Last night, I replaced the broken screen on my daughter's phone. This was my first attempt at electronics repair and involved taking the entire phone apart (phones have lots of little pieces!) and putting it back together again.
I started the project with fear that my meddling in the unknown would result in failure; I ended with satisfaction in a job well-done. It's funny how the emotional ups-and-downs of scientific research can be replicated in such a comparatively small project.
As you may know, I've been doing a lot of work at the microscope these past two months. I have been taking advantage of this time to catch up on some reading I've been wanting to do. You may be thinking, "Reading? At the microscope?!" Well, yes. I have been a fan of audio books for many years and have recently listened to a couple of classics: Mark Twain's "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court" and Harriet Tubman's "Uncle Tom's Cabin." I recently expanded my audio enjoyment to a few news and science podcasts to brush up on world affairs and scientific happenings. As much of the science air-space was taken up with tributes to the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission in July when I began listening, I went to some of the older material to start with. This is not to say that I dislike space science or that I have anything against that mission. I just wanted a little variety (though I admit that I did enjoy the bits I heard about human waste disposal in space).
One great thing about science podcasts is that you can start on any episode. If they do a good job of listing the topics in each, you can pick and choose anything in their archives, which is especially useful if you are caught up with all the the current offerings. Here are a few of my favorite science podcasts so far:
There is a lot of scientific work going on out there that I know nothing about. This includes work in urban streams (an area of expanding knowledge that I try to focus on), prairie restoration (an interest to me because of my work with the Missouri Botanical Garden), other biological areas of study where I have less experience (birds, microbes in the soil, mammals, genomics, the animal microbiome, etc.) and a wide array of scientific disciplines outside of biology that are too numerous to list. I am hopeful that listening to these podcasts will both inspire me to ask new questions and make me better informed about these disciplines that are complementary to my own.
If you have a favorite podcast, please tell us about it in the comments below!