22 episodes

A KPBS Explore series taking listeners on a journey through the lives and discoveries of San Diego's raddest scientists — researchers pushing the frontiers of human knowledge. Hosted and produced by Margot Wohl.

Rad Scientist KPBS Explore / Margot Wohl

    • Science
    • 4.9 • 62 Ratings

A KPBS Explore series taking listeners on a journey through the lives and discoveries of San Diego's raddest scientists — researchers pushing the frontiers of human knowledge. Hosted and produced by Margot Wohl.

    The Grass Is Always Greener

    The Grass Is Always Greener

    When you ask Chandler Puritty who she is, she’ll give you many answers: Ecologist, social justice advocate, plant lover, cat mother, artist, psychic medium.

    She cares deeply about the environment and climate change. Her thesis charted the resilience of exotic versus native plants of Southern California after drought. But she also cares about the environment, or culture, within STEM that makes Black scientists feel uncomfortable. Chandler takes many steps as a writer, professor, and healer to make the experiences of early career Black scientists better.

    Chandler sells artwork and Tarot sessions at https://www.housepuritty.com/

    Episode Music:
    Rad Scientist Theme Motif - Grant Fisher
    Nocturnal - Podington Bear
    Entwined Oddity - Blue Dot Sessions
    Sad Marimba Planet - Podington Bear
    Shines Through Trees - Podington Bear
    Tollhouse - Podington Bear
    Gruyere - Podington Bear
    The Secret to Growing Up
    Dimmy - Podington Bear
    Purple Butter - Breakmaster Cylinder
    Sunset - Podington Bear
    Flowing Bells - Daniel Birch
    Closet Interlude- Blue Dot Sessions
    De Facto - Chad Crouch
    Coming Round - Modus
    The Speed of Life - Podington Bear

    • 27 min
    Kissing Bugs

    Kissing Bugs

    Kaylee Arnold grew up in Oceanside, but moved to Georgia to pursue a PhD in ecology. Despite her fear of heights, Kaylee climbs high up in the palm trees of Panama to collect her research subjects, kissing bugs. She studies the gut bacteria of these parasite-carrying insects to broaden our understanding of how microbiome diversity is affected by environmental factors like deforestation. After the video was released of a white woman threatening to call the police on birder Chris Cooper, Kaylee and other Black scientists, part of the online group “BlackAFinSTEM”, started a social media campaign called Black Birders Week to celebrate Black excellence and reclaim the outdoors for Black scientists and outdoorsmen.

    Twitter handle: @Black_Ecologist
    To view the work that Kaylee does with EcoReach, the organization she paired with to fundraise for binoculars, visit https://ecoreach.ecology.uga.edu/

    Episode Music:
    Rad Scientist Theme Motif - Grant Fisher
    Out of the Skies, Under the Earth - Chris Zabriskie
    Sometimes - Frequency Decree
    Harmonium and Saz Beat Jam - Podington Bear
    Drama Queen - Podington Bear
    Movement Libre - Trypheme
    Rambling - Ketsa
    Dirty Wallpaper - Blue Dot Sessions
    Hip Hop Instrumental 2 - Ketsa
    Tu connais Barbar - Mocke
    Grasping - Ketsa

    • 18 min
    Vocal Chops

    Vocal Chops

    Daril Brown wants to build vocal neuroprostheses, or devices that use brain signals to recreate speech. He tests his methods using zebra finches, who learn their songs through childhood. As a Black researcher in a field lacking diversity, he describes adjusting his own speech patterns to avoid being perceived as a threat in white academic spaces, an irony that does not escape him.

    Twitter handle: @darilbrown

    Episode Music:
    Rad Scientist Theme Motif - Grant Fisher
    Tender and Curious - Podington Bear
    Old Dancehouse - Lobo Loco
    Hedgeliner -Blue Dot Sessions
    The Secret to Growing Up - Lee Rosevere
    Oriel - Blue Dot Sessions
    Um Pepino - Blue Dot Sessions
    Moonrise -Chad Crouch
    I’m Going For a Coffee - Lee Rosevere

    • 20 min
    The Fever Effect

    The Fever Effect

    Melonie Vaughn’s desire to study neurodevelopmental disorders stemmed from watching her autistic brother struggle with navigating school and social relationships. Now she is a rising second year neuroscience Ph.D. student at UC San Diego. Melonie, an Afro-Panamanian, is the only black woman in her program.

    Twitter handle: @melonievaughn_

    Episode Music:
    Rad Scientist Theme Motif - Grant Fisher
    At Our Best Alone - Blue Dot Sessions
    Not Alone - Lee Rosevere
    The Yards - Blue Dot Sessions
    How I Used To See The Stars - Lee Rosevere
    Blammo - Podington Bear

    • 26 min
    Rad Scientist Is Back!

    Rad Scientist Is Back!

    Recent events involving the killing of unarmed Black people have brought discussions about racism to the forefront, including at scientific institutions. This season is centered on Black scientists, from graduate students to faculty to those who have left the ivory towers. They study bug microbiomes, autism, neural prosthetics and more. But they will also discuss how racism has impacted their scientific journey. To cap off the season, we will examine the root of inequity in STEM academia and what we can do moving forward to ensure a more diverse and inclusive ecosystem where science can serve everyone.

    • 2 min
    Putting The Geek In Greek

    Putting The Geek In Greek

    Sophia Hirakis is always on the move, just like the proteins she studies. She’s always doing something, whether it's traveling between Greece and the States, watching Yankees' games, doing science, working at her family's hotel, or writing and performing poems and music. And now that she has her doctoral degree, she's starting a nonprofit to help refugees get into graduate schools.

    • 20 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
62 Ratings

62 Ratings

Mental break ,

San Diego Brains!

I love hearing what motivates scientists and how they think about the big questions! Makes me feel proud to live in San Diego.
Every episode has me carefully listening

coinv1 ,

Informative and Enlightening

This is a wonderful podcast that certainly peaked my interest and taught me a great deal of valuable information. Keep up the good work and keep the podcast coming as they are certainly enjoyed.

xyzzy43509 ,

Very enjoyable

Well thought out and professionally presented and entertaining. Definitely glad I subscribed.

Top Podcasts In Science

Listeners Also Subscribed To