In its first year, the Armed with Science webcast succeeded beyond expectations. The credit goes to the scientists, administrators and operators who spent time discussing with us the broad range of scientific work sponsored by the Department of Defense. Much of the credit also goes to the dedication and enthusiasm of Dr. John Ohab, along with a small band of supporters.
The application of science to military missions helps our servicemembers operate more safely and more efficiently. Research that’s conducted to meet military requirements often results in applications in the civilian world that benefit society as a whole.
As part of the team, I have been the primary coordinator of Navy participation, and I’m proud to say that the Navy has been well represented. Armed with Science’s debut show was a fascinating interview with Geoff Chester at the U.S. Naval Observatory who discussed the Naval Observatory Master Clock, an ensemble suite of 65 atomic clocks that collectively provide one of the most precise time references in the world. Despite the arcane subject (or possibly because of it) this turned out to be one of the more popular shows of the last year.
We also discussed Earth-orientation measurements at the Naval Observatory; research on solar storms and alternate energy initiatives at the Naval Research Laboratory; at-sea fuel innovations with the Office of Naval Research; polar sea ice measurements at the National Ice Center; the science behind sonar with the Underwater Surveillance Branch; research into whale response to human-generated sound with the Environmental Readiness Division; ocean bottom mapping with the Fleet Survey Teams; tropical cyclone forecasting at the Joint Typhoon Warning Center; underwater archaeology with the Naval History and Heritage Command; “low impact development” techniques with the Naval Facilities and Engineering Command; and the potential impacts of climate change on the Navy and how they are preparing for it with the Navy’s Task Force Climate Change.
Armed with Science has also featured representatives from the Army, Air Force, and various defense activities like the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the Defense Cyber Crime Center. We have also highlighted work done by organizations like the USC Institute for Creative Technologies, Emery University School of Medicine and the Cleveland Functional Electrical Stimulation Center.
Interviews have been conducted with a wide diversity of people. Uniformed members of the military have ranged from enlisted members to flag and general officers. We’ve also spoken with civilian administrators, research scientists and operators. Collectively these shows demonstrate the wide diversity of science as it applies to maintaining the security of our nation. It also shows that the Department of Defense is a great choice to pursue a career in science, either in uniform or as a civilian.
If you are interested in science, or interested in the future of military operations and support, you could not find a more informative and entertaining venue than Armed with Science. In the coming year, Dr. Ohab will be looking for more opportunities to expand the potential of the show, and our team will be finding more fascinating topics to discuss.
Stay tuned and be prepared to “be scienced.”
Bob Freeman works in the Office of the Oceanographer of the Navy and is one of the founding members of Armed with Science.