world -- Highway 395 east of the Sierra Nevada. 


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. 


The conversation between Dave and Jacqueline, the CEO of Acumen, a global community of entrepreneurs and investors literally invested in creating a more just and sustainable world economy covers a wide array of stories of hard-fought successes by heroic individuals living in countries like Pakistan, Uganda, Colombia and, yes, here in the U.S.



In this episode, we look back in space and time to examine the life of an extraordinary pioneer of the space race and literally our place in space -- the pale blue dot image. First Dave talks to Clayton Turner, the Director of the Langley Research Center in Hampton Virginia as we examine the life of the late Katherine Johnson. 

SpaceX via NASA

After spending the last two years looking back at the Apollo Program, Dave looks ahead to the Commercial Crew flight program and Project Artemis. We hear first from Daniel Huot, a NASA spokesperson who is doing commentary during the historic first flight of the Crew Dragon Demo 2 mission with astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley set to put America back in space from US soil for the first time since the retirement of the Space Shuttle program in 2011.


In this episode, inspired by our good friend Alan Stern, the Principal Investigator for the New Horizons Spacecraft, we examine a question that has vexed astronomers, planetary scientists and 5th graders, for decades: "What exactly is a Planet?" And more importantly, why should we care about definitions like this in science.