Science for the People

Science for the People

Canada

Science for the People is a syndicated radio show and podcast based in Edmonton, Alberta, that broadcasts weekly across North America. We explore the connections between science, popular culture, history, and public policy, to help listeners understand the evidence and arguments behind what's in the news and on the shelves.

Episodes

#414 Perpetual Now  

Most of us probably think about memories as being about the past. But when memories are gone, it becomes clear just how much they are also about the future. This week we are in search of lost memories. We'll speak with Michael McCloskey about how memories are formed and how you test for memory in people with amnesia. We'll also talk with Michael Lemonick about his new book, The Perpetual Now: A Story of Memory, Amnesia and Love", and the story of Lonnie Sue Johnson and her memory loss. This episode is hosted by Bethany Brookshire, science writer from Science...

#413 Concrete  

This week is all about that most ubiquitous of building materials: concrete. Historian Robert Courland joins us to talk about his book "Concrete Planet: The Strange and Fascinating Story of the World's Most Common Man-Made Material", our long history using concrete, and what modern engineers could learn from the Romans. We'll speak with Christina Zanotti, Assistant Professor in the Civil Engineering Department at the University of British Columbia, about building better -- and more sustainable -- modern concrete structures. And we'll talk with organizers Andrew Tefs and Dave Barchyn about the Great Northern Concrete Toboggan Race.

#412 PTSD  

This week on Science for the People, we’re talking about our changing understanding of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and how we define the trauma that can trigger it. We speak with Alexei Morozov, an Assistant Professor at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, about his work studying the social signals of distress in mouse models, and about how animal models are helping us better understand PTSD in humans. And we talk with Dr. Monnica Williams, Associate Professor at the University of Connecticut and licensed psychologist, about our changing understanding of what trauma is and how it can be caused.

#411 Coal Wars (Rebroadcast)  

This week we're learning more about the fossil fuel that powered humanity's first industrial age, and helped set us on a course for a looming climate crisis. We'll speak to Richard Martin, energy editor at the MIT Technology Review, about his book "Coal Wars: The Future of Energy and the Fate of the Planet." And we'll explore the environmental impact of coal with Jeff Deyette, assistant director of energy research in the Climate and Energy program at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

#410 The Big Sleep  

This week we take a closer look at hibernation and how it works. We speak with Kelly Drew, a neuroscientist at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, who studies the Arctic ground squirrel, the "Usain Bolt" of hibernators. And we talk with Frank van Breukelen, a biologist at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, who studies an animal who isn't very good at hibernating: the tenrec. This episode is hosted by Bethany Brookshire, science writer from Science News.

#409 Trump War On Science  

This week we look at what's happening to science in the first days of the Donald Trump presidency, and what might happen if we don't take action in a world where science is growing increasingly political — whether or not we want it to. Librarian John Dupuis returns to talk about what's happened so far, why he's started a chronology of this administration's affects on science, and the similarities and differences to the Canadian War on Science he tracked previously. And we speak with Katie Gibbs, Executive Director of Evidence for Democracy, about the particular challenges and concerns of scientists...

#408 The Wasp That Brainwashed the Caterpillar  

This week, we look at the strange, curious, and sometimes amusing strategies creatures use to make it through the day. Guest host Jessie Yaros spends the hour with science writer and author Matt Simon talking about his new book "The Wasp That Brainwashed the Caterpillar: Evolution's Most Unbelievable Solutions to Life's Biggest Problems". The Science for the People team is excited to welcome Jessie Yaros, a new guest host, to our team. Jessie is a doctoral student in Neurobiology and Behavior in California.

#407 Voices Within  

This week we're thinking about how we think: the ways we talk to -- and with -- ourselves, why we do it at all, and what happens when some of us hear voices that aren't our own. We spend the hour with Charles Fernyhough, Professor of Psychology at Durham University, about his book "The Voices Within: The History and Science of How We Talk To Ourselves". More links of interest: Hearing The Voice, an interdisciplinary study of voice hearing. You can find their FAQ here. Intervoice: The International Hearing Voices Network

#406 Running Low (Rebroadcast)  

This week, we're going back to a previous episode and looking across the Periodic Table and assessing the scarcity of modern society's essential elements. We're joined by Dr. Thomas Graedel, Director of the Center for Industrial Ecology at Yale University, to talk about the rare metals that play a role in our electronic devices. We'll speak to physics Professor Dr. Moses Hung-Wai Chan about our dwindling supply of helium. And we'll talk about the phosphorous that plays a critical role in modern agriculture, with ecology professor Dr. James Elser, co-organizer of the Sustainable Phosphorus Initiative at Arizona State University.

#405 STEM Pipeline  

This week we look at the current state of the STEM pipeline and what happens when people drip out. We speak with Paula Stephan, Professor of Economics at Georgia State University, about practicing "PhD contraception" in order to better match supply with realistic demand. We talk with Gary McDowell, Executive Director of Future of Research, about ways we might try to change the STEM process from the inside. And we speak with Melissa Vaught, a biochemist turned editor, about the realities of going into a science PhD and what to do on the other side. This episode is hosted by...

#404 Sex In The Sea  

This week we talk about sex... in the sea! Anika Hazra speaks with marine biologist Marah Hardt about her new book "Sex in the Sea: Our Intimate Connection with Sex-Changing Fish, Romantic Lobsters, Kinky Squid, and Other Salty Erotica of the Deep". We discuss the multitude of bizarre strategies marine organisms use to get it on, the obstacles they face as humans become increasingly intrusive on their sex lives, and how we can protect the integrity of marine reproduction.

#403 Indigenous DNA  

This week we take a closer look at the intersection of genetics, politics, identity, and hundreds of years of colonization. We speak with Kim TallBear, Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Peoples Technoscience and Environment and Associate Professor in the Faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta, about her book "Native American DNA: Tribal Belonging and the False Promise of Genetic Science". And we speak with Keolu Fox, a post doctoral fellow in the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism in the School of Medicine at the University of California, San Diego, about IndiGenomics, an NGO aimed at helping create...

#402 Boozy Science (Rebroadcast)  

This week, we're looking back at a previous episode an discussing some science surrounding our favorite adult beverages. We'll revisit our interview with Dr. Charlie Bamforth, Professor of Malting and Brewing Sciences at UC Davis, about the chemistry of the brewing process. And we'll speak to researcher and winery owner Robert Hodgson, about his study exposing the shaky science of wine tasting.

#401 The Serengeti Rules  

This week we're exploring how life is regulated at very small scales -- down to the molecular level -- and how those rules and regulations also seem to apply when we zoom back out to look at environments and ecosystems across the planet. We spend the hour with author and Professor of Molecular Biology and Genetics at the University of Wisconsin Sean Carroll talking about his new book "The Serengeti Rules: The Quest to Discover How Life Works and Why It Matters".

#400 What Doesn't Kill You...  

This week we're discussing public perception of entomologists and their study organisms of choice: insects. We speak with Justin Schmidt, author of the new book "The Sting of the Wild", and an example of an entomologist who goes above and beyond for his passion for stinging insects, having created a sting pain index based on his personal experiences with them. He has received a lot of media attention as a result, and so we delve into what the public and other scientists think of his research, where his passion for chemical defences in insects came from, and why he's chosen...

#400 What Doesn't Kill You...  

This week we're discussing public perception of entomologists and their study organisms of choice: insects. We speak with Justin Schmidt, author of the new book "The Sting of the Wild", and an example of an entomologist who goes above and beyond for his passion for stinging insects, having created a sting pain index based on his personal experiences with them. He has received a lot of media attention as a result, and so we delve into what the public and other scientists think of his research, where his passion for chemical defences in insects came from, and why he's chosen...

#399 The Sugar Pill  

This week, we're taking on the science of the sugar pill. We're talking about the placebo effect, its potential benefits and its pitfalls. We speak with Erik Vance about his new book "Suggestible You: The Curious Science of your Brain's Ability to Deceive, Transform and Heal". And we'll talk with Kathryn Hall, a genetic epidemiologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, about why we experience the placebo effect, why some people are more open to suggestion than others, and why that might not be a weakness. This episode is hosted by Bethany Brookshire, science writer from Science...

#398 Gifts For Nerds  

Once again, we're here to help you with all your nerd-specific holiday shopping with our annual gift guide for science lovers. We brought back Skepchick writer Mary Brock and science librarian John Dupuis to give us their top picks from their 2016 science reads. And we invited back Mad Art Lab's Courtney Caldwell and GeekWrapped's Simon Saval to recommend some science and geek themed gifts you won't find in a library. Visit our news section for the full book list with links and the full non-book science-themed gift idea list with links.

#397 Risk Management  

This week we’re talking about risks and resources. We speak with Dr. Lianne Lefsrud, Assistant Professor of Engineering Safety and Risk Management in the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Alberta, about how engineers think about and evaluate risks, and her research into how language and conversations about resource development have changed over time. Then we'll talk with Dr. David Sauchyn, Research Professor at the Prairie Adaptation Research Collaborative at the University of Regina about historical patterns of water resources, and how his research is being used for better planning. The Science for the People team are also pleased...

#396 Trench to Bedside  

This week we're taking on maggots, wounds, and diarrhea in an episode about medical problems that plague the military, so make sure your last meal is a few hours behind you before you tuck in your ear buds. We speak with Captain Mark Riddle, the director of the United States Military Diarrheal Disease Vaccine Research Program at the US Army Medical Research and Material Command, about new ways to prevent and treat travelers' diarrhea. And we talk with George Peck, a medical entomologist, about using maggots to help wounds heal. This episode is hosted by Bethany Brookshire, science writer from...

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