12/19/17 Show feat. Charles Swanson on Lasers and Plasma Processing

Featured image: A plasma etching device, meant for digging trenches in computer chips. (Courtesy Novelion Systems)

For our episode this week, Charles Swanson, resident plasma physicist and avid science hobbyist, gives us an overview of two hugely influential modern technologies: lasers and semiconductor processing. First, lasers come in many varieties, from laser pointers to atmosphere-mapping lens systems, but all of them stay in a directed beam—how? Second, all our computer chips are made with plasma etching, basically the only way to dig the microscopic features we need in our digital world.

That, plus music from many locales and an overview of animal migration. For more, the book of maps Where the Animals Go by James Chesire and Oliver Uberti is incredible and very much worth perusing.

Thanks for listening! The playlist is available on WPRB.com or below.


12/12/17 Show on Whale Ears, the Color Blue, and France’s New Climate Scientists

Featured image: A “wine-dark sea?” What color did Homer think the ocean was? (Courtesy QueenMobs)

This week’s These Vibes episode is short and sweet! Listen for quick highlights on:

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


12/5/17 Show feat. Kieran Bhatia on Hurricane Forecasting and Preparedness & Norbert Cruz-Lebron on the current situation in Puerto Rico

Kieran Bhatia models hurricanes to improve forecasting techniques in the program for Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences here at Princeton University. In this episode, he tells us how hurricanes are forecasted, why it’s so difficult and common misconceptions about hurricanes. We discuss this year’s hurricane season and what it does (or does not) say about climate change.

In the last segment, Kieran tells us about how we can prepare ourselves better for hurricanes (NOAA site), his organization Canes on Canes in Florida, which aimed to educate on the science of hurricanes and hurricane preparedness.

Early in the episode, Norbert J. Cruz-Lebron, graduate student in neuroscience and member of the Princeton SACNAS Chapter, jumped on the mic to tell us about the current state of affairs in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. Additionally, he tells us about his own experience being in the US while the rest of his family was at their home in PR when the hurricane hit, and shares testimonials from friends and family. (Hopefully he’ll be back on the show next year to tell us about his graduate research!)

You can support the Princeton Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science at @PrincetonSACNAS on Venmo.All donations will go to the Puerto Rico Recovery Fund managed by the Center for a New Economy (CNE) Group, an independent, non-partisan think-tank that advocates for the development of a new economy for Puerto Rico.

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11/28/17 Show feat. Steven Gubser and Frans Pretorius on Black Holes and their “Little Book” of them

In this installment of These Vibes, Stevie speaks with Princeton University physics professors Steven Gubser and Frans Pretorius on their recently released Little Book of Black Holes (Princeton University Press, 2017). The discussion begins where the book ends, at the Epilogue, where the authors read their “Letter to Einstein.” From there we dive in to the definition and formation of black holes, and where they exist in our universe. Professors Gubser and Pretorius tell us about the experimental verification of these weird astrophysical things and answer listener questions like what would happen if a black hole entered our solar system? would we notice? Listen in and check out the book!

In the very beginning of the show, regular guest and science historian Ingrid Ockert joined us to review the stunning new documentary Jane (trailer), about the life and work of Jane Goodall, featuring much unseen footage from her younger years and research. For further reading she recommends Primates and Me, Jane.

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