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
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…)
Dennis’s guest for this episode is David Spencer, a researcher in plant physiology and phytopathology in Germany. In his Ph.D., David uses genetic engineering to fortify soybeans against fungal infection. They explain why we need more resilient crops fast, why this would be great for the environment, and how genetic engineering can help achieve this.
The episode complements the previous one (extended throwback with Hélène Pidon) which focused on explaining different breeding methods and how artificially induced mutations compare to naturally occurring ones.(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!
This time I present to you the full conversation to 11: Genetically Modified Crops and the European Union – with Hélène Pidon(more…)
This episode marks the official end of the second year of this podcast! (unfortunately, there was still no present for Bart – consider becoming a Patron to help!) Apart from the plans for year 3, Bart & Dennis discussed the hot topic of the week: a provocative tweet by Richard Dawkins on Eugenics, and the dos and don’ts, and pros and cons of university rankings.(more…)
For this episode, Dennis talked to Upulie Divisekera, the Australian molecular biologist and accomplished science communicator who co-founded “@RealScientists”. She shares how she got access to platforms with large audiences, and lessons from her SciComm experiences: that you should use storytelling and never underestimate your audience.
If you are on Twitter and like to learn about science and the people behind it, you probably know @Realscientists, the Twitter rotating curation account. There, real-life scientists sign up to talk about science and their daily lives for a week at a time; showcasing the diversity of scientists, and breaking the trope of academics as an elitist group.(more…)
In this episode, Bart and I talk about Wissenschaftsbarometer or “science barometer”. This annual survey in Germany and Switzerland is about the public’s trust in science and scientists. Afterward, we talk about a similar survey in the USA, published by the Pew Foundation a few months earlier. For each survey, we picked a couple of questions and interpret the answers.
As a side note: The extended version of this episode has two parts. Each one is more than an hour long. You can access both parts by becoming a supporter on Patreon. In the past, we asked for a minimum pledge of $5.99 per month for this perk. But now, any pledge will grant you access!(more…)
Life as an Early Career Researcher is rather uncertain. The conditions for most postdocs aren’t really great and the availability of professorships isn’t increasing at the same rate as the number of PhDs entering the academic career path – we talk about this, regularly.
So it makes sense to seriously consider other career options, and we do so every now and then, too.
For this episode, I talk to Dr. John Stowers, engineer, neuroscientist, and founder of “LoopBio”, about the transition from postdoc to technology business founder!(more…)
In this episode, I talk about the science fiction movie ANYA with its creators, Anthropologist Dr. Carylanna Taylor, and Jacob Okada of First Encounter Productions (not a sponsor).
The plot of ANYA could happen today! It all starts with a couple in New York that has difficulty having a baby. The groom is a member of the Narval People who keep to themselves – mostly because they think there is a curse that prohibits them from having children with anyone but other members of the community. They bring in a geneticist to find out why they are having problems procreating, and this is where the story becomes interesting.(more…)
After an unforgivable delay this episode is finally out. We had some personal and technical delays. Sorry about that.
Anyways, in this episode Bart and I continue a conversation about the Energiewende. Based on the latest episode we spoke about which solutions we think should work well. The big problem seem to be the “Not In My BackYard” stance of many people who live where the new infrastructure need to be built.
Since Brexit was supposed to happen, we also talk about Brexit, and how it is hurting science in the UK.
This summer climate change has finally made it back into public discussion in Germany. In the last episode on climate change, Rüdiger Eichel and I spoke about Fridays for Future and how the results of the election for the European Parliament reflected the increased awareness for environmental topics in the EU.
In this episode I talk to Tom Brown from the Karlsruhe Insttitute of Technology. He models how we can use different energy distribution systems to balance the fluctuating power production from renewable sources. There are many variables and options to consider. But the good news is that a carbon neutral economy in Germany should be possible.
We focus on Germany, because it’s Europe’s biggest economy. It is highly industrialized, and still very much reliant on fossil fuels for power production. And on top of transitioning away from fossil fuels, Germany is also fading out nuclear power as well. So, if Germany can manage a transition to a carbon neutral economy, every country should be able to achieve this, too. So it is worth keeping your eyes on Germany and the Energiewende.(more…)