Dr. John Kress is a Distinguished Scientist and Curator of Botany at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. Not only does John enjoy investigating the natural world at work, he also enjoys spending his free time outside exploring nature. John often goes on walks or hikes with his wife and dog to see nature in action. In addition, John is an avid gardener. Among the plants he cultivates in his own yard are some of the ginger and banana plants that he studies. John’s research involves exploring the natural world and all the organisms that make up the natural world. Since graduate school, he has been exploring different areas, particularly tropical areas, to determine what grows there now, what grew there in the past, and how the plants and animals there interact. John received his B.A. in biology from Harvard University and his Ph.D. in botany from Duke University. John formerly served as the Interim Undersecretary for Science for the Smithsonian Institution, Executive Director of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation, and Director of the Consortium for Understanding and Sustaining a Biodiverse Planet, which is one of the four grand challenges of the Smithsonian Institution’s strategic plan. He is also Chairman of the Board of the Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS) and an Affiliate Faculty member at George Mason University. He has previously served as an Adjunct Professor at George Washington University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Among John’s awards and honors are receipt of the Parker-Gentry Award for Biodiversity and Conservation from the Field Museum of Natural History, the Lifetime Achievement Award from Heliconia Society International, and the Edward O. Wilson Biodiversity Technology Pioneer Award for Co-Development of Leafsnap - the First Mobile App for Plant Identification. John is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and an honorary Fellow of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation. He joined us in this interview to discuss his experiences in life and science.

Direct download: 421_John_Kress_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Dr. Mark Saffman is a Professor in the Department of Physics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. For Mark, physics is a hobby as well as his job. When he’s not thinking about physics, Mark likes spending time with his family, including his young kids. Getting outside and spending time in nature is a great way for Mark to relax and unwind. Mark’s research focuses on quantum computing. He and his colleagues are trying to build a new kind of computer called a quantum computer that can solve some kinds of problems that are unreachable for current supercomputers. A quantum computer uses individual atoms and has power that exceeds what you can do with known classical computing approaches. Mark received is B.Sc. with honors in Applied Physics from the California Institute of Technology. Mark worked as a Technical Staff Member at TRW Defense and Space systems and subsequently an Optical Engineer at Dantec Electronics Inc. in Denmark before going back to graduate school to earn his Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Next, Mark worked as a Senior Scientist at Riso National Laboratory in Denmark before joining the faculty at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Mark has received many honors and awards during his career including the Vilas Associate Award from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, as well as the Research and Creative Work and the William Walter Jr. Awards from the University of Colorado. In addition, he has been named a Fellow of the Optical Society of America and a Fellow of the American Physical Society. Mark has joined us in this interview to talk about his experiences in life and science.

Direct download: 420_Mark_Saffman_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Dr. Erica Golemis is a Professor, Deputy Chief Science Officer, Co-Leader of the Molecular Therapeutics Program, and Director of the High Throughput Facility at the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia. In addition, Erica is an adjunct faculty member at the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University School of Medicine, and the Temple University Lewis Katz School of Medicine. When Erica finds free time, one thing she loves to do is read. She reads broadly and has been an avid reader since her early childhood. Erica also has fun attending theatre performances. There are multiple excellent theaters in her home city of Philadelphia, and she especially enjoys shows by British playwright Tom Stoppard. For most of her scientific career, Erica has been conducting cancer research. Her recent work investigates why some cancers are particularly malignant. She completed her undergraduate studies in biology and English at Bryn Mawr College and was awarded her PhD in biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Afterwards, Erica conducted postdoctoral research at the Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Molecular Biology and Harvard Medical School department of Genetics before joining the Fox Chase Cancer Center. In this interview, Erica speaks about her experiences in both life and science.

Direct download: 419_Erica_Golemis_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Dr. Gary May is the Chancellor of the University of California, Davis. When he’s not focusing on his own research, Gary helps facilitate and support the work of others at the University of California, Davis through his role as Chancellor. In his personal life, Gary enjoys spending time with his wife and two kids. As a researcher, Gary is an electrical engineer, and his work focuses on semiconductor manufacturing. Integrated circuits or computer chips are in a lot of the technology we interact with on a daily basis including our phones, cars, and TVs. He is working to make the manufacturing of these integrated circuits more reliable, repeatable, affordable, and efficient. He received his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and was awarded his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering and computer science from the University of California at Berkeley. Gary was a National Science Foundation and an AT&T Bell Laboratories graduate fellow, and he worked as a member of the technical staff at AT&T Bell Laboratories. He subsequently served as a faculty member in Electrical and computer Engineering at Georgia Tech, Executive Assistant to Georgia Tech President, and later the Steve W. Chaddick School Chair of the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Before coming to the University of California, Davis, Gary held the position of Dean of the Georgia Tech College of Engineering. He has received numerous awards and honors throughout his career including the Presidential Award for Excellence in STEM Mentoring, Outstanding Alumni Award in Electrical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, the American Association for the Advancement of Science Mentor Award, the National Society of Black Engineers Golden Torch Award: Janice A. Lumpkin Educator of the Year, the Motorola Foundation Professorship at Georgia Tech, an honorary doctorate degree from the Latin University of Panama, and many others. Gary has also been named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and an IEEE Fellow. Gary has joined us today to talk about his experiences in life and science.

Direct download: 218_Gary_May_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Dr. Sarah Bergbreiter is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering with a joint appointment in the Institute for Systems Research at the University of Maryland. Spending time with her family is a big part of Sarah’s life outside of work. She has two kids who are two and four years old, and they enjoy swimming, playing with legos, and building things. Sarah also spends her free time swimming and playing water polo. Sarah’s research involves building and conducting experiments with tiny mobile robots that are about the size of ants. They also use the same technologies in their tiny robots to build better sensors and actuators for bigger robots to help improve performance of these robots. She received her B.S.E. degree in electrical engineering from Princeton University and was awarded her M.S. and Ph.D degrees in electrical engineering from the University of California at Berkeley where she focused on microrobotics. Sarah has been the recipient of multiple awards for her outstanding work including the DARPA Young Faculty Award, an NSF CAREER Award, the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, and Sarah gave a TED Talk in 2015. Sarah joins us for an interview to discuss her life and work.

Direct download: 417_Sarah_Bergbreiter_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT






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