Spark Science
The Neuroscience of Cannabis

The Neuroscience of Cannabis

July 12, 2019

How does pot affect the brain? We love showcasing interesting research happening at Western Washington University and we get an answer to this question from a WWU neuroscientist who researches how cannabis affects the brain Dr. Josh Kaplan.

For more information on Dr. Kaplan’s work go to https://neurokaplan.com/

The Difficulties and Triumphs of Space Travel with Casey Dreier

The Difficulties and Triumphs of Space Travel with Casey Dreier

July 6, 2019

Are you fascinated by space travel? We are, and so is our guest, Planetary Society’s Chief Advocate, one of the featured experts on Nat Geo’s show MARS and podcast host on Planetary radio, Casey Dreier. This conversation covers the struggles involved in journeys past our atmosphere but also the collaborations created between nations as we strive towards a common goal, exploration.

 

If you want to learn more about the Planetary Society or  listen to more Casey Dreier visit http://www.planetary.org/about/staff/casey-dreier.html

 

A big thank you to Casey, a friend of the show and amazing man, for taking time in his busy life to talk about what he is passionate about.

 

Image credit: Planetary Society

Science, Music & Studies with Dr. SAMMUS

Science, Music & Studies with Dr. SAMMUS

June 28, 2019

Music is a science! Many of us see this connection. SAMMUS does. She is a rap artist, producer and at the time of this recording finishing her PhD in Science and Technology Studies at Cornell University. 

 

Together we dissect academia (those ivory towers), her path and the music industry. She is now Dr. Enongo Lumumba-Kasongo. We are big fans of everything she has accomplished and excited about everything she will accomplish in the future.

To find out more about SAMMUS visit https://sammusmusic.com/

Image credit: Zoolo Brown

The Beauty of Gravitational Waves with Corey Gray

The Beauty of Gravitational Waves with Corey Gray

June 14, 2019

Gravitational Waves are ripples in space, distortions in reality as we know it.

Learn more about this ground-breaking physics from Corey Gray, Lead Operator at the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) in Hanford, Washington in this episode.

Corey has been featured by NPR -- not only because he was there at the start of LIGO, but also because he is an amazing science communicator. Corey’s mother is also part of an effort to translate LIGO press releases into Blackfoot.

 

You can follow Corey’s adventures on Twitter @QuantumOfSalsa

A Golden Age of Discovery with Dr. Lauren Esposito

A Golden Age of Discovery with Dr. Lauren Esposito

June 7, 2019

Who wants to pet a scorpion? Our guest does. Dr. Lauren Esposito was a keynote speaker at the national SACNAS convention and spoke with us about how she is only one of a dozen scientists who study scorpions, what are some misconceptions about these creatures and also how she is a founding member of 500 Queer Scientists.

 

Special thanks to SACNAS & Dr. Lauren Esposito who was a delight to interview. She is hilarious.

 

Follow Dr. Esposito on twitter @ArachnologyNerd and @500QueerSci

 

Audio from Arachnophobia courtesy of Hollywood Pictures & Amblin Entertainment

Photo Credit: Kathy Keatley Garvey

The Father-Daughter Dance - Daughters take the lead

The Father-Daughter Dance - Daughters take the lead

May 31, 2019

How do you explain science to your family? How has science helped your health or relationships? We talk about this and gut microbes with the amazing Dr. Kat Milligan-Myhre at the SACNAS National Convention in San Antonio. We also had the pleasure of speaking with Minerva Contreras who was presenting her work in neuroscience at the convention and was also a speaker at a live taping of Story Collider.

 

Follow Dr. Kat, Minerva Contreras & SACNAS on twitter

@Napaaqtuk    @minicontreras     @sacnas

Check out Ed Yong’s “I Contain Multitudes” Youtube Channel to learn more about the world of microbes.

 

Image Credit:  Dr. Kat Milligan-Myhre

Talking Games & Chaos Theory at Geek Girl Con

Talking Games & Chaos Theory at Geek Girl Con

May 24, 2019

Science, games, comics, any part of geekdom - Are they strong parts of your identity? If so, you will love this show about the annual Seattle convention, Geek Girl Con. We had the pleasure of speaking with Dr. J. C. Lau about the mission of Geek Girl Con and video game development. We also met Dr. Adriana Ferez in the DIY Science Zone who shared the story of Chaos Theory with us.

 

Big Thank You to Geek Girl Conwho we invite every year to join in the fun.

 

Jurassic Park clip courtesy of Universal Pictures & Amblin Entertainment

 

To find out more about Dr. Lau and/or Geek Girl Con follow them on twitter.

@GeekGirlCon

@drjclau

Giant Pouched Rats & Decolonizing STEM with Dr. Danielle N. Lee

Giant Pouched Rats & Decolonizing STEM with Dr. Danielle N. Lee

May 17, 2019

Did you know rats in Tanzania are saving lives by detecting landmines and tuberculosis? Our guest Dr. Danielle N. Lee shares with us her work with giant pouched rats and her work on decolonizing STEM. This is our first interview at the 2018 GeekGirlCon.

 

Check out the rest of Dr. Lee’s TED talk featured in this episode by clicking on the link.

 

Twitter: @DNLee5 & @GeekGirlCon

Photo: Ryan Lash/TED

Seismology & Volcanology with Dr. Caplan-Auerbach

Seismology & Volcanology with Dr. Caplan-Auerbach

May 10, 2019

What is the most common or dangerous geologic hazard in your region? Can you name the nearest Volcano to Bellingham, WA? We enlist the help of WWU’s own Dr. Jackie Caplan-Auerbach and students on campus to answers these questions. We also talk about Dr. Caplan-Auerbach’s research on underwater volcanoes which involved the recent eruptions in Hawaii. Don’t worry, we still bring up some pop culture, which includes commentary on the 1997 movie Dante’s Peak).

 

Photo of Shishaldin Volcano by Pete Stelling

An interview with Engineer & WWU President, Sabah Randhawa

An interview with Engineer & WWU President, Sabah Randhawa

July 29, 2018

What is it like to be entrusted with running a university while being originally trained as an engineer? Check out our 4th Season Finale where we interview WWU President Sabah Randhawa.

 

We discuss science's origins related to the leisure class, parking optimization and how training in science, technology, engineering or math can lead to problem-solving in other parts of life.

 

Video of this interview coming soon but in the meantime, check out this wonderful clip, referred to in our interview, of President Randhawa explaining cricket.