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

6Oct

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.

Monday, September 22nd, 2014 - Colin Averill researches carbon cycling and how decomposers can play an important role in removing CO2 from the atmosphere

22Sep

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!

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

25Aug

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!

Monday, July 7th, 2014 - Dr. Alex Jordan briefs us about the social network of animals

7Jul

Dr. Alex Jordan, a postdoctoral scientist at the University of Texas Department of Integrative Biology, sat down with us to talk about his research on the interplay between the social environment and animal behavior. Dr. Jordan works with a fascinating type of fish called Cichlids, primarily in East African rift lakes, to understand the processes that govern their social networking. He also studies bees, spiders, and humans as well! Join us to tune into They Blinded me with Science and to learn about social behavior in animals and humans, after some science news and views from the week.

Monday, June 30th, 2014 - Dr. Judson Partin puts the Earth on a couch and asks it about its past

30Jun

University of Texas Institute for Geophysics researcher Dr. Judson Partin explains the importance of learning about past climates of planet Earth and how he uses stalagmites in caves to learn about ancient rainfall. Dr. Partin tells us about the his latest research in Vanuatu, an island region in the south Pacific Ocean, that attempts to understand past changes in a large band of rainfall called the South Pacific Convergence Zone. This band of rainfall is larger than the contiguous United States! He explains why it is important to global climate, what might have happened to thousands of years ago and what might happen to it in the future considering current climate change. Tune in to listen to Dr. Judson Partin take some time off from his day and speak to us about rainfall, (mega)drought, abrupt climate change, and his adventures while doing field work in caves!

Monday, June 23rd, 2014 - Dr. Toti Larson gives us the real insight into “fracking”, methane, and groundwater as seen by stable isotopes

23Jun

Dr. Toti Larson, a research engineer at the Jackson School of Geosciences at UT Austin took some time with us to talk about his research in stable isotope geochemistry. Using stable isotopes, currently, Dr. Larson tries to track methane in groundwater. Methane exists naturally in groundwater due to microbial activity, but there are concerns whether hydraulic fracturing (or "fracking") may be introducing methane into groundwater and aquifers. In this episode, Dr. Larson dispels many myths associated with the process of hydraulic fracturing and clearly explains the issues, concerns and problems that surround the topic. Tune in to learn about the science behind methane in groundwater, and also about the interesting world of stable isotopes that can shed light on processes as varied as nuclear forensics to the diets of birds and deer!

Monday, May 5th, 2014 - Mariana Vasconcellos talks to us about studying tree frogs in the Cerrado, a really unique biodiversity hotspot in South America

5May

Ecology, Evolution and Behavior graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin, Mariana Vasconcellos, spoke to us about The Cerrado in Brazil: a savannah in South America that is an incredibly diverse biodiversity hotspot. Specifically, Mariana studies the evolutionary history of tree frogs in the Cerrado. She uses DNA sequencing in the tree frogs to reconstruct phylogenetic trees of these frogs, essentially "family trees" for these frogs. Tune in to learn something new about South American tree frogs!

Monday, April 21st, 2014 - Daniel Tennant gives us an introduction to superconductors

21Apr

PhD student Daniel Tennant from the Physics Dept. of UT Austin spoke to us about superconductivity and his work on nuclear magnetic resonance from a basic introduction into atoms and isotopes. Daniel went into detail about crystals, materials, and the applications of high-temperature superconductors and the potential problems associated with them. Tune in to learn something new about superconductors!

Monday, April 14th, 2014 - Keaton Bell studies the pulsations of white dwarf stars

14Apr

3rd year PhD student Keaton Bell, who is part of the Astronomy Department at UT Austin talked to us about his research. Keaton studies the pulsations of white dwarf stars by using of the 2.1-meter Otto Struve Telescope at McDonald Observatory in West Texas. Tune in to learn about how these pulsations are measured and how it is not unlike detecting the epicenters of earthquakes.

Monday, March 31, 2014 - Rachael Livermore is finding the most distant galaxies known.

31Mar

Astronomer Rachael Livermore is finding the most distant galaxies in the universe.  Because the galaxies are so far, the light from them has been traveling for a duration just short of the age of the universe.  We're seeing back in time.  This ability to look back in time allows us to ask the question, "How have galaxies changed in time?".  Rachael describes the tools with which she has made discoveries- the biggest, best telescopes on Earth.  Specifically Rachael uses the tremendous light collecting ability of the Keck telescopes and their powerful instruments, to gauge the distance (or redshift) of the galaxies based on the extent to which the spectrum of the object is stretched in wavelength.  Dr. Livermore's most recent work has been on the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) "Frontier Fields".  This special project combines HST's precision, with a special phenomenon of space called gravitational lensing.  The frontier fields are revealing the most distant galaxies humans have ever detected- galaxies in the infancy of the Universe.

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