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Sci on the Fly

Sci on the Fly brings you experts who work at the intersection of science and public policy. Run by AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellows – scientists and engineers passionate about policy – this podcast brings current issues to a general audience through lively and illuminating discussions. Read the companion blog at https://www.aaaspolicyfellowships.org/blog.
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Sci on the Fly
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Apr 19, 2019

The Department of Defense (DoD) shares a symbiotic relationship with the U.S. research ecosystem -- one that has generated tremendous breakthroughs for national security and economic prosperity. However, many people assume defense research is all tanks, ships and planes. In this episode, David Stout, a 2017-18 AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow at the National Science Foundation, catches up with speakers at the 2018 DoD Science, Technology, and Innovation Exchange (STIX) to learn more about the surprising breadth and depth of the work supported by the Defense enterprise.

This podcast does not necessarily reflect the views of AAAS, its Council, Board of Directors, officers, or members. AAAS is not responsible for the accuracy of this material. AAAS has made this material available as a public service, but this does not constitute endorsement by the association.

Oct 5, 2018

Advances in drug development and neurotechnology over the last century have noticeably increased our ability to target cognitive-behavioral networks and help those with physical disabilities. These and future advances could potentially provide a pathway by which to use drugs and/or devices to consistently enhance human cognition and behavior, rather than just treat or manage the symptoms of medical conditions. Currently, several prescription medications are being taken by the general public solely for their cognitive enhancing effects, and do-it-yourselfers are making neurostimulation devices at home in attempts to modulate the functioning of their own brains. In this Sci on the Fly episode we
discuss cognitive enhancement from a neuroethics perspective with Dr. Veljko Dubljevic, from NC State University. Dr. Dubljevic provides some valuable insight regarding the pros and cons of cognitive enhancement and the role of neuroethicists in informing the public debate on this issue.


Participants


Host: Carlos Faraco, Ph.D., Neuroscience
2016-18 Executive Branch Fellow, National Institute of Justice

Guest: Veljko Dubljevic, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy, NC State University

Director and Executive Producer: Carlos Faraco, Ph.D., Neuroscience

Aug 15, 2018

Bradley Cooke, a neuroscientist and current AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow at the National Science Foundation, speaks with Benjamin Munson, professor of speech and hearing science at the University of Minnesota, College of Liberal Arts. They discuss language acquisition and speech patterns in children, and how that may differ based on gender identity, group identity and social cognition. They also discuss variations across children with respect to how their speech adheres to norms for their biological sex. For example, is the extent to which a boy’s speech sounds boy-like related to measures of their gender identity?

 

This podcast does not necessarily reflect the views of AAAS, its Council, Board of Directors, officers, or members. AAAS is not responsible for the accuracy of this material. AAAS has made this material available as a public service, but this does not constitute endorsement by the association.
Read more at http://aaasstpf.libsyn.com/harnessing-the-data-revolution-for-food-energy-and-water-systems#VLP7eG3ALyHWdxpl.99

Aug 15, 2018

Ryan Locicero, environmental engineer and AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow at the National Science Foundation, speaks with Ranveer Chandra at the Microsoft Research Lab. As a principal researcher, Chandra leads an Incubation on IoT Applications. His research has shipped as part of multiple Microsoft products, including VirtualWiFi in Windows 7 onwards, low power Wi-Fi in Windows 8, Energy Profiler in Visual Studio, Software Defined Batteries in Windows 10, and the Wireless Controller Protocol in XBOX One. He has published more than 80 papers, and has been granted more than 85 patents by the USPTO. His research has been cited by the media including The Economist, MIT Technology Review, BBC, Scientific American, New York Times, and the WSJ. He also leads the battery research project and the white space networking projects. Here he discusses Microsoft’s FarmBeats project, which is building several unique solutions to enable data-driven farming, including low-cost sensors, drones, machine vision, and machine learning algorithms.

 

This podcast does not necessarily reflect the views of AAAS, its Council, Board of Directors, officers, or members. AAAS is not responsible for the accuracy of this material. AAAS has made this material available as a public service, but this does not constitute endorsement by the association.

Jul 16, 2018
In this episode Dr. Holly Summers, a plant biologist and current AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow at the US Department of Agriculture speaks further with Dr. Mónica Feliú-Mójer. Dr. Feliú-Mójer is a neurobiologist by training and Director of Communications and Science Outreach at Ciencia Puerto Rico, and associate director for diversity and communication training at iBiology. Here she will discuss key events in her life that drove her to pursue a career in science and to further seek out an opportunity with Ciencia Puerto Rico. Dr. Feliú-Mójer will also discuss how empowering people through the scientific method and the use of critical thinking skills can help to create agents of change, which can dramatically impact how communities effectively deal with local problems.
 
This podcast does not necessarily reflect the views of AAAS, its Council, Board of Directors, officers, or members. AAAS is not responsible for the accuracy of this material. AAAS has made this material available as a public service, but this does not constitute endorsement by the association.
Jun 29, 2018

Dr. Zack Valdez, a AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow in the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee with a background in engineering and geoscience, interviews Ortwinn Renn. Professor Renn is scientific director at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) in Potsdam (Germany), and serves as the spokesperson for the Kopernikus Project for the Energy Transition Navigation System, also known as ENavi. He discusses how Germany is attempting to reduce dependence on traditional fossil fuels by developing a sustainable and renewable energy infrastructure to account for 80% of Germany’s energy needs. Within this framework, Professor Renn explores social and economic factors relating to energy security, consumer preferences, and the use of digital technologies to more effectively manage energy consumption.

May 21, 2018

In this episode Richard Lewis, news officer at the University of Iowa, speaks with Dr. Ted Abel, Professor at the University of Iowa and Director of the Iowa Neuroscience Institute. As a trained biochemist and molecular biologist, the work in Dr. Abel’s lab focuses on using mouse models to understand the molecular mechanisms of memory storage and the molecular basis of neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorders. Here, you’ll hear Ted discuss how memories are formed through complex pathways involving the interactions of neurochemicals, genes, and neurons themselves, as well as how these pathways interact during periods of wakefulness and sleep to affect memory consolidation. He also discusses how his family’s experience with autism and work through the Iowa Neuroscience Institute, which he founded, is helping him and other researchers to understand various aspects of autism, including that which endows some autistic individuals with exceptional abilities.

This podcast does not necessarily reflect the views of AAAS, its Council, Board of Directors, officers, or members. AAAS is not responsible for the accuracy of this material. AAAS has made this material available as a public service, but this does not constitute endorsement by the association.

Apr 30, 2018

In this episode Carlos Faraco, a neuroscientist and current AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow (STPF) at the National Institute of Justice, speaks with Frances Colón, CEO of Jasperi Consulting, former Deputy Science Advisor at the Department of State under Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, and 2006-08 STPF fellow at the State Department. Broadly, they’ll discuss how Dr. Colón’s training as a developmental neurobiologist prepared her for a career in science policy, along with the issues which motivated her to make that leap. Specifically, she will discuss her work on climate change in the Americas while at the Department of State, how that work has helped inform her perspective on climate change and other issues she is working to address in South Florida, as well as how scientists and individuals from all walks of life can become more civically engaged. The discussion also delves into how local politics may differ from the national perspective, and how local leaders and scientists can step in to make impactful and necessary change at the local level.

Participants

Host: Carlos Faraco, Ph.D., Neuroscience
2016-2018 Executive Branch Fellow at the National Institutes of Justice

Frances Colón, Ph.D., Neuroscience

CEO, Jasperi Consulting

Former Deputy Science and Technology Adviser to the Secretary of State (2012-2017)

Twitter: @fcoloninfl

Executive Producer

Carlos Faraco, Ph.D., Neuroscience
2016-2018 Executive Branch Fellow at the National Institutes of Justice

This podcast does not necessarily reflect the views of AAAS, its Council, Board of Directors, officers, or members. AAAS is not responsible for the accuracy of this material. AAAS has made this material available as a public service, but this does not constitute endorsement by the association.

Apr 12, 2018

In this episode Dr. Allyson Kennedy, a developmental biologist and current AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow at the National Science Foundation, speaks with Monica Feliu-Mojer. Dr. Feliu-Mojer is a neurobiologist and director of communications and science outreach at Ciencia Puerto Rico, and associate director for diversity and communication training at iBiology. They discuss how scientists can transition from careers behind the bench to science communication and how that can allow them to impact local communities through outreach and education. Feliu-Mojer hopes to make people realize that science is truly a part of their everyday lives, and that diverse communities can effectively contribute to an enhanced understanding of various issues by bringing their unique perspectives.

This podcast does not necessarily reflect the views of AAAS, its Council, Board of Directors, officers, or members. AAAS is not responsible for the accuracy of this material. AAAS has made this material available as a public service, but this does not constitute endorsement by the association.

Apr 2, 2018
In this episode Dr. Holly Summers, a plant biologist and current AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow at the US Department of Agriculture, speaks with Dr. Nalini Nadkarni, an ecologist at the University of Utah. Dr. Nadkarni begins with the story of how she
became interested in the forest canopy, and the delicate nature and importance of the canopy to a healthy tropical forest. They then discuss how her work has helped to inspire and develop non-traditional community outreach programs working with prison inmates, allowing inmates to contribute to the scientific process through meticulous restoration work involving plant and animal life. Last and probably most unexpectedly, Dr. Nadkarni describes
how she got inspired to launch a line of clothing that features botanically correct images of nature.
 
 
Participants
 
Host: Holly Summers, Ph.D., Plant Biology
2017-18 Executive Branch Fellow at USDA
 
Nalini Nadkarni, Ph.D., Ecology
Professor of Biology, University of Utah 
 
Executive Producer
 
Carlos Faraco, Ph.D., Neuroscience
2016-18 Executive Branch Fellow at National Institutes of Justice
 
This podcast does not necessarily reflect the views of AAAS, its Council, Board of Directors, officers, or members. AAAS is not responsible for the accuracy of this material. AAAS has made this material available as a public service, but this does not constitute endorsement by the association.
Mar 23, 2018

In this episode Dr. Carlos Faraco speaks with Dr. Don Cleveland of
the University of California San Diego regarding his work on drug-based gene silencing therapies. Cleveland and the members of his lab use these therapies, also known as designer DNA drugs, to silence genes involved in the development of various neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s
and Lou Gehrig’s disease. In addition to these familiar diseases, they also discuss how designer DNA drugs may help those suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a neurodegenerative disease affecting individuals with a history of repeated head injury,
including athletes, military personnel, and domestic abuse victims. While the concept of chronic traumatic encephalopathy was first introduced in the early 1900s due to its prevalence in boxers, the cause of the disease has recently come under significant public scrutiny in the US due to several high-profile stories involving football players.

Participants

Host: Carlos Faraco, Ph.D., Neuroscience
2016-2018 Executive Branch Fellow at the National Institutes of Justice

Don Cleveland, Ph.D., Biomedical Sciences
Chair, Departmental of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, UCSD
Professor of Medicine, Neurosciences, and Cellular and Molecular Medicine, UCSD
Member, Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research

Executive Producer: Carlos Faraco, Ph.D., Neuroscience
2016-2018 Executive Branch Fellow at the National Institutes of Justice

This blog does not necessarily reflect the views of AAAS, its Council, Board of Directors, officers, or members. AAAS is not responsible for the accuracy of this material. AAAS has made this material available as a public service, but this does not constitute endorsement by the association.

Nov 17, 2017

In a world that plagued by incidents of violent extremism and terror, we are often presented with messages or news stories that focus on the leaders of extremist organizations or the perpetrators of such attacks. This type of messaging can be a distraction from more fully addressing the root cause of violent extremism through the use of human sciences such as psychology, sociology and anthropology.

In the second installment of our series on violent extremism, Valka-Mir Human Security Managing Partner Dr. Aleksandra Nesic explains why she believes social science concepts and approaches are needed when attempting to understand and address the root causes of extremist and violent extremist ideologies. Dr. Nesic will use her experience growing up in the former Yugoslavia during the wars in Bosnia and Kosovo as a lens through which to examine these concepts.

Participants

Host: Carlos Faraco, Ph.D., Neuroscience, 2016-2018 Executive Branch Fellow at the National Institutes of Justice

Aleksandra Nesic, Ph.D., Conflict Analysis and Resolution; Managing Partner of Valka-Mir Human Security R&D; Senior Social Scientist, US Army J.F.K. Special Warfare Education Group, Ft Bragg, NC; Visiting Research Professor, Joint Special Operations University

Executive Producer

Carlos Faraco, Ph.D., Neuroscience, 2016-2018 Executive Branch Fellow at the National Institutes of Justice

Image: Patrick Christian

This blog does not necessarily reflect the views of AAAS, its Council, Board of Directors, officers, or members. AAAS is not responsible for the accuracy of this material. AAAS has made this material available as a public service, but this does not constitute endorsement by the association.

Oct 26, 2017

In a world that is currently plagued by incidents of violent extremism and terror, we are often presented with messages or news stories that focus on the leaders of violent extremist organizations or the perpetrators of such attacks. That type of messaging has affected the way that government and the public view violent extremism. It may be a distraction from more fully addressing the root cause of violent extremism through the use of human sciences, such as psychology, sociology and anthropology.

In this episode, Dr. Patrick Christian will explain how he and his partners at ValkMir Human Security are changing the way the US military thinks and goes about intervening in communities targeted by violent extremist groups. By training the military on evidence-based findings from social science research, they aim to build communities resistant to violent extremism and violent extremist ideologies.

This blog does not necessarily reflect the views of AAAS, its Council, Board of Directors, officers, or members. AAAS is not responsible for the accuracy of this material. AAAS has made this material available as a public service, but this does not constitute endorsement by the association.

Aug 22, 2017

“Quantum physics” is often viewed in popular culture as being entirely incomprehensible. STPF fellows Eric Breckenfeld and Jonathan Trinastic speak with three physicists from government, academia and industry to discuss the phenomena studied in quantum physics and its relevance to our daily lives. One budding technology is quantum computing, an area of significant interest at IBM where users are permitted to submit code to their 5-qubit quantum computer at: https://quantumexperience.ng.bluemix.net/qstage/#/user-guide (link is external).

Participants

Host: Eric Breckenfeld, Ph.D. Materials Science and Engineering, 2016-2018 Executive Branch Fellow at the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office

Interviewer: Jonathan Trinastic, Ph.D. Physics, 2016-2018 Executive Branch Fellow at the Department of Energy

Gabe Perez-Giz, Ph.D. Physics, 2015-2017 Executive Branch Fellow at the National Science Foundation

Dmitri Kilin, Ph.D. Physics, Assistant Professor at North Dakota State University

Nick Bronn, Ph.D. Physics, Research Staff Member at IBM TJ Watson Research Center

Producers:

Eric Breckenfeld, Ph.D. Materials Science and Engineering, 2016-2018 Executive Branch Fellow at the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office

Alejandro de la Puente, Ph.D. Physics, 2016-2018 Executive Branch Fellow at the National Science Foundation

Executive Producer:

Carlos Faraco, Ph.D. Neuroscience, 2016-18 Executive Branch Fellow at the National Institute of Justice

 

Image: taken from Flickr, by the University of Exeter.

This blog does not necessarily reflect the views of AAAS, its Council, Board of Directors, officers, or members. AAAS is not responsible for the accuracy of this material. AAAS has made this material available as a public service, but this does not constitute endorsement by the association.

Jun 5, 2017

Americans waste 40% of their food. How did we become so wasteful and what can we do about it? Dr. Ariela Zycherman is joined by Dr. Irina Feygina of Climate Central, Jason Turgeon of the Environmental Protection Agency, and Maria Rose Belding and Grant Nelson from the MEANS database for a discussion about what parts of food we waste, why we waste, and what we can do to reduce waste across a variety of social, natural and built systems.

 

Participants:

Host: Ariela Zycherman, Ph.D. Anthropologist
2015-17 Executive Branch Fellow at the National Science Foundation

Irina Feygina, Ph.D. Social Psychology
Director of Behavioral Science at Climate Central
2013-2014 Congressional Branch Fellow
Twitter Handel @ClimateCentral

Jason Turgeon
Environmental Protection Agency, Region 1

Maria Rose Belding
Co-Founder/Executive Director, MEANS Database

Grant Nelson, JD
Co-Founder, CTO, MEANS Database
Twitter Handel @MEANSDatabase

 

Producers:

Carlos Faraco, Ph.D. Nueroscience
2016-2017 Executive Branch Fellow at the National Institute of Justice

Joseph Kliegman, Ph.D. Biophysics
2016-2017 Executive Branch Fellow at the National Science Foundation

Beth Linas, Ph.D. Epidemiologist
2015-17 Executive Branch Fellow at the National Science Foundation

 

Image courtesy of Flickr user Katie Campbell EarthFix/KCTS9.

The opinions and views expressed at or through this website are the opinions of the designated authors and do not reflect the opinions or views of AAAS or any USG agency, its employees or partners.

Apr 12, 2017

This is the first episode of a new series called “Scientists are People Too.” Each episode we will ask scientist questions related to their work and their daily lives. In this episode we ask scientists “What is the biggest mistake you have made in science or the most expensive piece of equipment you have broken?”

 

Participants:

Host: Danielle Friend, Ph.D. Neuroscience
2016-2017 Executive Branch Fellow at the National Institutes of Health

Emily Aurand, Neuroscience

2016-2017 Executive Branch Fellow at the National Science Foundation

Kelly Fleming, Chemical Engineer

2016-2017 Executive Branch Fellow U.S. Department of Energy

Laura Skipper Kalal, Ph.D. Psychology

2016-2017 Executive Branch Fellow at the National Science Foundation

Caitlin Mcguire, Ph.D. Chemistry

2016-2017 Legislative Branch Fellow

Jonathan Rayner, M.S. Aerospace Engineering

2016-2017 Executive Branch Fellow at the Department of State

Carrie Seltzer, Ph.D. Environmental Life Sciences

2016-2017 Executive Branch Fellow at the National Science Foundation

Jonathan Trinastic. Physics

2016-2017 Executive Branch Fellow at the Department of Energy

Mario Urdaneta, Ph.D. Mechanical Engineer

2015-2017 Executive Branch Fellow at the Department of Energy

Dina Weber, Ph.D. Genetics

2015-2017 Executive Branch Fellow at the National Science Foundation

Christopher Williams, Ph.D. Biology

2016-2017 Executive Branch Fellow at the National Science Foundation

Chuck Wright, Ph.D. Genetics

2016-2017 Executive Branch Fellow at the National Institutes of Health

Ariela Zyncherman, Ph.D. Anthropology

2015-2016 Executive Branch Fellow at the National Science Foundation

 

Producers:

Carlos Faraco, Ph.D. Neuroscience
2015-16 Executive Branch Fellow National Institute of Justice

Beth Linas, Ph.D. Epidemiology

2015-2016 Executive Branch Fellow at the National Science Foundation

Claire Schulkey, Ph.D. Genetics

2015-2016 Executive Branch Fellow at the National Institutes of Health

 

The opinions and views expressed at or through this website are the opinions of the designated authors and do not reflect the opinions or views of AAAS or any USG agency, its employees or partners.

 

Feb 7, 2017

Data Scientist is listed as the “Sexiest Job of the 21st Century” by the Harvard Business Review, but what is data science and what do Data Scientists do? Dr. Claire Schulkey investigated the question at International Data Week speaking with Amy Nurnberger and Dr. Sarah Callaghan, two data professionals, and she heard from the Chief Data Scientist at the New York Times to figure out what makes a data professional, how people get into the field, and what they do all day.

The opinions and views expressed at or through this website are the opinions of the designated authors and do not reflect the opinions or views of AAAS or any USG agency, its employees or partners.

 Image courtesy of Geralt of pixabay.

Nov 30, 2016

AAAS Fellow, Dr. Sesquile Ramon, dives into a discussion of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and why some people love them, some don’t trust them and some don’t care as long as they taste good. Drs. Daniel Hicks, Ariela Zycherman and Marit Wilkerson, current and former fellows discuss where we get our current policies regulating consumption of genetically engineered food, explore their legislative history, perceived risk and their potential use as a tool to combat the complex challenges of climate change.

 

Image Attribution: BASF - Crop Design from Flickr

The opinions and views expressed at or through this website are the opinions of the designated authors and do not reflect the opinions or views of AAAS or any USG agency, its employees or partners.

Oct 11, 2016

Concluding our exploration of the Zika virus, this podcast examines different strategies and polices learned from other infectious diseases to address a potential Zika epidemic. Drs. Beth Linas, Claire Schulkey and Shobhana Gupta interview three experts concerning Zika transmission and vector control to uncover lessons learned from STD (sexually transmitted disease) prevention, the spread of HIV from mother to child, and mosquito control techniques. We welcome guest perspectives from Dr. Indira Mysorekar, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Dr. Koen Van Rompay, UC Davis National Primate Research Center, and current STPF fellow Dr. Dilip Venugopal.

** A production by the AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellows, the Sci on the Fly podcast seeks to encourage public dialogue on science and science policy. Complementing the Sci on the Fly blog, it helps explain and illuminate the best stories shaping the world of science policy. 

Aug 22, 2016

Do you know where and when Zika virus emerged? With the arrival of the 31st Olympiad in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, the location thought to be the epicenter of the Zika outbreak in the Americas, this podcast examines the origins of Zika as well as the public health concerns regarding a potential pandemic. Fellows Beth Linas, Claire Schulkey, and Shobhana Gupta describe the history of the Zika virus and how mass gatherings, such as the Olympics, could spread disease. This episode includes a guest perspective on Zika, health systems, and global health from Bruce Y. Lee, Associate Professor in the Department of International Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

** A production by the AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellows, the Sci on the Fly podcast seeks to encourage public dialogue on science and science policy. Complementing the Sci on the Fly blog, it helps explain and illuminate the best stories shaping the world of science policy. 

May 19, 2016

Our first Sci on the Fly Podcast: “The Scientific Method: What does it mean to you?” involves a discussion on the scientific method. In its most general sense the scientific method is simply a form of asking and answering research questions. Yet in practice, particularly in elementary and middle school education, the scientific method is more prescriptive and points future scientists in the direction of experimentation and hypothesis testing. While in many science disciplines this is how research is conducted, there are others- like in some social sciences- where this is too formulaic and prevents the generation of new information. In this episode, six current AAAS S&T fellows discuss the variation of scientific methods across disciplines, the diversity of research questions that science can answer, and the importance of a more heterogeneous approach to understanding the scientific method.

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