29-Fire: Lighting the skies with fireflies

Did you ever wonder how random flashes of fireflies gradually acquire synchrony? Studies have shown that  this surreal coordination of twinkling occurs through a natural cadence among certain species of fireflies during the mating season.

Read More

Halloween special: Nessie & the kraken

We’ve all heard stories about fantastical creatures that people swear they’ve seen and have evidence of but can never be confirmed. Think Bigfoot or the Loch Ness monster. Mermaids or the Kraken. While there’s no evidence backing the existence of these creatures, either in present day or at any point in the past, there must…

Read More

24.5-A podcast of fire and ice

As the leaves change and temperatures cool, head inside, fire up your headphones, and get ready for hot-podcast fall as share stories about, well, fire. Join us over the next six weeks to hear stories about wildfires, volcanoes, fire in space, and on other planets, indigenous fire knowledge, and…fireflies!

Read More

22-Storied careers: Ocean sensors and dog scenters

Tommy Dickey is an emeritus oceanographer from U.C. Santa Barbara and Naval Operations Chair in Ocean Sciences. His modeling and observational research yielded ocean monitoring technologies and tools. For retirement, Tommy trains and deploys Great Pyrenees as therapy dogs, while studying scent dogs’ capacity to detect COVID-19.

Read More

21-Storied careers: Scouring seas from the skies

This episode is about how satellite technology is being used to study a big chunk of the earth’s surface. Seventy percent of the earth comprises water but we know very little about it. Color sensors aboard some satellites can actually reveal a lot about phytoplankton or microalgae blooms that are linked to ocean temperatures. These tiny organisms contribute to half the photosynthesis on the planet.

Read More

16-Ice: Shells of an ice-less past

Brian Huber is a climate detective at the Smithsonian who grew up collecting arrowheads in the woods of Ohio, but now collects and studies fossils from sediment cores. Brian uses fossils of tiny organisms − foraminifera − to track climate over millions of years, including the Cretaceous Hot Greenhouse climate.

Read More

11-Extinctions: Oddballs of the Triassic

Hans Sues is a fossil guy at the Smithsonian. Born in Germany, he has been all over the world finding and interpreting fossils for more than 40 years. His focus is on vertebrates – both in his professional work and his personal attachment to cats.

Read More

9-Extinctions: Not your science fair volcano

For many of us, the word “extinctions” conjures up images of dinosaurs, asteroids, and (maybe?) volcanos. And while that last point did likely play a role in the demise of the dinosaurs, volcanos in their own right can go extinct. In this episode, we chatted with volcanologist Janine Krippner, Honorary Research Associate at the University of…

Read More