Life on Other Worlds - LPSC Interview #1

May 20, 2018

Spark Science Student Correspondent & Chief Audio Engineer, Natalie Moore, traveled to the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (LPSC) this Spring to present research. 

In the first episode featuring LPSC, Natalie talks to Geologist & Astrobiologist Martin Van Kranendonk about hot springs on other planets and how important the drying/wetting cycle is to "life". Natalie asks "when we will know for sure if life exists or did exist off Earth?" They then try to answer the question "what are biosignatures?"

Enjoy the show.


Image Credit: Lunar and Planetary Science Conference 2018


Algae Biofuels

May 6, 2018

This episode features Chemist Dr. Greg O'Neil from Western Washington University. We also have our co-host Jordan Baker back in the KMRE studios.

Dr. O'Neil talks about his lab where he creates biodiesel and jet fuel from algae. We discuss scientific conventions dedicated to fuel and the interesting commercial products you can create from the biofuel waste.

Image Credit: Tom Kleindinst - Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution


Materials Science & Mars - Interview with Dr. Sierra Sastre

April 29, 2018

This episode features another keynote speaker at the 2017 SACNAS National Convention, Dr. Yajaira Sierra Sastre.

Dr. Sierra Sastre is a material scientist currently working at the US National Treasury and was selected for the first Mars analog mission funded by NASA.

We have a great conversation about dreams, nanotechnology and living on Mars. Listen to find out why I apologize in advance to my friends named Debbie.

Please enjoy.

This interview was recorded on location in Salk Lake City, Utah in October 2017


Hollywood & Molecular Biology - Dr. Janet Iwasa

April 22, 2018

This episode features an interview with Dr. Iwasa from University of Utah School of Medicine. She specializes in data visualization using Hollywood and video game techniques to create animations of systems of molecules.

We recorded on location in a restaurant in Salt Lake City. We apologize for the sound quality.

Image Credit: TED


Ethnobotanist - Dr. Rosalyn LaPier

April 15, 2018

This episode features the first of our interviews from our annual SACNAS National Convention show. This conference is the largest gathering of scientists of color in the nation and we had the honor of interviewing keynote speakers.

Today's speaker is Dr. Rosalyn LaPier who is an award-winning writer studying the environmental and religious history of indigenous plants. The conversation veered from her background in physics, what are the stereotypes when it comes to indigenous scientists and ended with a great tip for all foodies.

Please enjoy.

This interview was recorded on location in Salk Lake City, Utah in October 2017


Sustainable Tiny Houses

April 1, 2018

This episode features work at WWU to create homes sustainably on a smaller scale. We talk with Dr. Imran Sheikh and Kellen Lynch from Project ZeNETH (Zero Net Energy Tiny House) about environmental science, who is really a "scientist" and the need/audience for tiny homes.  


This episode was co-produced and edited by WWU student Andra Nordin


Cassini Mission: Celebration of Life

March 25, 2018

Friday, September 15th, 2017, Spark Science and the Planetary Society held a public wake at the Shakedown in Bellingham, WA, to celebrate the life of the Cassini Mission -- a 19-year space mission to study Saturn and its many moons.


This episode features the eulogies read by Planetary Society’s Director of Space Policy Casey Dreier, NASA scientist Melissa Rice, Author George Dyson and music by Scary Monster and the Super Creeps.


Enjoy the ride.



Image credit: NASA

Check out pictures of the wake on our Instagram page @sparkscience & Twitter @sparksciencenow




Ken Liu: Talking Science & Fantasy

March 18, 2018

In this episode, we talk with award-winning author Ken Liu.  His short story, "The Paper Menagerie", recently read by Levar Burton, is the only story to win the Nebula, Hugo, and World Fantasy Awards.  We talk about how this moving tale has touched so many people and also learned more about how Liu’s work weaves science into wonderful storytelling.


We hope you enjoy this conversation as much as we enjoyed having it.  


Image Credit:
© Lisa Tang Liu


Geek Girl Con 2017

March 11, 2018

Attending Geek Girl Con is now a tradition for Spark Science.


This time we are featuring famed science communicator and creator of the DIY Zone (at Geek Girl Con) Dr. Raychelle Burks. We also had the pleasure of speaking with awesome astronomer Dr. Nicole Gugliucci (also known as twitter's @noiseyastronomer), the Bug Chicks, SciFi writer Astrid Amara and more.


We hope you enjoy listening to these amazing women.


Weir on Mars!

March 4, 2018

Welcome to Season 4! 


We hope you enjoy our first episode of the season featuring author of The Martian and Artemis, Andy Weir. 


We had a great conversation about space elevators, history, & character development.  The co-host for this show was environmental student and Spark Science blogger, Jonathan Flynn.


Thank you to Andy Weir, WWU Video Services and Village Books

Photo: Jonathan Willams - WWU