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Rad Scientist

A KPBS Explore series taking listeners on a journey through the lives and discoveries of San Diego's raddest scientists — researchers pushing the frontiers of human knowledge. Hosted and produced by Margot Wohl.

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The Grass Is Always Greener

When you ask Chandler Puritty who she is, she’ll give you many answers: Ecologist, social justice advocate, plant lover, cat mother, artist, psychic medium.

She cares deeply about the environment and climate change. Her thesis charted the resilience of exotic ... Read more →

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Kissing Bugs

Kaylee Arnold grew up in Oceanside, but moved to Georgia to pursue a PhD in ecology. Despite her fear of heights, Kaylee climbs high up in the palm trees of Panama to collect her research subjects, kissing bugs. She studies ... Read more →

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Vocal Chops

Daril Brown wants to build vocal neuroprostheses, or devices that use brain signals to recreate speech. He tests his methods using zebra finches, who learn their songs through childhood. As a Black researcher in a field lacking diversity, he describes ... Read more →

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The Fever Effect

Melonie Vaughn’s desire to study neurodevelopmental disorders stemmed from watching her autistic brother struggle with navigating school and social relationships. Now she is a rising second year neuroscience Ph.D. student at UC San Diego. Melonie, an Afro-Panamanian, is the only ... Read more →

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Rad Scientist Is Back!

Recent events involving the killing of unarmed Black people have brought discussions about racism to the forefront, including at scientific institutions. This season is centered on Black scientists, from graduate students to faculty to those who have left the ivory ... Read more →

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Putting The Geek In Greek

Sophia Hirakis is always on the move, just like the proteins she studies. She’s always doing something, whether it's traveling between Greece and the States, watching Yankees' games, doing science, working at her family's hotel, or writing and performing poems ... Read more →

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Science & Basketball

When Elischa Sanders was young, he thought he would grow up to be in the NBA. But he realized he was better in the classroom than on the court. Now he studies how the brain controls movement. Maybe he can ... Read more →

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Brave New World

Who gets access and benefits from our genomes? Keolu Fox, an indigenous geneticist, advocates for more fair and transparent rules on how companies and scientists use the DNA of others.

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A Nobel Pursuit: Part 2

UC San Diego professor Brian Keating wanted to understand how our solar system, our galaxy, our universe came to be.

The big bang theory didn’t fully explain the properties of our universe. So he built a telescope at the ... Read more →

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A Nobel Pursuit: Part I

How our universe came to be is still unknown. A discovery about this origin story will surely be Nobel Prize worthy. Brian Keating has an idea for how to make such a discovery. This is part one of a two-part ... Read more →