Ten for ’10: Top Armed with Science Podcasts of the Year

This RSS feed icon inexplicably wearing headphones represents the fusion of the Internets and radio.

This RSS feed icon inexplicably wearing headphones represents the fusion of the Internets and radio.

Dr. John Ohab is a new technology strategist at the Department of Defense Public Web Program.

Way back in 2009 – before Defense Fellows were redesigning Barbie, blood was being delivered to Soldiers from the sky, and researchers were developing The Science of Cyberspace – the Defense Media Activity launched a weekly podcast, “Armed with Science: Research and Applications for the Modern Military.”

The podcasts featured live interviews with Defense Department subject matter experts, who discussed the critical role that science and technology play in helping our servicemembers operate more safely and efficiently. In the course of 64 episodes, the show covered a wide variety of scientific disciplines, including science policy, education, and history, and brought together collaborators from across the federal government.

Having had the opportunity to host many of those discussions, I thought it would be fun to revisit the 10 most popular podcasts of the year. I’ve arranged them below according to the number of listens. Stay tuned for our top videos and blog posts…

Which podcast episode is your favorite? Leave a comment, and let me know!

10. Air Force Scientists Propelling New Technologies

Air Force Scientists Propelling New Technologies The Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) is awesome. Joan Fuller, a program director, and Air Force Maj. Michelle Ewy, a program manager, at AFOSR’s Aerospace, Chemical, and Material Science Directorate are no exception. They joined the podcast for Women’s History Month to talk about how AFOSR is pushing the boundaries of science and technology and providing exciting career opportunities for women.

Listen

9. Using Geoscience in Support of Marine Corps Operations

Using Geoscience in Support of Marine Corps Operations Who ensures that Marines can conduct the full gamut of military operations on land, in the air and on the sea? Geoscientists, of course! In this podcast, Marine Corps Master Sgt. Kari Hubler, a 17-year veteran of the Marine Corps’ meteorology and oceanography community, explains how all forecasting is based on gathering data, analyzing the environment to determine what physical processes are affecting it, and then forecasting how those variables will change over time.

Listen

8. UrbanSim — Counterinsurgency Computer Training Game

UrbanSim — Counterinsurgency Computer Training Game The U.S. Army Research, Development, and Engineering Command, and the University of Southern California (USC) Institute for Creative Technologies, are collaborating to develop UrbanSim, a computer game that helps the military train for urban environments such as those encountered in some areas of Iraq and Afghanistan. USC Professor Dr. Andrew Gordon joined the program to talk about the game’s story-driven elements and the integration of real-world and nonfictional stories.

Listen

7. Adults Benefit from Playing Video Games

FACT: Armed with Science fans love video games. Not coincidentally, it turns out that playing video games can actually help adults process information much faster and improve their abilities to reason and solve problems. Dr. Ray Perez, program officer at the Office of Naval Research, discussed the phenomenon of video game-induced “fluid intelligence” during this podcast episode. “We have discovered that video game players perform 10 to 20 percent higher in terms of perceptual and cognitive ability than normal people that are non-game players,” Perez said.

Listen

6. The Science and Entertainment Exchange

The Science and Entertainment Exchange The portrayal of science – its practitioners, its methods, its effects – has often posed a challenge to the entertainment community. Likewise, the scientific community has struggled to find an effective conduit through which it can communicate its story accurately and effectively. Jennifer Ouellette, former director of the National Academy of Sciences’ Science and Entertainment Exchange, and Jamie Paglia, co-creator of SyFy Channel’s EUREKA, discuss the importance of connecting top scientists and engineers with the entertainment industry.

Listen

5. OPERATION DEEP FREEZE — Military Science Support in Antarctica

OPERATION DEEP FREEZE — Military Science Support in Antarctica While the U.S. East Coast experienced its version of “extreme” weather in early 2010 (remember the Snowpocalypse?) some servicemembers were facing another level of cold as they supported the National Science Foundation’s efforts in Antarctica. Air Force Col. Paul Sheppard, commander of the 13th Air Expeditionary Group and deputy commander of Joint Task Force Support Forces Antarctica, called in from McMurdo Station, Antarctica, to provide details on the mission. It was definitely the COOLEST podcast of the year. (“Coolest.” See what I did there?)

Listen

4. Making Waves — Studying the Effect of Sonar on Marine Mammals

Making Waves — Studying the Effect of Sonar on Marine Mammals The Navy has been sponsoring research to better understand the nature of marine mammal behavioral response to anthropogenic (human-made) sound in the ocean. Mr. Dave Moretti, the principal investigator for marine mammal monitoring on Navy ranges, describes how the Navy is studying animals in their natural environment through the application of passive acoustics.

Listen

3. High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program

High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program At a facility in a remote part of south-central Alaska, the largest radio transmitter on Earth sends high-frequency signals into the ionosphere to better understand the influence of charged particles on radio communications and satellite surveillance systems. The High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program, known as HAARP, is a joint Air Force-Navy program to investigate ionospheric physics and radio science. Several members of the HAARP team join the podcast to discuss how their research will benefit both military and civilian aviation and ground communications.

Listen

2. The SAVE Program – Teaching Vehicle Control to SAVE Soldiers’ Lives

The SAVE Program – Teaching Vehicle Control to SAVE Soldiers Lives Researchers at the U.S. Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Lab are developing a training simulator that creates environments mirroring the challenges servicemembers face behind the wheel. Engineer Barry Coutermarsh and Dr. Sally Shoop describe a new lightweight, portable vehicle simulator for teaching vehicle control and accident avoidance. The research program to develop that simulator is called SAVE, which stands for Synthetic Automotive Virtual Environments.

Listen

1. Developing a “Window into the Brain” for Traumatic Injury Diagnosis

Developing a “Window into the Brain” for Traumatic Injury Diagnosis Soldiers who are exposed to blasts associated with roadside bombs often are not aware of any resulting mild traumatic brain injury and return to duty without proper medical diagnosis and treatment. Thomas Meitzler, a scientist at the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center, and Dr. Joy Hirsch, professor at Columbia University, joined the podcast to discuss a collaborative study measuring brain damage on traumatic brain injury patients. The study hopes to determine what areas of the brain are susceptible to damage and measuring how the brain is engaged while performing certain functions.

Listen

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