12/20/16 Show feat. Matt Grobis on scientist-public relations + 2016 in review


Featured image: Famed science advocate Bill Nye debates creationist Ken Ham on evolution in one of the most watched scientific debates in recent memory. (Courtesy NBC)

In this final show of the year, Matt Grobis (a regular guest and graduate student in EEB) comes on to talk through the urgent topic of public outreach by scientists. In a media landscape where evidence doesn’t always count, how can scientists defend their research to taxpayers and the government? Can we accurately gauge public understanding of science, and whether the public is divided over our research? Finally, we contemplate echo chambers in society and the accusation that the scientific community itself is an echo chamber.

On top of that, listen for yogurt science, holiday/science events, and an overview of some of this year’s biggest discoveries: from gravity waves to the superparticle that wasn’t, to new prime numbers, planets and moons.

Thanks for listening to These Vibes Are Too Cosmic all through 2016! It’s our goal to keep up the quality science news and entertainment through the exciting discoveries of 2017. Never hesitate to contact us with show ideas if you have them!

For further information:

The playlist for the show is online at WPRB.com or below.



12/13/16 Show feat. Thomas Macrina on Connectomes and Kasey Wagoner on the Equivalence Principle

Featured image is from Eyewire the connectome project run by Sebastian Seung at Princeton University.

Image in the Mixcloud embed above is from the Human Connectome Project at the University of Southern California.

This show is a little different. The plan was to have author and professor Patrick Phillips on for the first hour, alas there had to be a rescheduling at the last minute. Instead we will be interviewing Patrick Phillips on his book Blood at the Root at the end of next month (January 2017), so stay tuned.

Hour 1: Lots of music and some science news, including self-driving cars.
Hour 2: Thomas Macrina on machine learning, neuroscience, and mapping our brain – our connectome.
Hour 3: Kasey Wagoner, lecturer in physics at Princeton, on the bedrock scientific principle called the Equivalence Principle. In this discussion, Kasey tells us about the history, the principle’s importance, and current tests.



12/6/16 Show feat. Yann Koby on trade economics and the US election + Ingrid on trusting scientists


Featured image: a cargo ship, ferrying a pile of our everyday goods across the Pacific Ocean. Increases in ship traffic attracted the attention of Eric Stone, photographer.

This week, Yann Koby of Princeton’s Department of Economics comes on the air, focusing on the economics of the US manufacturing sector. We examine economic modeling and prediction, especially concerning the flow of jobs in and out of the US due to trade with other countries. How do trade policies between large nations affect the structure of our economy? How does job availability in the US affect politics? Specifically, Yann theorized about the recent election: Trump bet his candidacy on the connection between globalization and jobs. Was he right that increased trade put Americans out of work? What effects on the US and world economy might we expect out of the upcoming administration? Listen in to the interview (starting an hour in to the recording) to find out!

Later in the show, regular guest Ingrid Ockert reviews a lecture series by Naomi Oreskes on scientists as Merchants of Doubt. When have scientists peddled misinformation, and when should we trust them?

Other relevant info and background:

  • Yann Koby maintains a blog, visible here (some articles are in English!).
  • Solar panels have broken even, making as much energy as it’s cost to produce them for decades.
  • We’ve long theorized about dark matter, but have never seen it. Some suspect it might not exist at all – hear Stevie’s careful analysis in the show.
  • Genetic engineering is making plants grow faster – demonstrated in tobacco but useful for fighting worldwide hunger.

The full playlist is online at WPRB.com or below.