Living Lab on The Point

Mondays at 9am and 7pm

Living Lab on The Point is a forum for the stories behind science headlines — the people who do the research, the unexpected ways that science gets done, and how the results make their way into our everyday lives.

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Living Lab host and producer Dr. Heather Goldstone.
Host and producer Dr. Heather Goldstone.
Credit Maura Longueil

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Living Lab on The Point is Produced by Dr. Heather Goldstone. The Executive Producer is Mindy Todd.

Major support for the Living Lab is provided by the Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment and The Kendeda Fund. Additional support is provided by Lee McGraw and the Elizabeth B. McGraw Foundation.

Ken Kostel / Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

In 1998, Ben LeComte swam some 3,700 miles across the Atlantic Ocean, eight hours at a time. It took him seventy three days in total. Now, he's taking on an even bigger challenge - The Longest Swim - a 180-day, 5,500 mile swim across the Pacific Ocean, from Tokyo to San Francisco. His goal is to boost our understanding and awareness of ocean health issues.

Pope Francis has called climate action, variously, a moral, religious, and ethical imperative.

Pope Francis recently released a 184-page letter, Laudato Si, dedicated to environmental issues. In it, he argues that respect for the poor, future generations, the Earth, and God all demand major changes in how we use resources.

The waters off the coast of the northeastern U.S. are currently much warmer than normal, and have been warming at a dramatically accelerated rate.

You may have heard that global warming has slowed down in recent years. It's true, the rate of warming has been slightly less over the past fifteen years than in preceeding decades, if you look at atmospheric temperatures alone. But add in the ocean, and it's a different story altogether.

Ernest Everett Just
Wikimedia Commons

Earnest Everett Just is considered the first African-American marine biologist. Born in Charleston, SC, in 1883, he went on to study at Dartmouth College and University of Chicago. He led the zoology department at Howard University, published more than seventy scientific papers and two books, and made pioneering contributions to our understanding of fertilization and egg development.

But those accomplishments did not come without costs. While many of the challenges Everett faced were unique to his race and time, others are more persistant, and universal.

Mike Baird / flickr

We like to think we’re in charge of our health, but it increasingly looks like the ones really running the show are the microbes in, on, and around us -  and not just the ones that cause diseases. Bacteria and other microbes on our skin and in our intestines far outnumber our actual human cells, and are responsible for a large fraction of what our bodies do - from digestion to mental health.

Bill Scholtz 4MG

Humans are unique for, among other things, our ability to drive other species extinct at an unprecedented rate. Stephen Kress is among a growing number of conservation biologists who counter that we also have the power - and responsibility - to restore what we've damaged. Project Puffin is Kress's legacy.

Image courtesy D. Kelley and M. Elend/University of Washington

We've been studying the stars for millenia. The ocean that covers seventy percent of the planet, though, remains a largely unmapped final frontier.

nedim chaabene /

In most circles, Cuba is known for cigars, the Bay of Pigs, and an uncomfortably close brush with nuclear warfare. In scientific circles, Cuba is also known as a leading producer of vaccines, the home of some of the Caribbean’s healthiest coral reefs, and an incredibly difficult place to pursue research.

ESO/S. Brunier

Nancy Ellen Abrams' search for God has been driven by personal need, and guided by our most advanced scientific understanding of our universe. In her new book, A God That Could Be Real: Spirituality, Science, and the Future of Our Planet, Abrams reveals her theory of a God that arises from humanity's aspirations.

Peter McGowan / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Ninety-seven percent of scientists agree: climate change is happening, we’re largely to blame, and the effects are not as far off as you might think. What effects, you ask? Well, there's increasingly frequent and intense heat waves, drought, torrential rains. There's melting glaciers and rising sea level. Now, new research add some less intuitive climate change impacts.