Blue Dot

Thursdays at 10:30 a.m. and Fridays at 6:30 p.m.

Blue Dot, named after Carl Sagan's famous speech about our place in the universe, features interviews with guests from all over the regional, national and worldwide scientific communities. Host Dave Schlom leads discussions about the issues science is helping us address with experts who shed light on climate change, space exploration, astronomy, technology and much more. Dave asks us to remember: from deep space, we all live on a pale, blue dot. 

Being an astronaut is synonymous in our culture with being a hero. And there are a few that are household names, like John Glenn or Neil Armstrong. But perhaps none of them had as much of an impact on our society and NASA itself as the first American woman in space - Sally Ride. After her 1983 flight on the space shuttle Challenger, she became one of the most famous people in the world, and yet, she was also an intensely private person, her sexual orientation only becoming widely known after her death in 2012. Former ABC News reporter Lynn Sherr covered the space program during the early space shuttle era and became good friends with Ride. Her biography, Sally Ride: America's First Woman in Space is an in-depth look at the astronaut, scientist and human being.

“Okay, Houston, we’ve had a problem here…” Those words have become part of our pop cultural history. Just like, “Houston, Tranquility Base here…the Eagle has landed.” During the halcyon days of Project Apollo in the late 1960s and early 70s, Houston was a call sign that referred to the Mission Operations Control Room at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. We will talk to Houston ourselves, though not the one you might be thinking of…Rick Houston is the author of Go Flight! An inside look at the history and culture of the legendary space center. It’s all new and all blue with a little red and white thrown in for good measure.

A red dwarf star with seven Earth sized planets? Sound like science fiction? No, it is the Trappist-1 system recently discovered – and it rocked the science world because these are rocky worlds – maybe like Earth! Find out what we know and how we know it on this week’s show.

A dam holding back billions of gallons of water fails and hundreds of lives are lost in the deluge that follows in California. No, it is not a hypothetical "what if?" scenario for the Oroville Dam. It really happened, in Southern California in 1928. Find out the lessons learned and lingering questions about the deadliest man-made disaster of the 20th Century. We speak with the author of Floodpath, Jon Wilkman.

The Baker Street Babes

We return once again to the most famous fictional address in the world - 221B Baker Street. We walk up the seventeen steps and we visit the many iterations of a certain consulting detective and his boswell. It's the world of Sherlock Holmes with The Baker Street Babes. We continue our conversation with Ashley Polasek and Amy Thomas.

There are famous real life addresses that most of us know, like 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, but there is also a fictional one that I bet you also know – 221B Baker Street. Walk up the seventeen steps with us now as we visit with the many iterations of a certain consulting detective and his Boswell – it’s time to talk about the world of Sherlock Holmes, Dr. John H. Watson, and the women who understand them. Meet The Baker Street Babes – it’s all new and all blue – just like a Carbuncle.

photo by Sara Frank

Yup that’s one of my favorite bands from my formative years, Blue Oyster Cult and no, I don’t think they need more cowbell…I grew up on The Beatles and then transitioned as a teenager into the world of progressive rock. My two favorite bands were Yes and Genesis (with Peter Gabriel). The complexity of the music and its classical influences fascinated me, as did the new types of instrumentation – synthesizers, multiple keyboards, and guitars. Recently, I saw an iteration of Yes called ARW for the members – Jon Anderson, Trevor Rabin, and Rick Wakeman. Wakeman has always been one of my rock heroes – his keyboard wizardry is second to none. I also started watching lots of covers of Yes music by talented musicians and saw how much they were influenced by 70s prog rock. That’s when I stumbled onto our guest's YouTube channel. Richie Castellano plays bass, guitar, and keyboards for Blue Oyster Cult and is the creative force behind The Band Geek Podcast.

SEFD Science

On this episode of Blue Dot, we talk to two of the many providers of science education content on YouTube – it’s a place that I love to go to find interesting and entertaining takes on the world of science. It’s more fun than your average documentary…we talk to Joe Hanson from It’s OK to Be Smart and Jabril Ashe from SEFD Science

The year 2016 was noted for the number of celebrity deaths but in the sciences, there was one loss that was particularly notable. On this episode of Blue Dot we look back at the life of astronomer Vera Rubin – her pioneering work on the rotation of galaxies led to the discovery of Dark Matter. She also blazed a trail for other women to follow in the male dominated field of astrophysics. We are joined by her colleague and former student Risa Wechsler.

Juan Cortez

Drought-busting atmospheric rivers? Hard freezes? Snow in them thar hills? It is dark and cold – that time of year – winter in Northern California, and with it some of our most interesting weather. We talk about it with forecasters Michelle Mead and Brooke Bingaman from the National Weather Service.