Working Science

A mini-documentary series on various topics in science, produced by Science for the Public.

Most Recent Episode Working Science: Why We Need an International Plan on Climate Change

In June 2017, President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord, an accord that represents the commitment of almost all nations to address global warming. The U.S., which, under the Obama administration, was a major force in creating the 2015 Paris accord, is now almost alone among nations in rejecting this commitment. Professor Selin describes the long struggle to commit the international community to prepare for the worldwide climate crisis and he explains why tackling the crisis requires global action.

Episodes

Working Science: Why We Need an International Plan on Climate Change

In June 2017, President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord, an accord that represents the commitment of almost all nations to address global warming. The U.S., which, under the Obama administration, was a major force in creating the 2015 Paris accord, is now almost alone among nations in rejecting this commitment. Professor Selin describes the long struggle to commit the international community to prepare for the worldwide climate crisis and he explains why tackling the crisis requires global action.

Working Science: Probing Exoplanet Atmospheres

Atmospheric scientist Dr. Alexandria Johnson describes how scientists in her field apply their expertise to the young field of exoplanet atmospheres.

Working Science: 04/27/17

Dr. Daniel Cziczo explains what atmosphere is, what it does, how it changes, why it needs our care on Earth. He also explains terraforming, geoengineering, and the search for atmospheres on certain moons and even exoplanets.

Working Science: 04/24/17

Professor Sonkusale’s Nano Lab at Tufts University is a leader in medical applications for nanotechnology. In this tour of the Nano Lab, he shows how nano-devices such as magnetic nanorobots, smart threads, and an electronic nose are improving modern medicine.

Working Science: Using Genetics to Trace Ancient Humans

Dr. Nick Patterson explains how the ancient populations of Europe are now being traced through DNA analysis of fossil remains, and why mathematical modeling –what he does—is essential in developing this reconstruction.

Working Science: What to Know about Geoengineering

What to do about the excess CO2 in our atmosphere that will remain for hundreds of years --even as we transition to renewable energy? To reduce the inevitable climate damage, we have to find a way to deal with that long-term CO2. Various "solutions," commonly known as types of geoengineering, have been proposed. Here, Professor Cziczo explains the CO2 problem and the three major types of geoengineering. We learn why the only viable approach is CO2 sequestration --pulling the CO2 out of the atmosphere.

Working Science: Earth Life Weird Life

Professor David Toomey explains how scientists have had to revise the concept of life since the discovery of organisms in very extreme environments on our planet, and how that discovery is shaping astrobiology--the search for life on moons and exoplanets. Dr. Toomey's discussion is based on his book, "Weird Life: the search for life that is very, very different from our own."

Working Science: The Potential Uses of Deep-Sea Microbes

Professor Girguis, a leader in the study of the exotic microbial life at deep-sea hydrothermal vents, explains the significance of these life forms beyond the reach of sunlight, and their potential use for generating electricity and for eliminating toxins.

Working Science: The Potential Uses of Deep-Sea Microbes

Professor Girguis, a leader in the study of the exotic microbial life at deep-sea hydrothermal vents, explains the significance of these life forms beyond the reach of sunlight, and their potential use for generating electricity and for eliminating toxins.

Working Science: The Alvin Deep-Sea Submersible: An Engineer’s Story

Dudley Foster, the Woods Hole engineer closely associated with the Alvin's history, describes explorations of the deep-sea submersible.

Working Science: The Role of Oceans in Climate

On this visit to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Dr. Mahadevan explains the vital role of the oceans in climate and climate change. We learn how she and others in an international research project carry out investigations on a research vessel in the Indian Ocean, and we see the sophisticated equipment that ocean scientists have developed for this difficult research.

Working Science: Coastal Marine Ecology

We visit the Helmuth Lab at Northeastern University's Marine Science Center we see how marine scientists investigate the effects of climate change on seacoast species, including mussels and oysters.

Working Science: Tracking the Microbes of Life

As one of the lead participating labs in NASA's Mars Science Laboratory project, the Roger Summons Lab at MIT analyzes potential bio-molecules in ancient Earth sediments and rocks, and applies that expertise to the search for bio-molecules or their precursors on Mars. the Mars Curiosity Rover investigates soil samples on our favorite planet. In this video, we see how geobiologists/astrobiologists select and chemically analyze rock and soil samples on Earth, and how they also analyze data received from the Mars Curiosity Rover.

Working Science: The Science of Clouds and Climate

Clouds are a major concern for climate science because there are still many unknowns about their two important functions. Certain types of clouds tend to reflect incoming sunlight back into space. Other types trap the CO2 that is accumulating in Earth’s atmosphere. The Cizczo Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has a prominent role in the study of the particles (aerosols) that form clouds and the different conditions that affect the function of clouds in the global climate system.

Working Science: Environmental Toxins and the Brain

Dr. Philippe Grandjean explains that many common chemicals in the environment are toxic to the brain, especially during fetal development. He describes the struggle to limit mercury and lead in the environment and the difficulties that are limiting the research.

Working Science: Ocean Sediments - Earth's Deep Climate History

Dr. Richard Murray, Professor of Earth Sciences at Boston University and Ocean Sciences Division Director at National Science Foundation, explains how ocean sediments record millions of years of Earth's climate history, and why they are such a valued resource for climate scientists.

Working Science: Mahajan Mathematics

Dr. Mahajan demonstrates some of the innovative approaches to teaching mathematics that are the focus of his two books.

Working Science: Understanding Viruses

In this visit to the Connor Lab at Boston University School of Medicine, Dr. John Connor educates us about safety procedures in virus labs and basics about viruses. We see techniques used for understanding how viruses take over cells, and we get an idea of how cells block viruses. Because of the Ebola crisis, Dr. John Connor was in the news.