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The Wilkes Center Podcast


Conversations about transformative research happening in the fields of climate science and policy at the University of Utah.

From new renewable energy technologies and other potential solutions, to improved forecasting tools, to enhanced understanding of ecological, health, or community impacts, it’s hard to keep up with all of the climate change research and innovation now happening across the U.  Talking Climate brings University of Utah climate change researchers and their work into focus.  Talking Climate is hosted and produced by Ross Chambless, Community Engagement Manager for the Wilkes Center, and Margaret Call, an undergraduate researcher.  

19: The Significance of Ancient Roman Concrete for a Decarbonizing World

For this episode we talk with Dr. Marie Jackson a Research Professor in the Geology & Geophysics department here at the University of Utah. Dr. Jackson’s work is centered in mineralogy,...

18: How Great Salt Lake Bird Migrations Are Changing

Zoe Exelbert studies birds at the Great Salt Lake. Specifically, she’s interested in how climate change and shifting weather patterns are affecting bird migrations and in turn, how this is...

17: How NHMU's Climate of Hope Exhibit is Improving Climate Communication Strategies

The new Climate of Hope exhibit at the Natural History Museum of Utah offers museum visitors a more localized and solutions-oriented framing of climate change than other exhibits have done...

16: Urban Plants + Black Carbon = ?

For this  episode we talk with Dr. Alexandra Ponette-Gonzalez, an Associate Professor in the Department of City and Metropolitan Planning and Curator of Urban ecology at the Natural History Museum...

15: Talking with the Wildfire Hackathon Winners

The Wilkes Center held its second annual Climate Solutions Hackathon on January 26th.  This was not a coding “hackathon” but a competition to find innovative solutions to the daunting challenges...

14: Should a "Contribution" Approach Replace the Struggling Carbon Offsets Market?

Listeners to the podcast are very likely familiar with the concept of carbon offsetting or carbon credits.  This is the idea that a company that pollutes in the course of...

13: Can We Bury Modern CO₂ in Utah’s Ancient Sand?

One of the many challenges facing the world in the coming decades to reach carbon neutrality - in order for climate change to stabilize – is the challenge of both...

12: Making Sense of How VOCs Impact Air Pollution and Climate

Understanding how volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that originate from living organisms like trees and plants could  influence climate change and air pollution is an important area of research.   Recently I...

11: The Pitfalls of Adapting Cities for Climate Change

What does it take for whole cities to take the actions necessary to adapt to a changing climate? What is required for millions of people who live in the same...

10: Glaciers and the Past, Present, and Future Climate

As scientists, policymakers, and other environmentally-concerned individuals search for solutions to the changing climate, glaciers are an important topic. With the ability to both study glaciers in their current states,...

09: Harnessing the Power of Methane-eating Methanotrophs

For the world to meet the goal of the 2015 Paris climate agreement to hold “the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels” by...

08: Investigating Water Scarcity for Climate-Vulnerable Communities Along the US-Mexico Border

Ricardo Rubio grew up in the borderlands region of southwestern Texas where he came to recognize the challenges and vulnerabilities that communities like his increasingly face because of the compounded...

07: A Biomimetic Muscle that Makes Energy; 2023 Wilkes Student Innovation Prize Winner Series

Nicholas Witham, a fifth-year biomedical engineering Ph.D. student at the U, won first place in the Wilkes Student Innovation Prize competition in May 2023 for his proposal titled, "Renewable Energy...

06: Decarbonizing the Diné; 2023 Wilkes Student Innovation Prize Winner Series

In continuing our conversations with the winners of the 2023 Wilkes Student Innovation Prize, we spoke with Samantha Eddy and Xiang Huo, whose proposal: “Decarbonize the Diné: A Prefabricated Solar-Driven...

05: Increase UTA ridership, decrease carbon emissions; 2023 Wilkes Student Innovation Prize Winner Series

In a continuation of the 2023 Wilkes Student Innovation Prize winner interviews, Audri Dara joins us to speak about her idea to improve ridership of the public transit system at...

04: Four Lessons Ben Santer Learned as a World-leading Climate Scientist

Ben Santer is a Fowler Distinguished Scholar in Residence at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and a Visiting Researcher at UCLA’s Joint Institute for Regional Earth System Science & Engineering.  We...

03: Rethinking Soil; 2023 Wilkes Student Innovation Prize Winner Series

Last year The Wilkes Center for Climate Science and Policy hosted the first Student Innovation Prize competition where students could submit their most creative solutions to climate change. Steven Tran...

02: Smoke Signals: Why Kai Wilmot Studies Wildfire Smoke Plumes

Anyone who has experienced the brown and gray haze of wildfire smoke in the last few years knows that it can be brutal.  Wildfires can not only have devastatingly destructive...

01: Dust in the Wind: Dr. Kevin Perry on Investigating Dust from the Great Salt Lake

Dr. Kevin Perry has been studying air quality for over 20 years. Perry has monitored plumes from the World Trade Center collapse, smoke from pyrotechnic - firework – displays, and...