Western Science Speaks

Henry Standage hosts the Western Science Speaks podcast; a short format interview show exploring interesting and important work produced by Faculty of Science at Western University. The show covers a wide range of topics in Science relevant to a broad spectrum of listeners.

Check us out on podbean, or search WesternU Science on iTunes, Google Play, and Spotify. 

Is there a scientific question you would like us to address? Send your questions and ideas to science@uwo.ca or follow us @westernuScience and message us. We look forward to hearing from you!

WSS S3E5: A new learning landscape

In honor of International Week at Western University, the Western Science Speaks podcast is proud to present a special podcast, celebrating the students willing to go the extra mile for a unique and foreign academic experience. Beginning with an interview with a student who spent 6 months in Stockholm, Sweden and concluding with a student who spent 10 months in Singapore, this podcast unveils the tips and insight needed for any student considering studying in a new learning landscape.

Season 3

WSS S3E4: Nice Guys Finish Last ... Or Do They?

On this episode of the Western Science Speaks podcast we explore why attributes such as kindness and selflessness have triumphed over some less altruistic traits in evolution. Geoff Wild from the Department of Applied Mathematics stops by the podcast for a discussion ranging from the evolutionary benefits of "niceness" to how to the incorporation of social media into our daily lives has changed our perceptions of one another.

WSS S3E3: Breaking the Code: The Adaptive Capabilities of DNA.

DNA is our biological signature. If our DNA changes, naturally so do we. So what causes these changes? Listen to this episode of Western Science Speaks to have Kathleen Hill from the Department of Biology break down how DNA is the thread that joins us to our ancestors, plus a conversation about the biological impacts of modern life.

WSS S3E2: Behind the Screens: The Secrets to the Seemingly Living Worlds In Video Games.

There's nothing better than losing yourself for a couple hours in a foreign, thought-provoking virtual land. Those experienced in video games will know this typically ends with an irrational rant at a bunch of animated characters on a TV screen, and on truly antagonizing days, a broken controller to boot. So how do video games manage to create a sense of real-world importance? On this episode of Western Science Speaks we hear from Michael Katchabaw of the Computer Science department at Western University. He discusses how his lab develops hyper-realistic methods for creating believable online landscapes, how online multiplayer has changed the industry, and where video game technology is heading.

WSS S3E1: The draw of the galactic abyss: What you may not have known about black holes.

Few would argue the magnetism of space and its mysterious nature. An endless puzzle looming over us, begging to be solved. At the heart of our extra-terrestrial conundrum are black holes; an irresistible juggernaut, seemingly capable of so much - yet barely understood. Western Science Speaks hosts Western's resident black hole expert, Dr. Sarah Gallagher from the Department of Physics and Astronomy, for a discussion about what we truly know about black holes, some of the common misconceptions about them, and a few of the most interesting theories Dr. Gallagher has came across.

Season 2

WSS S2E8: Canada's Oil Disconnect.

Western Canada is one of the world's largest oil manufacturing regions, but in the last half-decade the industry has experienced a significant downturn, and is only just starting to recover. Western Science Speaks brings in geologist and former oil exploration CEO, Professor Burns Cheadle, for an objective breakdown of Canada's oil sector woes, the head-scratching reality of half the country importing oil from abroad, and how the sector impacts our relationship with the U.S.

WSS S2E7: Stirring the Pot: Finding sustainable methods for metal extraction.

We rely on metal to power our daily lives. The good news is, Canada is one of the world’s largest producers of this vital material. However, balancing that productivity with the obligation to protect our increasingly fragile environment is a challenge that leaves Canadian miners and environmentalists grappling. Professor Kim Baines from the Department of Chemistry joins Western Science Speaks to discuss metal’s national importance, the common mining and separation techniques, and how chemists approach the obstacle of assembling an environmentally friendlier mining process.

WSS S2E6: No Need to Fear: The enormous upside of Artificial Intelligence in injury rehabilitation.

Are you concerned about the impact rapidly advancing AI technology on your privacy, wealth and our democracy? If so, you need to hear from Dr. Dan Lizotte from the Department of Computer Science at Western University. Dan joins the podcast to dispel the evil-robot narrative, talk about his medical AI research and illuminate the life-saving upside that robots can contribute to the health of Canadians in the very near future.

WSS S2E5: The Genetic Basis for Courtship and Mating Behaviour with Amanda Moehring

Meeting someone special is an undeniably worthwhile and necessary part of life. Unfortunately, it can often be awkward, flustering and at the worst of times, cringe-inducing. Determining how much of our success (or failure) in that domain is dictated by free will, rather than deep-rooted peculiarities is a question that fascinates researchers of behaviour. Amanda Moehring, from the Department of Biology, joins the podcast to break down the role genetics play in our courtship and mating process.

WSS S2E4: Explore the Revival of Atlantic Salmon in the Great Lakes 

When you live in a fish-eat-fish world, the complexity of your environment and how you use it to survive and thrive is of critical importance. Neff Lab researcher, Chris Therrien joins us for part two in a series about the revival of Atlantic Salmon in The Great Lakes.

WSS S2E3: Genetics and Social Behaviour with Dr Anne Simon

Western students, professors and staff create a social community of over 30,000 people on Western's campus every day. Understanding why we are comfortable or not in these social spaces is a topic of great importance for behavioural researchers. Western Science Speaks sits down with Dr Anne Simon of Western’s Department of Biology, to explore the role genetics in the social behaviour of living things.

WSS S2E2: The Story of Salmon Revival in the Great Lakes with Nicole Zathey

Our world is supporting less natural life forms than ever before. How do we revive a once thriving species, that perished at the hands of man? Western Science Speaks talks to Nicole Zathey, who is working to restore the previously native Atlantic Salmon back into Ontario waters.

WSS S2E1: Bird Survival in a Changing Climate

Western Science Speaks takes a tour of the Advanced Facility for Avian Research. This cutting-edge research facility has it's own wind tunnel and is able to simulate almost any environmental condition. We talk with Jeff Martin who's looking how climate change is affecting birds in Canada.

WSS Season 2 Launch: Canada’s Energy Economy

Sustainability, alternative energy, profitability and competitiveness; concepts that considered together provide a thought-provoking discussion with Western University’s Dr. Matt Davison about Canada’s energy economy from the perspective of the consumer, government and business.