science

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.

Lisa Westwood

Dave meets with a kindred soul as Archaeologist and California State University Chico Anthropology Department Professor Lisa Westwood joins him in Studio C to talk about the archaeology of the space age.

She's the lead author of the book The Final Mission: Preserving NASA's Apollo Sites with co-authors Beth O'Leary and Milford Wayne Donaldson.

NEON

The award winning documentary The Biggest Little Farm is the focus of Dave's conversation with filmmaker turned farmer John Chester. He along with his wife Molly and their rescue dog Todd moved from a Los Angeles apartment onto a rundown 200 acre piece of property in Moorpark, Calif.

With the help of their mentor Alan York, they set out to rehabilitate the land into a biodynamic farm that had livestock, fruit trees and crops that grow and flourish in harmony with the surrounding native plant community ecosystem.

Meredith Nierman / WGBH News

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.

Then we introduce the brand new song Just Go Around. It's a collaboration between Poets Laureate of Texas Karla K. Morton and Alan Birkelbach joined by talented veteran songwriter/musician Lisa Carver.

In this episode, Dave visits with Terri Randall and Avner Tavori, the two filmmakers responsible for the new PBS/NOVA documentary, Saving The Dead Sea. It's one of the saltiest bodies of water on the planet and the lowest elevation on the land surface of the Earth.

Blue Dot 137: Sea Star's Alarming Decline

Mar 15, 2019
Ed Gullekso / Science Advances

We go under the sea, literally, to investigate the alarming decline of sea star populations of the Pacific Coast of North America from Mexico to Alaska. Sea stars, commonly known as "starfish" are actually echinoderms and a keystone species, meaning they play a pivotal role within their ecosystem.

Blue Dot 135: Apollo 9

Mar 1, 2019
NASA

In our third installment of Blue Dot's look back at Project Apollo for the 50th anniversaries of the missions, we examine perhaps the most overlooked of all, Apollo 9. Astronaut Rusty Schweickart, Apollo 9 Lunar Module Pilot, joins Dave to talk about the ambitious test flight that paved the way for Neil Armstrong's one small step, just over four months later.

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