James chats with king of outreach and parasite ‘otaku’ Dr Tommy Leung. Tommy is a prolific researcher, communicator, artist and philosopher. When he is not researching the ecology and evolution of parasites he is exploring creative dimensions with Illustration and engaging with scientists and artists through his online persona.
We discuss how scientists are much more creative than they are given credit for and how Tommy explores his favourite parasites with wonderful sci-fi-esque works of art. We also discuss the role social media plays in the communication of scientific research and the pro’s and con’s of how scientists can portray themselves online.
Listen along as Dr Stephen Bosi from the University of New England schools James O’Hanlon on the fundamental particles that make up our universe. After starting off with a discussion about the interface between science and art, we take a detour through radiotherapy and finish up discussing quantum physics, famous bongo players and why Einstein was wrong.
Stephen Bosi researches the physics behind medical imaging tools to improve cancer treatments. By understanding the atomic structures that make up the human body he hopes to improve our ability to precisely deliver radiation to cancerous tissues. When he is not doing this he enjoys teaching, science communication and oil painting.
The science of palaeontology conjures up images of hours spent delicately brushing away sand from immaculately preserved dinosaur skulls. However palaeontologist Phill Bell argues that it is rarely that easy. Luckily, by adopting and developing new technologies, palaeontology is progressing in leaps and bounds and has moved beyond the study of bone fragments, to a dynamic field uncovering the lives and behaviours of prehistoric wonders.
In an interview with In Situ Science Phil Bell tells us about why he is drawn to Hadrosaurs, the gentle giants of the dinosaur world. And of course there is ample discussion about the pros and cons of dinosaur fiction including Jurassic Park, Dino-riders and the Land Before Time!
Great research can be meticulously planned, other times research can be opportunistic, when the right combination of conditions and collaborators fall into place. Dr Philip Withers from the University of Western Australia has an impressive track record studying everything from shark buoyancy, to thorny devil ecology. He says that many of these research opportunities arose from simply spending lots of time in the field and keeping an eye out for cool things to study.
In an interview with In Situ Science we talk about the incredible water absorbing skin of the Australian thorny devil, the complex nostrils of the kangaroo rat and all sorts of wonderful animal adaptations. Phil believes that studying the ‘outliers’, the unique and interesting animals around us, we can learns so much more about the diverse ways animals evolve to survive in different conditions.
The March for Science was a global event to raise awareness of the role of science in policy and society. In Sydney, on the 22nd of April 2017 over 5000 people ascended on the CBD to make their views heard. One of those science advocates was scientist and science communicator Tom Gordon. Tom returns for the second time as a guest of In Situ Science to chat to us about the success of the March for Science and why it was such an important event.
We also chat about his new research project investigating how educators can most effectively transmit information. Tom is using this information to help refine how he teaches complex concepts in physics education. We also take time out to test Tom’s trivia knowledge in preparation for the upcoming STEMpunk quiz nights.
A life in science can mean living a life on the road! Or on planes, or buses… Travel comes with the territory as there are ongoing lab visits, field trips and conferences, not mention relocating for job opportunities. For some scientists living out of a suitcase can get frustrating, but scientists like Dr Christine Cooper embrace the opportunity to see the world and experience new things.
Christine Cooper from the Curtin University travels across Australia studying the biology of Australian mammals and birds. By visiting different habitats all across the country she can study the physiology behind how animals adapt to different climates and environments.
The media has gone crazy the past week, enamoured by a team of scientists across the globe that put out plasticine caterpillars to see if they get eaten. This episode we talk to a member of this team Dr Nigel Andrew, about how such simple techniques can be used to conduct high impact, fundamental research.
Dr Nigel Andrew heads the Insect Ecology Lab at the University of New England where he studies the responses of insects to climate change. In the interview he talks about the importance of insects such as dung beetles in supporting ecosystems and modern agricultural practices.