#77 Chalmers short stories III

Back at Chalmers!

Happy podcasters at Chalmers! From right to left: Natalie von der Lehr, Menqqiao Di, Flavia Ferrera, Godsije Sapour and Luis Gonzalez. Photo: Lars Öhrström

RadioScience was invited once again to Chalmers University of Technology to help PhD students to present short stories about their research. Flavia Ferrera, Godsije Sapur, Luis Gonzalez and Mengqiao Di distilled their research into a short story for our listeners and also let us know what they learned during this process.

In this episode you hear more about what triazoles are and how they can be used in medicine and healthcare, the control of emission of laughing gas, how to increase safety of nuclear power plants and how platinum can save the planet. A brilliant mix of things that you have always wanted to know or just didn’t know that you wanted to learn more about.

Raffaella Negretti, associate professor in academic and scientific writing at Chalmers, talks about some of her research on science communication. Spoiler: the rights tools and training are the key.

Listen via Libsyn

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Revision of podcast manuscript – Raychelle Burks and Flavia Ferrera. Photo: Lars Öhrström

You can also listen to the previous episodes recorded at Chalmers, Chalmers short stories (from 2018) and Chalmers short stories II (from 2019).

This course was organized by Lars Öhrström, professor at Chalmers University of Technology, and Raychelle Burks, professor at the American University in Washington DC. Professor Raychelle Burks is a visiting researcher at Chalmers 2021-2023 financed by the GENIE project.

Flavia Ferreras project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 955626.

#72 Chalmers short stories II

Teachers and PhD students at Chalmers participating in a workshop on how to make a science podcast.

What´s the science behind cocaine addiction or 3D printing in personalized medicine? In this episode we meet nine PhD students presenting five minutes stories about their research projects at Chalmers University of Technology.

Two of the PhD students, Anton Axelsson and Axel Olesund also discuss the importance of communicating chemistry science in a way that non chemists can understand. Come along with RadioScience to a workshop on science communication taking place in Gothenburg in Sweden two cold and sunny days in November 2019.

This episode is the result of a collaboration between RadioScience and the students and teachers at a workshop on popular science communication at Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden.

Teachers at the course were Professor Raychelle Burks from St. Edwards University in Texas and Professor Lars Öhrström from Chalmers.

The participating students were Andrey Sizov, Anna Wypijewska del Nogal, Anton Axelsson, Axel Olesund, Robin Öz, Rydvikha Govender, Sune Levin, Thuy Mai Hoang Philipsen and Yingwei Ouyang.

There is also an episode from when we did a similar workshop in 2018.


Lisa Beste, Raychelle Burks and Natalie von der Lehr.


Anton Axelsson and Axel Olesund.

#46 RadioScience meets A Capella Science

Tim Blais från A Capella Science

Tim Blais, physicist and musician, sings about science on YouTube. Picture: Tim Blais

”Art is ten percent inspiration and ninety percent perspiration. They say very similar things about science. In art there is this technical aspect – it’s so much time and effort and hard work to get to that stage where you can interpret your insight into its full beauty and potential.”

A singing physicist on YouTube. That is a short description of Tim Blais, the person behind the project and YouTube-channel A Capella Science. Through song – and using his voice as the only instrument – he explains entropy, string theory and CRISPR, the molecular scissors we talked about in our previous episode.

We talked to Tim Blais about how he combines physics and musics and why one should bother combining science and art. He also reveals that he would like to work on a science-themed musical and explains why it is so cool to create music without instruments.

Listen on Libsyn!
Listen on iTunes!

This episode is also available in Swedish.

CRISPR/Cas9 - bring me a gene

CRISPR/Cas9 – bring me a gene. Picture: Tim Blais

A Capella Science is supported through crowdfunding and can be found on YouTubeSpotify and social media @acapellascience.

We included the following songs by A Capella Science in this episode – listen on YouTube:

This episode was produced with support from the Swedish Research Council Formas, the Swedish Association for Professional Scientists Naturvetarna and Karolinska Institutet’s Career Service.

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#42 Chit-chatting with bacteria


Bonnie Bassler, professor in molecular biology at Princeton University and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. Photo: Zachary Donnell.

“A big arm of my field now is to think about applications, so that we can either make bacteria do things on demand or stop bacteria from doing things on demand. And those are urgent problems that need solving. So this goofy bioluminescent bacteria led the way to us having this idea that we could never have had, if that bioluminescent bacteria hadn’t been studied.”

Drugs that stop bacteria from talking might be new, powerful antibiotics – a much needed weapon in our never-ending struggle against bacterial infections. On the other hand, drugs that make bacteria chat more could boost the production of biofuels and other industrial goods that bacteria make for us.

In 1990 a young Bonnie Bassler, mesmerized by glow-in-the-dark bacteria that could talk to their peers to coordinate light production, wondered whether other bacteria could talk too. The answer, she soon found out, was yes – including all the nasty bacteria that cause disease. Today, Bonnie Bassler is a professor in molecular biology at Princeton University and an authority in the field of bacterial communication.

Her findings, that all bacteria can talk, revolutionized the way we think of bacteria and opened the doors to important medical and industrial applications.

But the discovery of bacterial communication has given us much more than new drugs. It has shown us how bacteria live in the real world and forced us to reconsider our own human nature – if bacteria are talking, social beings too, how different are we from them after all?

Prick your ears up and follow RadioScience on an exciting tour of the bacterial world and its chatty multilingual inhabitants – after which, we promise, you will never call bacteria boring again!

This episode is also available in Swedish.


After the interview, Bonnie Bassler poses with our intern Federica Santoro.

Bonnie Bassler is an all-round communicator. Not only does she like to talk to bacteria, she is also passionate about sharing her research with the public. In a memorable TED Talk in 2009, she captivated her audience with the tale of the tiny glow-in-the-dark bacterium that changed microbiology forever. In this episode of RadioScience, she tells us why she loves to engage in science communication. And why everyone should take an interest in science – don’t miss it!

Psssst… Remember our previous episode, where we told you about reviving mammoths with the help of a technology called CRISPR? Well, CRISPR is another wonderful product of bacteria! It is the immune system bacteria use to defend themselves from their enemies, now converted into a powerful gene-editing tool. Bacteria are truly full of wonders…

Listen to this episode’s playlist on Spotify:

  • Thomas Dolby – She blinded me with science
  • The Beatles – With a little help from my friends
  • Elvis Presley – A little less conversation
  • The Cure – Speak my language
  • Spandau Ballet – Communication
  • Led Zeppelin – Communication breakdown
  • Gospel Dream – This little light of mine
  • Manfred Mann’s Earth Band – Blinded by the light
  • Bryan Ferry – Let’s stick together
  • Harry Nilsson – Everybody’s talking
  • Coldplay – Talk
  • The Beatles – Come together
  • Pink Floyd – Keep talking
  • The Minions – Make ‘em laugh
  • The Minions – Another Irish drinking song

This episode was produced with support from the Swedish Research Council Formas, the Swedish Association for Professional Scientists Naturvetarna and Karolinska Institutet’s Career Service.

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