It’s the Ask Dr. Universe Podcast
Join Dr. Universe and her friends at Washington State University as they investigate science questions from kids around the world.
Episode 12: Meet a Plant Doctor + Pumpkins
Hello young scientists. I’m Dr. Universe and if you are anything like me, you’ve got lots of big questions about our world. Today’s special guest is Lydia Tymon who is really curious about plants and why they get sick—yes, you heard that right, plants can get sick, too. We’ll also investigate some questions about pumpkins along the way.
Episode 11: Meet a Planetary Scientist + Mountains
On this episode, we meet with Julie Menard, a planetary scientist and geoscience education professional from Washington State University. Plus, we investigate a big kid question about how mountains form.
Episode 10: Ice Cream, Berries, Learning Hard Stuff
Welcome back, young scientists. On this episode, we’ll investigate great questions from young scientists like, Why does ice cream melt? Why are some berries poisonous? And how do we learn things that are really, really hard?
Episode 9: Handedness, Weighing Planets, Worms
Welcome back, young scientists. Have you ever wondered why most people are right-handed? How we learned to weigh a whole planet? How worms help the soil? Join Dr. Universe and Washington State University researchers as we investigate these great kid questions.
Episode 8: Toothpaste, Sunburns, Saturn’s Rings
On this episode, we investigate questions about how toothpaste helps clean our teeth, why humans get sunburns, and how Saturn’s rings formed. A big thanks to our kid narrator from Regional Theatre of the Palouse and to the scientists at Washington State University.
Episode 7: Bird Migration, Touch Screen Technology, Goosebumps
On this episode, we investigate how birds know how to migrate, how touch screens work and why humans get goosebumps. A big thanks to our narrator Natalie from Regional Theatre of the Palouse and to WSU researchers Heather Watts, Praveen Sekhar and Ryan Driskell for helping with the science on this episode. If you enjoy the podcast, leave a review for Dr. Universe on your favorite podcast app.
Episode 6: Flying Squirrels, Curious Pets, Frosty Patterns, Stinky Cheeses
On this episode, we’ll explore all kinds of great kid questions. Can flying squirrels really fly? Why do cats and dogs spin around before they sit down? Why does frost make different patterns? Why does cheese stink? Thanks to everyone who helped with the science on this episode: Todd Wilson, Dr. Jessica Bell, Kai Carter, and Minto Michael. If you enjoy the podcast, leave a review for Dr. Universe on your favorite podcast app.
Episode 5: Seasons, Black Holes, Ponds, Shadows
On this episode, our questions take us to outer space, the bottom of a pond, and into the fascinating world of light and shadows. Thanks to our friends at Washington State University for helping with the science: Vivienne Baldassare, Sukanta Bose, Joan Wu and Anya Rasmussen. And thanks to you for listening. If you enjoy the podcast, leave a review for Dr. Universe on your favorite podcast app.
Episode 4: Mushroom Rings, Apple Cider, Tree Sap, Glass Colors, Lost Connections
On this episode, we’ll investigate questions about why mushrooms grow in rings, how to make apple cider, the art of stained glass, why trees have sap and finally investigate why the internet goes down. Thanks to Washington State University researchers David Wheeler, Bri Valliere, Nadia Valverdi, Dustin Regul, and Dingwen Tao for help with the answers. If you enjoy the podcast, leave a review for Dr. Universe on your favorite podcast app.
Episode 3: Knuckle-Walking Apes, Yawning Tears, Best Exercises, A Pandemic Mystery
Have you ever wondered why apes walk on their knuckles? Why we make tears when we yawn? Why and how exercise helps our bodies? What’s the best exercise? How the COVID-19 pandemic started? On this episode, we’ll dig into these great kid science questions. Thanks to Washington State University researchers Nanda Grow, Karin Biggs, Chris Connolly, and Michael Letko for helping with the science.
Episode 2: Ants, Face Masks, Pins and Needles, Gummies, Spider Webs
Have you ever wondered why ants build hills? Why face masks are effective? Why we sometimes get that pins and needles feeling when we sit too long? How gummies are made? Why spiders hang upside down in their webs? On this episode, we’ll dig into these great kid science questions with help from researchers at Washington State University: Rob Clark, Darrell Jackson, Marian Wilson, Hang Liu, Connie Remsberg, and Todd Murray.
Episode 1: Coins, Robots, Bees, Food, Dogs, Microbes
Hello, young scientists. I’m Dr. Universe and if you’re anything like me, you’ve got lots of big questions about our world. On this episode, we’ll talk with researchers at Washington State University about how coins are made, robot languages, bee wings, how food gives us energy, if dogs can tell time, and explore a tiny world of microbes. Thanks to Elizabeth Reilly Gurocak, Manoj Karkee, Melanie Kirby, Alice Ma, Lynne Nelson, and Viveka Vadyvaloo for helping with the science.
A guide for listening to the podcasts
Before you listen
- Choose one of the questions from the podcast. What do you think the answer might be? Why?
- What questions do you have about the topic?
- If you were to create a podcast of your own, what science topics would you talk about? What kind of scientist would you interview?
While you listen
- Take a few notes. Scientists take lots of notes.
- Write down any questions or words you might not know.
After you listen
- What was one NEW thing you learned?
- Who was one scientist on the podcast that inspired you?
- Did you hear any words you have never heard before? Can you make a list and discover the definitions?
- What is one fact you can share with family or friends?