2009 Annual Science Report

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Reporting  |  JUL 2008 – AUG 2009

EPO Activity: WAMC National Public Radio Astrobiology Series

Project Progress

Our NAI team is in partnership with WAMC Northeast Public Radio for the purpose of publicizing the NASA Astrobiology Institute, relevant NASA space missions, new research results and educational opportunities in astrobiology to a wide and diverse audience. WAMC (www.wamc.org) is based in Albany, NY, and broadcasts to portions of seven northeastern states (New York, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey). WAMC is a member of National Public Radio and affiliated with Public Radio International.

WAMC producer Glenn Busby conducted interviews with astrobiologists for later broadcast on NPR show “The Best of Our Knowledge”, a nationally syndicated program with an estimated audience of approximately one million listeners per broadcast. Mr Busby is a superb interviewer and producer, always well prepared with intelligent and insightful questions, and possessing a remarkable talent for editing the interviews into meaningful segments that capture the essence of the topic and present it in an accessible way without compromising the science. Interviewees include (but are not limited to) visiting speakers at our Origins of Life Seminar Series (see separate section). During the current reporting period, interviews were recorded with three members of our NAI team (Doug Whittet, Tim Swindle and Bruce Watson) and two members of other NAI teams (Chris House and Jim Kasting), as well as with other visiting scientists. Additionally, interviews were recorded with a group of 6 middle-school students who took part in the ExxonMobile Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp at RPI (see separate section), together with Camp Director Cynthia Smith and science teacher Seamus Hodgkinson.

The following is a complete list of all Astrobiology segments recorded and/or broadcast on the Best of Our Knowledge during the reporting period:

Show # 974 (5/18): Scott McLennon (Mars exploration)
Show # 977 (6/08): Sean Carey (Molecular clouds and star formation)
Show # 980 (6/29): Doug Whittet (Overview of the NY Center for Astrobiology)
Show # 983 (7/20): Bruce Watson (Early Earth, part 1)
Show # 984 (7/27): Bruce Watson (Early Earth, part 2)
Show # 987 (8/17): Tim Swindle (Bombardment of the Earth-Moon system)
Show # 991 (9/14): James Kasting (Origins of life, part 1)
Show # 992 (9/21): James Kasting (Origins of life, part 2)
Show # 995 (10/12): Summer Science Camp participants (part 1)
Show # 996 (10/19): Summer Science Camp participants (part 2)
Show # 1000 (11/16): Chris House (Oxidation in cold seeps, part 1)
Show # 1001 (11/23): Chris House (Oxidation in cold seeps, part 2)

All of the shows are available for on-line listening at