science

Port Townsend Shipwrights


In this episode, we explore the amazing story of the Western Flyer, the fishing boat immortalized by John Steinbeck in his 1940 book The Log From The Sea of Cortez. Fresh off the success and controversy surrounding The Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck and his best friend and mentor in the newly emerging science of ecology, marine biologist Ed Ricketts (the model for the character of "Doc" in the novel Cannery Row) set off to explore the Baja California coast and the Gulf of California (more romantically referred to as "The Sea of Cortez") in 1940. 

Josh Willis


Dave talks to longtime friend of the program, Josh Willis, the Principal Investigator for NASA's OMG (Oceans Melting Greenland) program. 

 

Josh was flying missions over the places where the glacial ice sheets meet the sea all summer and was joined by several major media outlets (like NBC with Al Roker pictured above) that highlighted the pace at which Greenlands glaciers are melting.

Alan Stern

On this Best of Blue Dot we revisit our Father's Day episode that featured three pairs of father's and their kids that went on to careers in science. One of our pairs was famed planetary scientist Alan Stern (Principal Investigator for the New Horizons mission to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt) and his father Leonard.

 

Leonard Stern passed away on September 13, so we thought it fitting to replay this episode. Alan Stern has been a great friend of Blue Dot appearing in one of our earliest specials on Pluto in 2015 and with Queen guitarist Brian May earlier this year.

 

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. 

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.

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