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KPBS Premieres New Podcast Featuring SDSU Professor

Associate professor of astronomy Robert Quimby is featured in the science-themed podcast “Rad Scientist.”
By SDSU News Team

KPBS is releasing a brand new, science-themed podcast on Oct. 25 called “Rad Scientist” that will be available at

The podcasts feature San Diego-based scientists who study everything from the smallest organisms to the largest cosmic events. One episode stars San Diego State University astronomer Robert Quimby, who runs the university’s Mount Laguna Observatory.

“Rad Scientist” was created by University of California, San Diego neuroscience doctoral student Margot Wohl to connect the community with local scientists who devote their lives to unearthing the secrets of our world. The podcast replaces the standard long-format question-and-answer interview with vignettes that feature the scientists as colorful characters.

"’Rad Scientist’ is a great way to introduce our audience to the wicked smart people who work in the field of science in San Diego,” adds John Decker, KPBS director of programming. “These are intimate and human portraits that can best be told through the form of podcasts. Additionally, we have a chance to work with a talented newcomer in Margot to bring the spirit and excitement of scientific discovery to the KPBS audience.”

There are six episodes to be released every other Wednesday beginning Oct. 25:

Episode One: The Killing Zone for Sperm with Pascal Gagneux, professor at University of California, San Diego.
What do sperm and malaria have in common? They are both foreign invaders and Pascal Gagneux studies them.

Episode Two: In the Shoes of a Plant with Liang Song, research associate at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies.
Liang Song likes plants…a lot. She eats them, photographs them, talks to them and studies them to find out how they respond to stressful conditions like drought.

Episode Three: The Eiffel Tower of Synthesis with Phil Baran, Darlene Shiley Chair in Chemistry at the Scripps Research Institute.
Chemistry is like exploring outer space, according to Phil Baran. He devotes his life to finding new ways to synthesize life-saving molecules that Mother Nature has been producing for eons.

Episode Four: Hotter than the Sun with Cami Collins, research scientist at General Atomics.
Cami Collins was a small-town girl with a dream to be a physicist, and now she is part of a team working make nuclear fusion a feasible energy source. To do so, she controls particles that are 10 times hotter than the sun!

Episode Five: We Are All Made of Stars with Robert Quimby, associate professor at San Diego State University.
It’s the ’90s, and Robert Quimby is touring with a popular ska band. But college rolls around and he has to make a choice—rock star or star chaser? Spoiler alert: Quimby chose the latter, and he now runs the Mount Laguna Observatory with its powerful new telescope that might help astronomers understand what happens when a star dies.

A sixth episode is currently in production. For more information about “Rad Scientist” and the KPBS Explore project, visit