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The Story Collider

Updated 9 days ago

Arts
Society & Culture
Performing Arts
Science
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Whether we wear a lab coat or haven't seen a test tube since grade school, science is shaping all of our lives. And that means we all have science stories to tell. Every year, we host dozens of live shows all over the country, featuring all kinds of storytellers - researchers, doctors, and engineers of course, but also patients, poets, comedians, cops, and more. Some of our stories are heartbreaking, others are hilarious, but they're all true and all very personal. Welcome to The Story Collider!

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Whether we wear a lab coat or haven't seen a test tube since grade school, science is shaping all of our lives. And that means we all have science stories to tell. Every year, we host dozens of live shows all over the country, featuring all kinds of storytellers - researchers, doctors, and engineers of course, but also patients, poets, comedians, cops, and more. Some of our stories are heartbreaking, others are hilarious, but they're all true and all very personal. Welcome to The Story Collider!

iTunes Ratings

692 Ratings
Average Ratings
395
252
22
16
7

Are we in a social science experiment?

By JelloJello - Jan 11 2020
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As a femaleI I appreciate hearing female hosts (think Terry Gross). But, the new format of “school girls giggling” has me wondering what is going on. Love the stories, hate the new format.

The Intellectual Dilettante approves!

By The Intellectual Dilettante - Jan 16 2019
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Smart, well-told stories from smart, well-spoken people.

iTunes Ratings

692 Ratings
Average Ratings
395
252
22
16
7

Are we in a social science experiment?

By JelloJello - Jan 11 2020
Read more
As a femaleI I appreciate hearing female hosts (think Terry Gross). But, the new format of “school girls giggling” has me wondering what is going on. Love the stories, hate the new format.

The Intellectual Dilettante approves!

By The Intellectual Dilettante - Jan 16 2019
Read more
Smart, well-told stories from smart, well-spoken people.
Cover image of The Story Collider

The Story Collider

Latest release on Jan 17, 2020

All 383 episodes from oldest to newest

Identity Crisis: Stories about what makes us who we are

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This week we present two stories about people struggling with their identity.

Part 1: When science journalist Katherine Wu interviews a scientist about a new facial recognition algorithm, the conversation turns more personal than she expected.

Part 2: Hurricane Katrina gives Mary Annaise Heglar a new perspective on both her grandfather and home state.

Katherine J. Wu is a Boston-based science journalist and storyteller whose writing has appeared in Smithsonian magazine, Scientific American, NOVA Next, and more. She's also a senior producer for The Story Collider. In 2018, she earned a Ph.D. in microbiology and immunobiology from Harvard University, where she studied how bacteria deal with stress so she could one day learn to do the same. She can spell "tacocat" backwards.

Mary Annaise Heglar is a climate justice essayist and communications professional based in New York City. Her writing has been published in Vox, Dame Magazine, Zora, and Inverse. She writes regularly on Medium and rants almost daily on Twitter.

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Jan 17 2020

30mins

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Hypothesis: Stories about having a question that needs answering

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This week we present two stories from people who had hypotheses.

Part 1: Teaching sixth grade science becomes much more difficult when Xochitl Garcia's students start hypothesizing that fire is alive.

Part 2: When journalist John Rennie is assigned to cover an entomological society event where insects are served as food, he sees an opportunity to face his fear of bugs.

Xochitl Garcia is the K-12 education program manager at Science Friday, where she focuses on supporting the inspiring efforts of educators (of all types) to engage students in science, engineering, math, and the arts. She is a former NYC school teacher, who specializes in sifting through random piles of junk that she insists are "treasures," to figure out cool ways for learners to explore scientific phenomena. You can find her making a mess in the name of science education at the Science Friday office, her house, with other educators...you get the picture.

Update: Xochitl welcomed her baby (not fire) into the world on 1/1/2020.


John has worked as a science editor, writer and lecturer for more than 30 years. Currently, he is deputy editor at Quanta Magazine. During his time as editor in chief at Scientific American, between 1994 and 2009, the magazine received two National Magazine Awards. He co-created and hosted the 2013 series Hacking the Planet on The Weather Channel. Since 2009, he has been on the faculty of the Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program in New York University’s graduate journalism school. John is @tvjrennie and john@johnrennie.net.

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Jan 10 2020

36mins

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Leaving Home: Stories about having to leave in order to find home

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This week we present two stories of people who had to leave home to find a new home.

Part 1: When Ph.D student Ali Mattu's girlfriend tells him she is moving to New York City, he has to make some tough decisions about where home is.

Part 2: Arlo Pérez Esquivel struggles to define his boundaries with his father while he is pursuing his education in another country.

Ali Mattu is a cognitive behavioral therapist who helps kids and adults with anxiety disorders. Through YouTube, Dr. Mattu teaches a global audience how to use psychological science to achieve their goals. He’s created over 100 videos for his YouTube channel, The Psych Show, which have been seen over 1,400,00 million times. He has been interviewed by the New York Times, appeared on Buzzfeed, MTV, CBS, NBC, PBS, and has the honor of being referenced, and not made fun of, on HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. Dr. Mattu is a licensed clinical psychologist and was an assistant professor at the Columbia University Irving Medical Center in New York City. He presently serves on the Board of Directors of The Story Collider and creates curriculum for the Pop Culture Hero Coalition. He has served in a variety of leadership roles within the American Psychological Association.

Arlo Pérez Esquivel was raised in Mexico until the age of 16, when he left for the United States. There, he moved across multiple states, and lived in the homes of different friends and relatives in order to finish his education. During this constant movement, Arlo developed a passion for street photography. His work attempts to investigate the “sense of place” by capturing people, their environment, and the relationship between the two. He is now a Digital Associate Producer for NOVA on PBS, currently working on a ten-part digital series on how life and science are done in Antarctica.

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Jan 03 2020

36mins

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Shoot for the Stars: Stories about people who look to the night sky for inspiration

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This week we share two stories of people who were inspired by heroes of space.

Part 1: After watching a documentary about the moon landing, Kate Downey comes away with a love of all things Buzz Aldrin.

Part 2: Richard French gets the call to work for NASA, fulfilling a dream that started with his professor Carl Sagan.

Kate makes you fall in love with things you thought were boring. As the co-founder and Creative Director of Caveat, she heads up a team creating live shows that make you a little bit smarter and a little bit drunker. Previously, she directed Shakespeare and opera with the Public Theater and New York City Opera, and helped build Museum Hack, a renegade tour company at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. If you've seen any scientifically inaccurate whale illustrations from the 17th century, please alert her @wrongwhale on IG and TW.

Richard French is former Chair of the Astronomy Department at Wellesley College and is a founding science team member of NASA's Cassini Mission to Saturn. He uses the Hubble Space Telescope and telescopes around the world to observe the rings and atmospheres of planets, and particularly enjoys introducing self-proclaimed “non-scientists” to the wonders of the Universe. He chose the life of an astronomer over that of an opera singer, but still loves music and the allied arts. Dick enjoys mountaineering, paddling, bicycling, photographing his travels around the world, and encouraging others to read “Moby Dick.”

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Dec 27 2019

36mins

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Dating by the Numbers: Stories about the romantic side of numbers

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This week we present two stories from people who found an intersection between numbers and their sex life.

Part 1: When online dating isn't working out for him, Tristan Attwood decides to analyze the data himself.

Part 2: In search of a deal, Gastor Almonte ends up with an unmanageable number of condoms.

Tristan Attwood works as a business analyst for the airline industry. Originally from the Portland, Oregon, area, Tristan relocated to DC more than a decade ago after serving as a field organizer for a Senate campaign. Having been "unschooled" as a child, Tristan attended Linfield College in Oregon in the early 2000s but did not technically receive a high school diploma until getting his GED from the District of Columbia in 2015. He spends his free time renovating his DC townhouse, playing dungeons and dragons, and apologizing for the airline industry. He resides in DC with his wife, Jessica, and newborn baby Roland Tiberius.

Gastor Almonte is a stand-up comedian and storyteller from Brooklyn, NY. He's appeared on Comedy Central's This Is Not Happening, Risk! podcast and the Story Collider Podcast. Timeout magazine named him one of your "New Comedy Obsessions." He's been featured on the New York Comedy Festival, The People's Impov Theater's SoloCom and Cinderblock Comedy Festival. His new album, Immigrant Made, was released in March 2019.

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Dec 20 2019

34mins

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A Scientist is Born: Stories that cross generations

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This week we present two stories that give us insight into the birth and life of a scientist.

Part 1: As a 16-year-old, Lily Be gets an unexpected education on the reproductive system.

Part 2: Xavier Jordan discovers the party side of science at his first scientific conference.

Lily Be started sharing stories in Chicago by accident in 2010. She never had a want to express herself artistically. This is not something she ever planned on doing. Lily is from the westside of Chicago, born and raised where she's spent most of her days raising her son. Storytelling fell into her lap one day and she's gone on to do crazy amazing wonderful things with it. From winning story competitions that would inspire and oftentimes usher more Latinos and marginalized people to tell their stories, to teaching people from all walks of life to share theirs, Lily has not stopped giving back to the artform that changed and saved her life. Lily produces The Stoop and Story Collider, is an editorial assistant for Story News magazine, and account manager for GoLucky Studios. She teaches storytelling all over the city both in person and online, is writing a book, and hosting a myriad of community and storytelling events. She's half magic, half amazing, and 100% real.

Xavier Jordan is a University of Illinois graduate in chemistry and molecular and cellular biology. He is currently applying for microbiology research positions in Chicago. He's been telling stories for a long time and is glad to be part of the scene again.

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Dec 13 2019

34mins

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Justice: Stories about righteous determination

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This week we present two stories from people who stood up against a system eager to tear them down.

Part 1: After a car crash alters Emily Winn's life forever, she must relive the trauma when she testifies in a deposition.

Part 2: Black geneticist C. Brandon Ogbunu contemplates the role race has played in his academic career after he gets confronted by the police.

Emily Winn is a NSF Graduate Research Fellow and PhD candidate in the Division of Applied Mathematics at Brown University. Before Brown, Emily completed an AB in Mathematics at the College of the Holy Cross and spent a year in the Visiting Students Programme at St. Edmund Hall at the University of Oxford. Her research interests lie at the intersection of statistics, topological data analysis, and information theory; her current work applies theory from those fields to genomic data. Outside of school, you'll find her erging in the gym, screaming at the Red Sox game on TV, or binging the latest Netflix comedy specials. Follow her on Twitter, @EmilyTWinn13

C. Brandon Ogbunu is an Assistant Professor at Brown University. His research focuses on evolutionary genetics and the ecology of disease. A New York City native, Brandon enjoys film, hip-hop, jazz and science fiction. He's an ex-very mediocre light heavy weight boxer, and slightly less mediocre experimental virologist. He has higher hopes for humanity than he does the New York Knicks. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram @big_data_kane.

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Dec 06 2019

35mins

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BONUS: Behind the Scenes, Episode 1: Stage Fright

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A sneak peek at our new BONUS podcast for Patreon supporters! Today's episode is the first of our Behind the Scenes series. Liz and Erin are joined by Dr. Ali Mattu to discuss the TERROR of stage fright -- and how to overcome it. For more bonus episodes like this one, join our Patreon community: https://www.patreon.com/thestorycollider

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Dec 03 2019

36mins

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Thankful: Stories about gratitude

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This week we present two stories from people who owe a debt of gratitude to somebody for their entrance into the science community.

Part 1: A chance meeting with a stranger on an airplane has a huge impact on Melanie Knight's life.

Part 2: Joshua Adams-Miller has never seen college in his future, until he receives encouragement from an unexpected source.

Melanie Knight is CEO and Co-Founder of Ocean to Eye Level Consulting which supports coastal communities around the world open public marine education centres. Melanie is also the founder and past Executive Director of the Petty Harbour Mini Aquarium, a non-profit education centre in Newfoundland. Melanie had the opportunity to share her story of ‘bringing the ocean to eye level on the TEDx stage in Vancouver, November 2014. Melanie graduated from Memorial University of Newfoundland with a BSc. in Biology and a minor in Business. For the past 10 years, Melanie has been working with the largest and the smallest aquariums in Canada fostering curiosity for the underwater world. Melanie worked at the Vancouver Aquarium as a marine educator and manager of volunteers. Melanie has since been recognized for her work environmental work with the Petty Harbour Mini Aquarium becoming a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographic Society, receiving the Newfoundland and Labrador Environmental Award, TechGirls Portraits of Strength and the Canadian Network of Environmental Educators Award in 2014. She lives in Vancouver with her husband and K9.

Joshua Adams-Miller was born in 1989, in Sun Valley Idaho, to a family that has been in Idaho since 1873. He grew up in SE Boise under the care of his mother, who provided him more opportunities than anyone could ask for. However, he developed a sense of independence very early. Whether he was riding the city bus alone at 10 years old to get home from summer school programs or organizing large groups of friend to sneak out in the middle of the night, he’s always had a curious mind, and it wasn't beyond him to break the rules if it meant he got to learn something. He has always loved music and learned the viola and saxophone in school and self taught himself the piano and guitar. In his teens, he was sent to a jazz camp on a scholarship to hone his skills on the piano. Over his life, his curiosities have drawn him to the sciences repeatedly but by no means was it a clear path that brought him to his studies at Boise State as a Material Science Engineering Major. Like a sunrise, slowly illuminating the horizon, he realized that the best way for him to contribute to the future he wants to see was to bring to the world the materials that will make it possible.

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Nov 29 2019

37mins

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Outsiders: Stories about seeing things from the outside

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This week we present stories from two scientists who were confronted with their status as an “outsider.”

Part 1: After getting hit by a car, Ph.D. student Reyhaneh Maktoufi must navigate the recovery and paperwork as an immigrant from Iran.

Part 2: When scientist Danielle Lee travels to Tanzania to study pouched rats, she finds she's more of an outsider than she'd expected.

Reyhaneh is a Ph.D. candidate in Media, Technology, and Society at Northwestern University. Her main fields of interest are science communication, curiosity, and public engagement with scientists. She is a visiting researcher at the Adler Planetarium, where she studies science communication and facilitates workshops on communication skills. Before starting a Ph.D., Rey has been working as a health communication facilitator and campaign manager in Tehran, Iran. She also produces comics and videos about science and the science of science communication. In her free time, Rey enjoys staring at a wall and making up stories in her head or play bad ukulele and scare off birds while singing high pitch.

Danielle N. Lee is an outreach scientist who studies animal behavior and behavioral ecology. She studies the behaviors of mice and rats in the Metro St. Louis area and the natural history of African giant pouched rats. Lee was selected as a 2015 TED Fellow and was named as one of EBONY Magazine’s Power 100 and a White House Champion of Change in STEM Diversity and Access. Her current science outreach efforts emphasize engagement with broader audiences via science communication. In 2013, Lee helped found the National Science & Technology News Service, a media literacy initiative to bring more science news to African-American audiences and promote science news source diversity in mainstream media.

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Nov 22 2019

41mins

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