100 episodes

The Science series presents cutting-edge research about biology, physics, chemistry, ecology, geology, astronomy, and more. These events appeal to many different levels of expertise, from grade school students to career scientists. With a range of relevant applications, including medicine, the environment, and technology, this series expands our thinking and our possibilities.

Town Hall Seattle Science Series Town Hall Seattle

    • Science
    • 5.0 • 10 Ratings

The Science series presents cutting-edge research about biology, physics, chemistry, ecology, geology, astronomy, and more. These events appeal to many different levels of expertise, from grade school students to career scientists. With a range of relevant applications, including medicine, the environment, and technology, this series expands our thinking and our possibilities.

    165. Dr. MeiLan K. Han with Dr. Albert Rizzo: A Doctor’s Guide to Lung Health

    165. Dr. MeiLan K. Han with Dr. Albert Rizzo: A Doctor’s Guide to Lung Health

    On average, a person takes around 20,000 breaths each day; yet most of us never notice the rhythmic rush of air flowing in and out, keeping our bodies oxygenated and alive. And as many asthma or respiratory distress sufferers will attest, you don’t want to notice. But things are happening all around us that threaten our blissful ignorance of breathing — wildfire smoke, indoor and outdoor pollution, and Viruses like COVID-19, to name a few — and they will continue to impact us unless we take action.
    In her new book, Breathing Lessons: A Doctor’s Guide to Lung Health, leading pulmonologist Dr. MeiLan K. Han broke down the wonders of breathing in an authoritative guide to how our lungs work and how to protect them. Dr. Han, a national spokesperson for the American Lung Association, shared some of the latest scientific thinking about the respiratory risks we currently face. As the threat of seasonal wildfire smoke grows, new diseases develop, and pollutants continue to be dispersed in the air, we still need to breathe. There’s no better time to learn more about how lungs work; and, Dr. Han argued, focus on social policy that prioritizes lung health nationwide.
    MeiLan K. Han, MD, is a professor of medicine in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care at the University of Michigan. She also serves on the scientific advisory committees for both the COPD Foundation and American Lung Association and serves as a spokesperson for the American Lung Association. She is currently an Associate Editor for the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine and serves on the editorial boards for Thorax, Lancet Respiratory Medicine, and Journal of the COPD Foundation.
    Albert A. Rizzo, M.D., FACP, is Chief Medical Officer for the American Lung Association and is a member of Christiana Care Pulmonary Associates in Newark, Delaware. He has been featured in national news outlets including CNN, The New York Times, ABC News, The TODAY Show, and hundreds more. He serves as the host of the Lung Association’s LungCast™ podcast.
    Buy the Book: Breathing Lessons: A Doctor's Guide to Lung Health (Hardcover) from Third Place Books
    Presented by Town Hall Seattle. To become a member or make a donation click here. 

    • 54 min
    164. Dr. Jack Gilbert with Dr. Sean Gibbons: The Promise of the Human Microbiome

    164. Dr. Jack Gilbert with Dr. Sean Gibbons: The Promise of the Human Microbiome

    Prebiotics and probiotics. Fecal microbiota transplants. Optimizing a diet personalized to you. These microbiome-themed topics are all around us in the media, but microbiome research remains a fairly nascent field of study and wasn’t on many people’s radars even 10 years ago.
    UCSD Professor Dr. Jack Gilbert and Institute for Systems Biology (ISB) Assistant Professor Dr. Sean Gibbons came together to tackle this exciting area of research. What have we learned over the past few years? What has gone well, and what could we do better? The two discussed some exciting developments on the horizon and share when they think people might see microbiome-based technologies in their daily lives.
    Dr. Jack A. Gilbert is a Professor of Microbial Oceanography in the Center for Marine Biotechnology and Biomedicine at Scripps Institute of Oceanography, and holds a joint appointment in the Department of Pediatrics in UCSD School of Medicine. Dr. Gilbert is also cofounder of the Earth Microbiome Project and American Gut Project, has authored more than 350 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters on microbial ecology, and is the founding Editor in Chief of mSystems journal. He has been recognized on Crain’s Business Chicago’s “40 Under 40 List,” listed as one of the 50 most influential scientists by Business Insider, and was named as one of the “Brilliant Ten” by Popular Scientist. He is the co-author of Dirt is Good, a popular science guide to the microbiome and children’s health.
    Dr. Sean Gibbons is Assistant Professor at ISB. He holds a Ph.D. in biophysical sciences from the University of Chicago; his graduate work focused on using microbial communities as empirical models for testing ecological theory. Gibbons completed his postdoctoral training in Eric Alm’s laboratory in the Department of Biological Engineering at MIT, where his work focused on developing techniques to quantify individual-specific eco-evolutionary dynamics within the human gut microbiome. He is particularly interested in learning how organisms in the human gut change and adapt to individual people over their lifespans, and how those changes impact health.
    Presented by the Institute for Systems Biology and Town Hall Seattle.

    • 59 min
    163. Beth Shapiro with Carl Zimmer: The Perks of Meddling with Nature

    163. Beth Shapiro with Carl Zimmer: The Perks of Meddling with Nature

    Human beings are extraordinary meddlers. We’ve been shaping the world around us since the last ice age, and the longer we’re around, the better we become at resetting the course of evolution. From domesticating animals to CRISPR, a revolutionary new gene-editing tool that garnered a Nobel Prize in 2020, humans haven’t stopped tinkering and probably never will.
    There’s an understandable nervousness around human interference; what are we potentially destroying, or at least mucking up, when we tamper with nature? In her new book, Life as We Made It: How 50,000 Years of Human Innovation Refined — and Redefined — Nature, Biologist Beth Shapiro argued that meddling is the essence of what humans do to survive and thrive. Hunting, hybridizing plants, domesticating animals, and conserving the living things around us are all forms of intervention, none of which are new to us. With that in mind, Shapiro made the case to free ourselves from fear of obtrusion and instead become better meddlers. In turn, we may find opportunities to maintain and improve biodiversity — and our own livelihoods.
    Beth Shapiro is Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at UC Santa Cruz. She has appeared on National Geographic, Discovery, and the BBC, and has written for the Financial Times and Observer. She is the author of the award-winning book, How to Clone a Mammoth.
    Carl Zimmer is the science columnist for the New York Times and a frequent contributor to magazines including The Atlantic, National Geographic, and Scientific American. His award-winning books include Life’s Edge: The Search for What It Means to Be Alive and She Has Her Mother’s Laugh: The Power, Perversion, and Potentials of Heredity.
    Buy the Book: Life as We Made It: How 50,000 Years of Human Innovation Refined—and Redefined—Nature from Third Place Books
    Presented by Town Hall Seattle. To become a member or make a donation click here. 

    • 1 hr 2 min
    162. Saul Griffith with David Roberts: A Realistic, Optimistic Plan for our Clean Energy Future

    162. Saul Griffith with David Roberts: A Realistic, Optimistic Plan for our Clean Energy Future

    We know we have to do something about climate change, and we know we need to move immediately. The mere thought of it tends to make people freeze in their tracks from sheer overwhelm. Thousands of ideas exist, but there’s no clear, collective plan. Try as some people might, jumping on a rocket to the next planet isn’t the answer. But what if we don’t need groundbreaking new inventions to move the needle on climate change? What if most of the innovations already exist? Could we build a better, cleaner future (and maybe even generate millions of new jobs while we’re at it)?
    Engineer and inventor Saul Griffith shared a detailed plan of action in his new book, Electrify: The Optimist’s Playbook for our Clean Energy Future. Take note of two important words in the book’s title, electrify and optimist. Griffith’s strategy circles around the transformation of our infrastructure to electrify everything, update our grid, and adapt homes to make it possible. And then there’s optimism: if we’re to build the future we dream of, a realistic yet optimistic outlook is necessary. After all, desperation and doom haven’t successfully elicited the unified global response needed to shift our trajectory; but we can change. Griffith shared the blueprints for exactly how.
    Saul Griffith is an inventor, entrepreneur, and engineer. He is the founder of Rewiring America, a nonprofit dedicated to decarbonizing America by electrifying everything, and founder and chief scientist at Otherlab. He was a recipient of a MacArthur “genius grant” in 2007.
    David Roberts writes for his newsletter, Volts, and previously wrote for Vox and Grist. Over the past 15+ years, he’s written for several other publications and appeared on a variety of TV shows, radio programs, and podcasts.
    Buy the Book: Electrify: An Optimists Playbook for Our Clean Energy Future (Hardcover) from Third Place Books
    Presented by Town Hall Seattle. To become a member or make a donation click here. 

    • 1 hr 13 min
    161. Michael Lenox and Rebecca Duff with Nick Licata: Decarbonizing the Global Economy by 2050

    161. Michael Lenox and Rebecca Duff with Nick Licata: Decarbonizing the Global Economy by 2050

    The year 2050 once felt like a far-off speck on a distant horizon. But with less than three decades left before we reach the halfway point of the 21st century, that faraway mote doesn’t feel quite so distant. Is it possible to avoid the worst effects of climate change by then? What efforts can we focus on to truly make an impact?
    In The Decarbonization Imperative, Professor Michael Lenox and Rebecca Duff described the urgent situation we’re in and why the year 2050 is so significant. They clearly and methodically broke down 5 key sectors— Energy, Transportation, Industrial, Building, and Agricultural— to look at which technologies stand the best chance of decarbonizing each sector. They also considered areas where investments and policy actions are needed to quicken the pace of adopting new technologies. The good news? In some sectors, clean technology is emerging or already exists; we only need a plan to transition in time.
    Lenox and Duff reminded us that climate change isn’t just looming; it’s here. And while there’s no shortage of work to do, there’s a pathway to get there through innovation and disruption of the status quo. The Decarbonization Imperative shows us how.
    Michael Lenox is the Tayloe Murphy Professor of Business Administration and Senior Associate Dean and Chief Strategy Officer at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business and co-author of Can Business Save the Earth? and The Decarbonization Imperative. His work has been cited by the New York Times, the Financial Times, and The Economist. He has been recognized as a Faculty Pioneer by the Aspen Institute, as the top strategy professor under 40 by the Strategic Management Society, and one of the top 40 business professors under 40 by Poets&Quants.
    Rebecca Duff is Senior Research Associate at the Batten Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. She also serves as the managing director for the Institute’s Business Innovation and Climate Change Initiative. She has more than 20 years of experience conducting industry and technology research, with a particular focus on product development, emerging technologies, and policy and market interventions.
    Nick Licata was elected to five terms on the Seattle City Council before leaving office at the end of 2015 to pursue helping citizens influence government policies. His new book, Becoming a Citizen Activist: Stories, Strategies and Advice on How to Change Our World, recaps his and others strategies and how they can be applied to current issues.
    Buy the Book: The Decarbonization Imperative: Transforming the Global Economy by 2050 
    Presented by Town Hall Seattle. To become a member or make a donation click here. 

    • 1 hr 20 min
    160. Kyle Harper—Plagues Upon the Earth: Disease and the Course of Human History

    160. Kyle Harper—Plagues Upon the Earth: Disease and the Course of Human History

    Escaping infectious disease and managing its spread has long been at the forefront of the human mind; it’s certainly taken front and center in the minds of today’s humans as the globe continues to wade through the COVID-19 pandemic.
    In an especially timely and fascinating look at the story of disease past and present, historian Kyle Harper explained the evolutionary past of humanity’s uniquely dangerous disease pool in Plagues Upon the Earth: Disease and the Course of Human History. Disease, he argued, is accelerated by technological progress and entangled with the history of slavery, colonialism, and capitalism. And while triumph over disease helps our lives progress, it’s actually destabilizing the environment and fostering new diseases. Gulp. But all is not lost. Harper pointed out what we can learn by looking at history while simultaneously looking forward, examining patterns of wealth, health, power, and inequality, paired with insights from cutting-edge genetic research. And, he reminded us, that human health is intrinsically connected to the health of the planet itself.
    Dr. Kyle Harper is Professor of Classics and Letters and Provost Emeritus at The University of Oklahoma. Dr. Harper is a historian of the ancient world whose work has spanned economic, environmental, and social history. His book, Plagues Upon the Earth, is a New Statesman Essential Non-Fiction Book of 2021. His other books include The Fate of Rome: Climate, Disease, and the End of an Empire (Princeton) and From Shame to Sin: The Christian Transformation of Sexual Morality in Late Antiquity.
    Buy the Book: Plagues Upon the Earth: Disease and the Course of Human History (Princeton Economic History of the Western World #106) (Hardcover) from Third Place Books
    Presented by Town Hall Seattle. To become a member or make a donation click here. 

    • 44 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
10 Ratings

10 Ratings

CC_onTheMtn ,

Such great topics!

Thought provoking talks, great Q&A, a worthy dialog. It’s almost as good as being there. So glad THS is broadcasting these good discussions.

(tim jack) ,

Cool Beans & Rad Podcast

Solid, professional, and entertaining! Tons of great material in here. My morning commute just a little more educational.

msa1912 ,

Large selection of interesting speakers

I really enjoy this podcast. It includes an ecclectic mix of speakers. Very well produced.

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