Dave Schlom

Host, Blue Dot

Dave Schlom has taught the physical sciences at Corning Union High School since 1991. A lifelong amateur astronomer and astronomy educator, he has a passion for both the earth and the space sciences, which are the principal areas of focus for guests on Blue Dot. He started doing radio interviews on space and astronomy topics for local stations like KFM and KPAY in the 1980s and into the 90s, where he was a popular go-to guest for local radio personalities. He is also an expert on the history and geology of Lassen Volcanic National Park, where he has served as a volunteer for decades. Dave enjoys a quiet life at home with his partner in life, Cheryl, and their two dogs, Elvis and Pearl, at their Red Bluff residence.

Eli Ennis is a leader and grandson of a chief of the Tla-o-qui-aht first nations tribe of Vancouver Island in British Columbia. His work as an educator and activist is featured in Gleb Raygorodetsky's book The Archipelago of Hope, which was featured on a previous episode. We dive deeper into how Ennis is leading a cooperative effort of land stewardship based both on science and traditional tribal practices.

The west coast of Canada is a rich maritime rainforest and fishery that is home to eagles, osprey, whales and salmon. And it is also very sensitive to climate change, which is altering the natural patterns that have existed along with humans, for thousands of years. It's a fascinating, hopeful and challenging discussion of balancing the needs of humans and nature. 

Inexorable. The unrelenting power of the expanding, rising oceans is something that humans WILL be dealing with for decades, if not centuries to come.

In this episode we talk to Rolling Stone Magazine contributing editor Jeff Goodell. Jeff is the author of The Water Will Come.

It's Part 2 of our series on The Science Communicators. For some science majors, their love of nature knows few bounds and the thought of research in just one field of study wasn't appealing. What was is sharing their natural curiosity through the medium of YouTube and beyond. We talk to Ines Dawson from the U.K. and creator of Draw Curiosity. Then we visit with Nick Lucid about his take on science where it is OK "to be a little crazy," on The Science Asylum channel. Then Nolan joins Dave to quiz him on some notable science reads of 2017. Find out what tome comes in No. 1!

In this episode Dave talks to three science communicators with YouTube Channels. Jacklyn Duff's videos focus on science and technology on her SciJoy channel. Jade Tan-Holmes is an Australian whose Up and Atom videos focus on physics, math and computer science. Sheryl Hosler, aka The Roving Naturalist, loves to share her passion for environmental science. All three came to the same conclusion — that communicating their passion for science was a stronger calling than the traditional research pathway. And they may become regular contributors as special correspondents on future episodes as Blue Dot widens its horizons.

This week, Dave is joined by special cohost Kate Fullam from the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science. Kate and Dave interview Sara MacSorley. Her new coloring book Super Cool Scientists, profiles a diverse array of women scientists. The coloring book is designed to engage girls in thinking of scientific careers as possible futures for them. Super cool ones! This program is the second of an ongoing collaboration with the Alda Center based at Stony Brook University in New York.

Dave talks to Jess McIver. Dr. McIver is an astrophysicist with the LIGO gravitational wave detection observatory. She's been deeply involved in the first detections of gravitational waves from a black hole (which won a Nobel Prize for Physics earlier this fall) and the recent detection of the collision of two neutron stars. The collision produced not only gravitational waves, but bursts of electromagnetic radiation across the spectrum observed by telescopes around the world and in space. The observations have thrilled the astronomical community, releasing a torrent of research that will likely change how we view the Universe.

Dave talks to Kathryn Miles, author of Quakeland. In her new book, the journalist explores the less obvious threats due to seismicity than the usual "California and the west are earthquake country," point of view. In fact, most of the U.S. is shockingly vulnerable to earthquakes that could cost lives and damage an increasingly fragile infrastructure. Explore the deepest mine in the country and discover, along with our guest, how little we understand the inner workings of our own planet.

On this episode of Blue Dot, Dave talks to Gleb Raygorodetsky about his new book "The Archipelago of Hope." In it, the National Geographic correspondent and scientist tells the stories of six indigenous peoples from around the world.

For the past two decades Raygorodetsky has lived with and documented people like the Skolt Sami of Finland, the Nenets and Altai of Russia, the Karen of Myanmar and the Tla-o-qui-aht of British Columbia. These peoples don't debate the existence of human-induced climate change. They have been living with its effects for decades. Pushed to the edge by industrial civilization and its effects on our climate, these resilient peoples have learned to work with the ecosystems of their ancient homelands rather than the extractive model of modern society.

What can we learn from these people that can help us to pass on a livable world to our children's children? That's the central question explored in "The Archipelago of Hope."

When the Cassini orbiter was sent plunging into Saturn on September 15, it was the end of a mission and the end of an era of solar system exploration. In this episode, Dave talks to two Cassini team members — one who has been with the mission since the beginning and another that is a relative newcomer.

On March 27, 1964, Alaska was rocked by the largest earthquake ever recorded in North America. It caused widespread damage, landslides and destructive tsunamis. It also helped to cement our current understanding of the most important idea in the Earth Sciences — the modern theory of plate tectonics.

On this episode of Blue Dot, Dave talks to Henry Fountain, the New York Times science writer who wrote about the Alaska disaster and its aftermath in The Great Quake: How the Biggest Earthquake in North America Changed Our Understanding of the Planet

Fountain tells about his experience documenting the quakes victims and also its investigators from the United States Geological Survey, especially focusing on Henry Plafker. It was Plafker's painstaking field observations and conclusions that helped determine that the big temblor was caused by subduction — when an oceanic tectonic plate slides underneath a lighter continental plate. These are the most powerful earthquakes and tsunami generators on the planet — including the 2010 and 2015 Chilean quakes as well as the 2011 event in Japan.