In Situ Science
FLASHBACK EPISODE with Dr Karl

FLASHBACK EPISODE with Dr Karl

February 18, 2020

For the next few episodes In Situ Science will be revisiting some old classics while James takes a break from podcasting to tackle a very important job :-)

First off the rank is Episode 47 with the one and only Dr Karl Kruszelnicki. Dr Karl is perhaps Australia’s most prolific and well known science communicator. He has written over 43 books, and has appeared regularly on national radio for over 30 years. In an interview with In Situ Science we chat about the immense amount of research and hard work that goes in to building up Dr Karl’s broad  range of expertise.

Vist Dr Karl’s website at www.drkarl.com and follow him on Twitter @doctorkarl

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Music: ‘Strange Stuff’ by Sonic Wallpaper – www.sonicwallpaper.bandcamp.com

Ep 94. Painkillers, opioids and addiction with Adam Hamlin

Ep 94. Painkillers, opioids and addiction with Adam Hamlin

February 3, 2020

Adam Hamlin is a neuroscientist at the University of New England who studies how drugs, such as painkillers, affect brain neurochemistry. These chemicals can have wonderful affects and are miracles of modern medicine, however if used improperly can lead to dependencies and addictions.

In this interview with Dr Hamlin we talk about how these painkillers work and what make them such effective and potentially dangerous substances. We also chat about what makes lab rats such effective models for medical research, why scepticism is beautiful, and what antidepressants might have to do with our gutmicrobiomes.

Follow Adam Hamlin on twitter @honestscientist

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Music: ‘Strange Stuff’ by Sonic Wallpaper - www.sonicwallpaper.bandcamp.com

Ep 93. Cannabis, legalisation and pill testing with Samuel Banister

Ep 93. Cannabis, legalisation and pill testing with Samuel Banister

January 20, 2020

SPECIAL GUEST: Samuel Banister (USyd)

The cannabis plant is useful for everything from textiles to medicine, however our ability to use these plants has been hampered by its association with illegal drugs. People are beginning to make very big claims about the use of cannabinoids to treat almost every ailment under the sun, however the evidence still just isn’t there. Samuel Banister is a medicinal chemist at the Lambert Initiative at the University of Sydney that studies how drugs affect our brains and bodies in both good and bad ways. He studies how the chemicals found in cannabis might be used to treat conditions such as epilepsy and certain cancers.

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Sam also studies how illicit drugs affect the brain and the chemical pathways behind their effects. In this interview with In Situ Science we chat about the benefits of voluntary pill testing, and whether the prohibition of drugs can cause more harm than good. We also talk about the challenges of understanding the effects of recreational drugs with new drugs constantly being developed and finding their way out into the streets.  

Follow Sam on Twitter @samuel_b_phd or find out more about the Lambert Initiative here

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Music: ‘Strange Stuff’ by Sonic Wallpaper - www.sonicwallpaper.bandcamp.com

Ep 92. Bird brains, documentaries and serial killers with Lucy Farrow

Ep 92. Bird brains, documentaries and serial killers with Lucy Farrow

January 6, 2020

SPECIAL GUEST: Lucy Farrow (UNE)

Humans have the biggest brains of any animals… well, kind of… only if we correct for body size… which is important… we think. Understanding animal intelligence is difficult, especially when brains are so complex that our own brains might be incapable of understanding themselves. When it comes to animals, brain size has been a primary indicator of intelligence, however showing that having bigger brains leads to greater intelligence is harder than it sounds. You can’t exactly ask a sloth to fill out a survey, or ask an octopus sit an IQ test. 

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Lucy Farrow is a PhD student at the University of New England that studies cognition in one of Australia’s most notorious birds, the noisey miner. Their complex societies and behaviour make them incredibly successful urban invaders. Before becoming a research scientist she spent time working with National Geographic working filming documentaries throughout South Africa.

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Music: ‘Strange Stuff’ by Sonic Wallpaper - www.sonicwallpaper.bandcamp.com

 

Ep 91. Forensics, photography and the CSI effect with Glenn Porter

Ep 91. Forensics, photography and the CSI effect with Glenn Porter

December 22, 2019

SPECIAL GUEST: Glenn Porter (UNE)

The science of forensics has popularised by the success of TV crime shows, but the reality of how criminal investigations occur, and the science behind evidence gathering is often nowhere near as glamorous as these shows imply. While we may not be able to work the magic they show on TV, new technologies   are aiding forensic scientists in more effectively gathering and presenting evidence. With advances in imaging technology and the ubiquity of digital cameras in society, forensic imaging is a continuously growing field and faces new challenges surrounding the management and privacy of enormous amounts of image data.

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Glenn Porter is the head of the Centre for Rural Criminology at the University of New England and specialises in how optics and photographic techniques can be used gather and present evidence in criminal investigations. Glenn began his career as a creative photographer and, after finding a job as a forensic photographer, found his career taking a new and exciting direction towards forensic science research. In this interview with In Situ Science we talk about how forensic science can play a role in the complex and collaborative field of crime detection, investigation and prevention.

 

Find out more about the Centre for Rural Criminology here.

 

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Music: ‘Strange Stuff’ by Sonic Wallpaper - www.sonicwallpaper.bandcamp.com

Ep 90. Beards, phobias and implicit biases with Belinda Craig

Ep 90. Beards, phobias and implicit biases with Belinda Craig

December 8, 2019

SPECIAL GUEST: Belinda Craig (UNE) 

How well can we read other people’s faces? And how good are we at faking our own emotional responses? Turns out not to great. In the absence of other contextual cues people are not very good at reading peoples facial expressions. Add to that the fact that cultural differences can have a huge impact on what emotions are expressed and how. As humans we are inherently biased towards favourably reading the expressions of people within our own groups. Even things like facial hair can affect how emotions are perceived.

Belinda Craig is ‘not that kind of psychologist’ from the University of New England. She studies how the social groups we belong to affect how we perceive emotions. In this chat with In Situ Science we chat to Belinda about fluctuating fashion trends in the world of beards, spider phobias and why we have them, and why you shouldn’t fall asleep in an FMRI machine. 

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Music: ‘Strange Stuff’ by Sonic Wallpaper - www.sonicwallpaper.bandcamp.com

Ep 89. Tiny gardeners and environmental educators with Matthew McKenzie

Ep 89. Tiny gardeners and environmental educators with Matthew McKenzie

November 25, 2019

SPECIAL GUEST: Matthew McKenzie (Thalgarrah EEC)

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Matthew McKenzie is the principal and head teacher of a public school with a difference. Thalgarrah Environmental Education Centre is located in the woodlands outside of Armidale in regional NSW. It is part of a network of environmental and zoo education centres across NSW that provide other schools with a base for excursions, camps and experiences focussed on using nature as a learning and teaching resource.

In this interview with In Situ Science Matt talks about the importance of connecting with nature in the classroom and how school students have the opportunity to not just learn about science, but be scientists by taking part in real-world science experiments. We chat about the Tiny Gardeners Project, an upcoming citizen science project where school groups across Australia can participate and learn about how ants are Australia’s ‘tiny gardeners’ planting tree seeds across our vast country.

Find out more about the Tiny Gardeners Project here, and about the Thalgarrah Environmental Education Centre here.

 

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Music: ‘Strange Stuff’ by Sonic Wallpaper - www.sonicwallpaper.bandcamp.com

Ep 88. Video games, dentistry and ageing basketballers with Michael Kasumovic

Ep 88. Video games, dentistry and ageing basketballers with Michael Kasumovic

November 10, 2019

SPECIAL GUEST: Michael Kasumovic (UNSW)

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After a brief stint trying to become a dentist, Michael Kasumovic found his true calling studying the ecology and evolution of spiders. That was until he found another calling studying everything else from performance in professional athletes, how income can affect facial preferences, and how sex and social status can influence people’s behaviour in online videogames. Not content with simply being a prolific research scientist Mike decided to start his own educational company developing apps that can be used to teach scientific concepts and principles in the classroom.

Arludo was developed to provide school teachers with tools to engage students with active and exploratory challenges that helps them develop problem solving and collaboration skills. Teachers can join in on YouTube live sessions to see Arludo in action or try out there freely available apps.

Follow Michael on Twitter @mkasumovic, visit his website, or check out the Arludo website to find out more about their educational apps for the classroom

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Music: ‘Strange Stuff’ by Sonic Wallpaper - www.sonicwallpaper.bandcamp.com

Ep 87. Communication, education and science speed dating with Isabelle Kingsley

Ep 87. Communication, education and science speed dating with Isabelle Kingsley

October 27, 2019

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SPECIAL GUEST: Isabelle Kingsley (UNSW)

From school teacher, to science communicator, to events producer, and now researcher, Isabelle Kingsley has spent her career spanning widely different areas of science education and outreach. She founded the Sydney Science Festival in 2015 which has grown into an annual festival attended by over 80,000 people. While she was running the Sydney Science Festival she began to wonder what sort of educational impact public science events actually have.

This inspired her to undertake her PhD at the University of New South Wales where she is developing methods to quantify what people actually learn from public science events. Despite the proliferation of science communication and outreach across the world we actually don’t know how effective these initiatives are at increasing science literacy and comprehension. Isabelle’s work will help improve the efforts of science communicators and educators and help make science engagement more effective into the future.

Visit Isabelle’s website to find out more or follow her research and outreach journey on Twitter and Instagram @isabellekingsley

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Music: ‘Strange Stuff’ by Sonic Wallpaper - www.sonicwallpaper.bandcamp.com

Ep 86. Science puns and stand-up comedy with Benji Kessler

Ep 86. Science puns and stand-up comedy with Benji Kessler

October 13, 2019

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SPECIAL GUEST: Benji Kessler (UC)

Benji Kessler is a man of many talents, he studies the behaviour of spiders, teaches mathematics to school kids, does stand-up comedy and looks great in a Spider-Man costume. Benji is currently visiting Australia from the USA where he is doing his PhD at the University of California. He was nice enough to sit down for a chat to talk about how a severe arachnophobe managed to forge a career in science studying the visual and vibratory signalling behaviours of spiders.

In this interview we talk about how a life spent doing both science and comedy can interact and how sometimes you’re not sure which one you are doing. We discuss whether you can be a stupid scientist, whether you HAVE to be stupid to be a scientist, and how far can you push the limits with putting puns in your research paper titles. At In Situ Science we strongly believe that great discoveries come from the amazing and unique individuals that do research, and Benji Kessler is the perfect example. His sheer passion and joy for what he does makes him a great scientist and one hell of a podcast guest.

Search for Benji Kessler on YouTube to see some of his stand-up comedy or follow him on twitter @BenjiKessler

 

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Music: ‘Strange Stuff’ by Sonic Wallpaper - www.sonicwallpaper.bandcamp.com