Monday, February 23rd, 2015 - Rebecca Tarvin talks about how poison frogs avoid poisoning themselves

12Apr

Rebecca Tarvin’s doctoral research focuses on the evolution of chemical defense and resistance to self-intoxication in poison frogs (Dendrobatidae), which are native to Central and South America. Chemically defended poison frogs sequester distasteful alkaloids from insects in their diet and secrete these chemicals from dermal glands for defense. Dendrobatids are often brightly colored to warn potential predators, and the levels of toxicity vary considerably from one species to the next and from one population to another. Rebecca discusses her work on how the genetic and physiological basis of alkaloid resistance relate to phylogenetic and ecological patterns across Dendrobatidae. Tune in to learn about how poison frogs evolved the ability to resist their own toxins!  

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Monday, February 17th, 2015 - Kristina Serratto uses ultra-short, ultra-intense laser pulses to create unique states of matter

12Apr

PhD candidate Kristina Serrato from the High Intensity Laser Science Group at UT Austin talks to us about her research on lasers, light, optics, plasma and the associated instruments used to measure these phenomena. She detailed the difference between laser plasma research and how this differs from traditional plasma research used to investigate conditions on stars. Her PhD work focuses on the interaction between lasers that have wavelengths of one micron and their interaction with single objects that are comparable in size to that wavelength. Listen to this episode to gain insight on instrumentation, logistics, and the research output associated with experimental physicist, Kristina Serrato.

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Monday, February 9th, 2015 - Hilary Anderson from EarthSky talks to us about science communication

12Apr

Science journalist Hilary Anderson from EarthSky took the time to chat with us about science-based communication, outreach, and writing. In today’s day and age, considering the complexities of cutting-edge research and the ever-increasing role of technology in our day-to-day lives, science communication is very important. Hilary talks to us about “translating” science to the wider public and discusses the potential of social media in aiding this process. It was refreshing (and sobering) to gain insight into the science communication world from a journalist POV. Tune in to listen to Hilary Anderson and as a scientist, learn why explaining your research to “your 96-year old grandmother” is important!

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Monday, February 2nd, 2015 - Dr. Brent Covele is trying to find a way to pull clean fuel from seawater via nuclear fusion

12Apr

Dr. Brent Covele at the University of Texas’ Institute for Fusion Studies joined us to talk about his research on harnessing energy through nuclear fusion. We discuss the reactions associated with fusion, “acceptable radioactivity”, “dangerous radioactivity”, and the details behind how this research is done. Dr. Covele explains what a tokamak is, the importance of supercomputers in the field, and how both of these are used to study fusion. Tune in to this episode to hear Dr. Brent Covele expand on the comparison between fission and fusion, and the relative pros and cons of energy extraction via nuclear processes.

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Monday, December 1st, 2014 - Rocket Aerodynamicist Dr. Leon Vanstone discusses spacecraft hot spots and scramjet technology

12Apr

On this episode of “They Blinded Me with Science”, we’re joined by Dr. Leon Vanstone, who is a rocket scientist (in particular, a “rocket aerodynamicist”) in the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics at UT-Austin. Travelling at high speeds through the atmosphere generates a lot of heat due to friction from the air, and the shock wave boundary layer interaction results in hot spots on spacecraft. Leon’s research focuses on the physics of airflow over rockets and re-entry crafts and how to prevent them from melting. Leon also discusses why rockets are inefficient for traveling to space and how ideally a “space plane” with a special type of (non-existent) engine called a scramjet would be used.

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Monday, November 3rd, 2014 - Dr. Yoel Stewart studies anoles and sticklebacks, and talks to us about their behavior and evolution.

12Apr

Department of Integrative Biology postdoctoral scholar Dr. Yoel Stewart was our guest on this episode and talked to us about his research on evolutionary behavior and community dynamics. Dr. Stewart’s research focuses on anoles and sticklebacks. He spoke to us about the interaction between green anoles and the invasive brown anole, and the evolutionary effects of this relationship. Join us on this episode to learn about catching lizards for science!

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Monday, October 13th, 2014 - Dr. Sean Gulick uses sub-seafloor imaging tools to understand Earth history

19Oct

Dr. Sean Gulick, a research professor at the University of Texas Institute for Geophysics, sat down with us to talk about his research that deals with plate tectonics and its interaction with various systems such as erosion from mountains, glaciers and regional climate. The main tools that Dr. Gulick uses is 2D and 3D seismic imaging of the sediments and rocks beneath the seafloor to study the imprint of plate tectonics and the mechanisms through which it is manifest. Dr. Gulick went into detail about some of his recent projects offshore Antarctica and Alaska, and also talked about his work mapping the K-Pg impact crater. This crater, located in the Yucatan Peninsula, was caused by the asteroid that was responsible for the extinction of dinosaurs. Listen to this episode to hear Dr. Gulick talk about geology, geophysics, tectonics and day-to-day life as a seagoing researcher!

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Monday, October 6th, 2014 - Kelly Pierce gives us a glimpse into the fascinating life of ticks and the pathogens they can carry

19Oct

On this episode, University of Texas at Austin Integrative Biology student, Kelly Pierce gives us a glimpse into the fascinating life and behavior of ticks. She talks about tick-borne diseases such as Lyme's disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted fever, and how these diseases are transmitted, and what motivates ticks in choosing their hosts. Kelly's research has taken her out to the field in east Texas where she has collected tick-related data from raccoons, possums, and deer. Tune in to this episode to hear from Kelly about some of the methods, motivations, goals, and results from tick-related research and the intricacies of tick-borne disease transmission.
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Monday, September 22nd, 2014 - Colin Averill researches carbon cycling and how decomposers can play an important role in removing CO2 from the atmosphere

19Oct

PhD candidate, Colin Averill (@colinaverill) of the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of Texas at Austin, spent some time with us to talk about his research and recenetly published article in Nature. Colin studies carbon cycling and its interaction with ecology to understand how trees and decomposing bacteria and fungi are integral parts of this cycle. He spoke to us about his research with mycorrhiza, a fungi that is symbiotic with the roots of trees, and how they can potentially mediate competition between plants and decomposers that are important to carbon and nitrogen cycling. Join us for this episode and learn about carbon cycling, anthropogenic CO2, and how various fungi and bacteria that dwell in soil can factor into climate change and atmospheric CO2 concentrations!

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Monday, August 25th, 2014 - Mason Fried talks to us about Greenland’s glaciology

19Oct

University of Texas at Institute for Geophysics PhD candidate, Mason Fried is our featured guest on the show for this episode. Mason studies glaciology and ice sheet dynamics on Greenland using a variety of tools such as GPS and ocean observation data. Tune in to this episode to hear Mason talk to us about his incredible field work this summer on Greenland, and some very 'cool' science that deals with the interaction between glaciers, oceans, ice sheets, and sea-level rise!

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