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KPBS Reviews Scientific Plot Devices in Monthly Book Podcast

KPBS is premiering “Device” on April 3. The new monthly podcast discusses books with a science-based twist. The show is available now for download on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play and other podcast players.

In each episode, host Emily T. Griffiths, along with guests from San Diego’s scientific community, will critically review one book and analyze the scientific integrity in the author’s decision to use scientific phenomena as a plot device to progress the story plot.

“We have some of the top research institutions and innovative technology start-ups here in San Diego. Who better to help us review the scientific plot devices critically,” says Griffiths. “We’ll discuss if and how the author altered reality for the sake of the story.”

Emily’s background as a wildlife biologist equips her to poke holes in plot devices which aren’t scientifically plausible. After earning her M.Sc. in Marine Biology from Prifysgol Bangor University, she started collecting and analyzing wildlife population and abundance data for various research organizations, such as National Marine Fisheries Service and The Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Projects sending her from the Bering Sea, to South Dakota, to the Gulf of Mexico have provided long stretches of time with nothing to do but tuck in with a good book and wait for animals.

The first episode airs on April 3:

Episode 1: Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr

Exploring Vonnegut’s accuracy when describing the end of the world. The discussion will tackle the topic of climate science with climate researchers from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and discusses San Diego's climate action plan with Alex Tardy from the National Weather Service.

Future episodes will feature Jaws, Life As We Knew It, The Poisonwood Bible, Time Out of Joint, and Cannery Row. New episodes following the premiere will come out on the first Wednesday of every month.

For more information about “Device,” visit

KPBS Media Contact

Heather Milne Barger, (619) 594-4985


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