10/25/16 Show feat. Beena Sarwar on peace and the media + Charles & Eugene on open source inventions


Featured image: Protests in India about women’s rights have taken center stage in Western news recently, but mainstream media often emphasizes the louder news: aggression and war, instead of the peace process. (courtesy WBUR)

Thanks to guest Beena Sarwar, Pakistani media expert and visiting Ferris journalist at Princeton, for a deep look into why the media functions as it does. She speaks on how the personal is political in a repressive system, the media’s ideal role in society (and how its operation as a business corrupts this role), and the hypernationalism of nuclear proliferation in Southeast Asia. It’s stunning and entertaining stuff, so tune in starting about an hour in!

In the broadcast’s third hour, we jump to open source software and its values. Eugene Evans and Charles Swanson, plasma physics PhD candidates at Princeton, join us to talk about their own inventions with open source technology: homemade 3D printers, startups for VoIP systems, and more!

Check out this background for more information:

The playlist can be found at WPRB.com or below.


10/18/16 WPRB Pledge Drive Show feat. Julien de Lanversin on nuclear energy and science + Ingrid Ockert on Marie Curie and the discovery of radioactivity

This was These Vibes Are Too Cosmic’s radioactive WPRB pledge drive show! Once a year, WPRB takes a week to raise money for the station – and make our entire operating budget for the year. (WPRB lives at Princeton University, but is an independent station – Princeton only donates the space.) If you’re seeing this, you (probably) can still donate! Just go to pledge.wprb.com.

Here’s the show:

Part 1: Introduction, Brian & Stevie provide a kind of primer on the science of radioactivity and announce some science events in the area.

Part 2 (40 minutes in): Interview with Julien de Lanversin, researcher with the Nuclear

Julien de Lanversin

Futures Laboratory at Princeton University. Our discussion centered around nuclear energy, disarmament, and nuclear archaeology. We discuss both the science involved, and the global security policy. Towards the end of the segment, Julien explains how a nuclear power plant converts Uranium-235 fuel to energy, and the key points of the Iran nuclear deal.

Part 3 (2 hours in): Brian and Ingrid Ockert discuss the life of Marie Curie and the history of the discovery of radioactivity!



10/11/16 Show feat. Erik Walker & Bill Collins of Climate Music Project + Matteo Ippoliti on topological insulators


Featured image: A climate change model from Boulder, CO, predicting air flows and temperatures in a wide range of climate-change scenarios. (courtesy Atmos News)

Double interview on These Vibes tonight! We started the show with Matteo Ippoliti, Princeton graduate student in physics, who explained the Nobel-winning concepts of his academic advisor Duncan Haldane–all the way from spin arrays to quantum computing.

At 6:00, composer Erik Walker and climate prediction expert Bill Collins called in from San Francisco to cover their recent collaboration: the Climate Music Project. This joining of arts and sciences writes climate change into the pace of a composition. For example, temperature forces the piece’s tempo to change, increased solar radiation leads to distortion, and so forth. Hear the pair dive into climate modeling accuracy and the public’s reaction to their collaboration.

The whole show is dotted, of course, with science news and music of all kinds. Check out the resources below:

Find the playlist below, or at WPRB.com.



10/4/16 Show feat. Bridgett vonHoldt on Epigenetics, Molecular Ecology, and Canine Domestication

Image of a Yellowstone wolf from the Grizzly Wolf and Discovery Center.

In this installment of These Vibes we covered much ground. Our long form interview (one hour in to the recording) was with molecular ecologist and population biologist Bridgett vonHoldt, assistant professor in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton University. Professor vonHoldt’s research centers around using the concept of epigenetics to understand evolutionary change. Epigenetics, as Professor vonHoldt explains, is the study of changes in an organism that come about due to gene expression rather than the genes themselves. Specifically, she researches the epigenetics of canids — these are canines like our beloved dogs and the Yellowstone wolf — and the evolutionary biology of the domestication of dogs.

In the last half hour, Ingrid Ockert tells us about Science in Wonder Land: The scientific fairy tales of Victorian Britain, by Melanie Keene.

Science news:

And local science outreach events!