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2011 Annual Science Report

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Reporting  |  SEP 2010 – AUG 2011

EPO Activity: WAMC National Public Radio Astrobiology Series

Project Progress

Our NAI team partners with WAMC Northeast Public Radio for the purpose of publicizing the NASA Astrobiology Institute, relevant NASA space missions, new research results and educational opportunities in Astrobiology to a wide and diverse audience. WAMC ( is based in Albany, NY, and broadcasts to portions of seven northeastern states (New York, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey). WAMC is a member of National Public Radio and affiliated with Public Radio International. All broadcast segments in the Astrobiology series carry the following credits:

Opening credit: This is part of our Astrobiology research and education series, supported by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Closing credit: This coverage is made possible by the NASA Astrobiology Institute, through support of the New York Center for Astrobiology, located at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, in partnership with the University at Albany, the University of Arizona, and Syracuse University.

WAMC producer Glenn Busby conducted interviews with astrobiologists for later broadcast on NPR show “The Best of Our Knowledge”, a nationally syndicated program with an estimated audience of approximately one million listeners per broadcast. Mr. Busby is a superb interviewer and producer, always well prepared with intelligent and insightful questions, and possessing a remarkable talent for editing the interviews into meaningful segments that capture the essence of the topic and present it in an accessible way without compromising the science. Interviewees include (but are not limited to) visiting speakers at our Origins of Life Seminar Series (see separate section). Additionally, interviews were recorded with members of the winning team of middle-school students who took part in the ExxonMobile Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp at RPI (see separate section), together with Camp Director Cynthia Smith.

Glenn Busby, producer of the NPR show The Best of Our Knowledge, interviews a student participant and prize winner in the ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp “The Quest for Life” competition.

The following list includes all Astrobiology segments broadcast on the Best of Our Knowledge during the current reporting period (13 in total). The shows are available for on-line listening at any time at the WAMC website:

Show #1042 (09/06/10): Perry Gerakines (Interstellar and planetary materials)
Show #1045 (09/27/10): Summer Science Camp 2010 participants (part 1)
Show #1046 (10/04/10): Summer Science Camp 2010 participants (part 2)
Show #1056 (12/13/10): Mark Smith (Titan as a prebiotic laboratory)
Show #1057 (12/20/10): Mark Smith (Do manned scientific missions have a future?)
Show #1063 (01/31/11): Harold Levison (The Nice model – Planet and comet formation)
Show #1064 (02/07/11): Harold Levison (Physics education, the scientific mind, and are we alone?)
Show #1072 (04/04/11): Roger Summons (The great oxidation event)
Show #1073 (04/11/11): Roger Summons (The history of climate change and the origins of life)
Show #1080 (05/30/11): Natalie Batalha (The Kepler Mission, part 1)
Show #1081 (06/06/11): Natalie Batalha (The Kepler Mission, part 2)
Show #1087 (07/18/11): Dominic Papineau (Rocks, meteorites and the origins of life, part 1)
Show #1088 (07/25/11): Dominic Papineau (Rocks, meteorites and the origins of life, part 2)