Welcome to the American Geophysical Union's podcast about the scientists and methods behind the science. These are stories you won't read in a manuscript or hear in a lecture.
Scientists Mine 16th Century Ship Logs for Geophysical Research
As ships explored the world from the Age of Sail through 20th century, mariners kept detailed navigation records using the Sun and stars. Scientists scoured these ship logs, many of which are preserved in European libraries, for clues about Earth’s magnetic field. The work, published in 2000, created the first-ever magnetic field map for the past four centuries.
Third Pod spoke with the historian who launched the project about the trials and tribulations of turning historical measurements into cutting-edge scientific data. Along the way, Nanci Bompey learns about sea shanties.
This episode was produced by Jenessa Duncombe and mixed by Kayla Surrey.
Special Release: Allyship
This month's “Third Pod from the Sun” episode is a special release, featuring AGU Vice President of Meetings Lauren Parr and AGU Vice President of Science Policy and Government Relations Lexi Shultz, hosted by AGU CEO Randy W. Fiser.
In this episode, they talk about what is AGU, as an organization, doing to serve as an ally when it comes to our meetings and public policy.
Read the transcript: https://fromtheprow.agu.org/special-podcast-episode-on-allyship/ (https://fromtheprow.agu.org/special-podcast-episode-on-allyship/)
What's It Like Pretending to Live on Mars?
What Tree Rings Can Tell Us About the U.S. Civil War
Many of us know that tree rings can tell us how old a tree is. But there’s so much more we can learn from these seemingly simple lines.
In the mid 1800’s, right before the start of the U.S. Civil War, North America began to experience unusually low rainfall that lasted approximately 10 years. This drought, on par with the Dust Bowl of the 1930’s, may have played a role in the near extinction of the American Bison due to the migration of people to areas that were lusher and more conducive to farming.
Max Torbenson, a postdoc at The Ohio State University in their Civil Engineering Department, studies tree rings to learn about past environments and climates. While he admits that it’s difficult to attribute the effects of the drought to altering any specific part of the Civil Wars, reports do describe issues in supply chains due to rivers drying up and shortages of water for troops and animals used for transportation.
In the latest episode of AGU’s podcast Third Pod from the Sun, Max describes how the work he and others are doing can inform us about how climate change has been influencing wildlife and humans for hundreds of years. Listen as Max recounts his journey as a scientist, takes us to remote field locations full of danger, and fills us in on why he fell in love with U.S.
This episode was produced and mixed by Shane M Hanlon.
A Modern Way to Look for Aliens
If you were an ant living in an anthill in the Serengeti and you wanted to know whether an intelligent species lived on planet Earth, how could you tell? A particularly clever ant might pick up a radio signal and deduce that humanity exists, but how about subtler, indirect clues that, nevertheless, are a result of technological development? This thought experiment, posed by astrophysicist Jason Wright (https://sites.psu.edu/astrowright/jason-t-wright-assistant-professor-of-astronomy-and-astrophysics/) in a recent interview, is a good introduction to the type of out-of-the-box thinking that scientists need if they’re going to join the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI).
Wright, a professor at Pennsylvania State University in University Park, is a leader in the effort to reimagine SETI research and modernize it as a fully developed scientific discipline. Despite its prominent place in popular culture, SETI science has long been on the fringes of the space science community, partly because of a lack of support from funding agencies. Wright and other SETI scientists have been working to change that and give SETI (https://www.pseti.psu.edu/) all the necessary academic trappings: funding, curricula, conferences and symposia, and a canon of academic literature.
Providing opportunities and training for graduate students is a critical component of any academic discipline, and the field of SETI has begun to do just that. “You can't have a field where everyone is a senior or emeritus professor,” said Penn State graduate student and SETI researcher Sofia Sheikh (https://sites.psu.edu/szs714/). “You need to have people at every career stage, or the field isn't going to continue.”
In this episode of AGU’s podcast Third Pod from the Sun, Wright and Sheikh discuss what it means to search for signals of alien technology, how SETI research is modernizing for the 21st century, and how this emerging academic field is poised to be a leader in interdisciplinary research and inclusive practice.
This episode was produced by Kimberly Cartier and mixed by Kayla Surrey.
Special Release: The Beast of the Arctic
Scientists sent a remotely operated vehicle named Beast under the sea ice in Arctic winter. Jenessa Duncombe talks with scientist Christian Katlein about the race to characterize sea ice in the Arctic before it is too late. Read more at https://eos.org (https://eos.org).
Love this podcast!
I am a non scientist but I have an interest in science-related topics. This podcast is fun to listen to and informative without being overly technical. Very interesting topics and fun hosts — Nanci and Shane!
The human stories of research
Third Pod from the Sun connects with scientists in environmental fields about their work and the experience of doing it. I think AGU has really filled a niche with this podcast - this is exactly the kind of stuff I want to hear about! Keep up the good work!
A cool peek at how scientists conduct science
These fairly short episodes provide an excellent view into the way scientists do their work. Interesting stories presented in an engaging way. Nice job, AGU!