Heather Goldstone

Science Editor and Host of Living Lab

Heather Goldstone is science editor at WCAI and host of Living Lab on The Point, a weekly show exploring how science gets done and makes its way into our daily lives. Goldstone holds a Ph.D. in ocean science from M.I.T. and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and spent a decade as researcher before leaving the lab to pursue journalism. She has reported extensively on Woods Hole’s unique scientific community and key environmental issues on Cape Cod. Her stories have appeared in outlets ranging from Cape Cod Times and Commercial Fishery News to NPR and PBS News Hour. Most recently, Goldstone hosted Climatide.org, an NPR-sponsored blog exploring present-day impacts of climate change on coastal life.

Ways to Connect

SpaceX

On Wednesday, April 18th, NASA launched a science satellite aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket for the first time.  After the launch, SpaceX managed to pull off its signature move, landing the first stage of the rocket booster on a barge.

Mike Eklund / American Museum of Natural History

 

A fossil found in Kansas seventy years ago has been identified as a large cartilaginous fish, like a shark or a ray. That wouldn’t be so noteworthy if the same fossil hadn’t already been identified, twice – first as a green alga, and then as a squid or cuttlefish.

pbslearningmedia.org

Forty thousand years ago, a massive volcanic eruption in southern Italy devastated what today is Europe. And yet, the culture of the early humans who lived there persisted. Now, archeologists say the key was long-distance trade and social networking.

greenpeace.org.uk

Japanese scientists announced this past week that they had not only discovered bacteria that naturally digest the PET plastic used to make many water bottles, they had also genetically modified them to make them better at breaking down plastic. Headlines made it seem like our plastic pollution woes were over.

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

The twilight zone. It’s not just a spooky 1960s television series. It’s what scientists call the part of the ocean between about 600 and 3000 feet below the surface. It’s deep, it’s dark (thus, the name), and it’s relatively unstudied. But it may be home to more life than the rest of the ocean, combined, and also key to the ocean’s ability to suck carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.

UMass Boston

Severe coastal flooding during storms in January and March of this year jolted Massachusetts residents and officials into an unwelcome awareness of just how vulnerable we are to rising sea levels. Last month, Governor Baker announced a 1.4 billion dollar bond bill to finance climate resilience efforts.

baa.org

Not all marathoners are twenty-somethings, or even forty-somethings. Last year, the oldest finisher in the Boston Marathon was eighty four years old. This year, a seventy-nine year old three-time cancer survivor is running the race. What is the secret of these older athletes?

Most brain scientists will never know what it feels like to live with the mental illnesses they study. Barbara Lipska is the exception; brain tumors caused her to lose track of her left hand, forget where she lived, go running with hair dye dripping from her head, and accuse a familiar pest exterminator of trying to kill her family. 

William & Mary Virginia Institute of Marine Science

The severe coastal flooding brought by storms in January and March has drawn renewed attention to the issue of sea level rise, and how prepared or unprepared we are for it.  

Official poster from the March for Science

Last April, tens – if not hundreds – of thousands of scientists and science enthusiasts took to the streets in the first March for Science. This year, there will again be marches. But the March for Science has changed – from a volunteer-led protest to a global network of science advocacy groups. 

An 18th-century woodcut from a religious tract

New England isn’t exactly a major earthquake hotspot, but we do get small earthquakes every year. A magnitude 2.7 rattled New Hampshire and parts of Massachusetts in mid-February just this year.

northwestern.edu

There’s new evidence that gender stereotypes of scientists are changing. Researchers looked at drawings of scientists made by more than 20,000 children and found that 28 percent drew their scientist as a woman. That’s a dramatic increase from the .6 percent researchers saw 50 years ago, but there’s still room for growth.

noaa.gov

The ocean has a plastic problem. And it’s growing. Several million tons of plastic enter the ocean every year, and much of it ends up swirling around in the middle of ocean basins.

There is a long and troubling history of science – or at least pseudoscience – being used to justify racism and discrimination. The nineteenth century practice of phrenology is a commonly cited – and thoroughly debunked – example.

Solar energy is one of the most contentious topics out there. Some see it as the way to a carbon-neutral energy system, while others say it’s a boondoggle. Varun Sivaram has worked in the ivory tower of academia, the nitty gritty of municipal governance, and the high-risk, high-reward world of tech start-ups. Along the way, he’s come face to face with the differing views of solar, and he attempts to pull them all together and put them in perspective in his new book, Taming the Sun.

 

 

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