About Joel Parker


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Joel Parker has written 96 articles so far, you can find them below.


Science On Stage

ScienceShorts800x400

Sometimes it seems that science and art are completely different worlds but that has not always been the case. There is a long history of artistic scientists and scientific artists.  In this edition of How on Earth, we talk about the alchemy of transmogrifying science into theatre.

Our guests include two scientists and two playwrights who collaborated to create plays inspired by scientific research as part of a theatre project produced by the Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company.  The production is called “Science Shorts“, which will be streaming the performances online Thursday through Sunday this week, January 21-24.  The production will feature readings of four short plays by Colorado playwrights, and four short talks by the local scientists who inspired their work.

Our science guests are geophysicist Dr. Neesha Schnepf and biologist Ashley Whipple, and our playwrights are Nigel Knutzen and Ellen K. Graham.  Neesha and Nigel collaborated on creating the play Trinal, which takes three different perspectives on tsunamis and their impact.   Ashley’s and Ellen’s play, On The Rocks, follows American pikas and what they have to teach us about resilience in the face of environmental and other stress.

Host & Producer: Joel Parker
Executive Producer: Beth Bennett

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Recycling Lithium-ion Batteries

figure from Xu et al. 2020, Joule, vol. 4, p. 2609

Figure from Xu et al. 2020, Joule, vol. 4, p. 2609

Our lives have been changed by lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries which are everywhere: in our cell phones, cars, toys, power tools and grid energy storage. Indeed, the 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to the three scientists who invented and developed them.  As the world manufactures more and more Li-ion batteries, what are the challenges and opportunities for recycling them?  How can we prevent the batteries from ending up in landfills where the toxic metals inside can leak out?   In this episode, we talk with Dr. Zheng Chen, a professor of nanoengineering at the University of California, San Diego, and co-author on the paper “Efficient Direct Recycling of Lithium-Ion Battery Cathodes by Targeted Healing” published a few weeks ago in the journal Joule

Hosts: Jill Sjong, Joel Parker
Feature: Shelley Schlender
Executive Producer: Beth Bennett
Show Producer: Joel Parker
Engineer: Sam Fuqua

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Clean – The New Science of Skin

31hxj3045QLHow clean is “clean”?  How do you get clean, and how important is it…could it actually be advantageous to your skin and general health to not try to get too clean?  We talk with medical doctor and author Dr. James Hamblin about his new book “Clean:  The New Science Of Skin“.

Hosts: Chip Grandits, Joel Parker
Executive Producer: Jill Sjong
Show Producer and Engineer: Joel Parker
Additional Contributions: Shelley Schlender

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Formation of Pluto and Its Ocean

plutoFive years ago today on July 14, 2015, the New Horizons spacecraft made the first reconnaissance of Pluto, collecting data that continue to be analyzed and provide surprises of this distant world.  On this 5th anniversary of the Pluto flyby, our guest is Dr. Carver Bierson, who is a planetary scientist at Arizona State University.  Carver has been involved with the New Horizons mission, and recently published a paper about Pluto based on data from the mission.  We talk with him about results in the paper titled: “Evidence for a Hot Start and Early Ocean Formation on Pluto

Host / Producer : Joel Parker
Engineer: Maeve Conran
Additional Contributions: Beth Bennett

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2020 Graduation Special

diploma-and-graduation-hatWith graduation season is upon us, today’s edition of How on Earth is our annual “Graduation Special”. Our guests in the studio today are scientists who have or will soon receive their Ph.D. in a STEM-related field.  They talk about their thesis research, their grad school experiences, and what they have planned next.

image Hayley Sohn – CU Boulder, Materials Science and Engineering Program
Topic: Large-Scale Patterning and Dynamics of Topological Solitons in Chiral Nematic Liquid Crystals

 

Portrait2015_crop (1)Clement Zheng – CU Boulder, ATLAS Institute
Topic: Everyday Materials for Physical Interactive Systems

 

IMG_6285Jennifer Berry – CU Boulder, Chemistry
Topic: Development and Application of Chemical Ionization Mass Spectrometry for Measuring Terrestrial and Exoplanetary Organic Nitrogen

Host / Producer : Joel Parker
Engineer: Maeve Conran

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COVID-19: ACE, Targeted Therapies, Old & New Medicines

Antimicrobial Regeneration Consortium LogoThis episode talks about research about COVID-19, angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE), and targeted therapies, and our feature is an interview with CU-Boulder scientists Anushree Chatterjee and Prashant Nagpal. This husband and wife science team explains why there may be a downside to adapting old medications to fight Covid-19.  They’ll also explain their anguish about why creating new “drugs” to fight Covid-19 cannot happen as fast as they or anyone would like.  They have founded the Antimicrobial REgeneration Consortium, with the goal of speeding up the creation and availability of antimicrobial medicines.  They are also developing a way to give people a tiny dose of nanoparticles–basically incredibly tiny microchips, preprogrammed to specifically target a disease such as Covid-19  (see our earlier discussions with them).

Host: Beth Bennett, Angele Sjong, Shelley Schlender, Joel Parker
Producer: Joel Parker, Beth Bennett
Engineer: Maeve Conran
Executive Producer: Joel Parker

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Miracle Brew (encore feature) // COVID-19 // Drying Towels

This week on How On Earth, we present an Encore Feature from January 2018 about the science and art of brewing beer with guest Pete Brown, author of Miracle Brew.  This episode also includes new headlines about current research about COVID-19 and about the science of drying towels outside.

Host: Beth Bennett
Producer: Joel Parker, Beth Bennett
Engineer: Maeve Conran
Additional contributions: Angele Sjong
Executive Producer: Beth Bennett

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Space Mining

image credit: DSI/Bryan Versteeg

image credit: DSI/Bryan Versteeg

Space Mining [starts at 9:20] Stars have been called “diamonds in the sky,” but there are other valuable and more accessible resources up there.  Asteroids might be the next gold rush, though for resources other than gold, if there are ways to actually get there and mine them.  Can we do that? And, even if we can, does it make economic and environmental sense to do it?  Joining us for this episode of How on Earth is Dr. Matt Beasley, a Senior Program Manager at Southwest Research Institute, and he is a planetary scientist who has been involved in the development of space mining concepts.

Executive Producer: Beth Bennett
Producer: Joel Parker
Headlines: Angele Sjong, Joel Parker
Engineer: Joel Parker

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Randall Munroe Explains “How To”

howto_finalHow To [starts at 4:30] Our guest for this episode is Randall Munroe, perhaps best known for his comic xkcd, and author of the books “What If” and “Thing Explainer”.  Randall has figured out how to do many things, so he wrote a new book appropriately called “How To”, which promises to provide absurd scientific advice for common real world problems.  Absurd?  Sometimes. (well, often actually)  Amusing and informative?  Definitely.  Have you ever wanted to build a lava moat?  Have you ever wondered what kind of gas mileage  your house would get on the highway?  What are the energy requirements and logistics of boiling vs. freezing a river?  And what about landing an airplane on a submarine?  All of those questions and more (pirates!) are addressed in “How To”, and we talk about some of them in  this episode of How on Earth.

Host, Producer, Engineer: Joel Parker

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At the Intersection of Science and Art with Jorge Perez-Gallego

dsc09823We talk with University of Colorado Scholar in Residence Jorge Perez-Gallego about many non-traditional paths one might take after getting a science Ph.D. as well as CU’s Grand Challenge and the fascinating intersection of science and art through the Nature, Environment, Science & Technology (NEST) Studio for the Arts.

Host, Producer, Engineer: Joel Parker
Additional Contributions: Shelley Schlender

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