In this episode of Unstoppable Talk, I sat down with Chris Anderson, Executive Producer and Host of Science Around Cincy, a video series that highlights scientific research in Cincinnati in an interesting format for local students. We discuss what matters in the business of science education, the science community in Cincinnati, efforts to study and restore endangered species, and new technologies being used by startups to help first responders. You can check out episodes of Science Around Cincy on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRxGUfqNO_4m_uBxNFo23Jw or on their website at https://sciaroundcincy.com/scientists/.
Sam Schutte 0:00
In today’s show, we have Chris Anderson. He is the host and executive producer at science around Cincy. I met Chris through a mutual friend. And we’re going to talk about new ideas in science education. Chris, welcome to the show.
Chris Anderson 0:11
Hey,it’s great to be here.
Sam Schutte 0:12
So maybe a good place to get started is tell us how you got interested in science and in how did you get into that as a career
Chris Anderson 0:19
since the I think the day I could walk, I was interested in science. I wanted to be like four different scientists. At the same time. I barely knew what the what the what they did, but I just loved everything about learning about science, we would, you know, Tuesday with library day, we go to library Tuesday, and you could get any book you wanted. And I would just come home with just books on books on books of science, and I just loved it from I just loved it from the very start. And in high school, I started doing a little tutoring on the side to make a little extra cash and some gas money. And I found out I also like getting other people excited about science and that kind of got me. Got me on that path of science educator.
Sam Schutte 1:04
Did you go to high school here in Cincinnati?
Chris Anderson 1:06
No, I grew up in a little town called Elyria it’s a it’s kind of like in Tommy Boy, that town there. Okay, yes. Sandusky, is actually not too far from from where my folks live. So it’s about 20-30 minutes west of Cleveland. And I came down here when I first got my teaching job,
Sam Schutte 1:14
okay. And what was that teaching job that you get?
Chris Anderson 1:29
So I got hired at Princeton High School. spent the first five years of my career there I taught freshmen and I taught sophomores I taught freshmen, physical science and sophomore biology.
Sam Schutte 1:41
Okay, and you went to Miami, is that right? I did.
Chris Anderson 1:43
Correct. Okay. And what was your What did you do there Miami? I studied adolescent science education.
Sam Schutte 1:51
I think you said you were on your some sort of a scholar there?
Chris Anderson 1:54
Scholar of sorts and gentlemen, the scholar. Yeah, I was I was an Evans scholar. And if For those listeners who aren’t familiar with that, it’s a scholarship for golf caddies of all of all things. And golf caddy specifically who have, you know, good grades, good rep, good community service and whose families have some financial needs. So, you know, my folks didn’t have a lot of money. My dad drove a milk truck around so you’re looking at the milkman’s son. And my mom was a she’s a secretary at the hospital. So you know, they did their darndest to save but colleges, as we all know, is cost a pretty penny.
Sam Schutte 2:36
Yeah. Well, there are those scholarships out there you can find if you if you you know, very niche thing. You can get sometimes
Chris Anderson 2:42
Yes. And is it was a nice scholarship, but it it I wouldn’t have gone away to school if it wasn’t for that. So I’m very, very thankful for that opportunity. Because, yeah, that completely changed my life.
Sam Schutte 2:54
And so what about working in that science teaching position? there? Were there aspects of that that made you think that you needed to do something more innovative around science education?
Chris Anderson 3:05
Yes, yes and no. So I went into teaching I think I always knew like, this was going to be something that I did for a while and then I would get skills and then I would move on to another thing. I didn’t always know what that other thing was. But I knew that there was going to be something other than classroom teaching that I wanted to do. So the the series science around Cincy to me is just another way for me to get kids and people excited about learning science. It’s just another another thing through that path. It’s another tool I’m I’ve been doing I was a teacher, classroom teacher for a while, really enjoyed that now I’m doing this and I’m really enjoying that too.
Sam Schutte 3:43
And so tell us about that series and what where’s that at?
Chris Anderson 3:45
Yeah, so you can you can check it out. We have a YouTube channel and on our website, psi psi around Cincy or science round since it’s a it’ll it’ll get to the same place. And what we wanted to do was feature local scientists and and what they’re doing Doing and the research on their work. So each episode is about eight, nine minutes long. We do a lot of cool stuff with a lot of cool people, they take us to their their field sites, they show us their experimental setup. Really, really interesting stuff that they’ve been that we’ve been able to feature this first go around. And so is there are there other you know, is that something that you kind of saw that needed out there that because there’s not a lot of sort of features on the research we’re doing here locally. And you know, what, what first, I think got my wheels turning when I was a classroom teacher, I would show this miniseries, it was like a series of short videos from PBS Nova and it was called The Secret Life of scientists. And it was really cool because we could show what got scientists interested in their field. And then like their other weird you know, hobbies so like it’s one mechanical engineer would talk about his work and then he like, he Talk about his Park horse hobby are there, there’d be another scientists who talk about their their work in chemistry. And then she was like a amateur wrestler. So it kind of humanized science for scientists for the kids. Because I think sometimes in their minds, they just think of very old, very crusty people who, you know, we tweet a lot and write things down in books. And that’s really not what scientists are there in the field. They’re, they’re collecting data. So I wanted to do something that was more localized at Cincinnati, because we have a lot of really great, brilliant scientists, like right down the street. And that’s, and I think that’s really cool. And I want we wanted to raise the awareness for their work.
Sam Schutte 5:42
Gotcha. And I think so the first season, I guess, is in progress right now. Is that right? And
Chris Anderson 5:47
yes, so we’ve we’ve released the first two episodes of eight. We will release another one this week and another one next week. And we will, we’ll finish we’ll probably finish releasing them by the end. November. Okay.
Sam Schutte 6:01
And so what what was your kind of your process? How did you go about getting that off the ground? Once you had the idea? How long do you work on it? How long did it take to get started?
Chris Anderson 6:09
Very carefully, like all like all projects like this, I’d say I had been tinkering around this idea for a good year to year and a half. And when it really got off the ground was when I met John Gibson from NKU. He is a professor and lecturer there of electronic media broadcasting. And he’s got a lot of experience in directing, producing even future films. So john, and I just kind of hit it off. We you know, you never underestimate the power of networking, you just end up running into people who, who can help you out in unexpected ways. And I had been thinking about this idea of doing a local local based science show for a while and just bouncing ideas off of him was just so so helpful. So earlier this this year, we applied for some funding. And we from Fuel Cincinnati, we got that funding so we were able to pay for pay for the production cost for for this this first run of eight episodes.
Sam Schutte 7:10
And tell us about Fuel Cincinnati what that is
Chris Anderson 7:12
Fuel Cincinnati, it’s a it’s a brand to give back Cincinnati and they’re they’re actually supported by the Hale foundation and it’s a philanthropy committee made up of young professionals and so they review projects, small, small project grants, that they that they then award so it gives young professionals an opportunity to be on a philanthropy committee and, and review, you know, proposals and, and and get experience and giving out giving out awards like that.
Sam Schutte 7:39
Okay, so NKU and Fuel Cincinnati those are two main partners, I think you said?
Chris Anderson 7:43
Sam Schutte 7:45
And then you said you’ve done two shows so far that are out there. What are those been about?
Chris Anderson 7:50
So the first one we talked to Dr. Clara do Amaral and she is a frog cryo biologist. Yeah. It’s as cool as it sounds. So frogs have this awesome adaptation where they freeze through the winter. That’s how they survive. And that’s exactly what it sounds like they just find the they like snuggle into some mud and there, they turn into a block of vise like their their frog sickles. And in the spring when the winter worms that they thought and just pop away. And so she researches how they’re able to do this. And how they’re able to do this is that they have these proteins that essentially act like antifreeze, and they keep ice crystals from forming too large and damaging the cells. So that’s how these frogs were able to do this. And so that’s what she does. So it was really cool to go to her lab and hold a frozen frog. And it was Yeah, flatline. Like no brain activity. And she could thaw it in a few days and it’d be just dandy.
Sam Schutte 8:53
So how do they, do they know how they get into that sort of suspended animation? Like, I mean, if they’ve got no brain activity, I guess no pulse,
Chris Anderson 8:59
mhmm No pulse, nothing.
Sam Schutte 9:00
So what kind of…how do they How do the cells not die then? I mean, they’re not Yeah, but they’re not bursting because of ice,
Chris Anderson 9:07
right? So that’s Yeah. So like, if you think about your, like, if you put a tomato in the refrigerator, it gets kind of mealy afterwards. And that’s because those tomatoes are mostly water and that as it cools, it damages the the cells. So that’s really the biggest damage. Same thing with frostbite, right is that the the ice in the water in your cells, turns dies and that damages your cells, but the frogs are able to kind of mitigate that. And that’s what keeps them alive. So she looks at genetic components, she looks at the chemistry of their blood. And we got even got to go frogging with her. So we got to go out to what some wetlands in Kentucky and look for frogs and that was, that was a lot of fun. mixer. Makes for great television, that’s for sure.
Sam Schutte 9:51
And she’s in NKU is that right?
Chris Anderson 9:52
She is at Mount St. Joseph University.
Sam Schutte 9:55
Cool and what was the second show about?
Chris Anderson 9:57
we went to the Cincinnati Zoo and As I’m sure your listeners know, the zoo does a lot of really great things. But what they might not know is that they have a whole lab just for endangered species conservation, it’s called the crew crew. And they what they do is they use research to help protect some of these some of these species. So they’ve have a they have a cryo bank there, and that has frozen reproductive specimens. So kind of like in Jurassic Park, you know, when they open the thing and same same deal. And also it really kind of looks like a Jurassic Park, they lift it up and they got all this stuff hanging down and in liquid nitrogen. And what they do is that that protects the genetic diversity of a species so they they actually were able to artificially inseminate a female rhinoceros with the semen from a rhinoceros that had passed away like five years ago, which is really good because these the shrinking populations have less and less genetic diversity that makes them susceptible to things like diseases or inbreeding and things like that. So keeping that gene pool varied, is really, really important for their survival.
Sam Schutte 11:04
Well, it’s interesting because I just read an article the other day about how this isn’t a small population, but if you’d look at dairy cattle, there’s, there’s millions and millions are, but they all come from three bulls. That ancestrally there were like these three ultra bred bulls, right? And so of course, our bred just to produce milk and that’s it. But then they’re like, you know, they have all these other issues or weak or whatever. So it seems like that could be an issue, not just an endangered species too
Chris Anderson 11:31
Oh, it’s it’s an issue with bananas.
Sam Schutte 11:32
Yeah, yeah, they’re all clones, right?
Chris Anderson 11:35
They’re all clones. So they’re all susceptible, like the same virus, which is not good.
Sam Schutte 11:40
Well, we do have some amazing resources in Cincinnati for science and particularly, you know, animal biology and stuff with the zoo and museum center, I believe has some animals as well. It How have you kind of gone about you know, when you want to get in touch with these people, and you know, how did you just call them up and say, Hey, we want to do a show on your how people respond to this.
Chris Anderson 12:00
Basically, you know, yeah, you’d be surprised what you get away with if you ask nicely. So and, you know, to be fair to the scientists, we’re, helping them get their work out. And so any scientist is always wanting to share what their work, you know, with the public. So, you know, part of it was network, you know, folks I’ve interviewed or talked to around town, part of it is just, yeah, just good old fashioned cold calling, and just, hey, we’re interested in your work. I’d like to talk to you more about it. If maybe we could you we could potentially feature you.
Sam Schutte 12:35
And so how long does it take to produce a new show? And, you know, you said there 10 minutes long, I think you said,
Chris Anderson 12:42
Yeah, they’re about nine, about 9-10 minutes long. It probably takes total around, I would say probably 50 total man hours, but that’s including our team, what they they come in for production. So it takes me a couple hours to kind of get everything organized, the logistics and then we we don’t write a script, we kind of have an outline of talking points and the scenes that we’re going to do. So we know the things that we want to, we want to discuss and the points we want to get across. But you can’t script something like that you want it to feel organic. So, you know, filming where, you know, is usually a couple hours and then as you probably know, producing your own podcast the it’s the post that that gets you it’s the it’s the post production that takes takes a long time. But we’ve I guess the the students who have been working Thank you students who’ve been working on this project are just awesome. We got a we really do have a great team. They’ve been total pros the whole time and their work is has been excellent. So I couldn’t be happier with the with the people that we’ve been working with both the scientists and on the production side.
Sam Schutte 13:48
So there’s a there’s volunteers on the student side that you’re helping, they’re helping you with that?
Chris Anderson 13:51
No, we paid them, I’d say so NKU has a production arm called Norse media. It’s It’s run by the students So the students do the work. They they kind of, they don’t necessarily pick the projects, but they, you know, they work on specific things that Norse media is asked to do. So we’ve partnered with them.
Sam Schutte 14:12
That’s pretty cool. Just because, you know, it’s a great opportunity for them to get some real world experience editing, you know, a show, and that’s actually going to be out and watched by people.
Chris Anderson 14:20
It is watched by people,
Sam Schutte 14:21
yes, that’s cool, rather than just them kind of working on their own, you know, ideas or whatever stuff.And who are some of your team members when you talk about the production crew and all that? Are these just folks you’re new? Or how do you kind of build that up?
Chris Anderson 14:35
No, it’s the NKU students. So Michael Picard has been, or one of one of the folks who have been on on production. He was, I think, at every single shoot, we did over the summer, which is, you know, a Herculean task he was there, and then he’s done a good chunk of the editing as well. And then Jordan Barjay has been there, almost every single shoot as well. And Jordans also done the directing. And that’s been really great too. And we’ve had a couple other students work kind of in concert to them Ari Bryce and Carrie Stevens have also filled in here and there and then they’ve both been excellent.
Sam Schutte 15:19
And then, you know, so I mean, I know you said this is on YouTube, how are you sort of getting getting in front of kids and you know, to watch outside of just being out there? I mean, are you trying to, you know, get schools to growth as far as well, I’m showing in the classrooms or what’s kind of your plan for that?
Chris Anderson 15:35
Yeah, so, you know, Cincinnati is a pretty big small town. So I had, we’ve got a good network of educators that we can reach out to and help share this with teachers. The feedbacks been from teachers who have showed us their kids have been very it’s been very positive working in my day job working with Hamilton County ESC I worked with since nine public schools, I can then work with the teachers there and kind of share it share that resource with them and and they’ve been Really, really supportive as well. So it’s, it’s really just been about reaching out to the right folks within the school districts Who’s this A, this is a resource, feel free to share, you know, with your kids and what the other teacher is things like that.
Sam Schutte 16:15
Okay, cool. And so what? What are some topics coming up in these next? several episodes and stuff that you’re excited about?
Chris Anderson 16:22
So this week, we’re gonna, we’re gonna release an episode with Brooke Crowley. She’s a geochemist at UC. And her work is really, really cool because she looks at but like bone fragments from lemurs and she does isotope analysis. So what she does is she looks at the different ratios of carbon and nitrogen isotopes, and she can use that to recreate ecosystems. Yeah, it’s cool.You thought you’d never hear the word isotope again….And now you have
Sam Schutte 16:57
interesting yeah, I wouldn’t have suspected that lemur bones were a source for that.
Chris Anderson 17:01
Yeah, well, there they were, you know, that was the one of the main mammals on on Madagascar, but the environment there has gone through so much change in the last 10,000 years. So what they’re trying to do is use her research for better conservation efforts. So a lot of the animals that are there Now, some of their behaviors might not be really what was was part of their evolutionary behavior in the past. So what they’re trying to do is use her work to recreate different habitat preservations for for animals, which is really, really neat.
Sam Schutte 17:39
Interesting.What do you think when you’re producing these episodes and working on kind of all this? what’s key to making you know, good science content for kids to share? You know, what are their some approaches or sort of, I don’t know, ideas you have that that. You try to keep it kid friendly. Or what, you know, what are your philosophies for that?
Chris Anderson 18:02
So one thing I think we have to remember not just as, as teachers, but I think just as adults is that kids aren’t idiots. And, and I don’t think we, we should talk down to them. They might not know as much as we do, they might not have developed as much as we do and certain aspects of their brains or maturity, but they’re not idiots, and I don’t think you talk down to them as if they are. The other thing is, is that like learning about the world is fun. And you don’t have to embellish anything, you know, you can, you can present something as cool as a frog being frozen. And that’s already awesome enough. So you don’t need to, you know, and, you know, go crazy over the top, like, you can make that interesting. And I think if if kids can see your interest and your enthusiasm for something, then they’re going to get interested too because there’s so much about the world around us. That is just very frickin fascinating. And, you know, we couldn’t even dream it up in our imaginations how awesome it is. And I think that is that’s the thing that you want to you want to give to kids is that you want to make something, you know, entertaining, but not not distracting. You know, you want to make it interesting, but not dry. So, you know, I think everyone always thinks of especially probably people of our age always think of Bill Nye. And I think what what Bill Nye show was so brilliant at was that segments were like 30 to 90 seconds long. It never felt slow and never felt like man this is dragging on and on and on. He’s talking about plate tectonics, I don’t care i’m gonna go outside and play. So but he made things very, very short. So he’d explained something like explained definition boom to cut to a scientist and what they do and go boom, Bill’s outside doing you know showing this other other part of the concept and then show a student who is working like like doing An experiment. So it was very, very short, you know, clips that the cadence was were really quick. And I think that that keeps kids interest levels high.
Sam Schutte 20:09
Yeah, it’s funny. I was gonna ask you about Bill Nye because when when I was introduced to initially, I was told you’re like to Bill Nye of Cincinnati.
Chris Anderson 20:17
I don’t I don’t know if I can if I’m up to that venerable status yet,
Sam Schutte 20:22
but obviously you took a lot of inspiration from from him and what he did.
Chris Anderson 20:26
It’s hard not to
Sam Schutte 20:26
Yeah. And have you seen any his more recent shows that he’s done?
Chris Anderson 20:30
We have watch Bill Nye saves the world. Yeah. Yeah.
Sam Schutte 20:33
Yeah. Just always interesting. What do you think about just the the state of science education, though, in the country and in schools around here? I mean, what have you run into professionally and that, and what void Do you think this fills?
Chris Anderson 20:48
So I’ll, I’ll we’ll zoom out, and then we’ll zoom back in again, I think. On the whole, I think our national conversation around science isn’t very positive. And that we’ve we’ve done Kind of diminished science and scientists as not something that’s very valuable in our society. And I think there’s a little pockets of positivity. You know, there’s, you know, there’s Bill Nye, and there’s some really great podcast science Fridays, but I think probably more popular and ever now. But as a whole, I don’t think we’ve we’ve valued that. And one of the things I think that is indicative of that is that we don’t really teach science early on in our schools. So for example, in Ohio, fifth grade is the first grade where science is tested. So for a lot of kids, that’s the first time they get regular science every single day. Now, it’s not to say they might not get science, you know, once a week or twice a week, but it’s not every day, and it’s not for that long.So the problem with that as one, by the time kids get to high school, they’re behind on their content. And that’s can be very frustrating for high school teachers. And it’s not the kids fault if they don’t know about food webs, you know, and they come into sophomore biology. Like that’s not that’s not on them, but they just didn’t have the experience. And I think the other thing that we really miss here is that science, especially for kids is so interesting and awesome. It’s just so cool. Like, you mentioned dinosaurs to a six year old and they are and it doesn’t matter what you’re like, you know, like, it doesn’t matter. You go outside and like play like looking at the trees and the birds like kids get into that. So I think we just we’ve missed a huge opportunity to get kids really interested in learning and understanding that the world around us is worth studying and and, and learning more about because we just don’t put the focus on the science. We just kind of missed that. And it’s it’s this the wonder of the world when you’re a kid is there you know, it’s it is there when you are you Because there’s so many possibilities and everything’s new, but we kind of missed the boat on that. And I think that’s a, that’s a big problem because it’s not just downstream effects where your, your, your kids don’t know, certain science concepts or they’re behind and, you know, it’s it’s in the moment where we don’t kick get kids hooked on learning. And I think that’s, I think that’s a real, a real struggle right now.
Sam Schutte 23:25
Yeah, it’s funny, you were talking earlier about, you know, making good content, and you know, what you have to put into it. And it’s a fair point really, that for, I don’t know, for maybe other topics or other types of entertainment, you have to a lot of special effects. And, you know, you think about it, like if you were trying to teach math on a TV show, you’ve got to have an animated character, it has to be, you know, somehow a lot of sparkle or something to engage. But, you know, to your point, like, you know, my five year old can, we’ll talk for hours about dinosaurs, you know, yeah, like that. And if there was more, maybe there’s more more focus on science in schools, that sort of naturally engaging thing. You know, kids would want to be just at school in general more, you know, because, I mean, most schools, I mean, I don’t know, I can’t speak for all schools, but certainly, you know, the ones a lot of the ones my kids have gone through, you know, there’s a lot of music and stuff. And then of course, equal division between all those subjects, you know, writing language, math, whatever. Science is one of one of eight classes maybe, right? Certainly not, doesn’t have the emphasis that say music does or sports for that matter.
Chris Anderson 24:30
And I don’t go in depth and I want to take away from music or sports because those definitely need to be integrated in and schools and early and often. But like to, with your point with with math. You know, math is the language of science. And I think sometimes we think if we do science, we take time to teach science early on, it’s going to take away from other subjects. I don’t think that’s true. You know, you don’t need to rob Peter to pay Paul. You know, you can you can integrate math. Especially when it’s young, you know, like, let’s go count bugs. Let’s see how many bugs are in our pollinator garden today. And we just count as many bugs as we can. And then we can, let’s count one type of bug. And we’ll count the other types of bugs. And we’ll see the difference and see if there’s more of one type of bug than another type of bug. And that’s science. Like, that’s what that’s what ecologists with PhDs do. Now, granted, they do it at a much grander scale, and they do it much more precisely, but it’s the same thing you can do that with a with a three year old, it doesn’t have to be as complicated as, as, you know, building a robot or you know, you know, doing some some big egg drop thing, like you could it can be, it can be things that kids can get excited about, and you don’t have, it doesn’t have to be joint production. And so
Sam Schutte 25:51
do you think that you know, are you excited about that opportunity? I guess the fact that you’ve got all you know, all these internet tools and technologies and social media and YouTube and stuff is that Sort of your strategy to help expose kids to science more because they can get to it outside of school? Oh absolutely.
Chris Anderson 26:07
Yeah I think it’s local it’s it’s our neighborhood is local and every kid has YouTube on their phone it doesn’t matter if you know what what neighborhood you come from or whatever like most kids have that have have YouTube on their have their phone, not never kid but most kids and they’ll watch out on the bus. They’ll watch a waiting, you know, waiting for their ride to pick them up. I’ll watch it on the walk home from school. So the idea that that something like a series like this can be everywhere. It’s there’s no there’s no barrier to entry. It’s not there’s no password. There’s no you know, limited access. It’s it’s there for everybody. That’s what we really wanted to do. So, you know, a teacher can assign that like, watch this video for homework. And kids will do that kids or kids will watch it watching YouTube video and what age group you’re kind of targeting with that. We kind of shot for six to seven eighth grade. Because,you know that way most people have around a middle school of understanding the science. And so pretty much anyone who’s curious can can watch this not just not just kids.
Sam Schutte 27:13
Is there sort of an interactivity component at all? When you you know, do you take questions you answer a later show? Or will you monitor the comments on Facebook? Or how do you kind of, do that?
Chris Anderson 27:22
So we’ve, we haven’t done any, like crowd crowdsourcing for for content yet, but we’re always open to ideas, especially with this first season, we, you know, we didn’t know what the response was going to be. So we kind of just took it as it went. But, but you know, if someone has an idea, or someone knows someone who’s doing something really cool, and they’re really passionate about their work, we would love to talk to them.
Sam Schutte 27:48
And also, I was curious, we were talking about, you know, the state of education. And do you think is there a big divide, when you look at, you know, children in need and stuff in their acts of information versus Schools I imagine, obviously, you know, an expensive private school or something, you know, has a lot more time to teach us resources. Are you kind of trying to promote it to, you know, kids in those situations as well.
Chris Anderson 28:14
You know,like I said, with with YouTube, everyone has access to it. So that’s been that’s, I think, is a really good thing. I to answer your first question, one of the toughest things, as a teacher, it’s a good thing. And a bad thing is that you only have your kids while you’re in the classroom. And after they leave, you don’t have you don’t have autonomy over them, right. Like you, you don’t have influence. So I think, you know, when we always have to be careful in like making assumptions on what a child’s home life is, because we’d sometimes we just don’t know. But yeah, there’s absolutely a riff. I think one of the one of the toughest things is that, you know, kids from poverty tend to have a harder time coming to school ready, and again, it’s not their fault, and it’s the Really not, they’re always a parent’s fault. Sometimes, it’s just hard if you are working two jobs and are just to make ends meet, like, you don’t always have time to check homework or, or to, or to go to the zoo or to do the things that other kids get a chance to. And, you know, it’s it’s not that I think what people have to always remember is that every parent, every parent, and this is this, in my experience as a teacher, there were very, very, very few instances where parents were, like, actively negligent. Almost every single parent wants the best for their kid. They just don’t always have the way to do that. And it’s not always money and it’s not always time. It’s just it can be any number of factors. So I think I try to always like keep that in mind. Like it’s, it’s really not my place to judge how like what the situation is, but like, I have this kid in this desk, and I’m going to, I’m going to teach the hell out of them today. Because this is what I had them for, you know, like, I had I had those when I taught freshmen I had him for like 50 minutes and it was like bell to bell like we are not taking any breaks. Like I got you for 50 precious minutes a day and I’m gonna make you just love science so much from from the start first bell that last bell.
Sam Schutte 30:15
So in is there is there any particular like types of Sciences you’re kind of trying to mainly look at with a series? You know, is it I mean, you mentioned the frogs and so far sound like a lot of animals and biology and things like that
Chris Anderson 30:29
We did. So the first two were more geared toward life science. The, you know, our third episode with with with Brooke is more geared towards chemistry. We’ve done some paleontology, we have another episode with that works with genetics. We have an engineering episode that’s going to come out late like kind of towards the end of the series. That is these guys have come up with a design that helps firefighters and other emergency workers get out of like four to five storey buildings just by jumping. So it’s like almost like a repelling system, but without repete like it without the need for, you know, the the the carabiners and the clips and all that sort of stuff, which is really great, because with all the gear that they’ve got, they don’t have the range of motion to have any other gear. And that was really cool. That was a, you know, a very physics forward episode that looks at a problem and said, this is a problem that we want to solve, like, we have weaknesses, this is something that has a really, really apparent impact on on lives. And I was really cool.
Sam Schutte 31:28
Interesting, because I was just thinking about, like, you know, I got my degree in computer science and the research, the type of research that goes on a computer science departments. It’s very hard, I think, to get into kids interested in because it’s often very sort of esoteric stuff. But yet the, you know, but yet kids are really interested in technology, right, you know, and they want to, I mean, my son’s fascinated with the iPhone, and it’s, you know, four fifths of every conversation is about the iPhone and its versions and how you updated and, and you know, but then if I start talking about well, you know, the way that the, you know, Bluetooth works versus cellular, it’s a little too might be taking us too far. So, you know, how do you kind of how do you get into those type of topics you think?
Chris Anderson 32:15
I think that’s a really good question. You know, putting technology in kids hands doesn’t doesn’t solve the problem. I think one of the best things that happened, like, at least in my generation for technology’s sake was, in order to play a video game, you had to start with MS DOS, remember that like, like, but it gave you a pretty decent understanding of how your computer worked. And you might not have been able to code but like you knew you knew the pathways to which talk to your computer and get it to do something. And in this case, was like, I wanted to play x wing, and fly around and shoot down Thai fighters. So in order to do that, I had to learn how to get the computer to talk that way. And I think that was really good. I think sometimes When we put technology in the hands of our kids, and they’re just using the apps, I think that apps can be a really great tool for teaching concepts, but doesn’t teach computer science. So I think what you have to do is you have to show kids what you can do when you know how to how to how to talk to your computer, because that’s cool stuff. And the thing is, kids can do it. Like, it’s just like, I mean, especially that age, like a foreign language, you just suck it up. And, you know, once they know how to do that, they’re like, okay, now you can, like let’s, let’s find a problem to solve. And I think that’s always a really great thing to like, look at, like what’s, what’s a problem that we can solve with it with with some technology?
Sam Schutte 33:36
What do you think, you know, through this process of making the show, what’s what’s been sort of the most rewarding piece of it for you?
Chris Anderson 33:43
I think a couple things. One, in talking to a really great scientist has been a real treat. They’ve welcomed us into their labs and their, their field stations and for a lot of times, without ever hitting us beforehand. So that’s been that’s been really great. And just really raising awareness for their work. You know, I think sometimes, again, we think of scientists as these, you know cloistered in labs full of in full coats and that Yeah, they have lab coats, but you know, they’re they’re people and they’re doing really cool research and you don’t you don’t have to go far. You know, you don’t have to go to CERN in Europe to see brilliant scientists. There’s brilliant scientists here. And I think getting people’s raising people’s awareness for for what’s happening right here in our hometown is really cool.
Sam Schutte 34:38
You know, who are some researchers in Cincinnati that you know are kind of on your list or you know, that we can be or that you’d like to interview in the future that you haven’t been able to yet?
Chris Anderson 34:48
Sam Schutte 34:50
Or just or you know, anywhere? I guess really, anywhere.
Janna Levin would be really cool to talk to you.
Chris Anderson 34:56
She researches black holes and you She has a book called Black Hole Blues. That’s really, really good. And I think that would be, I think it just be because it’s such a weird aspect of our universe we really don’t know that much about. I think it’d be I think it’d be fun to have like, a beer with her.
Sam Schutte 35:16
Is she in town here?
Chris Anderson 35:17
No, You know, I think, in town. Um, you know, I think Thayne Manard did such a great job of communicating science for a really long time. Dean Vegas is also another really great science communicator. We really like to do an episode with James Mack. He’s a green chemist at UC. And he’s really, really great. And he’s done a lot of really cool stuff with learning how to take solvents out of the equation for industrial chemistry, and that could save one-companies a ton of money, but it could save Huge, huge environmental problems down the road because it’s like 50 60% of their waste of industrial waste is solvents. And taking that out of that is, is, I think a really brilliant, brilliant application of chemistry. So those would be those would be some local, local people who might really,really like to talk to yeah, Janna Levin would be cool.
Sam Schutte 36:25
I imagine there’s also I mean, there’s a lot of local industry that is doing a lot of research in science. I mean, you look at Yes, I mean, you could do a pretty interesting show. Say like on you know, flavor, flavoring science flavors, you know, because there’s so many, you know, we have so many different Ranger producers here in Cincinnati. flavors. Certainly, I mean, p&g is doing all kinds of stuff around like, paper science. And Kroger’s doing stuff around food science, you know, that could be interesting.
Chris Anderson 36:54
We didn’t even we didn’t get a chance to talk to the aquarium this year. Because you know, and and when you know, when you’re producing a show, you’re going to do a cuz that’s what your budget says. Like you got to make cuts, right? So like, Okay, how do we, how do we bring in big names? And how do we also bring in people who might not have notoriety yet you know, so you kind of kind of balance that. I’d really like to do an episode on Danger Wheel . I think that would be really fun I don’t know if you’ve heard of that.
Sam Schutte 37:25
Chris Anderson 37:25
So Danger Wheel is this event in Pendleton they do in July they cut off, they block off the 12th street there, and it’s a big hill. And they’re adults race tricycles down and they’ve got ramps and stuff and I think it’d be really cool to do an episode there on like, potential energy converting into kinetic energy,
Sam Schutte 37:43
or what makes it faster tricycle or something like that,
Chris Anderson 37:46
yeah, I mean, it’s pretty obvious like people, people, people get people bite it like you’re wearing like helmets and pads like it is. It’s not it’s not a sport for the faint of heart.
Sam Schutte 37:58
Chris Anderson 37:58
so but I think that’d be a that would be really, like a really fun
Sam Schutte 38:02
That reminds me of like, I don’t know if you’ve ever looked into like these people that get really into the science of the Pinewood Derby stuff for Cub Scouts, and
Chris Anderson 38:10
Sam Schutte 38:11
I mean, and, you know, in my kids Cub Scout troop, there were some of them. It’s like, you know, the engineering are designed to get put into this block of wood to try toget faster and fast.
Chris Anderson 38:21
Like, who’s who’s who’s behind that is a Cub Scout are the are theparents? So?
Sam Schutte 38:26
I mean, yeah, yeah, hopefully they’re helping.
Chris Anderson 38:28
Yeah. Yeah. Like,I think that’s like that, you know, Pinewood Derby when I was a kid, like, part of that is understanding like, why did why did that not work? Yeah, that’s, that’s a really important part of not just engineering, but science to like, this didn’t work. We need to think we need to rethink this. And I think that was another message we, especially in the episode we’re going to share with, with the engineers, you know, things don’t work like there’s they dropped 400 pounds of sand in the stairwell, at UC like, Okay,I’m glad I wasn’t on that system. But yeah, like we gotta we got to retool here. We got we got it. We got to go back to the drawing board.
Sam Schutte 39:09
Yeah.Well, it’s it’s all that testing process is key to it. You know, and I think at least sometimes when kids are doing science projects, they got to have the patience for that, too, is is can be a challenge, right?
Chris Anderson 39:19
Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. And building that that resilience in kids that it’s not gonna work the first time it probably isn’t gonna work the second time either. But once that the my favorite moment of teaching was that penultimate moment when when a group of students were just almost got it to work where like, they made that last that last test before they knew it would work and they’re like, okay, that’s that didn’t work, but I know what it is this time. No, it was wrong. And but any whether it was wrong or right, it didn’t matter. But nothing else mattered like time going to lunch. You know, none of the norm like texting like none of the normal things that kids In high school, like are focused on that went out the window because they’re like this problem. I’m gonna I can solve this this next time because I knew what the what the what the difference is. And that was such an awesome moment. I missed that moment I miss.
Sam Schutte 40:11
Yeah, well hopefully, you know some of the shows that you’re watching can inspire kids to start doing, you know, looking into things themselves, maybe do some of that type of research themselves, or just get more into it. That’s our hope. So if people want to check out the show, what’s the name of the YouTube channel, it’s easiest way to find everything
Chris Anderson 40:29
is Sci around Cincy on social media, if you just do sciencearoundcincy.com, that’ll that’ll bring you that’ll bring you to our site, all our web, all our episodes will be on there and on YouTube. And if you have any questions, you can just shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sam Schutte 40:43
Okay,and if people want to reach out to you about being on the show in the future or something like that, and email you as well, yeah,
Chris Anderson 40:49
yeah, shoot me an email and like I said, we’re at sire around Sensi on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, all that. So if you want to reach out that way, we’re happy to happy to hear from you.
Sam Schutte 40:59
And you said the next episode. is out Thursday if you said that but
Chris Anderson 41:02
next episode out Thursday, and then we’ll do. We’ll share another one next week.
Sam Schutte 41:06
Great. Awesome.Chris, thanks so much for being on the shows great to learn about what you’re doing for science education for kids and science around Sensi and featuring all the great researchers we have here and kind of using new platforms to do that. So it’s great to learn about what you’re doing.
Chris Anderson 41:22
Hey Sam pleasure was all mine.
Sam Schutte 41:23