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Seeking A Scientist

The future is scary, but it doesn’t have to be. On Seeking A Scientist from KCUR Studios, Kate The Chemist is guiding us into the great unknown, from fungus zombies to feeling young forever. Together, we'll puzzle out what our world could look like — and how we can get ready.

We're returning for a second season, but before we head back to the lab, we want to hear from you! Leave us a review and comment on your favorite podcast platform, or email Kate directly at Kate@seekingascientist.org.

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Seeking A Scientist host Dr. Kate Biberdorf (AKA Kate The Chemist) uses an app to see what she'll look like when she's older.
We tend to think of getting older as inevitable, but what if it’s actually something we can control? Researchers have discovered some of the secrets to reversing aging, found animals who defy our understandings of life, and turned old mice young again. But even if humans could live forever, should we?
Captain Charles Moore first discovered what came to be called the "Great Pacific Garbage Patch," in 1997. Since that discovery, he's dedicated his life to battling plastic pollution in the ocean.
In 1997, Captain Charles Moore discovered the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch,” the largest accumulation of plastic waste in the ocean. Since then, scientists have documented how plastic has damaged marine ecosystems and altered evolution. But marine biologist Danni Washington says it’s not all “doom and gloom."
People wait in line to fill propane tanks Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021, in Houston. Customers waited over an hour in the freezing rain to fill their tanks. Millions in Texas had no power after a historic snowfall and single-digit temperatures created a surge of demand for electricity to warm up homes unaccustomed to such extreme lows, buckling the state's power grid and causing widespread blackouts.
In February 2021, wide swaths of North America were shut down by Winter Storm Uri, which caused massive blackouts and left millions of people without power for days. The winter storms exposed vulnerabilities in our country’s electrical grid, and underlined the pressing need for a more reliable energy system.
A cyclist rides past an area flooded during a King Tide, an especially high tide, in Miami, Florida on Oct. 9, 2018. Federal scientists, according to a report released on July 10, 2019, predicted 40 places in the U.S. will experience higher than normal rates of so-called sunny day flooding that year due to rising sea levels and an abnormal El Nino weather system.
In April 2023 alone, floods hit numerous regions of the United States, including land-locked states like Kansas, Tennessee and Colorado. With warmer temperatures and human activity causing the oceans to rise and the ground to sink, flooding is now a question of when, not if. But there are still things we can do to prepare for this "floodier future."
Giuliana Furci of the Fungi Foundation in Melimoyu, Chile.
From molds and yeasts to the mushrooms we fear and love, fungi are connected to life and death on our planet — but are often misunderstood. We only know about 10% of the estimated 3.8 million species that exist. Mycologist Giuliana Furci wants us to separate “fungal fact” from “fungal fiction," and give them the legal recognition they deserve.
The Carina Nebula - where we can see "Cosmic Cliffs" of newly formed stars - captured by NASA's James Webb Space Telescope in 2022.
Over the last few years, the box office has been dominated by films like "Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse" that explore ideas of parallel universes, quantum worlds and alternate lives. There's some real theoretical physics behind those ideas, but they may not look exactly how we imagine.
Quantum dots fluoresce in a range of colors under UV light in the lab of University of Rochester Professor of Chemistry Todd D. Krauss in Hutchison Hall December 4, 2017.
Ever since the 2023 Nobel Prize was awarded for the discovery of quantum dots, Kate’s phone has been ringing off the hook. What are these tiny clusters of atoms, and why are they important to nanotechnology?

Dr. Kate Biberdorf
Dr. Kate Biberdorf

About Dr. Kate Biberdorf

Dr. Kate Biberdorf is a chemist, science entertainer, and professor at The University of Texas. Through her theatrical and hands-on approach to teaching, Dr. Biberdorf is breaking down the image of the stereotypical scientist, while reaching students who might otherwise be intimidated by science.

She is the author of the bestseller “The Big Book of Experiments,” “The Awesome Book of Edible Experiments,” the fiction series “Kate the Chemist,” and the nonfiction book “It’s Elemental: The Hidden Chemistry in Everything.” She's been profiled in the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, and appeared on “The Today Show,” “The Kelly Clarkson Show,” “NBC Nightly News,” “The Rachael Ray Show,” "Star Talk with Neil DeGrasse Tyson," and “Late Night with Stephen Colbert.”

Dr. Biberdorf lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband, two dogs, and one very grumpy cat. Learn more about her on her website, and follow her on TikTok, Instagram, Twitterand Facebook.


Seeking A Scientist is a production of KCUR Studios and a member of the NPR Podcast Network. It's made possible with support from the Stowers Institute for Medical Research.