Interronauts | The CSIRO Podcast

By Jesse Hawley

16 June 2017

7 minute read

Interronauts is our podcast that puts a rose-tinted magnifying glass to science news from around the world, Australia, and inside our organisation. Hosted by Jesse Hawley and a rotating cast from our communications team.

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Episode 22: Purple Earth and plants’ war for the rainbow, and an attack on titan

Jesse sets off on a solo venture through the overgrown and tangled world of science news this Interronauts, beginning at the beginning with early Earth perhaps implanted with purple, not chlorophyll green, pigment, before heading undersea with two new species of very small jellyfish discovered by CSIRO researchers, bush-bashing in the crops, the cropage, with our and the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ work blending the benefits of brown rice with the pale ease of white rice, trekking through the clonal trunks, the forest of one known as Pando to get to the base of its stunted growth, and finally wrapping up in the cool slightly sour-atmosphere of a packed cinema, finding out how our smells might reveal movies’ classification.

Episode 21: Science of indecision, helping endangered fish with hands and saws for faces

Umm…ah…it’s Interronauts…we think. Join Jesse and Sarah as they discuss the ideal number of choices to choose from, a tiny imperilled fish and how we’re helping to rebuild the critically endangered, fearsomely cute spotted handfish in Tasmania, Australia’s roadmap towards a future in space, AND we chat with CSIRO researcher Dr Rich Pillans recently back from the Top End and a bonza survey of some of our most endangered aquatic life, including the speartooth shark, northern river shark, and the seven metre leviathan: the largetooth sawfish.

Episode 20: Teenage mutagenic-ingesting turtles (how I gave up balloons)

Cowabunga! On this episode of Interronauts Kate and Gavin join Jesse to talk about scourges of our times: marine debris and antibiotic resistance, as well as science’s endeavours to set us on the straight and narrow, the clean and biotic. They also talk about the use of third person in podcast descriptions (“We don’t actually, we prefer first person but are twenty episodes into the precedent…”), NovaSAR-1—a new state of the art satellite, which provides Australia 10% helm-time, and finally, a rare case of organ transplant complications and a crazy little thing called CTVT, a disease, but also a single-celled dog. You’ll just have to listen.

Episode 19: Killer T: immunotherapy returns, hydrogen at the bowser, ancient cheese and vego sharks

Up, up, and away with Kate and Gavin and Jesse on this episode of Interronauts where they talk about a new treatment for pancreatic cancer using killer cells, CSIRO’s new vehicles powered not on gasoline but hydrogen, and a fortnightly science digest about the oldest cheese, neutron stars, omnivorous sharks, and moooore.

Episode 18: Minority Report billboards, un-electric chairs, iron-less cotton, and this fortnight in science news

This episode technophile Ketan teaches technophobe Jesse about big data and the big burden it bears, why robot marketers are more unnerving than you know, how hackers might have swiped your fingerprints (drats; crims are supposed to leave ’em behind, not steal ’em), this fortnight in science news, and isn’t it ironic? Well, isn’t it? No, not really. It’s our new cotton that doesn’t crease and doesn’t need ironing, it’s like ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife.

Episode 17: Mm, I get high-rises with a little help from my fronds, Martian lakes, microbial census, and swiped IDs

Take a walk on the mild side with Rif and Jesse on this XL episode as they explain why Australia was in dire need of a marine microbe census, how every touch of your smartphone screen gives you away, the liquid water lake (what!?) on Mars, and finally, chat with Dr Brenda Lin about sustainable living, resilient cities, and the loss of nature from our lives.

Episode 16: Endangered sexy ibis, Marine Heatwave Gary, gold in eucalypts, and Antarctic flora

Josie, Jessie, and Jesse discuss the need to name marine heatwaves, the waylaid northern bald ibis, distal clues to gold deposits, the plants of Antarctica and speak with one of our wearable tech experts, Samy Movassaghi on her research and career path.

Episode 15: Please no Genie McGene Face, infertile invasive mozzies, and science digest

Researchers Kate Tepper and Gavin Volpato join Jesse to chat about our project to release sterilised male mosquitoes to drown-out an invasive mozzie species responsible for dengue fever and Zika—plus, also a fortnight science news digest.

Episode 14: Robolibrarians, medical marijuana for pets, dwindling Antarctica, and +200 new species

Jesse and Ketan talk about robo-cars and thankless waves, medical marijuana for pets, a dwindling Antarctica, and our discovery of over 200 new species.

Episode 13: Broccoli lattes, robot ecologists, and a new hope against the feline menace

Interronauts’ nine month hiatus is abatus and we’re back! This episode, Sarah Frazer joins the roster to talk about our robot ecologists in the Amazon,  the plan to augment feral cats into all-male clowders, the use of ugly veggies into delightful powders for your coffee, and researchers’ best attempt yet at weighing all life on Earth. This time Jesse’s on production, but the sound will improve. Koala bear with us.

Episode 12: Elephant scarecrow, the OG, Adam & Eve of flowers, tarantula venom to save sheep, and Interronauts farewell

Well listeners, this is it for a little bit — Season One of Interronauts is over. In our last episode, we’ve got new technology from CSIRO: giving scarecrows a brain, we’ve got the evolution of the first flower ever (what!?), we’ve got more research on how tarantula venom can help treat enwormed sheep, and plenty more science shenanigans. (Don’t forget to listen back through our back catalogue!)

Episode 11: Eggs to live birth — how pregnancy evolved, Alzheimer’s link with iron deposits, bonobos don’t overimitate, and Cassini’s grand finale

This fortnight Jesse and Sophie have a special selection of science news, plucked from all over town in this, their penultimate episode. In their first ontogenetic episode yet, they chat about breaking news from Yale on the evolution of pregnancy in marsupials and eutherians (ourselves), childhood learning in apes (bonobos’ inability to copy silly stuff), a chat with Dr Olivier Salvado about iron deposits’ relationship with Alzheimer’s, and finally the living funeral of NASA’s Cassini as it plummets into the Saturnian atmosphere — and you’re invited!

Episode 10: Caterpillars brainwashed into cannibals, Sampling the Abyss, Croque-MonScience, and transforming uggo fruit into stars


Join Jesse and Sophie as they snap back to reality, whope there goes gravity…*ahem* — as they discuss last fortnight’s science news: plant defences that turn herbivorous caterpillars into cannibals, our RV Investigator’s voyage to Sample the Abyss, the new project to rescue imperfect fruit and veg and turn them into healthy food products, and finally their new segment: Deconstructed Croque-MonScience, where Sophie guesses research findings and methods based on the title of a paper.

Episode 9: Where brains store faces, ancient origins of humans, blood vessel algorithm, and Aus spider guide magic

Join Jesse and Sophie as they cast their net overboard to snag last fortnight’s science news before heaving it aboard with their gelatinous biceps for us all to sort through. Here’s the catch: they talk about how it is that we’re able to remember (tens of) thousands of faces with relative ease, our new algorithm that can model blood vessel growth to pre-empt tumours, the ancient origins of Homo sapiens (100 000 years older than expected), and, they speak with Robert Whyte, co-author of A Field Guide to Spiders of Australia — the latest and most comprehensive guide to those wonderful eight-legged friends.

Episode 7: Polyamorous hammerheads, fit devils fade fastest, renewable fuels, and a chat with the Jellyfish Goddess

Dive back into science news with the Interronauts! Jesse and Sophie are back with a brand new episode, studio, the whole kit and caboodle (kitten cavoodle?). They talk about why it is that the fittest Tassie devils are most likely to succumb to the deadly facial tumours, how to pipe renewable hydrogen, why some shark mammas hook up with multiple pappas, and they speak with Dr Lisa-ann Gershwin about her to-date co-discovery of 204 species of sea animals (including a DOLPHIN!).

Episode 6: The Great Dying, anal mandrills, cutting cow methane w/ seaweed, & Neanderthal jewellery

Join Jesse, Sophie, and Adrian as they talk about how the world’s worst extinction was caused by microbes, mandrills that don’t groom those with sickly faeces, Neanderthal’s making jewellery, and their chat with Dr Rob Kinley about his research feeding seaweed to cows to neutralise their methane emissions. Methane special!

Episode 5: T. rex lovers, toxin-testing lab-on-a-glove, the largest dino print & Martian atmospheres

Join the Interronauts—Jesse, Sophie, and Adrian—as they go dinosaur hunting along the west Australian coastline with Dr Steve Salisbury (not Turok). They also chat about sensitive dinolovers, CSIRO’s new lab-on-a-glove, and Mars’ ghost of an atmosphere. Let’s zip ourselves up and get mailed back to the Cretaceous.

Episode 4: Carp herpes, glass tardigrades, nasal origins, splashier splashes, and sheep with Fitbits

Join Jesse, Sophie, and Adrian as they dive deep on the evolution of the human nose, tardigrades (check ’em out) and how they dry out for 30 years, why water droplets splash, and some work on climbing foxes. They also speak with Dr Ken McColl about the ambitious plan to release a strain of herpes to target pest carp in Australian water ways. Woo it’s a bumper episode!

Episode 3: Gate-crashing gut flora, storing movies on DNA, Arthropods of Our Homes, & titanium bones

Jesse, Sophie, and Adrian get together to chat about the uninvited microbes that stumble into our guts, how you can store Amazon gift cards on DNA, the mutations behind mirror movement disorder, and CSIRO’s 3D printing of a titanium sternum and polymer tissue. We also speak with Michelle Trautwein about her new project ‘Arthropods of Our Homes’ to catalogue the Australian arthropods we share our homes with. Enjoy the show, why don’t you.

Episode 2: Spartan ants, graphene from soybeans, VNs, and a chat with Antarctica

Jesse, Sophie, and Adrian join interroforces to discuss the antimicrobial properties of dragonfly wings, how roundworm genes might inform weight gain, how desert ants navigate their way home, and from CSIRO, a new way to make graphene (the world’s strongest material), pesky mobile Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), and we cross over for a live chat—podcast live—with Asaesja Young, one of our communicators in Antarctica. Enjoy!

Pilot Episode: Whale Menopause, Panda Thumbs, Frisky Wrens, and Antarctic Voyages

Jesse, Sophie, and Adrian talk about menopausal whales, panda thumbs, Tasmanian tiger brains, and frisky wrens. They also have a chat with Dr Lisa Harvey-Smith about the launch of the new ASKAP radio telescope, and discuss research around CSIRO: mouse plagues and trips to Antarctica.