About Joel Parker


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Joel Parker has written 88 articles so far, you can find them below.


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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Creative (Climate) Communications

9781316646823Creative (Climate) Communications [starts at 7:40] As a climate scientist Professor Max Boykoff is part of a community that has been persistently making the case that global warming is a serious problem, with severe and widespread consequences and that human activity is contributing to the problem and significant changes in human behavior is instrumental to addressing the problem, and averting disaster.

Despite advances in the realm of science, the effort to change attitudes, habits, beliefs and ultimately behavior and policy, has not been nearly successful enough.  And so Max Boykoff, as Director of the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research, studies, specifically in the realm of science, how opinions are formed, why arguments are believed or dismissed, what really works to motivate individuals to change habits and what really works to impel societies and governments to switch policies and priorities.  With global warming the stakes could not be higher. And so this sets the stage for his latest book released just last month from Cambridge University Press: Creative (Climate) Communications.

Host, ProducerEngineer: Chip Grandits
Additional Contributions: Joel Parker
Executive Producer
: Beth Bennett

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Great Lunar Expedition for Everyone

gleeGLEE (starts at 8:06) We just recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of the first Moon landing.  After the Apollo missions, scientists have returned to the Moon with robotic missions because of the scientific clues the Moon can provide about the history of the Earth and the solar system, as well as learning more about the lunar environment and resources in preparation for an eventual return of humans – perhaps for the long term.

The journey to the Moon and space research often evokes images of large complex spacecraft costing hundreds of millions of dollars.  However, a new project plans to take a new approach: sending hundreds of much smaller and much less expensive spacecraft.  This project is called the Great Lunar Expedition for Everyone, or GLEE, and our guests today are here to talk about GLEE, how it will work, and what science they plan to do.

Victor Andersen is a Research Manager at the Colorado Space Grant Consortium that is one of the groups leading the project.   Tristan Schoeman is a student in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Colorado at Boulder, and is a Project Manager and Mechanical Engineer on GLEE.

Host, ProducerEngineer: Joel Parker
Additional Contributions: Beth Bennett, Shelley Schlender
Executive Producer
: Beth Bennett

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PUNCH-ing the Sun

whatpunchdoes

This image shows a background image of the Sun overlaid with outlines of the PUNCH Wide Field Imagers (WFIs) and the Narrow Field Imager (NFI) occulting the disk of the Sun.
(image credit: SwRI)

The PUNCH mission (starts at 8:05) NASA’s new mission to study the Sun is called PUNCH (Polarimeter to Unify the Corona and Heliosphere).  In this episode of How on Earth we talk with solar physicist Dr. Craig DeForest, the Principal Investigator of the PUNCH mission.  Dr. DeForest is a Program Director at the Boulder office of Southwest Research Institute, and he explains how PUNCH will use polarimetry to study the outer part of the solar atmosphere, the million-degree hot corona, and how it interacts and evolves into the solar wind.

Host, ProducerEngineer: Joel Parker
Additional Contributions: Beth Bennett, Shelley Schlender
Executive Producer
: Beth Bennett

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2019 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.

IMG_20190510_144132134Marcus Piquette – CU Boulder, Department of Astrophysical & Planetary Sciences
Topic: In-Situ Observations of the Interplanetary Dust Population from Earth to the Kuiper Belt

 

Headshot-CU-cropDavid Reens – CU Boulder, Department of Physics
Topic: Pushing the Limits for Directly Cooled Molecules

 

Reens_HeadshotAbigail Reens– CU Boulder, Department Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology
Topic: Salmonella Within Macrophages – An Extreme Environment: Small Molecule Inhibitors of Bacterial Efflux and the Roles of Bacterial Lipid Metabolism and Mammalian Co-culture During Infection

Host / Producer / Engineer : Joel Parker

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An Astronomical Journey with Michelle Thaller

616418main_M_Thaller-226This special edition of How on Earth is produced in conjunction with the Conference on World Affairs.  Our guest a participants of the Conference: Dr. Michelle Thaller, assistant director of science at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.  Her path has taken her from Harvard to Georgia State University to Caltech to NASA. Dr. Thaller has studied hot stars, colliding stellar winds, binary star evolution, evolved stellar companions, and infrared astronomy.  She is one of the regular hosts of the Discovery Science Channel shows: “How the Universe Works” and “Space’s Deepest Secrets” and hosts the podcast “Orbital Path” on public radio.

Host / Producer / Engineer /  Executive Producer: Joel Parker

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This View of Life: Completing the Darwinian Revolution

9781101870204This View of Life (starts 6:56) In this episode of How on Earth, we talk with David Sloan Wilson, an evolutionary biologist with a special interest in human biocultural evolution. Dr. Wilson is Distinguished Professor of Biology and Anthropology at SUNY Binghamton, and president of the Evolution Institute as well as editor in chief of its online magazine This View of Life.  It is not just about biology, these ideas are formed by decades of research and drawing on studies that cover topics from the breeding of hens to the timing of cataract surgeries for infants to the organization of of an automobile plant.  Last month he published his latest book, also titled This View of Life to present a comprehensive case for what he calls Completing the Darwinian Revolution.

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

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A Tale of Two Missions: OSIRIS-REx and New Horizons

OSIRIS-REx (starts at 1:00) IBennuNorthPolePassDec4n today’s first feature, we hear about OSIRIS-REx, NASA’s first mission to do a sample return from an asteroid.  Our guest is Dr. Vicky Hamilton, a Staff Scientist at the Southwest Reserarch Institute’s Boulder office, and a member of that mission.  She talks about the scientific goals of OSIRIS-REx, and how it plans to obtain and return a sample of the asteroid Bennu.

 

New Horizons (starts at 14:05) Year-of-KBO-artworkOur second spacey feature is about a mission that you might describe as exploring “beyond the beyond”. The piano-sized, nuclear-powered New Horizons spacecraft flew by Pluto over 3 years ago, and now has its sights set on an even more distant target named Ultima Thule. To talk about that, we have another local scientist from Southwest Research Institute, Dr. Cathy Olkin, Institute Scientist and also a New Horizons mission Deputy Project Scientist.  We hear about the flyby events that will take place on New Year’s Eve.

 

Host, Producer, and Engineer: Joel Parker
Executive Producer: Susan Moran

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Titan Talk with Sarah Hörst

Headlines: Inheritance of mitochondrial DNA.  Coffee and Parkinson’s disease. Sending your name and a message to the New Horizons spacecraft.  Winds on Mars.  Water on Asteroids.

16278_PIA20016Feature: Titan (starts at 8:55) The solar system has so many different worlds that come in all shapes and sizes and histories, from boiling hot Mercury and Venus to icy Pluto and the Kuiper belt.  Such extreme alien worlds are exciting, but perhaps the places that catch our imaginations the most are the ones that are more familar – perhaps with the hope of humans one day visiting there and even living there.  So we think of places that have atmospheres and have – or once had – liquid water. But then there are those places that live in what you might call “the uncanny valley” between familiar and alien, and perhaps Saturn’s moon Titan fits into that category, with an atmosphere (but not one that you would want to breathe) and lakes (but not ones you would want to swim in).

Our guest today is Titan researcher  Dr. Sarah Hörst, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Johns Hopkins University, where she also is a member of the Hopkins Extreme Materials Institute. She is a Co-Investigator in the proposed Dragonfly mission to Titan.  You can also follow her on Twitter as @PlanetDr.

Hosts: Joel Parker, Chip Grandits, Gretchen Wettstein
Producer and Engineer: Joel Parker
Executive Producer: Susan Moran
Contributor: Beth Bennett

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