Science Communication Compilation #1

July 17, 2017

Today’s episode is a collection of student podcasts from a Science Communication course at Western Washington University.  This is the first in a two-part series.  Course professors were Mars Planetary Geophysicist Dr. Melissa Rice & Spark Science host, Astrophysicist Dr. Regina Barber DeGraaff.


The show features students Derek Thedell, Zac Laycock, Andra Nordin, and Megan McAndie.  Topics range from science education to research on binary stars to the societal impacts of stepping foot on Mars.


Image/Logo courtesy of Wendy Aguilar


Spacecraft Chronicles: Dust Devils

July 9, 2017

Have you seen a dust devil before?  Have you wondered if they exist on Mars?  Listen to our mini podcast about how dust devils were seen on Mars and how they helped our rovers.

To learn more about the events discussed, click here.

Special thanks to Kjartan Kinch, Nicole Schmitz and resources from KMRE – Spark Radio & Western Washington University

Image Courtesy of NASA


Trappist-1 & Exoplanets

July 2, 2017

Dr. Melissa Rice, Mars Rover specialist and friend of the show, is back!  Dr. Rice and Dr. Jim Davenport talk with us about planets, the habitable zone and what is so important about the Trappist-1 system.  

Please enjoy this show where we speculate about planets outside our solar system (exoplanets) and compare them to the amazing moons that orbit Saturn and Jupiter.

Image Courtesy of NASA


Quantum Computers

June 25, 2017

Our 50th episode (including Spacecraft Chronicles) is about Quantum Computers.  Our guest is Dr. Nima Dinyari from University of Oregon. 

Dr. Dinyari, Jordan and Regina have a great time talking Q-bits, Schrodinger's cat and Quantum leaps.  We try our best to explain this complex subject and break it down for non-physicists.


Special thanks to Kurzgesagt for the image and awesome video.


Magical Girls & Marissa Meyer

June 18, 2017

In this episode we interview the panelists from PuliCon 2017, a one day comic convention in Puyallup WA.  First we talk to Majokko Misu and Merri Christianson (Fake Geek Girls) about the geek subgenre, Magical Girls.  


We then interview the keynote panelist Marissa Meyer, best-selling author of The Lunar Chronicles.  The conversation covers fairy tales, feminism and sci-fi.


Enjoy these fun conversations about the various ways to be a geek girl.


Special thanks to co-host Bonnie Svitavsky, Leila Jacobs and our guests.


Crossover w/ Perfectly Acceptable Podcast: Comics & Gene Luen Yang

May 28, 2017

We hope you enjoy our first ever crossover podcast with the guys from the Perfectly Acceptable Podcast.  We met at their studio in The Comics Place to discuss the works of Gene Luen Yang.  We review the amazing Secret Coders books and current issues of New Super-man.  Jeff, Django and I had nothing but praise for the writing of Gene Luen Yang. 


In between our banter, we discuss clips from my interview with Yang at Emerald City Comic Con in March 2017.  We talk democracy, computer science, the MacArthur Genius Grant, basketball and how Gene is the nicest guy in the world.


Thank you to Jeff and Django for the awesome conversation.  Special thanks to Gene Luen Yang for being one of the best guests and creating stunning stories.


Image Courtesy of DC Comics


Neuroscience: Huntington’s Disease

May 19, 2017

This episode features Western Washington University professor Dr. Jeff Carroll.  In this show we talk about Huntington’s Disease (HD) and is the third in our neuroscience series (one each season).

We tackle a very serious illness with a combination of reverence and humor.  Dr. Carroll takes us through the history of disease, his personal journey with the illness and his research on HD at WWU.

For more information check out HDBuzz


Image Courtesy of YourGenome


March for Science Bellingham

May 14, 2017

Today's episode features reporting on the March for Science by Spark Science correspondent Natalie Moore.  We were on location at a satellite march in Bellingham, WA.

While Dr. Barber DeGraaff was busy with march organizing, Natalie asked event speakers and participants why they were compelled to come out in full support for SCIENCE.

Listen to former astronaut Captain Wendy Lawrence speak on inconvenient truths and her hope for the future.  We include Dr. Melissa Rice, Mars Rover Scientist, mesmerize the crowd with a passionate and rallying speech on a defense of the scientific method.  Stay for the interviews of community members and physics students at the march.

Please enjoy the show.

Special Thanks to Natalie Moore for the reporting, editing and producing of this episode. 


Spacecraft Chronicles: Mars 2020

May 7, 2017

Are you excited about the next mission to Mars?  Before we send humans to the Red Planet, another rover will travel to explore Mars like its robotic siblings.  We talk to scientists and engineers on the NASA team and ask "what are they are most excited when it comes to Mars 2020?"

Special thanks to Gerhard Parr, Kristin Paris, Nicole Schmitz, Jacob Adler, Sheridan Ackis, and resources from KMRE - Spark Radio & Western Washington University

Image Courtesy of NASA


Inclusive Science: Ideas & Academia - Part 2

April 23, 2017

In this episode we travel back to the SACNAS National Convention.  SACNAS stands for the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science and is the largest STEM society dedicated to racial and ethnic inclusion.


This year we speak to many scientists about new ideas in their field and our place in academia.  Enjoy these amazing stories of struggle and support.


Part 2 guests: Randall Acosta (JPL Engineer), Julio D'Arcy (UCLA Chemistry Prof) & Corey Welch (Director, STEM Scholars at Iowa State University)


Special thanks to our guests & SACNAS

Image Courtesy of SACNAS