Science for Societal Progress - podcast
In the podcast we talk about topics related to science, humanities, society, and of course progress!
because science is fundamental in the 21st century
My guest in this episode is Dr. Maria-Elena Vorrath, a geologist who studies the history of climate change, who just finished her PhD. Besides her work as a researcher she is a science communicator with Scientists for Future.
Her message is clear: we can’t stop climate change, but we can slow the temperature rise. Every bit of reduction in carbon dioxide emissions saves lives down the line. And: A low-carbon society cannot rely on low-emission-technologies, only, but it also has to reduce it’s overall consumption.
We further talk about Elena’s background and research, as well as her science communication for Scientists for Future.(more…)
One of my favorite topics is artificial intelligence, or – more specifically – what we can learn from neuroscience about artificial intelligence. So, when I was gifted the book “Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence” by Max Tegmark I enjoyed the read thoroughly. But, several scenarios envisioned in the book as paths to human-like artificial intelligence didn’t make sense to me, as a neuroscientist. So a bestseller book on artificial intelligence completely ignored the views of neuroscience.
This is why invited Dr. Grace Lindsay, host of the podcast “Unsupervised Thinking” about computational neuroscience and artificial intelligence. Grace is a postdoc at University College London, and she is currently writing a popular book about computational neuroscience.(more…)
My co-host Bart Geurten and I had a rather spontaneous conversation, again. We talk about remote teaching, how science communication and science journalism could be supported by the public, and speculate about how the political fringe might be missing a sense of belonging.
Following a catch-up about our lives in the pandemic, we talk about taking lectures online. Should we do it? Are there circumstances when it makes sense? Or does it remove important social interactions among students?(more…)
Postdocs are, besides graduate students, the main workforce in academic research. Following the PhD, the postdoc position is the only way to follow a research career within academia. Many PhDs around the world are advised to go to the USA for a postdoc – or two – because it is known for its large research output and high-quality research institutes. Around two-thirds of postdocs in the USA are foreign-born.
In this episode, I talk to Gary McDowell, a UK born scientist in protein research who, over the last few years, worked with “Future of Research” to investigate the conditions postdocs in the USA are facing. The situation appears to be far from optimal. And this doesn’t just hurt the postdocs and their families; it also impacts research productivity.
For this episode, I spoke with Dr. Jonathan Köhler who studies the transformation of the transportation and mobility sectors using computational models at Competence Centre Sustainability and Infrastructure Systems of Fraunhofer Institute.
He discusses how ships and aircraft can become carbon neutral, and answers some common questions on the topic. He then talks about his experience with Scientists for Future and Fridays for Future. In the end, he gives us a vision of how mobility could look like in a climate-neutral city.(more…)
For this episode, Bart and I had a rather spontaneous chat about conspiracy beliefs and science communication during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Worldwide conspiracy myths about SARS-CoV-2 appear to be on the rise, and conspiracy narrators team up with other cranks in demonstrations – ‘hygiene demos’ they call it in Germany. And the far right is taking advantage of them.(more…)
For this episode, Dennis talked to Dmitry Kopelyanskiy, a contest-winning science communicator who gives entertaining science talks on stage – mostly about his own research on tropical diseases. But here, Dmitry also talks about his academic career odyssey (from Russia to Switzerland via Israel and Germany), his path to science communication, and his involvement in “Skills for Scientists” – a career development program at the University of Lausanne.
Over the past two years, Dmitry Kopelyanskiy has been quite successful at science communication contests. At FameLab he made it all the way to the international finals in the UK! But he also did rather well at a number of Science Slam events. Last year he had been involved with Pint of Science in Lausanne as an organizer, and he has become a moderator at FameLab. In the contests, the candidates must explain their science in a clear AND entertaining way. This is – as he says – a skill every scientist should have in order to defend their science; be it as a publishing academic, as a graduating Ph.D. student, or as a scientist who finds himself in a heated discussion with an antivax cab driver – as he once did. And if you can make it fun and interesting, even better!(more…)
During this season, once every 4 weeks, I pick one of the 13 most popular episodes from the first two years and post the original interview. These extended editions contain a couple of parts that didn’t make it into the final cut and give an insight into the underlying conversation.
Supporters on Patreon have immediate access to these versions, btw. If you are one of them, thank you very much! If not, think about it!(more…)
The initial statement of Scientists for Future in support of Fridays for Future came out just at the right time. In the public debate, it was a swift response to politicians who were trying to mute the student strikes by telling them to “leave it to the experts”.
In reality, scientists who had been concerned about the climate and the ecological damages human activities for decades had been working on the statement for a while. Among the authors was our guest Thomas Loew.(more…)
In this episode, Bart and I invited PhD candidate Daniela Buchwald from the German Primate Center – a private research institute. We compare how the University of Göttingen and the German Primate Center (GPC) responded to the impending shutdown of most research activities – with a focus on how the animals are being cared for.
The conversation was recorded on Tuesday, March 17, just after the German local government began to take serious action to reduce public life to slow the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Remember that when we talk about news reaching us on Monday, we mean “yesterday” at the time of recording.(more…)