Sciographies is a podcast and radio program on CKDU 88.1 FM (Halifax, NS). The show introduces listeners to scientists at Dalhousie. Each episode explores events in the guest’s life that led to a career in science, while also exploring their research. Available on Apple and Android podcast apps.
Now into its second season, the show is hosted by David Barclay, assistant professor in the Department of Oceanography, produced by Niecole Killawee and Jocelyn Adams from the Faculty of Science.
Read more about Sciographies in Dal News.
4pm | Thursdays | CKDU 88.1 FM
Sep 12 - Oct 31, 2019
*The opening theme song of Sciographies includes pieces of Hugh Le Caine’s ‘Dripsody’ and Lee Rosevere’s ‘Star Song.’
Episode 12: Eric Oliver, Oceanographer *new episode Oct 17
- Radio show: CKDU 88.1 FM, 4pm, Thu, Oct 17, 2019
- Podcast: available on all podcast apps and on here (soundcloud.com/sciographies)
In this episode, we interview Dr. Eric Oliver, an assistant professor and oceanographer here at Dalhousie. Dr. Oliver outlines how climate change is increasing the occurrence of marine heatwaves in the ocean. He also shares his hope for a future where traditional Indigenous knowledge is combined with scientific data to conduct research that has meaningful impact for Northern communities, as he himself is a scientist of Inuit-descent with roots in Rigolet, Nunatsiavut.
Dr. Oliver grew up in Labrador and spent plenty of time enjoying the great outdoors with family. Then he majored in physics and math before building a career in oceanography after doing his PhD here at Dalhousie. Today, Dr. Oliver studies climate modelling, ocean modelling, and marine heatwaves. They’re just like those we experience on land, but instead they impact marine ecosystems. Dr. Oliver is also working on new ocean research projects within, for, and by Inuit communities on the north coast of Labrador.
Episode 11: John Gosse, Geologist *new episode
In this episode, we interview Dr. John Gosse, a geologist with Dalhousie University’s Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences.
We discuss growing up in Newfoundland, his adventurous undergrad years studying earth sciences, and how some of his latest research will help us better understand the risk of natural disasters in the Canadian Arctic as global temperatures continue to rise.
Dr. Gosse uses specializes in using cosmic ray Isotope techniques to study how vast landscapes form and change over time. His research has brought him to The Andes, The Rockies, and The Himalayas. He has also explored the lesser known Torngat Mountains in Northern Labrador.
Dr. Gosse spends a lot of time looking far, far into the pasts of massive mountains and glaciers, but his research also contributes to the fundamental science around prediction of natural disasters like earthquakes, landslides, and tsunamis.
Episode 10: Megan Bailey, Fisheries Economist *new episode
In this episode, we interview Dr. Megan Bailey, a fisheries economist with Dalhousie University’s Marine Affairs Program. We discuss her artistic hobbies, changing her focus and finding her passion, and what it’s like to work at the intersection of ecological science and social science.
Dr. Bailey grew up in London, Ontario with a love of animals that led her to a zoology degree. She then spent a year studying the behaviour of monkeys in the Suriname jungle, hoping to one day become a primatologist. While there, though, she found her mind was more occupied with questions about the jungle’s natural resources and how the local communities were using them. When Dr. Bailey returned to Canada, she course-corrected her career path and pursued a Master’s and PhD in fisheries economics instead.
Now Dr. Bailey is a Canada Research Chair in Integrated Ocean and Coastal Governance. Her research informs public and private policies around seafood production and consumption all over the world. Her motivations are guided by the belief that ocean resources can be governed in ways that consider both ecological resilience and the social-wellbeing of communities that rely heavily on local fisheries.
Episode 9: Alastair Simpson, Evolutionary Biologist *new episode
In this episode, we interview Dalhousie University’s Dr. Alastair Simpson, an evolutionary biologist. We talk to him about a widely-publicized paper his team landed in the journal Nature last fall, and how studying the genetic information of microbes helps us better understand the evolution of complex lifeforms on Earth. We also take a break from the science to discuss the sport that helps Dr. Simpson get through Canadian winters.
Dr. Simpson grew up in Sydney, Australia. He first came to North America for some of his graduate work at the storied Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute.
Then he landed a post-doc position here at Dalhousie in the Med School’s Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology—and he’s been with the university ever since.
Dr. Simpson was drawn to evolutionary biology in his undergrad because of how much we still don’t know about complex lifeforms on Earth. Today, he contributes to his field with research on eukaryotic microbes, also known as 'Protists". They’re organisms with complex cells—just like us—but they don’t belong to the animal kingdom, and they aren’t plants or fungi either. These microbes form many different branches on the Tree of Life, and Dr. Simpson’s team is particularly interested in the species that are predators; the ones that eat other microbes to survive and reproduce themselves.
Read Q&A article on Alastair Simpson
Episode 8: Jason Brown, Mathematician *new episode
In this episode, we interview Dalhousie University mathematician Dr. Jason Brown. We talk to him about his early days playing guitar in a band with his siblings, the real-world applications of graph theory, and the mathematics behind Beatles music.
In his free time, Dr. Brown enjoys playing music and writing songs. He’s been performing in front of audiences for decades and has even recorded his own album (Songs in the Key of Pi).
Back in 2004, some of Dr. Brown’s research made international headlines when he first used the power of math to figure out what was really going on with the mysterious opening chord of A Hard Day’s Night by the Beatles. Since then, he’s continued to explore music mathematically and publish the results.
Episode 7: Sara Iverson, Marine Biologist *new episode
In this episode, we interview Dr. Sara Iverson to learn about her upbringing in Michigan, her fascinating path through university and grad school, what it’s like to work in the field with wild animals, and how to tag sharks and track them for studies that inform conservation policies.
Dr. Sara Iverson is a marine biologist with Dalhousie University and the Scientific Director of the Ocean Tracking Network. She’s also a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada—an honour that recognizes her life’s work studying physiological ecology. Her research takes her to remote locations in North America and the Arctic to study seabirds, seals, sea lions and polar bears in their natural habitats. Mattel and National Geographic even chose her as the role model for their recently-released polar marine biologist Barbie.
Episode 6: Jeff Dahn, Battery Scientist – Focus, Drive & Energy Storage Solutions
He went from the varsity soccer team at Dalhousie to striking a deal that made him Tesla’s first university research partner ever. Physicist Jeff Dahn isn’t one to “stand around and let grass grow” under his feet. He has led a highly-acclaimed career in battery science. Known around the world as one of the pioneering developers of the lithium-ion batteries now found in portable electronics, power tools, electric vehicles and large-scale energy storage, Dr. Dahn has been recognized with awards like Canada’s NSERC Gerhard Herzberg Gold Medal in Science and Engineering. Now an Industrial Research Chair with NSERC and Tesla Canada, Dr. Dahn works to improve how much energy Li-ion batteries can store, how long they last over time, and how they’re made in an effort to reduce their cost. In between running his 25-member lab group, he teaches the first-year physics course at Dalhousie. In this episode, he talks about how he built a successful career as a scientist in government, industry and academia. He also comments on how Li-ion batteries are currently the best energy storage solution but alternatives, while in their infancy now, can also help us solve our energy problems in the future.
Episode 5: Sarah Wells, Biomedical Engineer - Heart Tissues & Spider Silk
She went from feeling personally responsible for documenting a lunar eclipse as a kid to taking hints from nature to inspire her research as a biomedical scientist and engineer. Dr. Sarah Wells is the Assistant Dean of the Medical Sciences program at Dalhousie University and a professor in both the Department of Physics and Atmospheric Sciences and the School of Biomedical Engineering. She tells us about reading every astronomy book in the Lucan, Ontario library and her work on understanding natural materials like heart tissues in pregnant women. Having a fundamental understanding of how natural materials work, she says, can lead to better high-performance engineering materials, medical treatments and more.
Episode 4: Jordan Kyriakidis, Experimental Physicist - Quantum Computing
He went from quantum theory to co-founding his own tech start-up. Jordan Kyriakidis grew up in Toronto, the child of Greek immigrants. He makes bold moves. First, he moved halfway across the country with his then-girlfriend after his second year of undergrad. Now he’s the CEO and President of QRA Corp., a company the associate professor with Dal’s Department of Physics and Atmospheric Science formed after working with an industry partner on quantum computing research. He tells us about how being a scientist isn’t so different from being a CEO, the difference between theoretical physics and experimental physics, and how an automated future demands innovation in science and engineering.
Episode 3: Mita Dasog, Chemist - Clean Energy
She went from a little girl playing in her dad’s laboratory in India to earning recognition as one of Canada’s Top 150 Women in STEM last year. Mita Dasog started university at age 16, got hired as a summer research assistant at 17, then earned her PhD in her mid-20s. Now she’s an assistant professor of Chemistry and her work involves designing new materials for use in renewable energy solutions. She tells us about growing up in India, how she fell in love with science, and the challenges she and other scientists face as they try to move society away from burning fossil fuels for energy.
Episode 2: Sean Barrett, Psychologist – Substance Use and the Legalization of Cannabis
He went from flunking a year in high school to identifying a gap in scientific research on dopamine and smoking tobacco as an undergraduate sociology major. When the young Sean Barrett realized he couldn’t fill that gap through the lens of sociology, he switched to psychology and completed an honours project that served as the foundation for the rest of his career. Now Dr. Sean Barrett is a professor in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience and head of the Dalhousie Substance Use and Addictions Lab. There he studies substances like tobacco and alcohol to better understand how various factors contribute to different addictive behaviours. Now that Canada has announced the approaching legalization of cannabis, becoming the second nation in the world to do so, Sean and other Canadian researchers like him will be able to access cannabis for studies more easily than ever before. Those studies will build the much-needed scientific knowledge on the substance and its uses. He talks to us about his life, research and how the legalization of cannabis impacts his lab.
Episode 1: Kimberley Davies, Oceanographer – Endangered North Atlantic Right Whales
She went from creating her own poetry zines to publishing her first scientific paper in Nature Geoscience while she was an undergrad. Oceanographer and post-doctoral fellow Kimberley (Kim) Davies tells us about growing up on the West Coast, her transformative experience watching humpback whales in Haida Gwaii and how she still gets sea sick every time she boards a ship. When the endangered North Atlantic right whale population off the east coast of North America lost 12 members last summer in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Dr. Davies was considered one of the key experts on the case. She was often asked to explain the situation in national and international news coverage. In this episode of Sciographies, Dr. Davies also explains how her past and current research helps decision makers understand more about these whales and where they go to find food.
Read about Dr. Davies research on Dal News: Saving the North Atlantic right whale.She went from creating her own poetry zines to publishing her first scientific paper in Nature Geoscience while she was an undergrad. Oceanographer and post-doctoral fellow Kimberley (Kim) Davies tells us about growing up on the West Coast, her transformative experience watching humpback whales in Haida Gwaii and how she still gets sea sick every time she boards a ship. When the endangered North Atlantic right whale population off the east coast of North America lost 12 members last summer in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Dr. Davies was considered one of the key experts on the case. She was often asked to explain the situation in national and international news coverage. In this episode of Sciographies, Dr. Davies also explains how her past and current research helps decision makers understand more about these whales and where they go to find food.
Season One (2018)
Sciographies was produced by the Faculty of Science to celebrate Dalhousie University's 200th Anniversary.
In it's first season, the show was co-hosted by neuroscience student Shauna Bulman and David Barclay, assistant professor in the Department of Oceanography. The editorial and technical production was done by Niecole Comeau, the communications officer in the Faculty of Science.
*The opening theme song of Sciographies includes pieces of Hugh Le Caine’s ‘Dripsody’ and Lee Rosevere’s ‘Star Song.’