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Playlist: Science

Compiled By: Jeff Conner

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Big Picture Science (Series)

Produced by Big Picture Science

Most recent piece in this series:

Radical Cosmology

From Big Picture Science | Part of the Big Picture Science series | 54:00


(repeat)  400 years ago, some ideas about the cosmos were too scandalous to mention. When the Dominican friar Giordano Bruno suggested that planets existed outside our Solar System, the Catholic Inquisition had him arrested, jailed, and burned at the stake for heresy.

Today, we have evidence of thousands of planets orbiting other stars.  Our discovery of extrasolar planets has dramatically changed ideas about the possibility for life elsewhere in the universe. 

Modern theories about the existence of the ghostly particles called neutrinos or of collapsed stars with unfathomable gravity (black holes), while similarly incendiary, didn’t prompt arrest, of course.  Neutrinos and black holes were arresting ideas because they came decades before we had the means to prove their existence.

Hear about scientific ideas that came before their time and why extrasolar planets, neutrinos, and black holes are now found on the frontiers of astronomical research.


Sidedoor (Series)

Produced by Smithsonian

Most recent piece in this series:

Wild Orchid Mystery

From Smithsonian | Part of the Sidedoor series | 22:47

Side_door_logo_640x640_small You probably know orchids as the big, colorful flowers found in grocery stores and given as housewarming gifts. But those tropical beauties represent only a fraction of the estimated 25,000 orchid species worldwide. While their showy relatives fly off the shelves, North America’s more understated native orchids are disappearing in the wild. Scientists at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center are working to protect these orchids and their habitats, but first they need solve a surprisingly difficult problem: how to grow one.

Planetary Radio (Series)

Produced by Mat Kaplan

Most recent piece in this series:

Space Passion from Carolyn Porco and the Transit of Mercury

From Mat Kaplan | Part of the Planetary Radio series | 28:50


The outspoken planetary scientist who led the Cassini imaging team finally sits down with Mat Kaplan for a revealing, fun conversation. We also talk with astronomer Jay Pasachoff while he watches tiny Mercury crawl across the face of the Sun. Chief scientist Bruce Betts was in the Planetary Society parking lot enjoying the November 11th transit of Mercury.  He joins us from there for What’s Up. Hear much more of Carolyn Porco and learn about this week’s topics at:  https://www.planetary.org/multimedia/planetary-radio/show/2019/1113-2019-carolyn-porco.html

Climate One (Series)

Produced by Climate One

Most recent piece in this series:

2019-11-08 California’s Story: How Did It Get Here?

From Climate One | Part of the Climate One series | 58:59


California has long been on the frontlines of environmental protection. These days, however, the state is also on the frontlines of a destabilized climate, careening between record drought and extreme rainfall, while its largest electric utility shuts off power to more than a million residents to avoid more damage from climate-amplified megafires.

“We’re gonna see havocs that have never been created before,” says Mark Arax, author of The Dreamt Land: Chasing Water and Dust Across California. “We’re going to be showing the way for the rest of the country, and so I think it's important to pay attention to what California is doing right and wrong.”

Calfoirnia has been showing the way since the mid-19th century, according to David Vogel, Author, California Greenin’ How the Golden State Became an Environmental Leader.  

“Beginning in the 1860s by protecting Yosemite, [California] has long been on almost every dimension the environmental leader in the United States,” says Vogel, who cites auto emissions regulations, energy efficiency for appliances, energy efficient building codes, and coastal protections as initiatives that began in California and spread around the country.”

But can the state’s legacy of environmental leadership save it from the effects of recent weather whiplash? Diana Marcum won a Pulitzer Prize for her series of articles on California’s central valley farmers during the drought. Years of parched weather have taught her to appreciate the green times we do get.

“I think that’s one thing I took away from the drought,” Marcum recalls. “During it I kept thinking, I wish I would've paid more attention.  I wish I could picture the snow.  I wish I could picture the grass.”


California Greenin’ How the Golden State Became an Environmental Leader
The Dreamt Land: Chasing Water and Dust Across California
Satellites in the High Country: Searching for the Wild in the Age of Man
Scenes from California’s Dust Bowl (Diana Marcum, Los Angeles Times)
California Institute for Water Resources
Resource Renewal Institute
Sierra Magazine

Sound Ecology (Series)

Produced by Jessica Eden

Most recent piece in this series:

Sound Ecology: Northern Harrier

From Jessica Eden | Part of the Sound Ecology series | 01:59

Sound_ecology_logo_small An audio postcard featuring the northern harrier. Formerly called a marsh hawk, naturalist Ken Burton shares some life history about this easily identified raptor.

Got Science? (Series)

Produced by Got Science

Most recent piece in this series:

Stressed-Out Fish and Ocean Acidification: Consequences of Climate Change

From Got Science | Part of the Got Science? series | 28:30


In this episode
  • Colleen learns that fish can get stressed out (and how scientists measure their anxiety levels)
  • We take a look at how climate change is acidifying our oceans
  • Sarah breaks down what these changes mean for the environment and economy