August 27th, 2013

Interview with an astronomer and engineer at NASA and MIT

Episode #159: In part 1 of this episode, I speak with an astronomer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory about stuttering, exoplanets and, well, astronomy! I can’t help it, astronomy is one of my favourite topics. So it’s also inevitable that I ask the question about aliens and stuttering. In part 2, I speak with an optical engineer the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, also famously known as “MIT”, who works on lenses for space telescopes!

And in part 3, I briefly talk about the next phase in the Australian-made Scenari-Aid, a simulated scenario system that lets you improve your social, interview and speech skills by practicing real life interactions with videos. And for free! You, too, can help fund this next phase for as little as $10 at and be part of something truly special and unique. Scenari-Aid was also was nominated for an Excellence in Accessible Communities award as part of the 2013 National Disability Awards.

My guests also share their advice on getting into a career in astronomy and physics. Hint: stuttering isn’t an issue (like most jobs and careers). We also touch on stuttering in meetings and how to enter into a conversation when there aren’t a lot of pauses and people are speaking too fast. Plus, we learn a bit about Pluto, the exoplanets, radio astronomy and analyzing starlight. And how to listen to Jupiter and a meteor shower on your radio!

My favourite part was the in depth conversation we had about the possibility of stuttering in the possibility of extra-terrestrial communication. What I thought was a silly yes or no question, turned out to be quite thought provoking! How would you explain stuttering to an alien?

Eagle Nebula

Links mentioned on this episode:
JPL deer on Twitter!
MIT Lincoln Lab
Fly Me To The Moon by Stan Getz and Astrud Gilberto
How to listen to Jupiter on the radio
How to listen to a meteor shower on the radio
The Eagle Nebula


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