The Story Collider

The Story Collider

United Kingdom

From finding awe in Hubble images to visiting the doctor, science is everywhere in our lives. Whether we wear a white lab coat or haven't seen a test tube since eighth grade, science affects and changes us. We all have a story about science, and at The Story Collider, we want to hear those stories.

Episodes

Boiling Point: Stories of reaching points of crisis  

This week, we bring you two stories of scientists reaching points of crisis.

Part 1: Rashawn Ray’s trajectory as a sociologist is forever changed by the murder of Philando Castile.

Part 2: Ecologist Marcelo Ardón Sayao turns to both science and religion when his wife is diagnosed with cancer.

Episode transcript: http://www.storycollider.org/2017/8/17/boiling-point-stories-about-reaching-points-of-crisis

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Rashawn Ray is Associate Professor of Sociology, the Edward McK. Johnson, Jr. Endowed Faculty Fellow, and Co-Director of the Critical Race Initiative at the University of Maryland, College Park. Formerly, Ray was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Research Scholar at the University of California, Berkeley. Ray’s research addresses the mechanisms that manufacture and maintain racial and social inequality. His work also speaks to ways that inequality may be attenuated through racial uplift activism and social policy. Ray has published over 40 books, articles, book chapters, and op-eds. Currently, Ray is co-investigator of a study examining implicit bias, body-worn cameras, and police-citizen interactions with 1800 police officers with the Prince George’s County Police Department.

Marcelo Ardón Sayao is really into swamps. He is an assistant professor in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources at NCSU. He obtained his BA in Biology and Environmental Science from Gettysburg College, his PhD from the University of Georgia, and did a postdoc at Duke University. His research focuses on how wetlands and streams transport and transform water and nutrients. He spends most of his time outside work with his wife and two kids. They enjoy dancing, building sandcastles, and spending time outside, though he hasn’t fully convinced his kids of the beauty of swamps.

Zoology: Stories about wild animals  

This week, we present two stories of encounters with wild animals, from a seal named Crystal in Antarctica to a flatulent rhino in South Africa.

Part 1: Science writer Ed Yong is confronted by a flatulent rhino while on safari.

Part 2: In Antarctica, scientist Gifford Wong attempts to save a seal that has gone into “dive mode.”

Episode transcript at http://www.storycollider.org/2017/8/11/zoology-stories-about-wild-animals

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Ed Yong is a science journalist who reports for The Atlantic, and is based in Washington DC. His work appears several times a week on The Atlantic's website, and has also featured in National Geographic, the New Yorker, Wired, Nature, New Scientist, Scientific American, and many more. He has won a variety of awards, including the Michael E. DeBakey Journalism Award for biomedical reporting in 2016, the Byron H. Waksman Award for Excellence in the Public Communication of Life Sciences in 2016, and the National Academies Keck Science Communication Award in 2010 for his old blog Not Exactly Rocket Science. He regularly does talks and radio interviews; his TED talk on mind-controlling parasites has been watched by over 1.5 million people. I CONTAIN MULTITUDES, his first book, looks at the amazing partnerships between animals and microbes. Published in 2016, it became a New York Times bestseller, and was listed in best-of-2016 lists by the NYT, NPR, the Economist, the Guardian, and several others. Bill Gates called it "science journalism at its finest", and Jeopardy! turned it into a clue.  

Gifford Wong is an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science and Technology Policy Fellow working at the Department of State. He previously served in the Senate as the American Geosciences Institute Congressional Geoscience Fellow. He received his Ph.D. in Earth Sciences from Dartmouth College, his Honours in Antarctic Studies from the University of Tasmania at Hobart, and his Bachelor’s degree in Asian American Studies from the University of California at Berkeley. He has done fieldwork in Greenland and Antarctica, co-developed and co-instructed a graduate-level science communication course at Dartmouth, and thinks penguins and unicorns are cool. Every now and again he is on Twitter as @giffordwong.

Epidemic: Stories about medical crises  

This week, we present two stories of medical crises, from New York in the 1980s to the present-day opioid epidemic.

Part 1: During his residency training, pediatrician Ken Haller comes across a disturbing X-ray.

Part 2: Neuroscientist Maureen Boyle's relationship with her sister, who struggles with drug addiction, becomes even more complicated when she begins working on drug policy.

Episode transcript at http://www.storycollider.org/2017/8/4/epidemic-stories-of-medical-crises

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Ken Haller is a Professor of Pediatrics at the Saint Louis University School of Medicine and Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital. He is President of the Missouri Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and serves on the boards of the Missouri Foundation for Health and the Gateway Media Literacy Project. He has also served as President of the St. Louis Pediatric Society; PROMO, Missouri’s statewide LGBT civil rights organization’ and GLMA, the national organization of LGBT health care professionals. He is a frequent spokesperson in local and national media on the health care needs of children and adolescents. Ken is also an accomplished actor, produced playwright, and acclaimed cabaret performer. In 2015 he was named Best St. Louis Cabaret Performer by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and he has taken his one-person shows to New York, Chicago, Denver, and San Francisco. His special interests include cultural competency, health literacy, the relationship of medicine to the arts, the effects of media on children, and the special health needs of LGBT youth. His personal mission is Healing. Ken is also a member of The Story Collider's board.

Maureen Boyle is the Chief of the Science Policy Branch at the National Institute on Drug Abuse or NIDA. She is a neuroscientist who has spent the last 7 years working on behavioral healthcare reform and drug policy. Prior to joining NIDA she was a AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow at the NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research.  Before getting involved in policy she studied the biological basis of psychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders. When she wants to get out of her brain she runs, does yoga, and tries to apply Pavlov's lessons to her bulldog puppy. 

Magnetism: Stories about attraction  

In today's episode, we bring you two stories about attraction, from the neuroscience of prairie voles to a physics love story. Part 1: Neuroscientist Wendy Suzuki is surprised when an acting exercise challenges her beliefs about love and attaction. Part 2: Two physicists, Neer Asherie and Deborah Berebichez, find love after thirteen years. Wendy Suzuki, Ph.D. is a Professor of Neural Science and psychology at New York University.  She received her undergraduate degree from U.C. Berkeley and her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from U.C. San Diego.  She completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the National Institutes of Health before starting her faculty position in the Center for Neural Science at New York University in 1998.  Wendy is a recipient of numerous grants and awards for her research including the Lindsley Prize from the Society for Neuroscience, the prestigious Troland Research award from the National Academy of Sciences and NYU’s Golden Dozen Teaching award. Her research has focused on understanding the patterns of brain activity underlying long-term memory and understanding how aerobic exercise affects mood, learning, memory and cognitive abilities. Her first book “Healthy Brain Happy Life” came out in paperback in March of 2016 and is an international bestseller.  Neer Asherie is a professor of physics and biology at Yeshiva University. He received a B.A. and M.A. in natural sciences (physical) from Cambridge University and a Ph.D. in physics from MIT. He was awarded grants from the National Science Foundation to support his research on the self-assembly of globular proteins. His articles have appeared in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Physical Review Letters, and Crystal Growth and Design. In addition to his scientific publications, Neer has authored a novel and several short plays. You can find his previous Story Collider story here. Deborah Berebichez is the Chief Data Scientist at Metis, a Ph.D. physicist and a Discovery Channel TV host. She is the first Mexican woman to graduate with a physics Ph.D. from Stanford University. Dr. Berebichez is the co-host of Discovery Channel’s Outrageous Acts of Science TV show (2012 – present) where she uses her physics background to explain the science behind extraordinary engineering feats. She also appears as an expert on the Travel Chanel, NOVA, CNN, FOX, MSNBC and numerous international media outlets. Deborah’s passion is to empower young people to learn science and to improve the state of STEM education in the world and her work in science outreach has been widely recognized. She is a John C. Whitehead Fellow at the Foreign Policy Association and a recipient of the Top Latina Tech Blogger award by the Association of Latinos in Social Media LATISM. Currently at Metis she leads the creation and growth of exceptional data science training opportunities. You can find Deborah's previous Story Collider story here.

Death: Stories about untimely ends  

This week, we present two stories about death in science, from a university lab to a crime lab. Part 1: To make ends meet as a student, Cris Gray takes a high-paying job in a lab… and finds out why it’s so high-paying. Part 2: Chemist Raychelle Burks learns how to cope with death while working in a crime lab. Cris Gray is just a guy who can get bored with things very quickly and loves a good story. You can see him doing stuff and saying things in front of an audience or to just one person in intimate conversation. He's been sighted taking long walks around the city. He's also a really good sleeper. After a few years working in a crime lab, Raychelle Burks returned to academia, teaching, and forensic science research. An analytical chemist, Dr. Burks enjoys the challenge of developing detection methods for a wide-variety of analytes including regulated drugs and explosives. Her current research efforts are focused on the design, fabrication, and analysis of colorimetry sensors that are field portable. To maximize portability, Dr. Burks works on utilizing smart phones as scientific analytical devices. A chemistry enthusiast, Dr. Burks hopes to ignite her students' appreciation of chemistry through innovative projects, multi-media education tools, and probably far too many pop culture references. She help create and organize SciPop Talks! a popular talk series blending science and pop culture. Dr. Burks is a popular science communicator, appearing on the Science Channel's Outrageous Acts of Science, ACS Reactions videos, Royal Society of Chemistry podcasts, and at genre conventions such as DragonCon and GeekGirlCon.

Evolution: Stories about evolving as people  

Part 1:  Adam Andis was raised as a creationist, but grows up to become an evolutionary biologist. Part 2: In grade school, Angel Yau excels at science -- because her mom does all her work. Adam Andis is a PhD student at Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies where he uses population genetics and landscape ecology of vernal pool amphibians to understand ecological and evolutionary dynamics…or to put in more succinctly, he plays with frogs in the woods. In addition to frog-science, Andis also loves designated Wilderness. He was a founding board member of the National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance and spends summers guiding wilderness expeditions in Alaska. He loves taking photos, too. You can check them out on Instagram @azandis Angel Yau is a storyteller, sketch comedian and filmmaker from Queens, New York. She began her comedy career (unintentionally) writing her high school student government speech. She's been featured on the Risk! and Mortified podcasts.  Her performances were apart of the Seattle Sketchfest, New York Sketchfest, North Carolina Comedy Arts Festival, Women in Comedy festival and more! Currently, she has a monthly show called, "VHS Present" where storytellers bring their home videos and childhood creations back to life.  She is working on an autobiographical, stop- motion animation series. She is also part of AzN PoP!, the first all Asian- American female sketch group to have a run at UCB Theater in NY. She finds humor in solitude, rejection and alienation.

Friction: Stories of difficult relationships in science  

This week, we bring you two stories of difficult professional relationships in science, whether in the field or in the lab. Part 1: As a young biology student, Margot Wohl is excited to spend a summer in the field, but her male colleague expects her to do all the work. Part 2: Physics major Stephanie Loeb travels to Singapore to study nanoparticles, but is intimidated by her enigmatic project leader. Margot Wohl hails from Bel Air, Maryland but found her spirit city is Philadelphia when she moved their to study biology at the University of Pennsylvania. Now she is pursuing a PhD in neuroscience at UC San Diego where she confirms daily that the sun sets in the West and then retreats to her science cave for the night. Her research centers on how brain cells and the molecules they exchange give rise to aggressive behaviors in fruit flies. She enjoys all experiences that make her feel as though she is not on the planet Earth. In her free time she can be found playing tennis, doting on her cat to which she has allergies and taking pictures of insects she finds [hashtag insectagrams]. Also, Margot produces a podcast called Salk Talk for which she weaves together character vignettes of up and coming scientists. Stephanie Loeb is a PhD candidate in Environmental Engineering at Yale University. She came to Yale with the support of a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada Fellowship to study surface plasmon resonance and the photothermal properties of nanomaterials for solar water treatment. Prior to moving to the US, Stephanie completed an undergraduate degree in Physics and Nanoscience jointly with the University of Toronto and the National University of Singapore, as well as a Master's of Applied Science in Environmental Engineering at the University of Toronto. She is an avid story listener, and first-time story teller.

Independent Research: Stories of setting off on our own  

This week, we present two stories about young scientists setting off on their own. Part 1: As an undergrad, Frank Stabile lands an exciting summer research position in D.C., but soon he starts to notice something’s not right. Part 2: As a teenager, Deena Walker dreams of being a scientist, but her controlling boyfriend, and her own attitude toward her gender, get in the way. Frank A. Stabile is an evolutionary biologist in training at Yale University. He is currently a PhD student in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, where he studies the evolution of feathers. In particular, he wants to understand how birds evolved to develop feathers and scales at the same time. Before Yale, Frank earned an undergraduate degree in biology at The College of New Jersey, where he spent several years in the woods catching birds to study feather replacement. He has several other interests that probably take up too much of his time, like history, politics, literature, and birding. Deena Walker is a postdoctoral fellow at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine where she studies the molecular mechanisms of addiction and depression. She recently moved to New York after finishing her PhD at The University of Texas at Austin in December 2012. When she's not in lab she enjoys practicing yoga and playing fetch with her dog in Central Park.

Oil: Stories from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill  

This week, we bring you two stories from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, one from a native Louisianian scientist and the other from a fourth-generation Louisiana fisherman.  Part 1: Louisianan scientist Estelle Robichaux struggles to deal with the massive oil spill affecting her state while also balancing personal problems. Part 2: When Lousiana fisherman Rob Campo receives news of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, he knows his life is about to change. Estelle Robichaux, a native Louisianian, is a senior restoration project analyst at Environmental Defense Fund. A broadly-trained scientist with a passion for wetlands conservation and restoration, Estelle has a background in natural and social sciences as well as extensive experience in science education. Her field and research background spans wetlands, marine environments and wildlife, from Costa Rica to South Africa to South Caicos. Estelle advocates for the implementation of science-based restoration projects and leads project-related efforts for Restore the Mississippi River Delta. Estelle also works on science communication and tracking the development of scientific and research programs in the wake of the Gulf oil disaster. Robert Campo is the owner of Campo's Marina located in Shell Beach, Louisiana.  He's a fourth generation commercial fisherman and the great-grandson of the late Celestino Campo, the founder of Campo's Marina started in 1903.  He's the grandson of the late Frank Blackie Campo (a true legend) and the son of Frank J. Campo Jr.  Campo's Marina is the oldest family-owned business in St.Bernard parish and it's one of the top ten oldest family owned businesses that still exists today in Louisiana.  He owns and operates his oyster business with two oyster boats and a farm of nearly 1500 acres of oyster grounds.

Paternal Bonds: Stories about dads  

This week, we present stories of science and fatherhood. Part 1: As a teenager, comedian Gastor Almonte seeks answers about some of the scientific terms he hears around school. Part 2: Medical student Usman Hameedi struggles to live up to his father’s expectations while also pursuing his art. Gastor Almonte is a storyteller and stand up comedian based out of Brooklyn, NY. Gastor will be appearing on season 3 of "This Is Not Happening" on Comedy Central. He is the founder and host of Stoops2Stages, a weekly interview series featuring many talented independent artist from the worlds of music and comedy. He performs throughout the east coast, and has been a regular guest at QED Astoria, UCB and the NY Times featured Liar Show. GastorAlmonte.com Usman Hameedi received his MS in Biomedical Sciences from Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. His research focused on cancer biology, specifically on how cells determine their fate and sometimes write their own destinies. He is also a poet with experience performing and coaching at both collegiate and national poetry slams.  Usman was highlighted on the Huffington Post and Upworthy, was featured at multiple venues, and was invited to speak at the Harvard Kennedy School and The White House. As an aspiring physician, he hopes to dovetail his scientific and artistic passions in a career focused on illuminating the rich narratives in health care. Despite some impressive credentials, he still can’t drive a car or ride a bike. Feel free to make fun of him about this.

Symbiosis: Stories about teamwork  

This week, we present two stories about working together, whether it's to accomplish a scientific mission or save a life. Part 1: Yael Fitzpatrick and her theater technician friends attempt to save a sea turtle. Part 2: As the only black woman on a two-month voyage, oceanographer Dawn Wright tries to find her place aboard a scientific drill vessel. Yael Fitzpatrick is an art director, publications designer, sometimes writer, and science communicator. She spent the first part of her life concentrating on math and the sciences, and then took an unexpected detour into the arts. She has since managed to come somewhat full circle. Currently she is the Manager of Design and Branding for the American Geophysical Union, and previously was Art Director for the Science family of journals. She has almost accepted the fact that she will never be a backup singer or dancer. Follow her at @GazelleInDminor. Dawn Wright is chief scientist of the Environmental Systems Research Institute (aka Esri), a world-leading geographic information system (GIS) software, research and development company, as well as a professor of geography and oceanography at Oregon State University. Among her research specialties are seafloor mapping and tectonics, ocean exploration and conservation, environmental informatics, and ethics in information technology. Dawn is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Geological Society of America and of Stanford University's Aldo Leopold Leadership Program, as well as an American Geophysical Union Leptoukh Awardee and board member of COMPASS Science Communication, Inc. She is also currently into road cycling, apricot green tea gummy bears, 18th-century pirates, her dog Sally, and SpongeBob Squarepants. Follow her on Twitter @deepseadawn Dawn Wright's story was produced as part of a partnership with Springer Storytellers. Find out more at beforetheabstract.com

Early Childhood Development: Stories about growth  

This week, we present two stories of learning experiences connected to early childhood, from an expert in maternal and infant health discovering the reality behind her research to a first-grader striving to be one of the "smart kids." Part 1: Psychologist Amy Brown researches maternal and infant health, but when she has a child of her own, she’s confronted with the reality behind the research. Part 2: As a first-grader, Cassie Soliday finds her coveted spot in the gifted class is at risk. Dr. Amy Brown is an Associate Professor in Child Public Health at Swansea University where she researches experiences of becoming a mother, particularly around how babies are fed. She has published widely in how social, cultural and psychological barriers can damage breastfeeding and subsequently maternal wellbeing. Amy is fascinated by how culture defines motherhood, through pressurising mothers to have it all and enjoy ‘every precious moment’, whilst simultaneously devaluing their role. She also has three children of her own and switches between hearing women’s tales about becoming a mother and experiencing it first hand herself. Sometimes life feels like one long never ending ethnographic research project but offers her insight into these complex issues. Cassie Soliday is The Story Collider's LA-based producer. In addition to being a producer, she is a writer, comic artist, and the love child of a poet and a parrot head.  She's an advocate for women in the arts and produces two podcasts, 'Ink and Paint Girls' and 'Jammiest Bits of Jam'. Afflicted with wanderlust and the desire to run away with the cat circus, she has three great and terrible ideas that could get her fired so she could do so.  She lives and works in California making cartoons. She is @cassiesoli and cassie@storycollider.org.

Working Memory: Jirard Khalil & Ben Lillie  

This week, we present two stories of how memory impacts our lives, our families, and the way we see ourselves. Part 1: When Jirard Khalil is twelve years old, his mother suddenly starts to change. Part 2: A teacher’s social experiment lands fifth-grade Ben Lillie in an ethical dilemma. Jirard Khalil is a YouTuber, actor, writer, and performer. You can find him online at @JKCompletesIt on Twitter, and That One Video Gamer on YouTube. Ben Lillie, co-founder of The Story Collider, is a high-energy particle physicist who left the ivory tower for the wilds of New York's theater district. His current project is Caveat, an event space for entertaining talks and conversations opening September 5th on Manhattan's Lower East Side. He is also is a Moth StorySLAM champion, and was a writer and contributing editor for TED.com.

Standard Deviation: Bess Stillman & Brendan Bane  

Part 1: Late one night in the ER, doctor Bess Stillman treats a patient with an interesting dilemma. Part 2: As a teenager, science writer Brendan Bane becomes obsessed with collecting poisonous pets. Bess Stillman is an emergency physician and writer living in NYC. She has appeared on The Moth Radio Hour. Brendan Bane is a freelance science communicator and recent graduate of the UC Santa Cruz Science Communication Program. His interest in biology blossomed when he first laid his eyes upon a giant, hairy tarantula. He later followed his passion to the cloud forests of Costa Rica, where he studied how tarantulas communicate their romantic intentions. (Basically, they twerk). Though he loved tromping through forests and spying on spiders in their roadside burrows, his greatest thrill did not come from the field or laboratory. Instead, he was happiest onstage, bringing audiences face to fang with spiders through visual storytelling. Now, through science reporting, he immerses readers in the lives of all flora and fauna, whether wondrous or weird.

Maternal Instinct: Pamela Feliciano & Katharine Gammon  

In this week's episode, we present two stories of science and motherhood, just in time for Mother's Day. Part 1: Developmental biologist Pam Feliciano tries to understand her autistic son. Part 2: Science writer Katharine Gammon thinks she’s gone into labor, but her doctor says she hasn’t. As Scientific Director of SPARKforAutism.org, Pamela Feliciano leads the effort to build the largest autism research cohort in the United States, to speed up research and improve lives. SPARK aims to build a partnership between 50,000 individuals with autism and their families and autism researchers. Feliciano has also been a senior scientist at SFARI, the largest private funder of autism research in the United States, since 2013. At SFARI, she has been involved in  efforts to develop objective and reliable outcome measures for autism clinical trials. Previously, Feliciano was a senior editor at Nature Genetics, where she was responsible for managing the peer review process of research publications in all areas of genetics. While at Nature Genetics, Feliciano was engaged with the scientific community, attending conferences and giving talks and workshops on editorial decision-making at academic institutes worldwide. Katharine Gammon is an award-winning freelance science writer based in Santa Monica, California. She has written about a wide range of topics, from childhood memory to sexually-transmitted diseases in koalas to designing cities on Mars for publications like Wired, Popular Science, Newsweek and Scientific American. Katharine grew up in Seattle as the child of two scientists, attended Princeton University and received a master’s degree from MIT. She taught English in the Peace Corps in Bulgaria before discovering science writing. With two little boys under age 4, she has endless fodder for her blog Kinderlab about child development, and in her miniscule free time she rides horses and wants to spend more time under sail.

Hard Science: Sarah Demers & Katy Rodriguez Wimberly  

Part 1: When Sarah Demers gets a work-study job working on a particle detector, she has no idea what she's in for. Part 2: After being discouraged from pursuing science, Katy Rodriguez Wimberly searches for her place in the military and as an actor. Sarah Demers is the Horace D. Taft Associate Professor of Physics at Yale University.  She is a particle physicist and a member of the ATLAS and Mu2e Collaborations, studying fundamental particles and the forces with which they interact. Sarah graduated from Harvard University with an A.B. in physics in 1999.  She received her Ph.D. from the University of Rochester as a member of the CDF Collaboration in 2005. She was a postdoc with Stanford's Linear Accelerator Center, based at CERN as a member of the ATLAS experiment before beginning her faculty position at Yale in 2009.  She has been recognized for her research with an Early Career Award from the Department of Energy and has won awards for teaching and service at Yale. When she isn't doing physics she can be found spending time with her husband and two kids exploring in the woods behind their house, baking, reading and, recently, shoveling snow. M. Katy Rodriguez Wimberly is a first year graduate student at University of California, Irvine (UCI) in their Physics Department. She is a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow and the first Junior Board Fellow of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. She earned her Bachelor’s of Science degree, with a math minor, from California State University, Long Beach in May 2015. At UCI she is working with Dr. Michael Cooper on galaxy evolution research, which studies the coming together of satellite galaxies onto massive clusters of galaxies by comparing large cosmological simulations to observational data. Katy’s research interests lie in galaxy evolution and observational cosmology. Additionally, she loves and conducts astronomy outreach with underrepresented minorities, focusing primarily on K-12 Special Needs students (including children on the Autism Spectrum and those with Down’s Syndrome).

Syzygy: Bryony Tilsley & David Baron  

Part 1: Bryony Tilsley and her husband are planning a local astronomy event when their family undergoes a big change. Part 2: Eclipse chaser David Baron discovers the real magic behind a total solar eclipse. Bryony Tilsley, along with her husband Rob, is a founder of Dartmoor Skies, a U.K. charity that shares the beauty of astronomy with anyone who wants to experience it. She studied writing and choreography at Dartington College of Arts so she loves to bring art and science together. She finds stargazing therapeutic and would like to build an observatory on Dartmoor. She has lots of books, two cats and a dog. David Baron is a science journalist, broadcaster, and the author of American Eclipse: A Nation’s Epic Race to Catch the Shadow of the Moon and Win the Glory of the World. An avid eclipse chaser, David has witnessed five total solar eclipses in such disparate locales as Indonesia, Australia, and the Faroe Islands. He has spent most of his career in public radio, as science correspondent for NPR, science reporter for Boston’s WBUR, and science editor for PRI’s The World. You can find him online at www.american-eclipse.com.

Resistance: Siddhartha Roy & Ada Cheng  

Part 1: Environmental engineer Siddhartha Roy is baffled when the state of Michigan insists the water in Flint is safe to drink despite his scientific evidence. Part 2: Sociologist Ada Cheng learns a surprising lesson about resistance while studying human rights violations in Hong Kong. Siddhartha Roy is an Environmental Engineer and PhD candidate in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Virginia Tech. He works with Dr. Marc Edwards researching corrosion failures in potable water infrastructure. Sid also serves as the student leader and communications director for the Virginia Tech “Flint Water Study” research team that helped uncover the Flint Water Crisis. Ada Cheng is a professor-turned storyteller, improviser, and stand-up comic. She was a tenured professor in sociology at DePaul University for 15 years. She resigned from her position to pursue theater and performance full time in 2016. She is a one-time Moth storyslam winner, a presenter at the National Storytelling Conference, and a runner-up at Chicago’s Bughouse Square Debates. She has been featured at storytelling shows in Chicago and Atlanta. She has also told stories at The Moth in Chicago, New York, Denver, and Detroit. Her book, Standing Up: From Renegade Professor to Middle-Aged Comic, published in December 2016 by Difference Press, aims at encouraging people, particularly mid-lifers, to embrace fear about uncertainty and to pursue their passion and dream. Her motto: Make your life the best story you tell. Check out her website www.renegadeadacheng.com for more information.

Transformation: Sebastian Gaston Alvarado & Danny Artese  

Part 1: Geneticist Sebastian Alvarado reconnects with his love of comic books by attempting to shrink ants. Part 2: Inspired by his favorite novel, third-grade Danny Artese attempts to turn himself into a plant. Sebastian Gaston Alvarado went into science so he could make the X-men. During his Ph.D., he studied the molecular switches that regulate gene function. As a result, his work has shed light on chronic pain, size variation in ants, and metabolism in hibernating squirrels. He is also co-founder of Thwacke, a science consulting firm for the entertainment sector. As a consultant, he has rationalized the science behind Captain America's Super Soldier Serum and the reversible nature of the Incredible Hulk's transformations . Sebastian is currently an A.P. Giannini Fellow at Stanford University where he studies how social environment can shape the way genes change behavior in a fish. Danny Artese is a NY-based storyteller who has won multiple Moth StorySLAMs and performed at Q.E.D., UCB, The Magnet Theater, and Ripley's Believe It Or Not! While not a scientist by trade, one of the proudest moments of Danny's life was when his high school Biology teacher (Hi Mrs. Beamer!) told his 15-year-old self that he'd be a great gynecologist.

Technological Advancements: Simon Wheatcroft & Dale Markowitz  

Part 1: Blind athlete Simon Wheatcroft finds a way to run marathons by himself. Part 2: Worried she won't ever be able to commit to one field of study, Dale Markowitz decides to go all in on a neuroscience project. Simon Wheatcroft’s utilization of technology has enabled him to achieve incredible goals. From learning to train solo outdoors as a blind runner, to crossing deserts alone. It is his ability to adapt technology and engage those who create it, to redefine possibilities. His vast experience in the world of technology and psychology give him a fantastic base for his talks on diversity, inclusion and technology. Simon continues to push boundaries and motivate others to: reimagine what is possible through changes in thought processes; and believe that anything is possible. Dale Markowitz is an engineer and data scientist at OkCupid, where she spends endless hours contemplating the mechanics of romance and attraction. She graduated from Princeton University, where she bounced from physics to math to neuroscience before landing on a major in Computer Science. When she's not bugging people for stories about their online love lives, she can be found pondering math riddles or blogging on Medium @unquarked.

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