Spark Science
Speculative Fiction

Speculative Fiction

July 28, 2021

Do you like Sci-Fi and Fantasy? Then you like Speculative Fiction and so do we.

 

Dr. Lysa Rivera joins us again, after being one of Spark Science’s first guests, to talk about the history of Black and Brown voices in this genre and to also share some great recommendations, beyond Octavia Butler. However we of course talk about her too. 

At WWU, Dr. Rivera specializes in Chicano/a/x and African American literature and has an extremely popular class focused on this field. She also currently serves on the editorial board for Femspec, an interdisciplinary and peer-reviewed journal devoted to the study of speculative fiction within feminist contexts.

Misinformation

Misinformation

May 18, 2021

Why do people believe false stories on social media? Who is most susceptible to misinformation or to the more malicious version, disinformation?

 

In this episode, we speak with Ph.D. candidate in Cognitive Psychology at Northwestern Nikita Salovich. Her research on how “fake news” grows and how we can slow or stop the spread.

 

Spark Science encourages our listeners to get vaccinated and to use the information in this episode to have discussions with hesitant family and friends to get vaccinated as well. Another great resource is the Debunking Handbook.

mRNA Vaccines

mRNA Vaccines

April 29, 2021

“Which one did you get, Pfizer or Moderna?” This was the big question at the start of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout but how do these vaccines work? Why do they have to be kept at ultracold temperatures? What is mRNA?

 

These questions are answers in this episode featuring WWU Biology professor and RNA researcher, Dr. Suzanne Lee.

Lastly, if you haven’t already, Spark Science would like to encourage you to get any COVID-19 Vaccine available, mRNA or not.

COVID-19 Follow-up with Dr. Vijai Bhola

COVID-19 Follow-up with Dr. Vijai Bhola

April 13, 2021

It has been a year since we have talked with Infectious Disease Specialist, Dr. Vijai Bhola. He is now our go-to regular medical doctor to answer our questions about the pandemic one year in.

 

We discuss the various vaccines, the socioeconomic impact of the pandemic on different populations, and predictions for the future.

 

One takeaway that Dr. Bhola would like to convey is to “not let your guard down”. We are not out of this pandemic yet so keep those masks on and those interactions outside your home circle limited. Check out https://www.cdc.gov/

 

Image credit: CDC/ Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAM

Perseverance and the Martian Clock

Perseverance and the Martian Clock

March 31, 2021

What is “Mars Time”? Are you excited about machines flying on another planet? Or Martian rock coming back to Earth?

 

If you are curious about spacecraft on the Red Planet then check out our Season 7 Premiere featuring one of the best communicators in town, NASA Scientist and Western Washington University Geophysicist, Dr. Melissa Rice.

 

We reference her Op-Ed “A Wright Brothers moment on Mars will expand our cosmic perspective” published in the Seattle Times in this episode. You can check it out here. https://www.seattletimes.com/opinion/a-wright-brothers-moment-on-mars-will-expand-our-cosmic-perspective/

 

Image credit: NASA -- Artist rendition of the helicopter Ingenuity flying next to the Perseverance Rover.

Conservation in Zambia

Conservation in Zambia

August 22, 2020

For our Season 6 Finale, we speak with conservationist, storyteller, filmmaker and fellow pop culture enthusiast, Luwi Nguluka. She shares her path from medicine to wildlife activism. Luwi is the co-founder of "Women For Conservation", Zambia's first network for women working on wildlife initiatives and is involved in the “This is not Game” bushmeat campaign which tackles the illegal trade.

To learn more about Luwi’s work, check out her TEDx Talk titled What conservation can cook like for an African.

Nature Photography & The Philippines

Nature Photography & The Philippines

August 15, 2020

The old adage "A picture is worth a thousand words" explains how photography can create conservation stories accessible across cultures. Our guest for this episode uses beautiful images to help save wetlands around the world. Gab Mejia is a National Geographic Explorer, Nikon Ambassador for Asia, Jackson Wild Media Lab Fellow, and an engineering undergraduate student. Join us for a conversation about his path from hobbyist to international award-winning science communicator. 

 

Check out Gab Mejia's Instagram @gabmeija

Image credit: Gab Mejia

Location: Mindanao, Philippines

Student’s Stories S6- Part 3

Student’s Stories S6- Part 3

August 8, 2020

Backyard Botany & Birdsongs - In the first segment WWU student Liz Cunningham interviews a local expert about how a love for gardening can help science spread. The second segment shares how bird and whale song expert Dr. John Bower became an ornithologist at Fairhaven College.

Sharing Science Part 2: Trust w/ Dr. Maktoufi

Sharing Science Part 2: Trust w/ Dr. Maktoufi

August 1, 2020

What makes people accept scientific information? This episode is part 2 of our short Sharing Science series where we talk to researchers who study how science is communicated.

Our guest is Dr. Reyhaneh Maktoufi a Civic Science Fellow at NOVA and a producer for Story Collider. She is also an artist who uses comics to emphasize the importance of trust and encourage empathy in science communication.

Sharing Science Part 1: Humor w/ Dr. Yeo

Sharing Science Part 1: Humor w/ Dr. Yeo

July 25, 2020

How do we humans interact with scientific information? This episode is part 1 of our short Sharing Science series where we talk to researchers who study how science is communicated.

In this episode, our guest is Dr. Sara K. Yeo from the University of Utah. She specializes in Science and Risk communication and most recently has started to study how humor is used to share scientific information on social media.

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