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Volcanoes. Trees. Drunk butterflies. Mars missions. Slug sex. Death. Beauty standards. Anxiety busters. Beer science. Bee drama. Take away a pocket full of science knowledge and charming, bizarre stories about what fuels these professional -ologists' obsessions. Humorist and science correspondent Alie Ward asks smart people stupid questions and the answers might change your life.
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show series
 
How big are black holes? Is time elastic? What is spacetime foam? Why is there a place called “elsewhere?” Enjoy this dazzling two-parter that starts with the absolute basics with NASA’s Goddard Theoretical Astrophysicist and Black Hole Theory Cosmologist Dr. Ronald Gamble, Jr. We talk busting of flim-flam, how do we image them, what's the most gia…
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Ah, charismatic megafauna! Teeth, claws, fur, poop, hibernation, hiking, nature preserves, and living your childhood dreams with Alie’s longtime -ologist crush, Dr. Rae Wynn-Grant. The large carnivore ecologist, researcher and TV presenter tells us all about her field work, what it’s like to stuff a baby bear in your coat, carnivore microbiomes, ho…
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CAPYBARAS! Blocky faces. Chill vibes. Spa days. Finally. Hydrochoerologist, Dr. Elizabeth Congdon, leads us into the muddy pond of Rodents of Unusual Size, weird feet, pet questions, interspecies snuggles, capybara cafes, natural habitats, escaped capybara, a fossil record that will rock you, and what the Pope thinks of them. An instant classic tha…
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Environmental models! Poetry! Scientists who are poets! Novelists who are scientists! Art + science = an actual -ology. Creative Ecologist, climate scientist, theoretical ecologist, author and celebrated poet Dr. Madhur Anand sits on a porch with me on an island to chat about storytelling, narratives in science, forest beetles, carbon stability, hu…
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This one’s got it all: teeny tiny cellular factories, mitochondrial relevancy, what big smelly vats of poop have to do with curing cancer, how many trips to the sun your unravelled DNA could make, and mysteries of the brain. Dr. Raven The Science Maven has a background in molecular biology and a Ph.D in Science Communication, which she puts to work…
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*Content warning up top: This episode discusses sensitive themes like diet culture, caloric intake, the psychological & physical effects of food restriction and includes many listeners’ personal experience with the term “obesity." It may be triggering for those with a history of or sensitivity to disordered eating. We also discuss the Body Mass Ind…
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Hairy crabs! Shell swaps! Carcinization! Will we all evolve to be crabs? What’s with having one giant claw? Why would a crab stab you? Adam Wall, a carcinologist at the Natural History Museum of LA covers all of this and more in this thrilling conclusion of our two-part episode on crabs. Also: did the Little Mermaid get it right, and does Adam enjo…
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Plumage! Dance battles! Possible holographic disco birds? Natural History Museum of LA ornithology curator Dr. Allison Shultz is a professional plumologist aka feather expert. We visit the museum’s collection of rare specimens and chat about everything from fossilized dinosaur feathers to peacock tails, the fanciest roosters, quill pens, pigments, …
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Claw hands! Beady eyes! Pinching forces that could crack your skull! Gentleman, scholar, curator of the Natural History Museum’s crustacea collection and Carcinologist Adam Wall takes us on a tour of the museum’s crab bunker to discuss everything from the tiniest to the most hauntingly giant crabs, discovering new species, crabs that are NOT crabs,…
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The what, where, and who of native plants is … ethnobotany! Which is under the umbrella of Ethnoecology! The wonderful botanist Leigh Joseph shares what steered her to this field, how she includes her Squamish First Nation community in her research, and how we relate to plants – both native and invasive. She’ll chat about how to identify plants, La…
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At just 22, Iddris Sandu’s life story was already legendary. This Architectural Technologist learned to program at the age of 11 and has worked with everyone from Kanye West to Nipsey Hussle to Space X. In this episode from 2020 we talk coding, holograms, what ancient flutes have to do with computers, how programming works and why it's important. T…
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It’s like a whole episode of secrets. And your questions. And your podmom, Jarrett, hanging out in a guest room answering all kinds of inquiries. This week between the holidays I thought I’d take it easy and dip into the mail bag to explain my free-range childhood, the goth days, podcasting tips, favorite bugs, hair dye, yellow sweaters, episodes t…
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Do penguins have flippers or wings? What’s up with pebble gifts? Are they squishy or dense? And why why why are they so cute? We sit down with renowned penguinologist Dr. Tom Hart, a research fellow with Oxford University, to chat all about life on Antarctica, penguin cities, icy cuddle parties, ocean camouflage and how to become a flightless bird.…
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How did these tree-hopping furry angels evolve to be the cutest thing in the world, objectively speaking? They have saucer eyes, wet noses, chunky tails, toe claws, matriarchies, a feature film starring role, and all the mystery of 100 species spending millions of years on a remote island. Wildlife ecologist and official Lemurologist Dr. Lydia Gree…
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Tunnels of light. Unconditional love. Visions of dead aunts. And a lot of questions. What happens when you die… or almost die? GOOD QUESTION. Dr. Bruce Greyson chats about about brain activity during death, accounts from patients, out of body experiments, time dilation, the Swiss Alps, deathbed visions, accidental morgue visits, neurotransmitters, …
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Scorpions: the victims of undue shade. A handful of people on planet Earth have a PhD in scorpions and Dr. Lauren Esposito is one of them. She spills the beans on how venom works, what's up with the blacklight glow effect, how dangerous they *really* are, what all the movies get wrong, the best names for scorpions, where she's traveled to look unde…
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He’s the guy pointing to a NASA launch behind him, in the most legendary shot in television history. He’s a science historian and Apollo Program correspondent. He’s the creator, host, and writer of the long-running program “Connections.” He is a science communication hero to millions and a global treasure. He is James Burke, and he chats about how …
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