18.5-The (not so) secret histories of scientists

Science is all about experimentation, discover, and sharing those results. But what happens behind the scenes? What stories do scientists have to tell that don’t make it in the manuscript or the classroom lecture? Our next six-part miniseries, in collaboration for the AGU journals Perspectives of Earth and Space Scientists, explores geoscience education, continental rifts in Ethiopia, studying the oceans from Earth and space, our relationship with the sun, and landslides.

This episode was produced by Shane M Hanlon and Jace Steiner, and mixed by Collin Warren. Artwork by Karen Romano Young.


Shane Hanlon:              00:00                Hi, Vicky.

Vicky Thompson:           00:01                Hi, Shane.

Shane Hanlon:              00:03                So I think if you compiled all the times we’ve opened with me saying hi to you and anyone else, frankly, and sped it up a little bit, and added a baseline, you’d have a really solid house beat. People can’t see me bobbing my head right now, but it’s happening.

Vicky Thompson:           00:19                Oh yeah, you’re doing it. That’s good. Yeah. If any EDM Third Pod fanatics, stans, want to take up the task of making that for us. But Shane, you could probably do it yourself, right? You’re a musical guy.

Shane Hanlon:              00:35                Yeah, I mean, I’m a musical guy, but I’m more from the old school, traditional, non-electronic type deals. More guitars and bases and that things. Anyways.

Vicky Thompson:           00:47                Oh, okay. Well-

Shane Hanlon:              00:49                Yeah, maybe, but probably not.

Vicky Thompson:           00:51                Yeah. Well, I mean, you mentioned other times your high school emo punk band you were in.

Shane Hanlon:              00:58                I was in an emo band.

Vicky Thompson:           00:58                Yeah, emo, right?

Shane Hanlon:              01:03                Oh, man. I guess I wish you would’ve forgotten about that.

Vicky Thompson:           01:05                Well, I’m sure. So I did some Googling, actually, this morning of your storied past, and you do a really good job of not revealing enough details to allow me to stalk you accurately.

Shane Hanlon:              01:18                Oh.

Vicky Thompson:           01:19                Unfortunately, I found you had posted some pictures actually on an AGU website of your band, but that’s really as far as I got.

Shane Hanlon:              01:26                Oh.

Vicky Thompson:           01:26                You didn’t say the town. You didn’t mention any details that would let me get my fingers into it, but it’s on the internet. It’ll exist forever and I’ll find it. I’m going to keep looking,

Shane Hanlon:              01:39                Moving on. So speaking of publishing online.

Vicky Thompson:           01:44                Moving on.

Shane Hanlon:              01:46                So yeah. Our next mini series is actually centered around an AGU publication called Perspectives.

Vicky Thompson:           01:54                Oh, we’re coming home. I guess we spent too long out on the ice?

Shane Hanlon:              01:58                I see what you did there.

Vicky Thompson:           02:00                Ooh.

Shane Hanlon:              02:05                Science is fascinating. But don’t just take my word for it. Join us as we hear stories from scientists for everyone. I’m Shane Hanlon.

Vicky Thompson:           02:15                And I’m Vicky Thompson.

Shane Hanlon:              02:16                And this is Third Pod from the Sun.

Vicky Thompson:           02:21                So tell me a little bit about Perspectives.

Shane Hanlon:              02:24                Right. So Perspectives is short for Perspectives of Earth and Space Scientists. It’s an online, open apps external that gives AGU and advice scientists a space to talk about their work on a more personal level as opposed to the cut and dried research, more storytelling, getting kind of behind the scenes, that type of thing.

Vicky Thompson:           02:44                Oh, that sounds right up our alley.

Shane Hanlon:              02:46                Yeah. No, I’m really excited. I love a good story. I love crafting a good story. I love reading a good story. So this series, we’re going to hear stories about landslides, K through 12 education, ocean observation, heliophysics, more like physics-physics, and air pollution.

Shane Hanlon:              03:04                But the idea is that beyond the scientific topic that, admittedly, I just pigeonholed into oversimplification, so don’t… Anyone listening, don’t get mad at me for these very broad previews. We’re actually going to be talking to and learning about people and their stories, which I’m really looking forward to. So for this preview episode, we actually have the editor-in-chief of Perspectives, Michael Wysession, who is also our first interviewee of the series, and he’s going to tell us a little bit more.

Vicky Thompson:           03:37                Great. Let’s hear it.

Michael Wysessi…:        03:45                I’ve been an editor now for five journals with the AGU. I just love the process of publishing, and journalism in general, as well as journals.

Michael Wysessi…:        03:58                Currently, I am editor-in-chief of the journal Perspectives, and this is a little different than most other science journals where usually we discourage an authors personal voice in the articles that they write. Here, it’s a critical part of it. We want the scientists to tell their stories along with providing a message, a perspective on a particular science topic or field. And this is just a wonderful means of conveying information.

Michael Wysessi…:        04:35                And I guess for me, it really connects with me because a large part of my draw towards both my science education and being editor-in-chief of Perspectives is storytelling. We are, as humans, uniquely evolved to learn through storytelling. Go back 10,000 years and we’re sitting in caves somewhere. What are we doing? We’re sitting around a fire telling stories. We told our cultural stories for thousands of years orally before anything was ever written down. We’ve evolved to be able to learn this way very effectively.

Michael Wysessi…:        05:21                And this aspect of storytelling is critical to this journal, Perspectives where we’re interested in the science in sort of providing lessons for the geophysicists of the future, the earth and space scientists of future generations, by learning how fields started, how they evolved, but also the careers of the individuals, their personal struggles, their triumphs and failures. Because when you learn the scientific content through the framework of someone’s story, that personalization becomes very engaging and powerful and just a tremendous way to learn.

Shane Hanlon:              06:16                All right, all. Well, that’s all from Third Pod From The Sun.

Vicky Thompson:           06:20                You can find Perspectives online available to read on any device at agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com.

Shane Hanlon:              06:29                We can’t wait to share these next six stories with you. Special thanks to Collin Warren for audio engineering, and for all of our amazing producers on this series, Anupa Chandrasekaran, Katrina Jackson, Molly Magid, Devin Reese, Sara Whitlock, and Jace Steiner.

Vicky Thompson:           06:44                We’d love to hear your thoughts. Please rate and review the podcast and you can always find new episodes on your favorite podcasting app or at thirdpodfromthesun.com.

Shane Hanlon:              06:53                Thanks, all, and we’ll see you next week.

Shane Hanlon:              07:00                How’s your dog doing?

Vicky Thompson:           07:01                Barking upstairs. So it didn’t matter that I put myself on mute, but when right as you came on, I was screaming, “Isla,” at the top of my lungs.

Shane Hanlon:              07:14                See, that’s the thing. That’s when I got on and you looked like you were yelling at something.

Vicky Thompson:           07:19                Yeah.

Shane Hanlon:              07:19                I was like, “Oh, this is a great way to start the morning.”

Vicky Thompson:           07:22                Yeah, but I had muted myself in more than one way, so…

Shane Hanlon:              07:26                Fair enough. Oh man. Okay, so this will be-

Vicky Thompson:           07:30                Can you hear her?

Shane Hanlon:              07:32                I can.

Vicky Thompson:           07:33                I’m going to go put her out in the yard.

Shane Hanlon:              07:35                Okay, that’s fine.

Vicky Thompson:           07:36                Give me two seconds.

Shane Hanlon:              07:37                I will. I’ll just stare at your background.

Vicky Thompson:           07:40                Isla!


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