Have you been listening to New Heads for New People? It's a fascinating new podcast about what happens when science leaves the lab, and I'm really excited about it. Its hosts are Jackie Sojico (a radio producer whose work has been featured on KQED, Nebraska Public Radio, and BackStory Radio, among others) and Malcolm Rosenthal (a biologist and Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Toronto). They're married and have a really great dynamic together as hosts.
The preview episode that they released back in January (Episode 0: Before and After) totally hooked me. They chat with Marge Bardeen, who manages the education office at a particle accelerator laboratory in Illinois. She tells the story of the time her lab invited a group of seventh graders to tour the facility. Before and after the tour, each student drew a picture of an imaginary scientist. The first set of drawings were of classic male nerds with messy hair and big glasses. But when Marge described the second set of drawings, I got chills. Her experiment illustrated perfectly why it's so important for scientists to sit down with kids to tell them about their lives as professionals and as normal people.
They've released three short episodes (all around ten minutes) since the preview was uploaded, and they've all been just as great. In each one, Jackie and Malcolm chat with a scientist about the ways in which science and culture interact. They discuss what it's like to have your research in the spotlight for the wrong reason in the first episode, how tough it is to talk about your job to friends and family in the second episode, and how it's difficult to do even when you come from a family of scientists in the third episode. So far, all of them have been really eye-opening for a non-scientist like me. I can't even imagine how perfectly the show would resonate if I worked in the field.
So if you're a scientist, then New Heads for New People is definitely for you. And if you happen to know a scientist really well, or you have a strong sense of respect for the profession, or you just really like great radio, then this one's for you, too. So go check it out if you haven't. It's a new favorite of mine, and I'm really excited about what's to come from it.