science

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. 

Lassen Volcanic National Park is the latest addition to the University of California Natural Reserve System. The 41 units of the UCNRS represent virtually every ecosystem in this ecologically diverse state and make it the largest university affiliated preserve system in the world. 

Dave talks to UC Davis's Jeffrey Clary, who will be charged with administering the Lassen Field Station and park Superintendent Jim Richardson as they discuss how and why Lassen Park, one of the most scientifically valuable units in the National Park System, was chosen as a field site for UC researchers and their students.

WGBH

Dave talks to kindred spirits on this episode of the Dot. First up is fellow broad/podcaster Kara Miller. Her Boston based show Innovation Hub from WGBH looks at the myriad ways in which human beings innovate from technology and art to core concepts of morality and being.

Meet the poets. Karla K. Morton and Alan Birkelbach with Lisa Carver on the left.


We examine the complex series of fault ruptures and earthquakes that struck near Ridgecrest in Southern California over the July 4 weekend of 2019. A 6.4 magnitude temblor on the evening of July 4 was followed by in even bigger magnitude 7.1 event just over 24 hours later that may have been triggered in a process called cross faulting during the earlier quake.

YouTube


In this episode Dave visits with Stockton Rush, founder and CEO of OceanGate in Everett, Washington. The company is working on an ambitious plan to make the deep ocean accessible to paying customers as well as scientists starting with a set of expeditions next year to visit the most famous of all shipwrecks -- RMS Titanic.

 

Rush seems like a character right out of an adventure novel, getting a commercial jet pilot's license at 19 years old and working as a flight test engineer at Edwards Air Force Base before turning his attention to engineer submarines and submersibles to explore the biggest volume of our planet -- the sea beneath the waves. 

 

Dave talks to Gideon Bradshaw and Andrew Cohen, the BBC filmmakers behind the new NOVA series The Planets on PBS. Part of the "Summer of Space" on PBS, the series features state of the art science combined with cinematic effects featured on major Hollywood films from the special effects artists who created The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Captain America: The First Avenger -- LOLAVFX.

The Summer of Apollo 11 continues! Find out what Dave's first and second favorite movies of all time are, spoiler alert, one of them is the topic of this show! Dave talks to Australian filmmaker Rob Sitch. His 2000 movie The Dish starred Sam Neill (Jurassic Park) and Patrick Warburton (Seinfeld and A Series of Unfortunate Events). It tells the sometimes humorous, often inspiring and always warm story of a team of radio astronomers at the Parkes Radio Telescope in Australia's outback who are tasked with tracking Apollo 11 on its way to and from the Moon and receiving the television broadcast of the moon walk on July 20, 1969.

Then we hear from Simon Plumpton from Wales in the UK. His YouTube Channel, lunarmodule5 is going to post an entire recreation of the Apollo 11 mission from prelaunch press conference to splashdown. Plumpton painstakingly collected mission audio and set it to state of the art computer animations as well as original broadcast footage.

Robert Stone's three part documentary, Chasing The Moon, airs July 8-10 on the PBS history series The American Experience. After previewing the epic series, Dave interviewed Robert and the pair had an in depth conversation on the project from genesis to final cut. They also discuss the cultural meaning of the Moon landing as we look back at it through the lens of history fifty years later. And a new segment debuts on the show: Blue Dot's "Teachable Moment" where producer Matt Fidler poses a question to our host (who also happens to be a lifelong science educator) and get's an answer. This week we ask a question that seems childishly simple, though the answer is anything but: "Why is the sky blue?"

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.

Blue Dot 148: Celebrating Father's Day

Jun 14, 2019
David Schlom

It's our Father's Day episode! Interviews with scientists and their Dads as Dave talks to planetary scientist David Grinspoon and his father Lester (who also happens to be a world class professor of psychiatry from Harvard University Medical School), his favorite YouTube science communicator Dianna Cowern, aka "Physics Girl" and her tree farming, Hawaiian resort operating father Bill and finally, a moving conversation between Alan Stern, Principal Investigator of the New Horizons mission that flew by Pluto in 2015 and his Dad Leonard.

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