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

Excited State: Brian Mackenwells & Jess Thom  

Brian Mackenwells tries to smuggle something onto the vomit comet, and Jess Thom learns the best way to explain her Tourette's to someone new.

Exposure: Erika Check Hayden & Ali Mattu  

Part 1: Journalist Erika Check Hayden travels to Sierra Leone and sees ebola up close and personal for the first time. Part 2: As a child, psychologist Ali Mattu suffers from paralyzing social anxiety. Erika Check Hayden is an award-winning San Francisco-based science, health, and technology reporter. She writes for the science journal Nature, and on a freelance basis for a variety of publications. She is the incoming director of the University of California, Santa Cruz, Science Communication Program. Find her at erikacheck.com or on Twitter @Erika_Check. Ali Mattu is a clinical psychologist who specializes in the treatment of anxiety and body-focused repetitive behaviors (trichotillomania/hair-pulling disorder and excoriation/skin-picking disorder). He aspires to bring psychology to everyone, everywhere by hosting THE PSYCH SHOW, writing about the psychology of science fiction at Brain Knows Better, presenting to the public, and advocating for the brain and behavior sciences through the American Psychological Association. Dr. Mattu is an assistant professor at the Columbia University Medical Center.

Adam Becker: The Solar System  

Though Adam Becker loved science as a kid, he struggled in school -- until he met first-grade teacher Mrs. Brown. Adam Becker is a writer, astrophysicist, and science publishing troublemaker. He is currently writing a book about the sordid untold history of quantum physics, which will be published in spring 2018 by Basic Books. He is also the managing editor of the Open Journal of Astrophysics, and a visiting scholar at UC Berkeley's Office for History of Science and Technology. Originally hailing from a tiny town in northern New Jersey, he earned a PhD in physics from the University of Michigan studying the arrangement of stuff in the very early universe. These days, he lives in Oakland, California, with his wife, Elisabeth, who is a writer, and their pet rabbit Copernicus, who is not. You can find him online at freelanceastro.com and @freelanceastro.

Mary Ann Allen: My Friend Lovey  

When biologist Mary Ann Allen gets a chance to study Down syndrome, the disorder her dear childhood friend had, she jumps at the chance, but the results aren't what she expected. Mary Ann Allen is a Sie post-doctoral fellow at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Her work focuses on "genetically encoded suppressors of the deleterious Down syndrome phenotypes and exploring the molecular basis of expression dysregulation in Down syndrome."

Rebecca Brachman: Deadly Mistake  

Neuroscientist Rebecca Brachman is working late one night alone in the lab when she accidentally sticks herself with a needle full of deadly toxin. Rebecca Brachman is a neuroscientist, playwright, and screenwriter. She obtained her PhD at Columbia University, where she recently discovered the first drug that might prevent psychiatric disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression. Prior to that, she was a fellow at the National Institutes of Health, where she did pioneering work on how the immune system influences cognition by showing that white blood cells can act as antidepressants. She has also served as the director of NeuWrite, a national network of science-writing groups that fosters ongoing collaboration between scientists, writers, and artists.

Emily Grossman: Crying in Science  

When geneticist and science communicator Emily Grossman is invited to discuss women in science on TV, she doesn't know she'll be debating a legendary Internet bully. Emily Grossman is an expert in molecular biology and genetics, with a Double First in Natural Sciences from Queens' College Cambridge and a PhD in cancer research. She also trained and worked as an actress, and now combines her skills as a science broadcaster, writer and educator; teaching maths and sciences at all academic levels and explaining science for a wide range of TV and radio programs and at live events.

Amanda Buch: My Father's Brain  

When Amanda Buch's beloved father is diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, it sparks a passion in her for neuroscience. Amanda Buch is a budding neuroscientist and visual artist who draws inspiration from the intersection of brain biology and creativity in art. She graduated from Columbia University with a degree in Biophysics and will be pursuing a PhD in Neuroscience. As a scientist, Amanda aims to better characterize and treat the dysfunctional brain circuitry involved in Parkinson’s disease. She has approached this goal over the past five years by studying it from the perspectives of stem cell therapy, molecular signaling, biomedical engineering, and neuroscience. Her most developed work has involved using sound as a therapy for the brain, a technology called focused ultrasound. She has been coauthored in top science journals including Nature. She enjoys applying her understanding of the brain and her artistic abilities to science communication and illustration.

Matt Hartings: My Bacon Number  

Chemist Matt Hartings is excited -- and a little frantic -- when he receives an unexpected invitation to talk about the science of bacon on The Today Show. Matt Hartings is a chemist who works at American University. When he's not being bossed around by chairs and deans and provosts, he's more than happy to be bossed around by his wife and three kids. Matt's research involves putting nanoparticles inside of polymers to make new stuff that does new kinds of things. He also loves food. And the science of food. He's currently writing a book on kitchen chemistry and will be speaking about a little of that today.

Chiara Mariottini: Lost in Translation  

Italian neuroscientist Chiara Mariottini struggles to fit in when she moves to New York City. Chiara Mariottini has a PhD in Neurophysiology from the University of Florence, Italy. She graduated at the end of 2007 and moved to NYC in January 2008. She is a pharmacist by training, but she’s been always fascinated by science and in particular by the brain. She is interested in how memories are maintained for a long time by our brains and how they can be altered by disease and removed during forgetting.

Wes Hazard: Everything Is Wrong  

Standup comedian Wes Hazard's dangerous chronic illness rears its head while he's on stage one night. Wes Hazard is a Boston-based comic & storyteller who was named 1 of '5 Boston Comics to Watch' by the Boston Globe. His first book 'Questions for Terrible People' has been selected as a Barnes & Noble featured humor title. Follow him @weshazard.

Amy Oestreicher: Life Without a Stomach  

Amy Oestreicher is a normal teenage theater nerd... until the day her stomach explodes. Amy Oestreicher is a PTSD peer-to-peer specialist, artist, author, writer for The Huffington Post, speaker for TEDx and RAINN, health advocate, survivor, award-winning actress, and playwright, eagerly sharing the lessons learned from trauma and has brought out the stories that unite us all through her writing, mixed media art, performance and inspirational speaking. As the writer, director and star of the Gutless & Grateful, her one-woman autobiographical musical, she's toured theatres across the country, earning accolades since it’s BroadwayWorld Award-nominated NYC debut. As a visual artist, her works have been featured in esteemed solo exhibitions, and her mixed media workshops emphasize creativity as an essential mindset.

Shark-Infested Waters  

Biologist Jana Watson-Capps struggles with feeling in over her head in her scientific career. Jana Watson-Capps is an Associate Director of the University of Colorado BioFrontiers Institute, where she serves as chief-of-staff and head of strategy. Jana works with administrators, faculty, and students from across the CU system and external partners to develop and implement the institute's interdisciplinary programs and industrial partnerships. Before joining BioFrontiers, she taught in the Biology Department at Metro State College of Denver and studied the mating strategies of bottlenose dolphins. Jana is interested in bringing diverse groups of people together in new ways to advance bioscience research, education and applications to help society. She received her Ph.D. in Biology from Georgetown University and her B.S. in Biological Sciences from Stanford University.

Herman Pontzer: Burning Calories  

Anthropologist Herman Pontzer spends time living among a Hadza hunter-gatherer tribe in order to see if they burn more calories than a typical Westerner. Herman Pontzer, professor of anthropology at Hunter College in New York, investigates the human and ape evolution. His work incorporates laboratory and field studies of humans and apes, living and extinct, to shed light on our evolutionary past. Most recently Dr. Pontzer has investigated energy expenditure among Hadza hunter-gatherers in northern Tanzania. Follow him @HermanPontzer.

Layne Jackson Hubbard: Still Myself  

Layne Jackson Hubbard wakes up in a hospital room with a head wound and no memory of how she got there. Layne Jackson Hubbard is a PhD student in Computer Science at the University of Colorado Boulder and is the founder of MindScribe, a startup company working to empower early childhood development through creative technologies. During her undergrad at CU Boulder, she successfully spoke before the Board of Regents to create a new Neuroscience degree for the university's students. She has a B.A. in Computer Science and graduated #1 in her class. Her research is funded by the Chancellor's Fellowship.

Aparna Nancherla: By Any Means Necessary  

When comedian Aparna Nancherla's science fair project goes awry, she and her fellow students make some unethical choices. Aparna Nancherla is a standup comedian and writer who has written for “Late Night with Seth Meyers” and appeared on “Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell” among many other programs. Follow her @aparnapkin.

Patrick Freeman: Elephant Time  

Patrick Freeman is studying elephants in Namibia when he receives terrible news. Patrick Freeman is a Research Assistant at the Carnegie Institution for Science, Department of Global Ecology. He specializes in sub-Saharan wildlife ecology and is passionate about elephants. He has spent numerous field seasons observing them in Namibia, South Africa, and most recently in Kenya. He is an avid wildlife photographer, of which he says, "My goal is to bring authentic images of wildlife, wild spaces, and conservation challenges to life for people who may never be able to see them in the flesh." You can follow him @PTFreeman.

Rachel Yehuda: Cause and Effect  

To discover why some survivors of trauma experience PTSD and some don't, scientist Rachel Yehuda must convince a community of Holocaust survivors to let her study them. Rachel Yehuda is a professor of psychiatry and neuroscience at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Director of the Mental Health Patient Care Center at the James J. Peters Bronx Veterans Affairs hospital. Her research on PTSD has included both human populations and animal models, neuroendocrinology, and genomic and molecular biological studies of trauma.

Ira Flatow: The Sound of the Falls  

As a young science reporter at NPR, Science Friday's Ira Flatow accepts a challenge to record what it sounds like to go over Niagara Falls. Award winning science correspondent and TV journalist Ira Flatow is the host of Science Friday, heard weekly on PRI, Public Radio International, and online. He anchors the show each Friday, bringing radio and Internet listeners worldwide a lively, informative discussion on science, technology, health, space, and the environment. Ira is also founder and president of the Science Friday Initiative, a 501 (c)(3) non-profit company dedicated to creating radio, TV, and Internet projects that make science “user-friendly.”

Wyatt Cenac: Driving Drunk for Science  

While completing a community service requirement in high school, comedian Wyatt Cenac puts a drunk driving simulation to the test. Wyatt Cenac is a comedian and a former correspondent on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.” He has also released multiple standup specials, most recently on Netflix, and appeared on film and TV. He regularly hosts a standup evening in Brooklyn called “Night Train with Wyatt Cenac.” Follow him on Twitter @wyattcenac.

Paula Croxson: How Cold Is Too Cold?  

Neuroscientist Paula Croxson is determined to finish her first open-water swimming race -- despite the dangers. Paula Croxson is a neuroscientist at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, where she researches the brain mechanisms and chemicals that are responsible for memory. She's particularly interested in complex, autobiographical life memories. Paula is from the UK and before coming to New York she received an M.A. in Natural Sciences from the University of Cambridge and a M.Sc. and a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Oxford. When she's not doing science, she plays the flute, and she blogs for Psychology Today.

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