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Desert Island Scientist #4: Dr Dave Hawkes


Podcast  Click here to subscribe (free) via iTunes and other podcatchers

In Desert Island Scientist episode four, Jim and molecular virologist Dr David Hawkes from The Florey Institute at the University of Melbourne somehow manage to squeeze hoverboards and Rage Against the Machine into a discussion of viral vectors and post-traumatic stress disorder. Here’s Dave’s playlist on Spotify. Download links below.

Dear Science – Seth Sentry

Catch My Disease – Ben Lee

Norgaard – The Vaccines

Khe Sanh – Cold Chisel

Testify – Rage Against the Machine

Dave Hawkes

Desert Island Scientist #4: Dr Dave Hawkes

Dessert Island Scientist #4: Anzac Cookie

Dessert Island Scientist #4: Anzac Cookie


Desert Island Scientist #3: Dr Jon Winfield

Dr Jon Winfield

Podcast  Click here to subscribe (free) via iTunes and other podcatchers

Desert Island Scientist number three is Dr Jon Winfield from the Bristol Robotics Lab at UWE. Jon’s research is on microbial fuel cells – basically, it involves turning poo into power. He joins Hayley to talk about the sweet smell of waste water treatment, how to use a condom to make a fuel cell, biodegradable robots and the electrical conductivity of wee. We start off all high-minded and polite and fairly quickly descend into silliness and dirty words. Sorry about that. Here’s Jon’s playlist on Spotify – for extra treats, we’ve included a few from his list that didn’t quite make the podcast. Download links below.

New World Water – Mos Def  [EXPLICIT]

How to Disappear Completely – Radiohead

Electricity – OMD

Sleeping Lessons – The Shins

Ghost Town – The Specials

If you’re interested in finding out more about Jon’s fascinating and dirty work, here are some starter links to some of the projects he mentions: Biodegradable robots project in partnership with the University of Bristol Botanic Garden [link] / Ecobots on Wikipedia [link] / Microbial fuel cells project with Wessex Water [link] / Bioenergy project [link]

Next month: Jim podcasts all the way from Australia, with a new Desert Island Scientist!

Image: Riddy

Dr Jon Winfield

Desert Island Scientist #3: Dr Jon Winfield

Chocolate Tiffin

Dessert Island Scientist #3: Chocolate Tiffin

Desert Island Scientist #2: Suzi Gage

With love from Suzi

Pod  Click here to subscribe (free) via iTunes and other podcatchers

It’s episode two of Desert Island Scientist and we’ve invited another real life researcher to join us on our imaginary island. Suzi Gage is the lady choosing the tunes… and eating pudding, in our feature Des(S)ert Island Scientist. She talks to Jim about her research on tobacco and cannabis use, as well as her second career as a musician. The conversation flies from stoners to spider goats, and fashion to philosophy. Here’s Suzi’s playlist on Spotify. Download links below.

Smokin’ – Super Furry Animals

Being Boiled – The Human League

Genetic Engineering – X-Ray Specs

8 1/2 minutes – Dismemberment Plan

Snapshot – Cabaret Rat ft. Suzi Gage

Image: Alana’s Vintage Collectibles

Suzi Gage

Desert Island Scientist #2: Suzi Gage

DesSert Island Scientist: Floating Island

DesSert Island Scientist #2: Floating Island

Desert Island Scientist #1: Dr Owen Rackham


Podcast  Click here to subscribe (free) via iTunes and other podcatchers

We’re kicking off 2013 with the first podcast in a new series that we’ve been banging on about for months… Yes, Desert Island Scientist is finally here! Every month for the next six months, we’ll be welcoming a bone fide scientist to the podcast. They’ll be picking the tunes, introducing them and talking about the science behind them in a much more knowledgeable way than we ever do, while we butt in with stupid questions. To go with the brand spanking new series, there’s also a brand spanking new feature that we like to call “DesSert Island Scientist”, where a scientist eats a dessert in the shape of an island. Do not adjust your podcast catcher – it’s all on the same old Geek Pop feed. Our first deserted scientist is Owen Rackham, who works in computational genomics (oo-er). He joins Hayley to talk about mud towers, chromosomes, orange spaniels and experimenting on himself. Here’s his playlist on Spotify. Download links below.

Next month: Jim quizzes epidemiologist Suzi Gage about sex, drugs and rock and roll (ish)

Scientists – Jeremy Messersmith

DNA – Darwin Deez

Just Like A Drummer – The Wave Pictures

You Don’t Have To Be A Scientist To Do Experiments on Your Own Heart – Jeffrey Lewis with Jack Lewis and Anders Griffen

Ode to Kettle – Rachel Freeman

Image: Alana’s Vintage Collectibles

Owen Rackhan

Desert Island Scientist #1: Dr Owen Rackham

Dessert Island Scientist: Tarte au Citron

DesSert Island Scientist #1

Geek Pop: December 2012


Happy Christmas and bye bye to @jimothybell for now. He’ll be experiencing Christmas upside down in a hot place, which is just wrong. Anyway, as has become tradition here at Geek Pop, for the festive period we’re bringing you a selection of the most niche songs ever – Christmas science songs. Extra props to Jonny Berliner for writing a power ballad about Michael Faraday’s Christmas lectures.

In January, we’re kicking off a new series called ‘Desert Island Scientist’. Here’s a trailer. Stay tuned to the same podcast feed and it will reach your earholes very soon.

I Want an Alien for Christmas – Fountains of Wayne

Post Apocalypse Christmas – Gruff Rhys

Merry Christmas if that’s Okay – Mystery Science Theater 3000s (YouTube link)

Mistletoe – Colbie Calliat (iTunes link)

The Christmas Power Ballad of Michael Faraday – Jonny Berliner (Bandcamp link)

PRSClick here to choose from iTunes and other podcatchers. Subscription is free – it just means that whenever you open iTunes, it will automatically check for updates and download new podcasts. The online archive is here.

Intro/outro music by Intercontinental Music Lab. Image: ufos-&-aliens

Geek Pop: November 2012 (Nicey Nicey Zoo Zoo)

Fen raft spider walks on water!

Nyawww, ickle wickle cutey wutey spider… In honour of Jim, ahead of his imminent departure to the southern hemisphere, this month’s episode is themed entirely (well, almost – when did we ever stick to a theme?) around the things he loves best: ANIMALS… And, perhaps predictably, there’s a considerable amount of spider chat. Jim does, however, underperform spectacularly in Hayley’s game “Does Jim really know as much as he thinks he does?” Other questions answered this episode include: “Are snakes soft in the middle?” and “Can a dove be noble?”

Some links for this month: Looking for the crazy robots made by the team at MIT? Here’s their web page. And here’s more about the baby raft spider programme at Bristol Zoo. Our musical find of the month was Paul Mosley’s bird song-based album, which comes out in early 2013. Otherwise, the music got quite obscure, so most of the songs don’t appear on Spotify, but go here for the big bumper list covering 2009-2012.

Bohr – Sleepy Valley

Spider Lovin’ – The Mighty Boosh

Snake – Frightened Rabbit [or on Spotify]

A Robot Meets the Tree of Life – Ben Prunty

FULL PLAY: A Chattering of Birds – Paul Mosley

PRSClick here to choose from iTunes and other podcatchers. Subscription is free – it just means that whenever you open iTunes, it will automatically check for updates and download new podcasts. The online archive is here.

Intro/outro music by Intercontinental Music Lab. Image: The fen raft spider walks on water. But it’s protected in the UK because it’s so rare. Our local zoo has recently been hand-rearing some raft spiderlings (feeding them with flies) to get them ready to go back to the wild.

Geek Pop EP collected by THE British Library!

Geek Like Me in The British Librareeeee!

Something kinda funny happened a few weeks ago. The British Library contacted us to ask if we would send them a copy of our record. Yes, the one that we made with just a little bit (*cough* a lot) of help from some awesome artists, in March 2011. We couldn’t quite believe our emails. This surely, would be the ultimate endorsement of our geek recording – being collected by a LIBRARY. *Does a little dance* And not just any library… THE BRITISH LIBRARY! *Does chair spin until dizzy*

Of course, we didn’t waste a second. We packaged up a copy of Geek Like Me and sent it off to Andy Linehan, Curator of Popular Music at the BL (coolest job EVER), right away.

When we asked Andy why he wanted a copy, this is what he said:

“We’re always on the lookout for new music to add to our collections, particularly when released by smaller independent labels that might otherwise slip under the radar. Compilations such as Geek Like Me allow us to represent types of music or scenes that might not be widely-known or celebrated but form an important part of the national musical culture.”

Apparently the BL has been receiving all sorts of rare and random recordings of late. So… if you’ve made your own under-the-radar recording, why not ask Andy and co whether they’d like a copy? As far as we’re concerned it’s nothing less than an HONOUR to have our own British Library catalogue number! (Why, yes, we do!)

Can you tell we’re happy?

Aw, look at it in it's nice new home. It likes it there.