Ep 32. Life Vs Science

September 17, 2017
00:0000:00

LIVE PODCAST RECORDING: SYDNEY SCIENCE FESTIVAL

Being a scientist is not just a profession, it is a way of life. It is the searing agony you feel when you find inaccuracies in science fiction movies. It is checking your pedometer hourly, not because you have to, but because you want to.

The Sydney Science Festival 2017 rocked on from the 10th to the 20th of August. During this time, In Situ Science hosted “Life vs Science” a live podcast recording at The Camelot Lounge in Sydney. A wonderful audience filled the air with laughter as they learnt about science ‘behind-the-scenes’ from Jim Fishwick, Shane Hengst, Leigh Nicholson, James O’Hanlon and Alice Williamson. 

This diverse panel of scientists delved into the types of research they are currently doing, early inspirations and pet peeves as scientists and closed the night with questions from the audience. Questions include science stereotypes, the biology of the leaf and how we should deal with climate change deniers. So, join us for the highlights of the night!

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Music: “Strange Stuff” by Sonic Wallpaper – www.sonicwallpaper.bandcamp.com

Mixed and Edited by Jim Fishwick

Ep 31. Giant spiders, motherhood and lazy journalism with Lizzy Lowe

September 5, 2017
00:0000:00

SPECIAL GUEST: LIZZY LOWE (MQ)

For some they are feared creatures, for others they are friendly backyard acquaintances. Spiders, for some reason, are divisive creatures that have been unfairly burdened with a terrible reputation for being deadly assassins. Arachnologist Dr Lizzy Lowe spends most of her time researching the ecology and behaviour of spiders, and when she isn’t doing that she is working hard to dispel myths about spiders in the eyes of the general public.

In this interview with In Situ Science we also discuss the reality of balancing a career in science with raising a family. As an early career scientist Lizzy has moved her family between three different cities in the last 18 months. Whilst the instability of this career path can be a a struggle, science is also a career that allows for great flexibility when caring for young children.

Visit Lizzy’s website here, or follow her on Twitter @LizyLowe

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

 

Ep 30. Monster girls, parasites and social media with Tommy Leung

August 20, 2017
00:0000:00

SPECIAL GUEST: DR TOMMY LEUNG (UNE)

James chats with king of outreach and parasite ‘otaku’ Dr Tommy Leung. Tommy is a prolific researcher, communicator, artist and philosopher. When he is not researching the ecology and evolution of parasites he is exploring creative dimensions with Illustration and engaging with scientists and artists through his online persona.

We discuss how scientists are much more creative than they are given credit for and how Tommy explores his favourite parasites with wonderful sci-fi-esque works of art. We also discuss the role social media plays in the communication of scientific research and the pro’s and con’s of how scientists can portray themselves online. 

 

See his art here 

Read the Parasite of the Day Blog here

Follow Tommy on Twitter @The_Episiarch

Visit his research website 

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

 

Ep 29. Electrons, eigenstates and oil paintings with Stephen Bosi

August 7, 2017
00:0000:00

SPECIAL GUEST: STEPHEN BOSI (UNE)

Listen along as Dr Stephen Bosi from the University of New England schools James O’Hanlon on the fundamental particles that make up our universe. After starting off with a discussion about the interface between science and art, we take a detour through radiotherapy and finish up discussing quantum physics, famous bongo players and why Einstein was wrong.

Stephen Bosi researches the physics behind medical imaging tools to improve cancer treatments. By understanding the atomic structures that make up the human body he hopes to improve our ability to precisely deliver radiation to cancerous tissues. When he is not doing this he enjoys teaching, science communication and oil painting. 

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

 

Ep 28. Hadrosaurs, dino-riders and underdogs with Phil Bell

July 22, 2017
00:0000:00

SPECIAL GUEST: PHIL BELL (UNE)

The science of palaeontology conjures up images of hours spent delicately brushing away sand from immaculately preserved dinosaur skulls. However palaeontologist Phill Bell argues that it is rarely that easy. Luckily, by adopting and developing new technologies, palaeontology is progressing in leaps and bounds and has moved beyond the study of bone fragments, to a dynamic field uncovering the lives and behaviours of prehistoric wonders. 

In an interview with In Situ Science Phil Bell tells us about why he is drawn to Hadrosaurs, the gentle giants of the dinosaur world. And of course there is ample discussion about the pros and cons of dinosaur fiction including Jurassic Park, Dino-riders and the Land Before Time!

For more information check out www.paleoresearch.com

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

 

Ep 27. Thorny devils, pangolins and other outliers with Phil Withers

July 7, 2017
00:0000:00

SPECIAL GUEST: PHIL WITHERS (UWA)

Great research can be meticulously planned, other times research can be opportunistic, when the right combination of conditions and collaborators fall into place. Dr Philip Withers from the University of Western Australia has an impressive track record studying everything from shark buoyancy, to thorny devil ecology. He says that many of these research opportunities arose from simply spending lots of time in the field and keeping an eye out for cool things to study.

In an interview with In Situ Science we talk about the incredible water absorbing skin of the Australian thorny devil, the complex nostrils of the kangaroo rat and all sorts of wonderful animal adaptations. Phil believes that studying the ‘outliers’, the unique and interesting animals around us, we can learns so much more about the diverse ways animals evolve to survive in different conditions. 

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

 

Ep 26. Semantic gravity and the March for Science with Tom Gordon

June 26, 2017
00:0000:00

SPECIAL GUEST: TOM GORDON (USyd)

The March for Science was a global event to raise awareness of the role of science in policy and society. In Sydney, on the 22nd of April 2017 over 5000 people ascended on the CBD to make their views heard. One of those science advocates was scientist and science communicator Tom Gordon. Tom returns for the second time as a guest of In Situ Science to chat to us about the success of the March for Science and why it was such an important event. 

We also chat about his new research project investigating how educators can most effectively transmit information. Tom is using this information to help refine how he teaches complex concepts in physics education. We also take time out to test Tom’s trivia knowledge in preparation for the upcoming STEMpunk quiz nights.

Follow Tom on twitter @Gordeauz and check out the STEMpunk Facebook page

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

Ep 25. Car trips, conferences and sweaty mammal boxes with Christine Cooper

June 13, 2017
00:0000:00

SPECIAL GUEST: CHRISTINE COOPER (Curtin Uni)

A life in science can mean living a life on the road! Or on planes, or buses… Travel comes with the territory as there are ongoing lab visits, field trips and conferences, not mention relocating for job opportunities. For some scientists living out of a suitcase can get frustrating, but scientists like Dr Christine Cooper embrace the opportunity to see the world and experience new things. 

Christine Cooper from Curtin University travels across Australia studying the biology of Australian mammals and birds. By visiting different habitats all across the country she can study the physiology behind how animals adapt to different climates and environments.

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

Ep 24. Dung beetles, climate change and fake caterpillars with Nigel Andrew

May 28, 2017
00:0000:00

SPECIAL GUEST: NIGEL ANDREW (UNE)

The media has gone crazy the past week, enamoured by a team of scientists across the globe that put out plasticine caterpillars to see if they get eaten. This episode we talk to a member of this team Dr Nigel Andrew, about how such simple techniques can be used to conduct high impact, fundamental research. 

Dr Nigel Andrew heads the Insect Ecology Lab at the University of New England where he studies the responses of insects to climate change. In the interview he talks about the importance of insects such as dung beetles in supporting ecosystems and modern agricultural practices. 

Visit the Insect Ecology Lab website or read about global predation patterns in Science

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

Ep 23. Sneaky skinks and things that are pink with Julia Riley

May 15, 2017
00:0000:00

SPECIAL GUEST: JULIA RILEY (MQ)

Reptiles are not usually considered the friendliest of animals, nor are they generally considered ‘social’ animals in the same way mammals and insects are. But recent research is showing us that we have underestimated our cold-blooded companions, and that lizards can form complex social networks.

Julia Riley from Macquarie University talks about her PhD research on Egernia skinks and the social groups that they live in. We meet her dog Dundee and chat about how a childhood fear of snakes gradually morphed into a fiery passion for all things herpetological! Along the way we get a tour of Julia’s house and garden and find all sorts of shenanigans along the way.

Follow Julia on Twitter @jr4science or visit her website https://www.rileybiology.com

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