About Joel Parker


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Joel Parker has written 60 articles so far, you can find them below.


New Adventures in Astronomy with Gerrit Verschuur

Gerrit-VerschuurToday’s How on Earth show is a special edition in conjunction with the Conference on World Affairs panel entitled: “New Adventures in Astronomy”. Our guest is Gerrit Verschuur, a radio astronomer who has worked at Jodrell Bank radio observatory in the United Kingdom, National Radio Astronomy Observatory in West Virginia, and Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico.  Dr. Verschuur also was a faculty member at the University of Colorado, Boulder and was the first director of the Fiske Planetarium.  His work has ranged from measuring the interstellar magnetic field, to the search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, to measuring the small-scale structure in the cosmic microwave background.  He has published numerous books including “The Invisible Universe: The Story of Radio Astronomy” and “Impact! The Threat of Comets and Asteroids.”

Host / Producer / Engineer: Joel Parker
Executive Producer:Susan Moran

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Of Wasps and Figs

511tQZJac7L._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_Today’s feature has How on Earth’s Beth Bennett talking with Dr. Mike Shanahan, a biologist who has a degree in rainforest ecology.  He has lived in a national park in Borneo, bred endangered penguins, and investigated illegal bear farms.  His writing has appeared in The Economist, Nature, and The Ecologist, and he also was the illustrator for the book: Extraordinary Animals: An Encyclopedia of Curious and Unusual Animals.  His interests delve into what people think about nature and our place in it.  Beth had a chance to talk with Dr. Shanahan about his new book: Gods, Wasps and Stranglers: The Secret History and Redemptive Future of Fig Trees.

Host: Joel Parker
Producer, Engineer, Executive Producer: Joel Parker
Additional contributions: Beth Bennett, Shelley Schlender

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Earth in Human Hands – Shaping our Planet’s Future

Dr. David Grinspoon (photo by Lawrence Cheng)

Dr. David Grinspoon
(photo by Lawrence Cheng)

Sometimes when we are having personal or health problems, it helps to get an outside perspective: talk to other friends who have experienced similar problems and how they dealt with them, and other friends about how they avoided those problems.  Talk to experts.  Then using all that input, we try to make the best choice to solve the problems and to live a long and happy life.  This is perhaps the situation we find ourselves in now with the health of our environment and the long-term viability of the human race.  So where to we look for that “outside perspective” and expert help?  The answer may be: look to other planets and talk to those who study them.  This is the approach astrobiologist Dr. David Grinspoon takes in his new book: “Earth in Human Hands: Shaping Our Planet’s Future”. Dr. Grinspoon is a senior scientist at the Planetary Science Institute, an adjunct professor at the University of Colorado, and in 2013 he was appointed the inaugural Chair of Astrobiology at the Library of Congress.  We had a chance to talk with Dr. Grinspoon about how he compares Earth’s story to those of other planets, and how our present moment is not only one of peril, but also great potential, especially when viewed from a 10,000-year perspective.

The podcast of the show is below, and you also can hear the extended interview here.

Hosts: Joel Parker, Susan Moran
Producer and Engineer: Joel Parker
Additional contributions: Beth Bennett
Executive Producer: Joel Parker

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Earth in Human Hands – extended interview

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This is the full interview with Dr. David Grinspoon, author of the book “Earth in Human Hands: Shaping Our Planet’s Future”.  Excerpts of this interview by Joel Parker aired on How on Earth on our January 10, 2017 show.

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2016 Retrospective

2016-resetFor this end-of-the-year How on Earth show, we look back to 2016 with clips from some of our features from the past year: selections from the Our Microbes, Ourselves series, research about Zika, gravitational waves, and carbon farming.  Those are just a few of the topics we covered in 2016, which also included: electric cars, electric airplanes, renewable energy, climate change, using the microbiome as indicator of length of time after death, star gazing, pesticides, life on other planets, planets around other stars, stars in other galaxies, eggs, plant diversity, marine animal sex, wildfires, recent science graduates describing their thesis work, PTSD, light pollution, pollinators, lead in water supplies, Alzheimer’s research, the Rosetta mission, the New Horizons mission, missions to Mars – past, present, and future, sleep, cell phones, and more!

Hosts: Joel Parker, Chip Grandits
Producer: Joel Parker
Engineer: Joel Parker
Executive Producer: Beth Bennett

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The Rosetta Mission

rosetta_descent_smallRosetta [feature starts at 5:27]
The Rosetta Space Mission has been in flight for ever 12 years and will be ending with a dramatic crash this Friday morning around 10:40 UT (4:40 am Mountain time) – it’s an event that will be watched and talked about by people around the world.

Rosetta is run by the European Space Agency, with contributions from NASA. The mission’s goals have been to study a comet to learn not only about how comets work, but what comets can tell us about the origins of the solar system, and perhaps connections to water and life. Rosetta was the first spacecraft to orbit and escort a comet as the comet approached and flew past the Sun, and Rosetta also carried a smaller spacecraft, named Philae, that performed the first landing on a comet.

The Rosetta mission has a very strong Colorado connection, since one of the instruments – an ultraviolet spectrograph called “Alice” – was operated from the offices of Southwest Research Institute right here in Boulder.We have three members of the Rosetta team here in the studio to talk about Rosetta, comets, and the rather exciting ending planned for the spacecraft in just a few days. Our guests are Andrew Steffl from Southwest Research Institute, John Pineau from Stellar Solutions, and John Noonan who is a recent astronomy graduate from the University of Colorado and is working at Southwest Research Institute.

There’s more information on the Rosetta Blog about how to follow the final events of the Rosetta mission.

Hosts: Joel Parker, Alejandro Soto
Producer and Engineer: Joel Parker
Executive Producer: Susan Moran
Additional Contributions: Beth Bennett, Shelley Schlender

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Gregory Benford – Science Fiction/Fact and Starshot

What are the qualities that make a good scientist?
What are the qualities that make a good science fiction writer?
515tlGA1GTL._UX250_Those skills do not necessarily overlap, but when they do, they not only can produce wonderful works of speculative fiction based on hard science, but they also can generate exciting new ideas for science research.

Our guest on today’s show inhabits both worlds; he is a professional scientist and a well-known science fiction writer. Dr. Gregory Benford is a professor of physics at the University of California, Irvin, where he has been a faculty member since 1971. Benford conducts research in plasma turbulence theory and experiment, and in astrophysics. He has published papers in fields of physics including condensed matter, particle physics, plasmas, mathematical physics, and even in biological conservation and geoengineering.

image3Dr. Benford also is a Nebula Award winning author of over twenty novels, including “Timescape”, “Jupiter Project”, “Artifact”, and “Against Infinity”, and the 6-book “Galactic Center Saga” series.  He also is an advisor on the Breakthrough Starshot project that has the goal to fly a spaceship to the nearest star.

Hosts: Joel Parker, Alejandro Soto
Producer and Engineer: Joel Parker
Executive Producer: Susan Moran

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Impacts of Fracking

A natural gas rig near Rifle, Colorado. © AP Photo/David Zalubowsk

A natural gas rig near Rifle, Colorado.
© AP Photo/David Zalubowsk

In Colorado, a boom in methane development over the past few years has raised questions about whether the environmental impacts are outpacing scientists’ ability to measure them. Shelley Schlender and Daniel Glick discuss the current state of the science looking into fracking’s impacts.  Here is a compendium of scientific, medical, and media findings demonstrating risks and harms of fracking.

Hosts: Daniel Glick, Shelley Schlender
Producer: Joel Parker
Engineer: Shelley Schlender
Headlines: Beth Bennett, Natalia Bayona, Joel Parker
Executive Producer: Susan Moran

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2016 Graduation Special – Part 2

diploma-and-graduation-hatIn this follow-up episode of our “Graduation Special” we talk with three more guests graduating with science Ph.D.’s from the University of Colorado in Boulder.  They join us to talk about their thesis research, their grad school experiences, and what they have planned next:

CarleighSamson_headshotCarleigh SamsonEnvironmental Engineering Program
Topic: Modeling Relationships between Climate, Source Water Quality and Disinfection Byproduct Formation and Speciation in Treated Drinking Water

 

View More: http://americanchemicalsociety.pass.us/headshotsPatrick BarbourDepartment of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Topic: Property-Guided Synthesis of Tricyclic Indolines to Confront Antibiotic Resistance in Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus

94938Greg ThompsonDepartment of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences
Topic: Advances in a Microphysics Parameterization to Predict Supercooled Liquid Water and Application to Aircraft Icing

Host / Engineer : Shelley Schlender
Producer : Joel Parker
Executive Producer : Shelley Schlender

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2016 Graduation Special – Part 1

diploma-and-graduation-hatThe graduation season is upon us and our guests in today’s show will be graduating with science Ph.D.’s from the University of Colorado in Boulder.  They join us to talk about their thesis research, their grad school experiences, and what they have planned next:

greg_banditGreg SalvesenDepartment of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences
Topic: Rethinking Accretion Disks Around Black Holes

 

small_headshotJesse NusbaumerDepartment of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences
Topic: An Examination of Atmospheric River Moisture Transport and Hydrology Using an Isotope-enabled Climate Model

Odessa ReunionOdessa GomezEnvironmental Engineering Program
Topic: Characterizing Responses of Primary Biological Aerosols to Oxidative Atmospheric Conditions

 

Host / Producer / Engineer : Joel Parker
Executive Producer: Shelley Schlender

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