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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.

Winner of 2022 CASE Circle of Excellence Gold Award


A GUIDE FOR PODCAST LISTENERS

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Episode 18: Underwater Volcanoes and Crystals

Dr. Universe and a group of junior scientists from Palouse Prairie Charter School learn about underwater volcanoes and crystals. Students from the fourth-grade class in Moscow, Idaho help Dr. Universe answer earth science questions.

Another big thank you to Northwest Public Broadcasting for help with recording! You can find sources for information about underwater volcanoes and crystals in the transcript.

Episode 17: All About Space

Dr. Universe is back with a group of junior scientists from Palouse Prairie Charter School to learn about space. Students from the fourth-grade class in Moscow, Idaho, help Dr. Universe answer how we know there are planets outside our solar system and what the universe actually is. If you like thinking about multiverses, black holes and the potential for life outside Earth, this is the episode for you!
Another big thank you to Northwest Public Broadcasting for help with recording!
You can find sources for space information in the transcript.

Episode 16: All About Volcanoes

Dr. Universe joins a group of junior scientists from Palouse Prairie Charter School to learn about volcanoes. Students from the fourth-grade class in Moscow, Idaho, help Dr. Universe answer how volcanoes work, how they form, what happens when they erupt, whether volcanoes are on other planets, and a lot of other cool (or hot) information about these amazing mountains.
A big thank you to Northwest Public Broadcasting for help with recording!
You can find sources for volcano information in the transcript.

Episode 15: Meet a Cell Scientist | Why do we have hair?

Welcome back, young scientists. I’m Dr. Universe and if you’re anything like me you’ve got lots of big questions about our world. This special edition episode features an interview with a scientist from our video series, Ask Dr. Universe, Meet the Scientists. If you like what you hear, you can watch the whole video interview with Dr. Ryan Driskell under the videos tab at askDrUniverse.wsu.edu. Let’s get started.

Episode 14: Meet a Veterinarian + How do lungs work?

Welcome back, young scientists. On this episode, we meet Dr. Kim Chiok, a veterinarian at Washington State University who enjoys writing, doing experiments, and who is curious about viruses, especially those that affect the lungs and other parts of the respiratory system. Plus, we explore a question about how our lungs work.

Episode 13: Meet a Sleep Scientist + Why sleep feels short

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 Ashley Ingiosi, a WSU researcher who is really curious about sleep. We’ll also investigate a question about why sleep sometimes feels so short.

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 GrowKarin BiggsChris 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 ClarkDarrell JacksonMarian Wilson, Hang LiuConnie 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

Dr. Universe cat cartoon wearing headphones

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?