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A Scientist Walks Into A Bar

Give a scientist a beer and listen to what happens! This podcast presents live presentations from real scientists on topics from neuroscience to animal mating behavior. Recorded at Science on Tap events in Portland, OR, and Vancouver, WA, the episodes strike a balance between detailed explanations of science and being entertaining for everyone.

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The best episodes ranked using user listens.

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Ep. 24 - Memory and the Neuroscience of Addiction

Humans naturally seek out novelty and new experiences, and for some people that can lead to drug addiction. Repeated exposure to drugs can create powerful, persistent memories, and these drug-related memories can lead to addictive behavior and relapse, even after years of sobriety. In this episode, neuroscientist Dr. Barbara Sorg talks about what happens in the brain when we have new experiences, evidence showing that drug addiction is a chronic brain disease, and how understanding the neuroscience of memories might help treat addiction. She also describes her own lab's work with using animal models of addiction to weaken memories associated with cocaine. The talk Memory and the Neuroscience of Addiction was given at the Alberta Rose Theatre in December 2016. Visit our website to see some of the pictures mentioned during the talk. ** Want to come to an event? Visit www.ScienceOnTapORWA.org for more info. Thanks to Graham Tully and Stephen Perry for sound production. As always, a final thanks to Jonathan Coulton for the use of his song Mandelbrot Set as our theme music.

47mins

8 Sep 2019

Rank #1

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Ep. 4: Forensic Anthropology

This episode features the talk I Dig Your Bones: Adventures in Forensic Anthropology, by Dr. Nici Vance, a forensic scientist and State Forensic Anthropologist for the Oregon State Police. In this talk she talks about what happens when bones are found in the woods, where she then has to figure out: 1) are the bones human? 2) if so, are they male or female? 3) how old was the person? 4) how did the person die?, and 5) ultimately, who are they? It's like CSI, only real. She also talks about how people in the general public can help match up missing persons and unidentified remains by going to the website for the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, aka NamUs. Nici's slides have been synched with this recording and uploaded as an m4a format, so depending on your media player, you may be able to see the pictures of what she's describing as the audio plays along. Warning: some of the images are disturbing. Want to come to an event? Visit www.ScienceOnTapORWA.org for more info. As always, a final thanks to Jonathan Coulton for the use of his song Mandelbrot Set as our theme music.

1hr 12mins

30 Oct 2014

Rank #2

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Ep. 27 - Cannabis and the Opioid Crisis

Neuroscientist Adie Wilson-Poe, PhD, talks about exciting research into how cannabis can be used alongside or in place of opioids to manage long-term pain and addiction. This is a recording of the talk The Role of Cannabis in the Opioid Crisis and was recorded at the Kiggins Theatre in March 2019. ** Want to come to an event? Visit www.ScienceOnTapORWA.org for more info. Thanks to Graham Tully and Stephen Perry for sound production. As always, a final thanks to Jonathan Coulton for the use of his song Mandelbrot Set as our theme music.

1hr 15mins

17 Oct 2019

Rank #3

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Ep. 34 - Sex, Relationships, and Technology

Technology impacts our sex lives in a lot of ways, and we don't just mean porn. Better access to education and intimacy is great! But maybe too many matches on Tinder isn't so great? Also, what's the deal with sex robots?  In this episode Dr. Kris Gowen talks about many of the ways we use technology to connect with each other, and why it's so hard to get good data on the subject. Recorded in February 2018 at the Alberta Rose Theatre in Portland, OR.  Also check out Kris's other book project One Nation Under Song where she chronicles her quest to sing karaoke in all 50 States. ** Want to come to an event? Visit www.ScienceOnTapORWA.org for more info. Thanks to Graham Tully and Stephen Perry for sound production. As always, a final thanks to Jonathan Coulton for the use of his song "Mandelbrot Set" as our theme music.

1hr 15mins

18 Feb 2020

Rank #4

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Ep. 30 - Geology and Wine

You need lots of things to produce a good wine, such as favorable weather and a skilled winemaker. But before anything else, you have to start with good dirt. In this episode, geologist Dr. Scott Burns describes how soil can be a big factor in wine quality. Listen as he talks lovingly about wine grown in his home region here in the Willamette Valley, but also about wine-growing regions in other areas of the world as well. This was recorded at the talk The Mystique of Terroir: Geology and Wine at the Kiggins Theatre in April 2018. ** Want to come to an event? Visit www.ScienceOnTapORWA.org for more info. Thanks to Graham Tully and Stephen Perry for sound production. As always, a final thanks to Jonathan Coulton for the use of his song "Mandelbrot Set" as our theme music.

1hr 2mins

10 Dec 2019

Rank #5

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Ep. 12: Neuroscience of Racism

This episode is a recording of the talk "You and Your Racist Brain: The Neuroscience of Prejudice" with Dr. Larry Sherman, a neuroscientist from OHSU. In this talk, Dr. Sherman explains how our brains have evolved to make judgments based on visual information in milliseconds, and that these preconceived opinions about other people are not based on reason or experience but on instinct. He also describes how we can we use what we know about the neuroscience of prejudice to overcome this reaction, and potentially develop methods to combat prejudice and end racism. The Racism video produced by the students at Grant High School can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LNjbBFnBnXw Dr. Sherman's slides have been synched with this recording and uploaded as an m4a format, so depending on your media player, you may be able to see his images as the audio plays along. Want to come to an event? Visit www.ScienceOnTapORWA.org for more info. As always, a final thanks to Jonathan Coulton for the use of his song Mandelbrot Set as our theme music.

1hr 8mins

6 Dec 2016

Rank #6

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Ep. 31 - How Forests Can Help Stop Climate Change

Conserving and restoring forests can help fight climate change in two ways: cutting down forests is the second largest source of CO2 emissions (after fossil fuels), and because healthy forests can absorb and sequester massive amounts of carbon. Listen as Laurie Wayburn from the Pacific Forest Trust talks about how saving forests is good for humans and good for the planet. A special thanks to the Coalition of Oregon Land Trusts for their help with this event.   This was recorded at the talk A Path in the Woods: How Forests Can Help Stop Climate Change at the Alberta Rose Theatre in Portland in November 2019. ** Want to come to an event? Visit www.ScienceOnTapORWA.org for more info. Thanks to Graham Tully and Stephen Perry for sound production. As always, a final thanks to Jonathan Coulton for the use of his song "Mandelbrot Set" as our theme music.

58mins

6 Jan 2020

Rank #7

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Ep. 10: Neuroscience of PTSD

This episode is a recording of the talk The Neuroscience of Trauma: From Trigger Warnings to PTSD with Dr. Larry Sherman, a neuroscientist at OHSU in Portland, Oregon. In this talk, Larry describes a lot of things related to trauma and PTSD, including his own family experience with the condition, conditioned fear response, fMRI studies, epigenetics, and proven methods of treatment. This event was held on November 17, 2015.  Note: Unlike other episodes of this podcast, we have NOT included slides along with the audio. Sorry. Want to come to an event? Visit www.ScienceOnTapORWA.org for more info. As always, a final thanks to Jonathan Coulton for the use of his song Mandelbrot Set as our theme music.

59mins

23 Feb 2016

Rank #8

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Ep. 6: Epigenetics

This episode features the talk Epigenetics: The Merger of Nature and Nurture, by Dr. Lisa Sardinia from Pacific University. Lisa teaches environmental science and biology, specializing in microbiology and genetics. In this talk she describes the emerging field of epigenetics and how changes in your environment and what you eat can contribute to genetic changes not only for yourself, but potentially for your children and grandchildren. She also covers Genetics 101 with a basic explanation of DNA, phenotypes, genotypes, and genes, the difference between Ligers and Tigons, why mother rats should lick their babies, and why eating chocolate and peanut butter is good for you. Lisa's slides have been synched with this recording and uploaded as an AAC format as an enhanced podcast, so depending on your media player, you may be able to see the slides as the audio plays along.  Want to come to an event? Visit www.ScienceOnTapORWA.org for more info. As always, a final thanks to Jonathan Coulton for the use of his song Mandelbrot Set as our theme music.

1hr 4mins

10 Nov 2014

Rank #9

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Ep. 3: The Neuroscience of Pleasure and Love

This episode features Dr. Larry Sherman, a neuroscientist from OHSU in Portland, Oregon, talking about how our brains process pleasure and the special case of falling in love. Topics touched on during the talk include: ancient philosophy and the definition of "pleasure"; how hormones such as estrogen and testosterone affect our choice of partners; how drug addiction and stalking are neurologically related; ways that the levels of dopamine, serotonin, and epinephrine can change how we feel about someone; how taking The Pill can change a woman's ability to choose a viable mate; how liking chocolate ties in to falling in love; how studying the DNA of prairie voles can perhaps shed light on why people cheat; and much more. Want to come to an event? Visit www.ScienceOnTapORWA.org for more info. As always, a final thanks to Jonathan Coulton for the use of his song Mandelbrot Set as our theme music.

49mins

11 Oct 2014

Rank #10

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Ep. 28 - X-Rays and Plant Biology

Do you like to eat, drink, wear clothes, have medicines, and breathe oxygen? If so, thank plants! Listen as Keith Duncan from the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center describes how to use X-rays to study plants so we can grow more of them on less land, with less water and fewer pesticides or  fertilizers. Visit the Danforth Plant Science Center Blog to see the images and animations mentioned in the talk. This is a recording of the talk X-Ray Imaging in Plant Biology: Seeing the Unseen held at the Alberta Rose Theatre in August 2019. ** Want to come to an event? Visit www.ScienceOnTapORWA.org for more info. Thanks to Graham Tully and Stephen Perry for sound production. As always, a final thanks to Jonathan Coulton for the use of his song "Mandelbrot Set" as our theme music.

1hr 6mins

4 Nov 2019

Rank #11

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Ep. 11: Parasites

This episode is a recording of the talk "Parasites: A Global Health Problem", with Dr. Buddy Ullman, a parasitologist from OHSU. In this talk, Buddy describes a number of different human parasites, including tapeworms, hookworms, and plenty that you've never heard of. WARNING: this talk contains pretty graphic detail of what parasites do to human bodies, so if you're squeamish, this may not be the right episode for you. However, if you want to hear a scientifically interesting, slightly horrifying, fascinating, and hilarious talk, then please press play. Buddy's slides have been synched with this recording and uploaded as an m4a format, so depending on your media player, you may be able to see the pictures of what he's describing as the audio plays along. If you're brave enough. Want to come to an event? Visit www.ScienceOnTapORWA.org for more info. As always, a final thanks to Jonathan Coulton for the use of his song Mandelbrot Set as our theme music. (A parasitologist would never listen to a podcast.)

1hr 2mins

24 Mar 2016

Rank #12

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Ep. 7: Cannabis Pharmacy

This episode features the talk Cannabis Pharmacy: The Practical Guide to Medical Marijuana with author Michael Backes. The book gives "evidence-based information on using cannabis for ailments and conditions, plus a comprehensive guide to the most popular varieties." In this talk he describes how prohibition of cannabis in the United States has inspired selective breeding and has changed the chemical makeup of the plants, and how since some states (like Oregon!) are legalizing use that more scientific research is starting to be done on the myriad potential medical benefits. He also talks in detail about some of the individual cannabinoids such as THC and CBD (and many others), and how their presence or absence can dramatically change how a person's body reacts when using cannabis.  Michael's slides have been synched with this recording and uploaded as an enhanced podcast, so depending on your media player, you may be able to see the slides as the audio plays along.  Want to come to an event? Visit www.ScienceOnTapORWA.org for more info. As always, a final thanks to Jonathan Coulton for the use of his song Mandelbrot Set as our theme music.

43mins

24 Nov 2014

Rank #13

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Ep. 23 - The Nature Fix

Can being in nature make us better? What is forest bathing, how can recess help improve student behavior, and can five minutes outside really make a difference in your mood? Listen to science writer Florence Williams talk about her book The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative and get some scientific encouragement to go outside. This talk was recorded at the Alberta Rose Theatre in Portland in March 2018. Check out Florence's other podcasts too: The 3-Day Effect, loosely based on The Nature Fix Breasts Unbound, based on her book Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History Episodes for the XX Factor Podcast for Outside Magazine, including the episode XX Factor: How the Sports Bra Changed History Want to come to an event? Visit www.ScienceOnTapORWA.org for more info. Thanks to Graham Tully and Stephen Perry for sound production. As always, a final thanks to Jonathan Coulton for the use of his song Mandelbrot Set as our theme music.

1hr 5mins

26 Aug 2019

Rank #14

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Ep. 19: Yes I'm Really A Doctor

If you're a woman or you're someone who has ever been treated by a female medical professional, you should listen to this episode on the topic of Yes, I’m Really A Doctor: How Equity Eludes Women in Medicine and Science by Esther Choo, MD MPH. She is an Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at OHSU, Founder of Equity Quotient, and is a nationally recognized expert in gender bias in medicine. She's also fierce on Twitter. ** Want to come to an event? Visit www.ScienceOnTapORWA.org for more info. Thanks to Graham Tully and Stephen Perry for sound production. As always, a final thanks to Jonathan Coulton for the use of his song Mandelbrot Set as our theme music.

1hr 10mins

10 Jun 2019

Rank #15

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Ep. 16: The Neuroscience of Pain

Pain is the most important and misunderstood sensory system: you cannot live without it, yet we live every day trying to avoid it. In this episode, Dr. Michael Morgan, Professor of Psychology at Washington State University Vancouver, explains how your nervous system codes pain, how your brain tries to control it, and how drugs provide relief. He'll also talk about some of the reasons why current medications are problematic (hint: the opiate epidemic) and some new ways that science is trying to treat pain. Want to come to an event? Visit www.ScienceOnTapORWA.org for more info. Thanks to Graham Tully and Stephen Perry for sound production. As always, a final thanks to Jonathan Coulton for the use of his song Mandelbrot Set as our theme music.

49mins

22 Apr 2019

Rank #16

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Ep. 14: Grunt with Mary Roach

If you have a sense of humor, Mary Roach is either already your favorite science author or she's about to be. She came to Portland in 2017 to talk about her latest book Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War, and our onstage interview ranged from asking how she gets inspiration for her books to tips on how to approach someone in special forces and ask if he's ever had diarrhea while on a secret mission. We talk about her other books too, and stick around for some audience questions at the end. Also, this one is for Jamie. Miss you, and thanks for bringing cupcakes! Want to come to an event? Visit www.ScienceOnTapORWA.org for more info. Thanks to Graham Tully and Stephen Perry for sound production. As always, a final thanks to Jonathan Coulton for the use of his song Mandelbrot Set as our theme music.

1hr 7mins

25 Mar 2019

Rank #17

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Ep. 8: Molecules with Theodore Gray

This episode features Theodore Gray talking about his new book "Molecules: The Elements and the Architecture of Everything." Theo is known for many things, including his periodic table, his Ig Nobel award, his column in Popular Science, his app development company called Touchpress, his work as a co-founder of Wolfram Research, and his book "The Elements." In this talk he describes the inspiration for the book, some of the many interesting molecules that are covered in its pages, and he gives a demo of the new Molecules App. At the end of the episode there are a few audience questions that range in topic from where to find good chemistry sets these days, to that time the government visited and asked for their rocket nozzle back, to whether there's a market for really smelly substances. It's a fun talk, even if we didn't get to light anything on fire. Theo's slides have been synched with this recording and uploaded as an enhanced podcast, so depending on your media player, you may be able to see the slides as the audio plays along.  Want to come to an event? Visit www.ScienceOnTapORWA.org for more info. As always, a final thanks to Jonathan Coulton for the use of his song Mandelbrot Set as our theme music.

1hr 5mins

3 Dec 2014

Rank #18

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Ep. 33 - Preview! The Science of Friendship

Here's scientific proof that friends are good for you! We're trying something new this episode. Listen as we chat with Lydia Denworth, author of Friendship: The Evolution, Biology, and Extraordinary Power of Life’s Fundamental Bond. Then join us at Science on Tap at the Kiggins Theatre in Vancouver, WA on Wednesday, February 12 to hear her full talk. We'll record that talk as well, so check back for the full episode in the next few months. Also, you should definitely buy her book. ** Want to come to an event? Visit www.ScienceOnTapORWA.org for more info. Thanks to Graham Tully for sound production. As always, a final thanks to Jonathan Coulton for the use of his song "Mandelbrot Set" as our theme music.

16mins

5 Feb 2020

Rank #19

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Ep. 17: Gender, Sex, and Biology

Are biological sex and gender the same thing? Do anatomy and genetics completely determine sex and/or gender? In this talk from June 2018, Dr. Lisa Sardinia, Associate Professor of Biology at Pacific University, talks about some of the so-called "bathroom bills" proposed in the US to restrict access to public restrooms based on terms like "biological sex" or "genetic sex." Turns out that science isn't so binary, and legislators need to learn a little science (okay...a LOT of science...). Resources mentioned at the end of the talk: Scientific American, September 2017 issue How Science is Helping Us Understand Gender, National Geographic Magazine, January 2017 Gender: When the Body and Brain Disagree, Science News for Students, July 2015 The 7 Sexes: Biology of Sex Determination, by Elof Axel Carlson Sex Itself The Search for Male & Female in the Human Genome, by Sarah S. Richardson, 2013 Want to come to an event? Visit www.ScienceOnTapORWA.org for more info. Thanks to Graham Tully and Stephen Perry for sound production. As always, a final thanks to Jonathan Coulton for the use of his song Mandelbrot Set as our theme music.

1hr 8mins

6 May 2019

Rank #20