Oxford Science Cafe Launches Monthly Podcast

New series to continue providing scientific programs amid social distancing

UM graduate student Sumeet Kulkarni records a podcast for the ‘Ssippin’ Science’ series. The programs replace the in-person Oxford Science Cafe meetings, which are cancelled during the COVID-19 health crisis. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – In an effort to keep informing and entertaining science enthusiasts amid regulations that have cancelled most in-person events, organizers of the Oxford Science Cafe have created a way to bring the science to them.

The program is called “Ssippin’ Science” and can be heard on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts. Organizers of the podcasts are Jake Bennett, assistant professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Mississippi and faculty adviser; and Ole Miss graduate students Sumeet Kulkarni and Lorena Magaña Zertuche.

Kulkarni recorded the first episode for Comscicon-Atlanta, a conference on science communication for graduate students. The conference had experts review any multimedia science communication piece that they could create.

“I took the opportunity to pick this longstanding idea of making a podcast out of stories that our speakers tell at the science cafe,” Kulkarni said. “The first episode covered a really fascinating tale of how and why crickets on a tiny island in Hawaii suddenly stopped chirping.”

Magaña Zertuche said that while the idea for the podcast preceded the COVID-19 situation, her team looks forward to bringing new and interesting content that anyone can enjoy from home.

“One of our speakers, Dr. Maria Weber, an astronomer at Delta State University, graciously joined us to record a podcast episode called ‘Quarantine Skies,'” she said. “We also plan to host a virtual discussion on issues concerning the well-being and sustainability of our planet on Earth Day.

“We also have audio recorded from previous cafes, with topics including particle physics, microplastics and the evolution of bacteria.”

For more information about the Department of Physics and Astronomy, visit https://physics.olemiss.edu/.