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Experimental is a podcast series that features Louisiana State University faculty and students sharing their passion for research and their personal stories of investigation. Listen and learn about exciting projects and the individuals posing the questions.

Experimental is a podcast series that features Louisiana State University faculty and students sharing their passion for research and their personal stories of investigation. Listen and learn about exciting projects and the individuals posing the questions.
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Experimental is a podcast series that features Louisiana State University faculty and students sharing their passion for research and their personal stories of investigation. Listen and learn about exciting projects and the individuals posing the questions.




Episode 31: Phillip Bart - The Past, Present & Future of Antarctica's Ice Sheets

At this very moment, the ice sheets covering and surrounding Antarctica are dynamic, moving and receding in response to temperature and other factors. Some of the changes are abrupt and quite apparent, like calving events where large chunks of ice break off of glaciers and plunge into the ocean. Others are more subtle because the movement of the ice is occurring slowly, like it has done for over thousands of years. Dr. Phil Bart, LSU College of Science Geology & Geophysics professor, invites...


Episode 30: Keith Comeaux -Engineering the Mars 2020 Rover Mission

What’s it like to launch an SUV-sized rover to another planet and ensure that, on arrival, the rover will be able to complete scientific missions AND be controlled from Earth? This is exactly what Dr. Keith Comeaux, Deputy Chief Engineer at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and his team are tackling for the Mars 2020 Mission. In this episode, Dr. Comeaux leads us through the complexities involved in designing Mars rovers his career path from LSU to NASA, and the potential prospects of...


Episode 29: Valerie Derouen - Packaging Science into Outreach Activities

Who is responsible for creating a bridge between the scientists asking questions and the curious public? The answer, Outreach Specialists. In this episode we speak with Valerie Derouen, the LSU Museum of Natural Science’s very own outreach coordinator. Valerie is tasked with packaging the hardcore science and conservation efforts done by museum researchers into activities that engange audiences of all ages. We learn what a typical day looks like for an Outreach Specialist, how to develop...


Episode 28: Rebecca Christofferson - Pesky Blood Sucker & the Arboviruses They Carry

Mosquitos can cause more than an itchy welt. They are vectors of arboviruses. But what is an arbovirus? Dr. Rebecca Christofferson, Assistant Professor of Pathobiological Sciences from the School of Veterinary Medicine, presented her research on the transmission of these harmful viruses and how we can protect ourselves from them during LSU’s Science Cafe Talk in July 2017. Following her presentation, we continued all things mosquitoes and dove into a range of topics including vector borne...


Episode 27: Zack Rodriguez - Straight out of nature! It’s Green-blooded lizards

Get ready for the weird! We’re learning all about Green-blooded lizards - not from a sci-fi movie, but straight out of nature! Papua New Guinea to be exact. We’re joined by Zack Rodriguez, PhD Candidate in the College of Science’s Museum of Natural Sciences, to learn all about green-blooded lizards, the importance of studying green blood, and how Zack is preparing for an upcoming expedition to Papua New Guinea to discover more.


Episode 26: #ScientistsWhoSelfie with Dr. Paige Brown Jarreau

How can the problematic science stereotypes be dismantled? With selfies! It’s National Selfie Day and we’re marking the occasion with my co-author, Dr. Paige Brown Jarreau. Paige and I along with Lance Porter from the LSU Manship School, Imogene Cancellare from the University of New Hampshire, Dr. Samantha Yammine from the University of Toronto, and Daniel Toker from the University of California Berkeley, explored the role of science self portraits play in addressing problematic stereotypes....


Episode 25: Michael Pasquier - The Cultural Connections of People, Land, & Water in Louisiana

What composes a community and the cultures within? In Southern Louisiana, communities are constructed by the people and the ecosystems that surround. Michael Pasquier, Associate Professor of Religious Studies and History and the Jaak Seynaeve Professor of Christian Studies, begins our conversation with Our Lady of Prompt Succor and the prayers offered to protect the people of Southern Louisiana from approaching storms. The connections of the people to the land and water shape the culture of...


Episode 24: Hayley Johnson & Sarah Simms - Japanese Internment Camps in Louisiana

Did you know that over 1000 Japanese men were interned in Louisiana during WWII? Hayley Johnson and Sarah Simms, passionate librarians from LSU Libraries, explore this buried history in our own backyard. We discuss who these Japanese men and their families were, the conditions at the Louisiana internment camps, and the crucial lessons we need to remember in order to fight against the discrimination of those who are different.


Episode 23: Mike Polito - Studying Penguins in Antarctica

Happy World Penguin Day! Penguins almost exclusively live in the Southern Hemisphere, most notably in Antarctica. So how do those cute, tuxedo wearing birds survive and what is it like to study penguins in the coldest place on Earth? We’re featuring an April 2017 LSU Science Cafe talk by Dr. Mike Polito, Assistant Professor Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences, where he shared all things penguin - from what they eat to how they respond to environmental stresses. We then sat down...


Episode 22: Cindy Nguyen - Entering the MD MPH Program

Are you wondering how to get into medical school? What better than to hear from someone who was just accepted into an MD-MPH program! We are featuring LSU students at different stages in their medical career, from getting accepted to entering rotations. We begin with Cindy Nguyen, recent graduate with Bachelors of Science in Biological Sciences and Bachelors of Arts in Sociology. Cindy shares her insights from early academic struggles, identifying the right career path, prepping for the...


Episode 21: Heather McKillop - Preserving Mayan Artifacts with 3D Printing

How do you discover ancient Maya artifacts buried underwater? And what do you do with the artifacts once you discover them? Heather McKillop, Thomas & Lillian Landrum Alumni Professor in the Department of Geography and Anthropology, presented her research on ancient Mayan civilizations during LSU’s Science Cafe in September 2017. We later sat down with Dr. McKillop, where she shared how her team has been able to study submerged Mayan villages, excavate artifacts and preserve those artifacts...


Episode 20: Whitney Kroschel -Flooding on the Floodplains

Floodplains. The term conjures up images of iconic Louisiana swamps- cypress trees, alligators, and areas inundated with water. But what a floodplain really is, is a wetland ecosystem which periodically experiences pulses of floodwaters, bringing nutrients and sediment to the land. While these cyclic events can be beneficial to wetland communities, continuous flooding may be deleterious to the native species. Whitney Kroschel, Ph.D. candidate in the School of Renewable Natural Resources in...


Episode 19: Malinda Sutor - Big Impacts Tiny Creatures

Plankton provide the single largest source of oxygen and carbon sequestration on this planet all while nourishing the largest mammal on Earth, the blue whale. With the rise in temperature and acidity in the ocean an urgent question emerges; how will the environmental changes affect the plankton’s ability to maintain these global processes and provide the foundation of the world’s food web? Join us in our conversation with Dr. Malinda Sutor, from the Department of Oceanography and Coastal...


Episode 18: Catherine Deibel - Uncovering Star Composition

When you look in the mirror, do you see a star? Of course you do! Your body is composed of the elements of stars. We met with Dr. Catherine Deibel, Assistant Professor of the Department of Physics and Astronomy, to learn about her research in experimental nuclear astrophysics and explain how we are all made from the ashes of stars.


Episode 17: Maria F. G. Wallace - The Gray Landscape of Education

How do scientists learn how to teach? With science of course! Maria F. G. Wallace, 2017 PhD graduate of the School of Education in the College of Human Sciences & Education at Louisiana State University and current Assistant Professor of Education at Millsaps College, discusses her research on education of science teachers, both as undergraduates and as early career professionals, to highlight how science education involves a community process of shared experience and investigation among...


Episode 16: Carol Friedland - Saving Our Homes From Hurricanes & Floods

In 2016, the Gulf of Mexico churned out one of the most active hurricane seasons on record. Devastation from powerful winds and life-threatening flooding left many homeless and distressed. We joined Carol Friedland, an Assistant Professor in the Bert S. Turner Department of Construction Management in the College of Engineering at LSU's Science Cafe in August 2017, where she shared with us strategies for protecting homes against natural disaster effects, how to use flood maps, and what you...


Episode 15: John A. Pojman - A Chemical Career

What connects frontal polymerizations, amphiumas, and pocket protectors? They are all aspects of Dr. John Pojman’s research! John A. Pojman, Professor in the Department of Chemistry and President and CEO of Pojman Polymer Products, LLC., joins us in the School of Library and Information Sciences recording lab to share his journey through research, invention, and collaborations as well as advice to those starting their science careers. We discuss zero-gravity experiments, the development of...


Episode 14: Peter Clift - Monsoons, Mountains, & Civilizations

How do the largest mountains on Earth drive one of the greatest climatic events witnessed by humans? Peter Clift, the Charles T. McCord Endowed Professor and Dr. Henry V. Howe Distinguished Professorship recipient in the LSU Department of Geology and Geophysics, shares how he uses sediment samples from oceans, rivers, and land to link the development of the Himalayas to the intensity of the Asian monsoon and even connections to the rise and fall of civilizations within the region.


Episode 13: Don Hood & Allison Barbato - Mineral Connections

What information about Mars is locked in minerals on Earth? How can we learn about possible life on Mars from these Earth minerals? Don Hood, PhD Candidate and Allison Barbato, B.S.,members of LSU’s Planetary Science Lab in the Department of Geology & Geophysics, are heading to Sri Lanka to investigate serpentine mineral deposits to learn more about their formation and possible links to the serpentine minerals discovered on Mars. They share with us aspects of their upcoming research trip,...


Episode 12: Edgar Berdahl - Creating New Electronic Instruments

Have you ever heard sixty metronomes slowly going out of sync? What about a line the size of a telephone wire being plucked like a string? Listen to how Edgar Berdahl, Assistant Professor of Experimental Music and Digital Media in the LSU School of Music and the Center for Computation & Technology, takes seemingly impossible ideas and make them a musical reality. Additional works can be heard at Experimental Music & Digital Media (, including upcoming performances and...