Virtually Speaking Science (VSS)

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Virtually Speaking Science (VSS)

Note: The VSS events are now hosted by the Exploratorium, on their sim in SL.

This is a series of discussions organized by the VSS, and produced in cooperation with MICA. Virtually Speaking is produced by Sherry Reson (SL Widget Whiteberry). The events are streamed live at the BlogTalk Radio / Virtually Speaking (see the actual links below).

The VSS events are held every Wednesdays at 6 PM, except for the last Wednesday of the month, when they are at 2 PM (Pacific Time = SL Time).

The hosts are:

  • Tom Levenson --Science documentary filmmaker and Director of MIT's Graduate program in writing and humanistic studies -- hosts VS Science on the third Wednesday of the month to discuss history of science, economics, and some climate science.
  • Alan Boyle -- Science Editor for MSNBC.com and writer of Cosmic Log, a virtual curiosity shop of the physical sciences and space exploration, paleontology, archaeology and other -ologies that strike his fancy. The author of "The Case for Pluto," Alan is a contributor to "A Field Guide for Science Writers," and the blogger behind Cosmic Log, the 2008 recipient of the National Academies Communication Award.

See Upcoming Public Events for talks that will be coming in the near future.

Listen to the podcasts at BlogTalk Radio VSS page

Previous Events

  • Virtually Speaking Science | Wednesday May 23 | 9 pm eastern | 6 pm pacific

Tom Levenson talks with Tim Ferris - this is a re-run of a discussion originally recorded on 12/21/2011. Filmmaker Tom Levenson - Prof of Science Writing at MIT and front pager at Balloon Juice - welcomes filmmaker and science writer Tim Ferris, best known for his books on cosmology: The Red Limit, Coming of Age in the Milky Way and The Whole Shebang. Tim's films include three feature documentaries on PBS, including, most recently, Seeing in the Dark. They talk about Tim’s most recent book, The Science of Liberty. Published 2010, it is both a historical essay examining what Tim argues is the essential connection between liberalism and scientific thinking (and vice versa). Tom comments here. Listen here.

  • Wed May 16 | 2pm slt | Tom Levenson talks with Michael Mann

Host Tom Levenson talks with physicist and climatologist Michael E. Mann - currently director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University - is a co-founder and contributor to RealClimate.org. Mann was a Lead Author on the Observed Climate Variability and Change chapter of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Third Scientific Assessment Report in 2001 and organizing committee chair for the National Academy of Sciences Frontiers of Science in 2003. Michael published 'Dire Predictions: Understanding Global Warming' in 2008 and 'The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines', published in early 2012. Listen live and later.

  • Wednesday, April 25 | 5 pm eastern | 2 pm pacific

Host Tom Levenson talks with American science writer Gary Taubes, about Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It, released in December 2010. Taubes is the author of Nobel Dreams (1987), Bad Science: The Short Life and Weird Times of Cold Fusion (1993); and Good Calories, Bad Calories(2007), titled The Diet Delusion(2008) in the UK and Australia. Follow @TomLevenson @GaryTaubes Listen here

  • Wednesday, April 4 | 9 pm eastern | 6 pm pacific

Host Alan Boyle talks with Veronica Ann Zabala-Aliberto, Director of Marketing for Yuri’s Night 2012, about spaceflight’s past and future. Read Alan's pre-show interview here. Follow @b0yle #YurisNight Listen here

  • Wednesday, March 28 | 5 pm eastern | 2 pm pacific

Host Tom Levenson talks with 'Scary Disease Girl' Maryn McKenna: author of Superbug and Beating Back the Devil; Wired blogger; SciAm columnist; magazine writer on public health, global health, food policy. Follow @marynmck @TomLevenson @MRSA_blog. Listen live and later on BTR. Tom's show notes on Baloon Juice. And on a related note...

  • Wednesday, March 7 | 9 pm eastern | 6 pm pacific

Who is John Carter and what have we learned about Mars in the past century? MSNBC’s Alan Boyle (Cosmic Log) talks with JPL Chief Scientist, Mars Exploration Directorate Dave Beaty. Follow @b0yle. Watch for the pre-show interview at CosmicLog. Listen live and later on BTR

  • Wednesday, Feb 15 | 5 pm eastern | 2 pm pacific

Juggernaut and Behemoth: Dispatches from the frontiers of particle physics: MIT’s Tom Levenson (Inverse Square and Balloon Juice) talks with theoretical physicist Matt Strassler. Tom's show notes over at Balloon Juice. Follow @TomLevenson @profmattstrassler Listen live and later on BTR.

  • Wednesday, Feb 1 | 9 pm eastern | 6 pm pacific

How do the US presidential candidates view science and technology issues? Why might politically undeclared scientists join the GOP? MSNBC’s Alan Boyle (Cosmic Log) talks with ScienceDebate.org's Shawn Lawrence Otto, author of Fool Me Twice: Fighting the Assault on Science in America. VS Science is produced in cooperation with MICA. Listen here

  • Wednesday, Jan 25 | 5 pm eastern | 2 pm pacific

MIT’s Tom Levenson talks with Alan Lightman – novelist, essayist, physicist and Adjunct Professor of Humanities at MIT – about the just released Mr. g: A Novel About the Creation (as told by God). Tom's show notes over at Balloon Juice. Listen live and later on BTR.

  • Wednesday, January 4, 6 PM SLT (PST) = 9 pm Eastern

Alan Boyle talks with Marc Abrahams, creator of the Ig Nobel Prizes and editor of the Annals of Improbable Research, about the scientific findings from the past year that made us laugh … and then made us think. Follow @b0yle @MarcAbrahams @ImprobResearch Watch the 2011 Ig Nobels Listen here.

  • Wednesday, November 16, 6 PM SLT (PDT)

Tom Levenson talks with Seth Mnookin -- author of The Panic Virus: A True Story of Medicine, Science and Fear -- about bad science, science and civic conversation, and whether new media will allow us to root out the former and enhance the latter. Listen here.

  • Wednesday, November 2, 6 PM SLT (PDT)

Alan Boyle talks with Marc Millis, of the Tau Zero Foundation and one of the big names in interstellar travel discussions. Marc worked for years on NASA's Breakthrough Propulsion Physics program aka the "Warp Drive When?" program. Listen here.

  • Wednesday, October 19, 6 PM SLT (PDT)

Tom Levenson talks with science historian Naomi Oreskes. Professor Oreskes, author of "Merchants of Doubt, How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco to Global Warming," has a long-standing interest in understanding the establishment of scientific consensus and the role and character of scientific dissent. Listen here.

  • Wednesday, October 5, 6 PM SLT (PDT)

Alan Boyle talks with Sean Carroll, theoretical physicist at Caltech. Sean studies the theoretical aspects of cosmology, field theory, and gravitation, learning about fundamental physics by studying the structure and evolution of the universe. Sean and Alan reality check some of the stranger scientific concepts bubbling up in popular culture, ranging from time travel to extra dimensions and faster-than-light particles. Listen here.

  • Wednesday, September 7, 6 PM SLT (PDT)

Alan Boyle talks with Rand Simberg, who describes himself as 'just a recovering aerospace engineer.' The Competitive Enterprise Institute describes him as 'an expert on space technology and policy, particularly with regard to NASA and commercial human spaceflight.' He writes widely about the politics and economics of space exploration. Read him in Popular Mechanics and Transterrestrial Musings - Biting Commentary about Infinity and Beyond! Watch him on YouTube. Listen here.

  • Wednesday, June 11, 6 PM SLT (PDT)

Alan Boyle talks with physicist Marty Hoffert about the case for public investment in a clean energy revolution. Listen here.

  • Wednesday, March 29, 6 PM SLT (PDT)

Alan Boyle and Space Studies Institute's Robin Snelson talk with George Djorgovski - Professor of Astronomy; Co-Director of the Center for Advanced Computing Research at Caltech; Director of the Meta-Institute for Computational Astrophysics; a founder of the Virtual Observatory concept; and one-time Chair of the US Nat'l Virtual Observatory Science Definition Team - about methodology, tools, and frameworks for data-intensive and computationally-enabled science, touching on astrophysical interests include digital sky surveys, exploration of observable parameter spaces, formation and early evolution of quasars, galaxies, and other cosmic structures. Listen here.

  • Wednesday, March 15, 6 PM SLT (PDT)

Alan Boyle and Space Studies Institute Robin Snelson talk with planetary scientist Alan Stern, principal investigator for New Horizons, NASA’s mission to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt - headed to a Pluto flyby in 2015 - about the next frontier for spaceflight and - exactly 81 years after the dwarf planet’s discovery was announced - what’s up with Pluto. Listen here.

  • Wednesday, February 27, 6 PM SLT (PDT)

Alan Boyle and Space Studies Institute's Robin Snelson, aka Rocket Sellers, explore the often-volatile landscape of science, politics and policy. In this podcast, M.V. “Coyote” Smith, Colonel, USAF. Director of the Air Force Space and Cyber Strategy Center, Professor of Strategic Space Studies at the School of Advanced Air and Space Studies (SAASS), and Space Chair at Air University comes by to talk about the future of space power and enterprise. Listen here.

  • Wednesday, February 13, 6 PM SLT (PDT)

Cosmic Log's Alan Boyle and Space Studies Institute's Robin Snelson, aka Rocket Sellers, explore the often-volatile landscape of science, politics and policy. With Tim Pickens, team leader of the Rocket City Space Pioneers, inventor, innovator and educator - with a successful track record as a space entrepreneur - they discuss the state of government and commercial space programs, as well as Picken's team's bid to win the $30 million Google Lunar X Prize. Listen here.

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