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

 

Ep 22. Slime moulds, robot swarms, and renaissance men with Chris Reid

May 3, 2017
00:0000:00

SPECIAL GUEST: CHRIS REID (MQ)

The living world provides endless inspiration for the development of new technologies. Dr Chris Reid from Macquarie University is a research scientist that is studying how groups of organisms work together to make decisions, solve problems and build structures. He says that this information on ‘collective behaviour’ can inform the development of modular robots and automated systems. 

In an interview with In Situ Science Chris describes how a “childish” fascination with ants led him to a career studying the natural world and the complex biology behind social behaviour. We also discuss the intersection of scientific enquiry and creativity, and managing a life and career in science.  

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

 

Ep 21. Analytics, Academia and Alternative Careers with Mezo

April 10, 2017
00:0000:00

SPECIAL GUESTS: ATHOL WHITTEN AND SIMONE STUCKEY (Mezo)

Its all about data! With advances in technology and computing the amount of data avaiable to scientists is mind boggling. However it is not just scientists that are dealing with data now. Businesses are able to collect masses of data on their products, markets and consumer base. Handling this data then requires the quantitative skills of highly trained scientists. 

We talk to Dr Athol Whitten and Simone Stuckey who have started Mezo to help businesses utilise their data. Both Athol and Simone have backgrounds in ecology and throughout their careers transferred these skills to the private sector. We talk openly about some of the career challenges facing scientists and how transitioning to the private sector can be rewarding, exciting and lucrative!

Visit Mezo on their website or follow them on twitter @mezoresearch

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

Ep 20. Global Astronomy Month with Christie McMonigal

April 3, 2017
00:0000:00

SPECIAL GUEST: CHRISTIE MCMONIGAL (UTS)

April is Global Astronomy Month (GAM) and to kick things off In Situ Science had a chat with GAM co-ordinator Christie McMonigal. Christie is a science communicator with a background in astronomy and ancient history. When Christie isn't running outreach events at the University of Technology, Sydney, or raising small children, she works with Astronomers Without Borders bringing astronomy skills and awareness to all corners of the globe. 

In this interview Christie shares how a fascination with ancient greek mythology led her to fully appreciate the night sky above us and how it unites us all across space and time. You can also hear Christie on the STEMpunk podcast where they chat about all things science communication. 

Find out more about Global Astronomy Month at the Astronomers Without Borders website - http://astronomerswithoutborders.org/global-astronomy-month-2016.html

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

Ep 19. Program or be programmed with Kelly Tagalan

March 20, 2017
00:0000:00

SPECIAL GUEST: KELLY TAGALAN (Code Club)

 

“Program or be programmed”

  • Douglas Rushkoff

 

Understanding how to read and write code is becoming essential in the rapidly advancing digital world that we live in. By preparing the next generation with the skills to write code we are ensuring that we control technology and not the other way around.  

In an interview with In Situ Science general manager of Code Club Australia Kelly Tagalan tells us why it is so important to make coding education accessible and universal. Code Club Australia is a charity that hopes to get every kid in Australia the opportunity to learn to code. They do this by training school teachers and setting up free coding workshops run by volunteers in schools libraries and community centres. 

To donate, volunteer or find a code club near you visit www.codeclubau.org

Follow Code Club Australia on twitter @CodeClubAus or follow Kelly @kellytagalan

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Ep 18. Space, Startups and Saucepans with Solange Cunin

March 5, 2017
00:0000:00

SPECIAL GUEST: SOLANGE CUNIN (Cuberider)

The space industry is more than just astronauts and moon landings. It is essential for maintaining satellites, keeping our telecommunications running and collecting data about earths environments. Australia however doesn’t have its own space industry and has to rely on other countries to monitor our landscapes and and keep our phones lines working. According to many commentators it is time that this changed and Australia should start investing in space programs. 

Entrepreneurs Solange Cunin and Sebastian Chaoui are finding unique ways to get Australia into space with their educational startup Cuberider. Schools can take part in real life space missions by programming data sensors that are sent up to the international space station. Its an amazing world we live in when school kids can become pioneering space explorers and learn about science, space and technology all at the same time. 

In an interview with In Situ Science Solange Cunin tells us about how an early fascination with the stars, inculcated in her by her ‘hippy’ parents, lead to her studying mathematics and starting a career in space exploration and startup development. To find out more and get involved in the Cuberider program visit www.cuberider.com

 

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

Ep 17. Orchid hunting, bird spotting and book writing with Julia Cooke

February 20, 2017
00:0000:00

SPECIAL GUEST: JULIA COOKE (Open University)

“It seems to me that the natural world is the greatest source of excitement; the greatest source of visual beauty; the greatest source of intellectual interest. It is the greatest source of so much in life that makes life worth living."

- David Attenborough

 

All you need to do is look and you will find that the natural world holds endless wonders. Scientists that spend their careers studying the natural environment delve into a world beyond the superficial. The grasses and plants around us are not mere scenery, they tell the story of life, of the organisms that they are and the environments that they have formed in. On each leaf, within every stream and under every rock are more creatures, each with a dynamic life story of their own waiting to be be told by natural historians. 

 

In an interview with In Situ Science Dr Julia Cooke takes us into her ‘little world’. On a walk through Lane Cove National park in search of duck orchids Julia takes us on a journey through the natural history of Australia and her passion for the elusive and beautiful creatures that are hidden all around us. In fact she even wrote a children’s book about it ‘My Little World’, illustrated by Marjorie Crosby-Fairall. Her passion for discovery is matched only by her delight in sharing these stories with her family and friends, her students and the public. 

 

Find out more about Julia and her work at www.juliacooke.net and follow her on twitter @CookeJulia

 

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