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Blue Dot: Scientific research at CSU Chico: led by professors, conducted by students!

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Jason Halley/Jason Halley
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California State University, Chi
Celia Todd (now a PhD Chemistry candidate at UC Santa Cruz) and Professor Monica So in her CSU Chico Lab.

Dave returns to his alma mater, CSU Chico, to find out about some of the research being done by Chemistry and Environmental Science students. First, he talks to Professor Monica So and two of her chemistry research students, Nicholas Barnett and Carlos Melchor, about their investigations into a fascinating class of compounds called Metal Organic Frameworks.

These amazing materials, which are synthesized in So's lab, can be used for a variety of purposes, notably acting as "sponges" to help clean up things like oceanic oil spills.

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Kristen Jung, PhD candidate at Northwestern University (left), and Chico State civil engineering major Erica Plasencia-Campos (right) collecting water samples after the 2018 Camp Fire in Paradise, CA.

Then our host is joined by Environmental Science professor Sandrine Matiasek and her colleague Civil Engineering professor Jack Webster about their collaboration with students to look into the effects of wildfires (notably the 2018 Camp Fire that virtually destroyed the town of Paradise, CA) on soils and watersheds.

Dave Schlom is the longtime host and creator of Blue Dot. From surfing to Voyager in interstellar space, rock guitar to orcas in our imperiled oceans, the topics on Blue Dot are as varied as the host’s interests and connections -- which are pretty limitless! An internationally respected space history journalist, Dave is also deeply fascinated by all aspects of the grand workings of nature’s awesome machinery on scales ranging from galactic to subatomic. And topics take in all aspects of the arts and sciences.
Matt Fidler is a producer and sound designer with over 15 years’ experience producing nationally distributed public radio programs. He has worked for shows such as Freakonomics Radio, Selected Shorts, Studio 360, The New Yorker Radio Hour and The Takeaway. In 2017, Matt launched the language podcast Very Bad Words, hitting the #28 spot in the iTunes podcast charts.