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Ask a Scientist

Ask a Scientist

By Victoria Crystal
Have you ever wanted to meet a scientist? Do you want to know more about the people behind all the science news that’s out there? Well now you can! In this podcast, I’ll sit down with a different scientist each episode and ask them all of your questions and questions written by students at elementary and middle schools throughout the country!
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Currently playing episode

Lisa Stein - Antibiotic Resistance

Ask a Scientist

Lisa Stein - Antibiotic Resistance

Ask a Scientist

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Alyssa DeRubeis - Birds
Have you ever wanted to know more about birds? In this episode, Alyssa DeRubeis talks about her Master's research at the University of Arkansas studying grassland birds in North America. She talks to us all about birds and what we can do to help birds. She answers all of your questions about birds, including "why do some birds fly south in the winter, while others don't?" "how is climate change affecting birds?" and "do all birds lay eggs?" She even gives some great advice about bird feeders and demonstrates some bird calls!  Bobwhite quail -  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_bobwhite California condor - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_condor Giant ibis - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giant_ibis Henslow’s sparrow - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henslow%27s_sparrow Grasshopper sparrows - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grasshopper_sparrow LaCante sparrows - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LeConte%27s_sparrow Red-winged blackbird - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red-winged_blackbird Bobolink - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bobolink Eastern meadowlark - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_meadowlark Eastern bluebird - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_bluebird American kestrel - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_kestrel Painted bunting - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Painted_bunting Scissor-tailed flycatcher - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scissor-tailed_flycatcher Snowy owl - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snowy_owl Great gray owl - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_grey_owl Jabiru stork - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jabiru Dicksissel - https://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dickcissel Hoatzin - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hoatzin American redstart - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_redstart Inaccessible island rail - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inaccessible_Island_rail Bearded vulture - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bearded_vulture Hook-billed kite - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hook-billed_kite Golden eagle - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_eagle Canada jay - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canada_jay Cliff swallow - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cliff_swallow Warbler - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warbler www.ebird.org
59:44
October 20, 2020
Dr. Jeff Coughlin - Life on Other Planets
Do you ever wonder if there is life on other planets? Do you love Sci Fi movies about extra terrestrials? In this episode, Dr. Jeff Coughlin, of the SETI Institute and Kepler Mission at NASA, talks to us about exoplanets and the search for life on other planets. He will answer all of your questions about exoplanets, including, "what is an exoplanet? Where is the closest exoplanet?" and of course the important question "how do you look for life on other planets?" So grab your telescopes and get ready to explore outer space! 
41:23
October 13, 2020
Susann Rossbach - Giant Clams
Have you ever wanted to know more about life in the ocean? In this episode, Susann Rossbach, PhD candidate in Marine Science at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, will talk to us about life underwater, specifically giant clams!! She will answer all of your questions about these wonderful invertebrates, like how big do they get, what do they eat, and how are the being affected by climate change. So grab your scuba gear and get ready for an underwater adventure into the world of giant clams!  Ocean Sunfish: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ocean_sunfish 
32:17
October 6, 2020
Brooke McWherter - Social Science
What is social science? Brooke McWherter, PhD student at Purdue University, talks to us all about being a social scientist. She is a natural resource social scientist, so she studies people’s thoughts and behaviors around natural resource management and conservation. she answers all of your questions about what it's like to work with people and study the ways that people think and feel about the natural world!  Red-fronted macaw https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red-fronted_macaw 
35:54
September 29, 2020
Lisa Stein - Antibiotic Resistance
Have you ever wanted to know more about antibiotic resistance? In this episode, Lisa Stein, a master's student at the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa. She answers all of your questions including "what does antibiotic resistance mean?" "how to bacteria become resistant to antibiotic medicines?" and "how can you protect yourself from resistant bacteria?" 
34:53
September 22, 2020
Dr. Kelly Ronald - Bird Communication
Have you ever wanted to know how birds communicate with each other? Dr. Kelly Ronald, professor of biology at Hope College, talks to us all about bird communication! Why do birds sing early in the morning? How many noises can birds make? Why are birds so many different colors? Why are some birds bright colors and others aren't? She answers all these questions and more!  Link to lyrebird sounds https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VjE0Kdfos4Y Dr. Ronald’s website https://www.kellylronald.com/
50:19
September 15, 2020
Ben Chiewphasa - Library and Information Sciences
Have you ever wanted to know more about how libraries work? In this episode, Ben Chiewphasa, Government Information Librarian and Assistant Professor at the University of Montana, talks to us all about library and information sciences! Information is all around us: When you turn on the TV, read a news article, watch a YouTube video, and a lot more! Ben will answer all your questions about how information gets created, collected, organized, preserved, and distributed! He will even talk about fake news, how to identify it, and how to avoid it! So turn off your tvs, close your Google searches, and get ready to hear all about the world of information from a librarian and information scientist!  
52:53
September 8, 2020
Dr. Jen Bauer - Invertebrate Paleontology
Have you ever wanted to know more about animals without backbones (invertebrates)? In this episode, Dr. Jen Bauer, Collections Manager at the University of Michigan Museum of Paleontology, talks to us all about invertebrates and the 2 million fossils in the museum that she manages! She tells us all about sea urchins, sea stars, and what its like to work with 2 million fossils! She describes ancient invertebrates and how she studies family trees going back hundreds of millions of years!  Here are links to things we've mentioned throughout the episode: University of Michigan’s online fossil repository https://umorf.ummp.lsa.umich.edu/wp/ Dr. Bauer’s website Time Scavengers https://timescavengers.blog/ Venomous sea urchins -  https://www.liveabout.com/are-sea-urchin-spines-venomous-2962963 Sea star stomach: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2DFXGafpGkQ Fossil Focus: Blastoids  https://www.palaeontologyonline.com/articles/2018/fossil-focus-blastoids/ For listeners to explore other fossil types:  https://www.digitalatlasofancientlife.org/vc/ Heart urchin: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heteraster#/media/File:Heteraster_oblongus.jpg Devonian sea star: http://michiganbasinfossils.org/viewrecord/8 Cryptoschisma: https://www.steinkern.de/steinkern-de-galerie/spanien/blastoidea-cryptoschisma-schultzii-de-verneuil-d-archiac-1845-12855.html 
39:57
September 1, 2020
Dr. Michael Kirk - The Sun
Have you ever wanted to know more about the sun? In this episode, Dr. Michael Kirk, research scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center with Astra, talks to us all about the sun! Why is the sun so bright? Why is it bad to look at the sun? Why does the sun set at different times all throughout the year? What's it like to work for NASA? Dr. Kirk will answer all those questions and more!!  Links:  Sun-grazing comets: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A1yH_DuC88M Helioviewer: https://www.helioviewer.org/
55:06
August 25, 2020
David and Will from The Common Descent Podcast - Paleontology
Have you ever wanted to know more about snakes and alligators? In this extra special episode, the paleontologists of the Common Descent Podcast talk to us about all things paleontology! David tells us all about snakes. Will talks to us all about alligators and crocodiles. And they both talk to us about finding fossils, analyzing fossils, and hosting a podcast! So grab your paleontology hats and get ready to learn about reptiles and paleontology!! And check out the Common Descent Podcast at https://commondescentpodcast.wordpress.com/
1:10:15
August 18, 2020
Dr. Sarah Gaughan - Conservation Genetics
Have you ever wanted to know more about genetics and how we can use genetics to protect species on the landscape? In this episode, Dr. Sarah Gaughan from Bellevue University, talks to us all about genetics, fish, conservation, and how we can use genetics to help species living in changing environments stay on the landscape. She answers all your questions about fish, how they evolved, and how they are changing today and in the future. So grab your fishing pole and get ready to learn all about these amazing creatures swimming just below the surface! 
41:33
August 11, 2020
Dr. Joe Hughes - Space Weather
Have you ever wanted to know more about weather in space? In this episode, Dr. Joe Hughes, Research Scientist at Astra, talks to us all about the weather in space! He answers all of your questions about what makes space weather, and how things like solar flares affect conditions on Earth. He even teaches us how GPS works! Grab your telescopes, look out to the stars, and get ready to learn all about the things that happen just beyond Earth's atmosphere!  For a transcript of this episode and more information about some of the topics discussed, please visit https://askascientistpod.com/episode-transcripts/
42:06
August 4, 2020
Dr. Karen Chin - Dinosaur Dung
Have you ever wanted to know more about dinosaur poop? In this episode, Dr. Karen Chin, Curator of Paleontology and Associate Professor at the University of Colorado Boulder, talks to us all about dinosaur dung!! She answers all of your questions about fossilized dinosaur doo-doo (the scientific term is coprolites) and about dinosaur bathroom behavior! She talks to us about where dinosaurs pooped, how big dinosaur poop was, and even what dinosaur poop might have smelled like! We talk about dinosaur diet, digestion, and other things we can't learn from studying dinosaur bones alone. So grab your toilet paper and get ready for a fun, informative episode all about dinosaur droppings!  For a transcript of this episode and more information about some of the topics discussed, please visit https://askascientistpod.com/episode-transcripts/
36:15
July 28, 2020
Dr. Mikki McComb-Kobza - Sharks
Have you ever wanted to know more about sharks? In this episode, Dr. Mikki McComb-Kobza, Executive Director of Ocean First Institute,  talks to us about sharks! She tells us all about the world's oldest sharks, the biggest sharks, the smallest sharks, and what it's like to see a shark in person! We talk about why sharks are scared of orcas and how it is challenging to keep great white sharks in captivity. So grab your scuba gear and get ready to dive into the world of sharks!!  For a transcript of this episode and more information about some of the topics discussed, please visit https://askascientistpod.com/episode-transcripts/
38:21
July 21, 2020
Dr. Erin Baxter -- Archaeology
Have you ever wanted to know more about ancient humans who died a long time ago? In this episode, Dr. Erin Baxter, Curator of Anthropology at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, talks to us about what humans have done with their dead throughout history. She studies all of the wonderful burial practices of cultures around the world. In this episode, she talks to us about about mummies, skeletons, what we can learn from studying bones, and much, much more!  There is so much to be learned about humans and their history by studying human remains, so get ready to hear Dr. Baxter talk about some amazing experiences she's had studying humans all around the world.  For a transcript of this episode and more information about some of the topics discussed, please visit https://askascientistpod.com/episode-transcripts/
48:01
July 14, 2020
Roy Dornbrook - Cancer Research
Have you ever wanted to know more about scientist developing cures and treatments for cancer? In this episode, Roy Dornbrook, Associate Scientist at Verseau Therapeutics, talks to us about his research developing immune-based therapies for cancer. He answers your questions about cancer, new treatments being developed for it, what causes it, how long we've known about it, and even why it's called cancer! While cancer is a disease that affects many people, there are thousands of scientists all over the world trying to find treatments and cures for it, and Roy tells us all about it! 
37:02
July 7, 2020
Almost-Dr. Rebekah Stein - Earth History
Have you ever wanted to know what the Earth looked like many years ago? 50 million years ago? In this episode, Almost-Dr. Rebekah Stein, PhD candidate at the University of Michigan, will talk to us about Earth's history and what it was like 50 million years ago! She will answer all of your questions about what Earth used to look like, what the Rocky Mountain region used to look like, and how the Rocky Mountains are still changing today! Grab your hiking boots and get ready to hear all about the beautiful Rocky Mountains! 
23:07
June 30, 2020
Dr. Miquela Ingalls - Earth
Have you ever wanted to know more about the Earth? In this episode, Dr. Miquela Ingalls, Assistant Professor at Penn State University, will talk to us all about the Earth, its history, its environments, and its climate! She will answer all your questions about Earth’s oceans, continents, atmosphere, and how they have changed through the 4.6 billion year history of the Earth!! She's studied the Earth all over the world, from lakes in Mexico to the  peaks in the Himalaya and she talks to us all about these amazing places! 
30:25
June 23, 2020
Hillary Cepress-McLean - Dinosaurs
Have you ever wanted to know more about dinosaurs? In this episode, Hillary Cepress-McLean, Fossil Lab Manager at the Perot Museum, talks to us about all things dinosaurs! She will answer your questions about the most crazy-looking dinosaurs, the smallest dinosaurs, the largest dinosaurs, and what it's like to put dinosaur skeletons back together at a museum!  Here are some links to more information about some of the dinosaurs that Hillary mentions in this episode:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bajadasaurus https://www.britannica.com/animal/therizinosaur https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spinosaurus https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diabloceratops
55:10
June 16, 2020
Dr. Chris Link - Alzheimer's Research
Have you ever wanted to know more about Alzheimer's disease? In this episode, Dr. Chris Link, Associate Professor at the University of Colorado Boulder, talks to us about his research working to understand brain diseases like Alzheimer's. He answers questions about developments that have been made in the field of Alzheimer's research and discusses how worms and mice are used to better understand Alzheimer's. 
42:32
June 9, 2020
Dr. Paula Cushing - Spiders
Have you ever wanted to know more about spiders? In this episode Dr. Paula Cushing, curator of Invertebrate Zoology at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, talks to us all about spiders and their kin. What kinds of spiders do we find in our homes? Are any of them venomous? How big do spiders get? And what is the spider's place in the ecosystem? Dr. Cushing will answer all these questions and more! Get ready to learn about the 8-legged fuzzy friends we sometimes find in our houses! 
55:52
June 2, 2020
Dr. Emily Fairfax - Beavers
Have you ever wanted to learn more about beavers? In this episode, Dr. Emily Fairfax, Assistant Professor at California State University Channel Islands, talks to us about beavers and how they interact with the ecosystem around them. How do they create and protect wetlands? How long does it take them to chew through a tree? And why were beavers ever thrown from airplanes in boxes attached to parachutes??   She made a short (45 second) stop motion video using felt and a toy beaver that shows how beavers change the land - you can watch it here: https://youtu.be/IAM94B73bzE
55:19
May 26, 2020
Dr. Tanya Harrison - Mars
Have you ever wanted to know more about Mars? In this episode, Dr. Tanya Harrison, the Manager of Science Programs at Planet Labs, talks to us about everything Mars, from the rocks at the surface of Mars to Mars rovers. She'll even talk about Marsquakes! Get ready to blast off to Mars! 
35:51
May 19, 2020
Dr. Adrian Carper - Bees
Have you ever wanted to know more about bees? Or how humans are affecting bees and their habitats? In this episode, Dr. Adrian Carper, Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Colorado Boulder, will talk to us about bees, honey, pollination, and what we can do to help prevent bee extinction. And he will even tell us all about the murder hornets and what it means that they have been spotted in North America! 
51:35
May 12, 2020
Almost-Dr. Abby Hughes - Ice Cores
Have you ever wanted to know more about ice cores? Or about what the climate was like in the past? In this episode Almost-Dr. Abby Hughes, who is finishing her PhD at the University of Colorado, talks to us about 100,000 year old ice, Greenland, climates of the past and how the climate is changing today.  Grab your jackets because she's going to tell us about some cold temperatures! 
24:58
May 5, 2020
Dr. Sophia Tsang - Volcanic hazards
Have you ever wanted to know more about volcanoes or the damage a volcanic eruption can cause? In this episode, (almost) Dr. Sophia Tsang, who just finished her PhD at the University of Auckland, will talk to us about volcanic eruptions, volcanic hazards, and how she studies volcanoes by making lava in the laboratory! 
34:48
April 28, 2020
Dr. Diane Ehlers - the Human Brain and Exercise
Have you ever wanted to know more about the human brain? What about how exercise can help improve brain function? In this episode, Dr. Diane Ehlers, Assistant Professor at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, will talk to us about different types of exercise, brain function, and how exercise can help improve brain function in older adults and people with cancer. 
39:50
April 21, 2020
Dr. Rebecca Lai - Chemistry of Harry Potter
Have you ever wanted to know more about chemistry or the science behind the magic of the Harry Potter world? In this episode, Dr. Rebecca Lai, chemistry professor at the University of Nebraska Lincoln, will talk to us about what it's like to be a chemist and about how she uses Harry Potter to teach people about chemistry. What Harry Potter potions can chemists really make? Are invisibility cloaks real? Dr. Lai will answer these questions and more in this episode! 
40:15
April 7, 2020
Dr. Stacey Smith - Botany
Have you ever wanted to know more about some of your favorite fruits and veggies like tomatoes and potatoes? In this episode, Dr. Stacey Smith, professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado Boulder, will talk to us about tomatoes, potatoes, hummingbirds and more! 
40:07
March 24, 2020
Dr. Sharon Medcalf - Coronavirus
In this special episode of Ask a Scientist, Dr. Sharon Medcalf, director of the Center for Biosecurity, Biopreparedness, and Emerging Infectious Diseases at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, answers questions about the coronavirus that the listeners submitted over the last few days.
32:24
March 17, 2020
Dr. Ian Miller - Paleontology
Have you ever wondered what it's like to dig up dinosaur bones? Dr. Ian Miller, paleontologist at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, will answer that question and more for the debut episode of Ask A Scientist.
41:51
February 27, 2020