Ep 71. Science Meets Design Live at the Django Bar

March 16, 2019

LIVE FROM THE SYDNEY DESIGN FESTIVAL

Can science explain what makes good design? Are designers and scientists really that different? Or are they both just explorers searching for truth in different ways?

We celebrated the intersections of Science and Design at the Sydney Design Panel with a celebrity panel featuring Tom Gordon, Chris Reid, Wendy Davis and Laura Jade Hindes. 

We explored everything from optical illusions to corpse piles to redneck science. Audience members got a sneak peek at the inner workings of James' brain and everyone got to take home a slime mould!

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Ep 70. Coeliac disease and carnivorous plants with Richard Charlesworth

March 4, 2019

SPECIAL GUEST: Richard Charlesworth (UNE)

Is gluten actually bad for you? Is all the hype surrounding gluten free diets justified? According to Dr Richard Charlesworth, its complicated. People's responses to gluten can range from severe coeliac disease, through to a whole spectrum of intolerance syndromes, to not reacting to it at all. And diagnosing which of these conditions people are susceptible to is a complex challenge.

In an interview with In Situ Science Richard chats about his own challenges with living a gluten free lifestlye and his research into developing better diagnostic tests to understand coeliac disease. As well as being a scientist and lecturer Richard is an enthusiastic archer, flautist, and keeper of carnivorous plants. We chat about his range of hobbies and explore what it takes to make sure you have a healthy work-life balance in academia.

Follow Richard on Twitter @drcarnivorous

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Ep 69. Horseshoe crabs and hot pink theses with Russell Bicknell

February 16, 2019

SPECIAL GUEST: Russell Bicknell (UNE)

Horseshoe crabs, firstly, are not crabs, nor do they make effective horseshoes. They are a unique animal more closely related to spiders and scorpions than crustaceans. They are highly valued due to the coagulant properties of their blood, which is harvested as a pharmaceutical product to identify impurities in medicinal products. This sadly also places them under threat as their populations are routinely harvested and their numbers are declining.

Russell Bicknell is a scientist studying their feeding behaviour and says that they need additional protection for them to survive. Russell also uses fossils to understand ancient predators from the cambrian using 3D scanning techniques to ‘reconstruct’ images of fossilised organisms. He also hopes to one day publish a pink fluffy PhD thesis :-D

Find out more about Russell's work here

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

Ep 68. Steampunk, crazy ants and early childhood with Kirsti Abbott

February 3, 2019

SPECIAL GUEST: Kirsti Abbott (UNE)

Have you ever wanted to visit a Steampunk themed scientific learning space aimed at all ages in a regional university. We’ll guess what!? The Boilerhouse Discovery Space is currently under construction at the University of New England and is on track for completion in 2022. In this interview we chat with Kirsti Abbot the manager of UNE Discovery. She talks to us about how making learning experiences accessible to kids in regional communities is essential for bringing about equality in education later on in life.

We also talk about her previous work as an entomologist studying invasive species management. Working in invasive species management enabled her to engage with community members and diverse stakeholders and lead her towards a career in science outreach and community engagement.

Follow Kirsti on Twitter @beyondbuggirl

Or find out more about the Boilerhouse Discovery Space at uneboilerhouse.org.au 

 

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Ep 67. Sharks, magnets and paternity leave with Vincent Raoult

January 21, 2019

SPECIAL GUEST: Vincent Raoult (UoN)

Sharks are cool! Thats about all there is to it. Gone are the days of viewing sharks as  bloodthirsty killers, we're now all on board with the fact that they are an incredibly diverse group of animals with amazing biology. Vincent Raoult from the University of Newcastle studies the biology of sharks and is looking at ways we can improve fisheries practices to work more efficiently and protect sharks at the same time.

In this interview with In Situ Science we also discuss juggling a work with family life and hear about science careers from the perspective of someone with a 6-week old daughter. With so much focus on supporting women in STEM, perhaps a little extra support for fathers in STEM might solve a whole lot of problems.

Follow Vince on Twitter @sawsharkman

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Ep 66. Lizard Brains, Sir David and Winnie the Dog with Martin Whiting

January 5, 2019

SPECIAL GUEST: Martin Whiting (MQ)

Martin Whiting is a true natural historian. He has spent his life studying reptiles across the world as far as Australia, Asia and Africa. In an interview with In Situ Science we delve into the secret lives of social skinks and their incredible intelligence and the incredible flat lizards that signal their quality using UV colour patches. 

Martin’s work has been featured in BBC documentaries and he had the opportunity to work alongside Sir David Attenborough for the filming of ‘Life in Cold Blood’. During the interview we also meet Martin’s two dogs Winnie and Douggie and hear all about Martin’s other two prides and joys, his amazing natural history library and his lizard infested rock wall. 

Follow the Lizard Lab on Twitter @lizard_lab
Visit the Lizard Lab website
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Ep 65. Livestock, genetics, and science ninjas with Sonja Dominik

December 23, 2018

SPECIAL GUEST: Sonja Dominik (CSIRO)

In this special Christmas episode we chat to Sonja Dominik from the CSIRO who has just been named one of Australia’s ‘Superstars of STEM’; a nationwide initiative focussed on increasing the visibility of women in STEM and addressing the gender gap in scientific careers. Her research focuses on using genetic technologies to improve the health and productivity of livestock animals such as sheep, cows and even fish! 

In an interview with In Situ Science Sonja explains how looking for genetic markers for good health and particular traits can help farmers breed better animals more efficiently and ethically. We also discuss Sonjas exciting hobbies including gymnastics, body building and ninja warrior sports. 

Despite what you may hear on the podcast Sonja’s twitter handle is @SonjaDominik or you can follow her Ninja Warrior adventures on Instagram @ScienceNinja4

 

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Ep 64. Powerlifting, resistance training and microbiomes with Mandy Hagstrom

December 8, 2018

SPECIAL GUEST: Mandy Hagstrom (UNE)

Lift heavy, but not too heavy. Don't eat too much, unless you need to eat a lot. Cardio is great, until it isn't. Sports science is a relatively new field of science and there is lots of conflicting information out there that can leave people very confused about how best to approach healthy decisions. Sports scientist Mandy Hagstrom from the University of New England tends to agree and says that we are really only scratching the surface in terms of our knowledge about how the body responds to exercise. 

Mandy's research investigates how resistance training can have health benefits well beyond pure strength. Mounting evidence suggests that recovering from serious illness isn't just about rest and recuperation, but also about hitting the gym. She doesn't just spruik the benefits of strength training, she lives and breathes it. Mandy has has a background in competitive weightlifting and powerlifting and continues to practice what she preaches. 

Follow Mandy on Twitter @ADHagstrom

 

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Ep 63. Marine biology, coral reefs and tiny fishes with Chris Goatley

November 26, 2018

SPECIAL GUEST: Chris Goatley (UNE)

What do animals do? It may sound like a very simple question but for many biologists it can be very hard to answer. For marine biologist Chris Goatley studying small, elusive cryptobenthic fish, understanding what they get up to is both an incredible challenge and adventure. Teeny tiny fish make up a huge amount of biomass in coral reefs across the globe and we actually know very little about how they survive and what role they play in coral reef ecology.

In an interview with In Situ Science Chris chats with us about how a childhood fascination for the ocean lead to him setting off on a globe-trotting, ocean spanning career. We also chat about how he ended up doing marine biology in Australia’s most inland, high-altutude university.

You can follow Chris on Twitter @buzzgoatley

 

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Ep 62. Machine learning and digital bricklayers with Will Billingsley

November 11, 2018

SPECIAL GUEST: Will Billingsley (UNE)

With computer technology processing rapidly, and the proliferation of the internet into all aspects of our lives and businesses, you can't blame people for feeling a little bit out of control. With technologies such as 'machine learning' and 'artificial intelligence' becoming more common place we are beginning to ask questions about how much we actually understand what their effects are. In this episode we sit down for a chat with technologist and computer science lecturer Will Billingsley from the University of New England and chat about what the future holds for computer science. We talk about the importance of understanding how to control the programmes we create, and, more importantly, how good Black Mirror is!

Follow Will on twitter @wbillingsley and check out his website wbillingsley.com

 

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