3 episodes

What would it sound like if the scientists producing some of the latest research also produced podcasts about their work? Listen to Caltech Letters Podcasts to find out!

In all our shows, you'll hear Caltech researchers blending science and storytelling to bring you the latest findings in their fields as well as a window into how science works, breaks, and moves forward. We believe communicating our research honestly reveals how scientists view their own work, and helps us all understand how to consume science with the right amount of passion, skepticism, and confidence.

You can find other Caltech Letters content here: https://caltechletters.org/

Caltech Letters is not a publication of the California Institute of Technology.

Caltech Letters Caltech Letters

    • Science

What would it sound like if the scientists producing some of the latest research also produced podcasts about their work? Listen to Caltech Letters Podcasts to find out!

In all our shows, you'll hear Caltech researchers blending science and storytelling to bring you the latest findings in their fields as well as a window into how science works, breaks, and moves forward. We believe communicating our research honestly reveals how scientists view their own work, and helps us all understand how to consume science with the right amount of passion, skepticism, and confidence.

You can find other Caltech Letters content here: https://caltechletters.org/

Caltech Letters is not a publication of the California Institute of Technology.

    Biosphere 2: Poetic Justice

    Biosphere 2: Poetic Justice

    When their crops are plagued by caterpillars, farmers often turn to wasps for help. These wasps are hardened parasites: they lay their eggs inside the caterpillars, and once these eggs hatch the baby wasps eat the caterpillar from inside out. But the wasps themselves are parasitized by organisms that manipulate their host's reproduction! Is this Nature's way of enacting poetic justice in response to the wasps' cruelty? Join the conversation to find out!

    Speaking of poetry, Aditi, John, Julian, and Lev also discuss what they read for inspiration. For some, the amount of reading done for work pulls them away from reading for pleasure, but for others it brings out their appreciation of genres like science fiction. Listen in to hear more about the writing that inspires us.

    Find more examples of the wasps’ weird reproduction, called parthenogenesis, or virgin births, here: http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20141219-spectacular-real-virgin-births

    Find the scientific paper demonstrating the link between bacterial infections and parthenogenesis in parasitic wasps here: https://www.pnas.org/content/pnas/87/7/2424.full.pdf

    You can also check out the books and show we mention: I Contain Multitudes by Ed Yong, Intuition by Allegra Goodman, Solaris by Stanisław Lem, and “Planet Earth” by BBC America.

    Find us at https://caltechletters.org/podcasts/
    Contact us at biospherepodcast@gmail.com
    Tweet Lev @LMT_spoon
    Upgoer5 editor: https://splasho.com/upgoer5/

    *** The cover image is from the 1910 book “Annual report, including a report of the insects of New Jersey, 1909,” accessed via the Internet Archive Book Images: https://www.flickr.com/photos/internetarchivebookimages/18405644036/. It shows an insect egg parasite, Trichogramma pretiosa, very much enlarged.

    • 31 min
    Biosphere 1: New Beginnings

    Biosphere 1: New Beginnings

    To celebrate the launch of Biosphere, we invite you to join our conversation about some new beginnings in the microbial world and in our scientific paths. We often think that the birth of live young is a special characteristic of some animals. Mammals do it, some sharks do it, and it would totally make sense if no single-celled microorganisms did it. But that is not the case! We talk about one example of a bacterium, Epulopiscium fishelsoni, that lives in the guts of Regal Tangs, such as Dory the Fish, that nurtures little babies inside of it until they grow up, explode their parent, and move on to bigger and better things. Epulopiscium roughly translates to “guest at a fish’s banquet”. Find out if this is a banquet that you want to join in this episode!

    Aditi, John, Julian, and Lev, all had different experiences starting in science. For one of us, this involved a difficult choice between sea sponges and human disease. For another---lots and lots of spiders. Tune in to hear our stories.

    You can learn about the discovery of E. fishelsoni here: https://www.nytimes.com/1993/03/18/us/in-the-world-of-bacteria-a-behemoth.html

    You can learn more about bacteria giving birth to live young and reproducing in other weird ways here: https://micro.cornell.edu/research/epulopiscium/binary-fission-and-other-forms-reproduction-bacteria/

    Find us at https://caltechletters.org/podcasts/
    Contact us at biospherepodcast@gmail.com
    Tweet Lev @LMT_Spoon

    ***The cover image is CC-BY SA 4.0 from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Regal_Tang_sketch.jpg. Not only charismatic movie stars, Regal Tangs house a lot of wonderful biology.

    • 38 min
    Biosphere 0: Trailer

    Biosphere 0: Trailer

    Biosphere is a podcast that captures the curiosity, bewilderment, elation, and occasional frustration that we, Caltech Biology PhD students, experience as scientists. In every episode of Biosphere, we have unscripted discussions about the living world and our part in it. If you've ever wondered how things like poetic justice, fitting in, and instability manifest themselves in the biologist's eye, join the conversation with Biosphere.

    Find us at https://caltechletters.org/podcasts/
    Contact us at biospherepodcast@gmail.com
    Tweet us @LMT_Spoon

    • 3 min

Customer Reviews

david.miller.p ,

Fantastic and approachable

Biosphere is great! Really interesting discussions on cool science.

HaldirTheGreat ,

Engaging, fun science content!

The Biosphere podcast offers a delightful blend of fascinating, understandable, and conversation worthy science topics with interesting and personal grad student perspectives on the scientific community. Would strongly recommend!

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