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Museum Podcasts


Couldn’t make it to one of the Museum’s Science Cafés or lectures? Now you can listen to podcasts of past presentations on your computer, in your car, or in the gym!

Designer Genes? Genetic engineering in the age of CRISPR

April 11, 2018

New technology makes gene editing easier. Its use is being explored to correct diseases caused by genetic mutations, to fight cancer, and even to learn about human evolutionary adaptations, and its potential is amazing. We'll explore the capabilities and research that CRISPR Cas9 gene editing brings, as well as its ethical, legal, and social implications.

  • Jody Platt, Assistant Professor in the Department of Learning Health Sciences at the U-M Medical School
  • Daniel Thiel, doctoral student at the U-M School of Public Health and Department of Sociology
  • Thom Saunders, Director of the U-M Transgenic Animal Model Core

Postcards from the Anthropocene

March 21, 2018

Human beings have changed Earth so extensively that geologists now propose renaming our current epoch as the Anthropocene—the era defined by people. Human influences are apparent in the shape of landscapes, the extent of biodiversity, ocean chemistry, and our climate. We will explore the history of human influence on Earth and the ideas driving the concept of the Age of Humans, taking time to discuss consequences and implications for our future world.

  • Julia Cole, U-M Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences 
  • Naomi Levin, U-M Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences



An Archaeology of Migration

January 24, 2018

What are the stories of contemporary Latin American migration, and how do we uncover them? What can these stories tell us about borders, their impact, and the struggles of many families to find a new life? How can such stories inform policy and/or political action?  

  • Jason De Leon, U-M Department of Anthropology
* Archaeology of Migration @ 48kbps.mp3
January 2018- An Archaeology of Migration



What Cost, Basic Research?

November 8, 2017

Basic science research seeks to improve our understanding of the world, without any direct, obvious application. Much of it is funded by government grants, including those from the National Science Foundation.  That funding may soon face cuts. A discussion on how much we spend on such research, what the rationale is, and what the implications of such cuts might be.  

  • Meghan Duffy, Associate Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
  • Kristin Koutmou, Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry 
* Funding Cafe Final Compressed.mp3
November 2017- What Cost, Basic Research?



Oil and Soil: The Forces of Climate Change

October 4, 2017

A discussion on the politics of oil, water, and food production and how they are deeply intertwined with human-caused climate change and political upheaval, especially in the Middle East.  

  • Jennifer Blesh, Assistant Professor of Environment and Sustainability, U-M School for Environment and Sustainability
  • Juan Cole, Professor of History and Director for U-M Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies 

Sponsored by Science for the People and MC²: Michigan & the Climate Crisis which is presented in conjunction with the Bicentennial LSA Theme Semester.

* Oil Science Cafe.mp3
October 2017- Oil and Soil Lecture



The Human Era: Living in the Anthropocene

September 28, 2017

Today's geologic era—the Anthropocene—is dominated by human activity. In this talk, Ben van der Pluijm explored the impacts of a growing human population and our increasing needs for resources, such as food, water and energy, and solutions toward a thriving human society in this new era.

  • Ben van der Pluijm, B.R. Clark Collegiate Professor, U-M Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences
* Anthropocene Lecture (Final) @96kbps.mp3
September 2017- Anthropocene Lecture



Safeguarding Science: Expanding Access to Public Data 

April 12, 2017

A discussion with U-M faculty and librarians participating in the national DataRefuge project, which looks to preserve, organize, and increase access to publicly-funded research data.

  • Jake Carlson, Research Data Services Manager, U-M Library; 
  • Paul Edwards, Professor of Information, School of Information and Professor of History, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts; 
  • Catherine Morse, Government Information, Law and Political Science Librarian;
  • Justin Schell, Director, Shapiro Design Lab, U-M Library
* April 2017 Podcast-Safeguarding Science @ 64.mp3
Click here to download the April Science Café podcast.



Can Nutrition, Stress, and Environmental Exposures Change Your DNA? 

March 22, 2017

A discussion on the biological effects of past nutrition, stress, and toxicant exposures on our health and well-being. Are these changes heritable? Can diet and exercise protect our DNA?

  • Kelly Bakulski and Dana Dolinoy of the U-M School of Public Health
  • Srijan Sen of the Department of Psychiatry at Michigan Medicine

March Science Café Handouts:

* Can Nutrition, Stress and Environment Change Your DNA.mp3
Click here to download the March Science Café podcast.



Ancient Climates, Future Climates–What Can the Deep Past Tell Us?

February 22, 2017

A discussion on how the Earth's climate has changed many times, and the mechanisms of these changes may shed light on what we can expect in the future.  

  • Chris Poulsen, Professor and Chair of Earth and Environmental Sciences
  • Nathan Sheldon, Associate Professor Earth and Environmental Sciences, Associate Director of the Program in the Environment

February Science Café Handouts:

* Ancient Climates, Future Climates.mp3
Click here to download the February Science Café podcast.



Politics and Psychology from Mussolini to the Alt-Right

January 25, 2017

A discussion of the history and social psychology of nationalist and fascist politics and what light this scholarship may or may not shed on current events. 

  • Joshua Rabinowitz, lecturer, U-M Psychology Department 
  • Dario Gaggio, professor, U-M History Department 


January Science Café Handouts:

* Politics and Psychology from Mussolini to the Alt-Right.mp3
Click here to download the January Science Café podcast.



Has Particle Physics Fizzled?

November 16, 2016

In 2012, physicists at large particle accelerators such as the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) found evidence of the Higgs boson, long predicted by the Standard Model in physics. But since then, they have yet to find evidence of other predicted particles.

  • Dante Amidei, U-M Professor of Physics 
  • Aaron Pierce, U-M Professor of Physics and Director of the Michigan Center for Theoretical Physics

November Science Café Handout:

* Has Particle Physics Fizzled.mp3
Click here to download the November 2016 Science Café podcast.



The Bristle Mammoth Discovery

January 27, 2016

In the fall of 2015, a farmer near Chelsea discovered part of a mammoth skeleton and donated it to U-M.  U-M scientists discussed the excavation and early research on the Bristle Mammoth -- named for Jim and Melody Bristle on whose land it was found.

  • Professor Daniel C. Fisher, Director of the U-M Museum of Paleontology
  • Adam Rountrey, Collection Manager for Vertebrate Fossils, U-M Museum of Paleontology

Click here to explore Bristle Mammoth Discovery Science Café resources, including audio, video and photos.

* Mammoth Science Cafe + Discussion @128Kbps.mp3
Click here to download the January 2016 Science Café podcast.