Tune in tomorrow morning at 10am on Radio One 91FM to hear Sourav Paul and David Paterno discuss their PhD research on conservation and communication as as well as a run-down of what the Budget means for postgrad students!
You can also stream our show through the Radio One website, sweet as!
Listen in to the latest show here!
On the social side of things, Scott MacShane came in to tell us all the latest events for the Otago University Postgraduate Society, including the Smooth ‘n’ Spicy Indian & Jazz night next week! Just search the Society’s name to find ‘em on facebook for more details.
Next week, Thomas Köntges is back on-air helping us find out even more about postgrad life in his larger-than-life German accent and for this week it was Zoe Patterson Ross and Maria Pozza behind the mics.
Have a great week, lovely listeners!
A few weeks ago, Jacob Anderson told us about his adventures on the East Antarctic ice sheet for his Masters project with the Department of Geology. In order to better understand the glacial history of the area, he travelled with three other geologists and a mountaineer to the barren landscape of Antarctica in order to collect samples from a nunatak. By measuring the levels of cosmogenic particles in the rock samples collected, the geologists are able to determine how long each rock has been exposed since glacial retreat at the surface of the glacier and thus deduce the magnitude and timing of ice elevation changes. As the glacier moves across the landscape it picks up parts of the bedrock and carries these rocks to the surface of the terrain as the glacier travels forward, cutting its way through the landscape.
He actually brought in an awesome diagram describing how cosmogenic particles travel through the atmosphere to show us, so open up this link when you’re listening to the show and you’ll get an idea of what we were on about when describing a ‘shower’ of particles, or, as Gosse & Phillips say in the paper, a “cosmic-ray extensive air shower”. The diagram is Figure 1b from this paper.
Nathan McNally, PhD student with the Department of Marine Science and the Department of Zoology, studies sea lions, and does so with a passion. After fifteen years experience in conservation, he started his PhD with the University of Otago in order to better understand the mating habits and lifecycles of New Zealand’s endangered male sea lions (yes, the females are endangered too). His thesis title is “The neglected sex: survival, spatial dynamics and breeding behaviour of male New Zealand sea lions Phocarctos hookeri.“.
Human activity, particularly in the fishing industry, has destroyed the natural cycles that the sea lions live by – decimating the fish populations that the sea lions eat and disrupting the habitats where they breed. Check out this video from WWF to find out more.
On the show Nathan also mentioned a guide for picking the best fish to eat, produced by Forest & Bird.
And in order to know how you can contribute to saving sea lions, check out the New Zealand sea lion trust site for more info.
Thanks to Nathan for passing on so many interesting and useful links! The photo used in this post is also courtesy of Nathan and is of a sea lion overlooking Sandy Bay with Auckland in the background.
All up, a very interesting couple of postgrads working to better understand our beautiful world. Who could ask for more?
Have a listen to the show here.
Earlier in March, self-proclaimed bird-nerd and all-round awesomely enthusiastic researcher Rachel Buxton shared her stories with us on the show. A PhD candidate with the Department of Zoology, Rachel studies how seabird populations recover following the removal of introduced predators from island habitats.
Since the seabirds are nocturnal and nest in underground burrows, researchers have had to come up with some pretty creative ways of measuring the population numbers. By looking at many different islands which have had predators removed at different time periods, she is able to see whether or not seabird population numbers are recovering and at what rate the numbers are building.
In her PhD project, Rachel uses a technique called ‘burrow scoping’, which is simply “attaching an infrared camera to the end of a snakey thing and checking out what’s down there”. And in order to use this technique, she gets to travel to islands uninhabited by humans and camp out for months at a time in some of the most beautiful places on earth with a friendly field assistant for cheerful company. Pretty sweet deal, huh?
Just as cool was Rachel’s Masters research in the Aleutian Islands in Alaska. In this project she was investigating relative numbers of seabirds on an island by estimating the numbers of calls heard on an audio recording. If you’d like to know how they get those recordings, just imagine this: It’s the middle of the night on an deserted island and two lone researchers step out of their tents to brave the elements. Walking out into the wilderness with only shaky headlights to guide them, they find a good spot and lift their audio recorders to the skies as six million seabirds swoop and swirl around them in the inky darkness… Okay, so…not so much. Really that’s just my imagination going a little overboard. Turns out the recordings are actually automated. But the whole island/uninhabited/middle of the night/six million seabirds thing is totally on the level. Did I mention yet that this is awesome?!
Have a listen to the interview by clicking here.
Or listen to the full show here.
Thanks again to Rachel for sharing her stories with us, and thanks to all of our lovely listeners for tuning in. If you have any questions, hit us up here on the blog or send an email to email@example.com
Recently on Rush Hour Thomas and I talked to two very interesting PhD candidates both with their minds up past the clouds. On Wednesday the 22nd of February, Maria Pozza entertained us with ideas from her PhD investigating the international laws and regulations around outer space treaties and pretty much everyone in the studio decided her voice was made for radio (we’re hoping she’ll be back on-air soon for some more glorious cups of hot water with lemon!) and Dr Mea Simon Wedlund (pictured above) then began to talk about laws of a different kind. That’s right. Physics!
In her first PhD, Mea worked on a project aiming to send a satellite up to Mercury in 2019 with the goal of finding out what the neutral particles out there are doing so that physicists back here on Earth can develop a model of their behaviour. Now, Mea is researching for a second PhD in Assocaite Professor Craig Rodger’s lab right here at the University of Otago. What she’s looking at now is a little closer to home. Using transmitters and receivers set up all around the magnetic poles of Earth, the AARDVARK project (which Mea’s PhD is a part of) is bouncing signals off the sky and looking at what the particles in our very own ionosphere are up to. And why, you might ask, would one smiling physicist be so keen on our ionosphere? Well, listen in for the story of how a little girl in Sweden fell in love with auroral physics.
And for anyone who’d like it, here’s a little more information on some of the organisations and ideas mentioned:
Maria mentioned that she’s on the organising committee for the upcoming 47th University of Otago Foreign Policy School on the theme of the Middle East; check this link out for more details.
Mea and I talked about Van Allen radiation belts as shown on Wikipedia (here’s the diagram that I thought looked like a fly then after more info from Dr Mea we decided that the Van Allen belts were more like donuts seeing as they circle right around Earth):
Source for this image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Van_Allen_radiation_belt
The larger project that Dr Mea’s work is a part of is called AARDVARK – the Antartic-Arctic Radiation Belt (Dynamic) Deposition – VLF Atmospheric Research Konsortium.
Can you believe that name? What a nerve these physicists have. I think I need to lie down for a while.
If you’d like to know more about the project, or simply don’t believe that that’s the real title, then check out this link.
The PostGrad Society President Mandy Valois was also on the show updating us on events around the uni, including the first drinks of 2012 (I can confirm first-hand that it was a great night) and Maya brought us the latest news.
If you’ve got any questions about any of the subjects or events mentioned on the show, hit us up on facebook, this blog, or twitter. We’re “postgradradio” on all accounts.
We’ll be back every week with more awesome people, interesting news and fun events from around the uni, so tune in!
Thanks for listening!
Good morning. It starts in 2,5h. Make sure you listen to Rush Hour - Postgraduate Radio Show with Zoe Patterson Ross and Thomas Köntges on Radio One 91fm.
Sharon Matthews will talk about her research on the NZ author James K Baxter, there possibly will be a dramatic reading of short excerpts of Baxter’s plays. In the second part of the show Ask the Postgrads will answer the question: Is it creepy to partake in Fresher activity?
Everything - as always - infused with great music.
Tune in 91fm Dunedin or stream (http://r1.co.nz/stream.php) late morning in NZ (10am-12pm), perfectly appropriate as wake-up radio in Eastern Australia (8am-10am), and enjoy the show in Central Europe and UK before hitting the hay (10pm-12am; 11pm-1am).
This week on Rush Hour Thomas and I talked to Rodney August and Adam May - two filmmakers whose postgrad film project, ‘Meating Expectations’, is an engaging look at just what meat is and why we might like to know a little more. Despite how you may feel about meat or meat-eating, this is a film for everyone who’s ever wondered exactly what it is that people are gobbling down at those weekend BBQs as well how the future of meat production might be shaping up.
We talk about how ideas for projects can spark up, increasing world population levels and POWs with bright ideas as well as whether or not you need to include the ‘film’ part of ‘film partner’ when introducing your research buddy.
Have a listen to this interview on mixcloud and definitely stayed tuned for the interviews that followed with Scott Macshane and Lavell Müller.
‘Meating Expectations’ is due for public release in October 2012. If you have any questions about Rodney and Adam’s film or their postgrad experiences, then definitely get in touch via the blog, facebook or twitter and we’ll get back to you. Thanks for listening!