Season 2

Bonus episode – Season 2 Wrap-Up and Looking Forward to Season 3 – ft. all the hosts

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In this bonus episode, our hosts (Adrian, Allison, Bea, Emanuele, Niko, Renee, and Srinath) officially close Season 2 of the podcast.
They talk about the experiences they made when creating their episodes, their areas of interest, how they go about finding and inviting their guests, the feedback they receive, and, most importantly, about their plans for Season 3.

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Bea: Hello and welcome back to the Offspring Magazine the Podcast, season 3! It’s Bea and I will be hosting today’s podcast, the first episode

Srinath: Hello! And welcome to Offspring Magazine the Podcast I’m your host Srinath Ramkumar with the other hosts of Offspring Magazine the Podcast. So let’s go around introducing ourselves. And maybe first, let’s start with A, and that’s Adrian.

Adrian: That would be me, yeah. So my name is Adrian, I’m a doctoral researcher at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden. And, yeah, that’s who I am, top to bottom. 

S: Could you maybe also slightly elaborate on what episodes you did this season?

Adrian: So I did more editing than I did actual episodes this season. Because I edited a lot of Alli’s episodes. Okay, I think I was on a couple of the episodes… I was on like the live show, I was on the episode with Ben from the Nature Podcast, so…

S: That’s cool.

Adrian: That’s my track record. And then I got a dog, which absolutely destroyed everything in my life because puppies take a lot of work, it turns out. Who would have known? Certainly not me.

S: All right. Next, I guess, is Alli. 

Alli: The next A. Hi, everyone! I’m Alli I’m a PhD student, also at… Sorry, doctoral researcher!

Adrian: I even set you up. 

Alli: Yeah, I know. I’m a doctoral researcher, also at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics. And there, I study pancreas development using pancreas organoids. And last season I did a lot of episodes with Sandra who unfortunately couldn’t join us for the wrap-up episode. She has a grown-up job now. And we did a lot of kind of crossover Equal Opportunity type episodes. We talked about being a parent or a woman in science, we talked about LGBTQ issues in academia. And then, I did a bit of a different episode on the subconscious cultural bias that people might experience, based on their names.

S: Okay. I mean, I think these episodes are fairly well-received from our audience. Who’s next?

Bea: Hi, everybody!

S: Okay, let me introduce you!

B: Thank you.

S: All right, next up is B. Bea, go on, your turn.

B: Thanks, Srinath. Hi everyone, I’m Bea, and I’m a doctoral researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Kohlenforschung, and I’m an organic chemist. Yeah, so the last year I’ve done mainly podcasts focused on research and the research taking place in science. So we’ve had different scientists on, from different institutes within the Max Planck Society. So that was really fun to talk to them and try to expose also the research that’s taking place within the Max Planck Gesellschaft. And I’ve also had done a few podcasts with CEOs of a few companies so that’s also been really interesting to learn about what they’re doing. Yeah. 

S: So these are basically the Ageing episode, right? It started with the Ageing?

B: Yeah, it started with the Ageing episode. And then we’ve also had one with the CEO of Higher Steakes, which was on lab-grown meat. One on SpiroChem, which is mainly a chemistry-based episode. And then, we also had a really good one on stress with Matthias Schmidt, from the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry in Munich.  

S: Also the Algae one. 

B: Oh, yeah. Yeah, we’ve also done one on the use of microalgae and bioplastics, very relatable topic right now.

S: Yeah, those are very relatable topics. And these episodes are also very well-received. And you forgot the most…

B: I did! I just remembered! We had Ben List, on which is the Nobel Prize winner in Chemistry this year. That one was actually recorded in person so the video is available, which is really nice.

S: Yeah, that’s pretty cool. Anyway, next up is a new host and it’s Emmanuelle. Come on, Emma, introduce yourself. 

E: Hi, hello, everyone! So I got a very nice welcome from Srinath and I’m looking forward to start with this amazing team of recording podcasts, that have been doing so well in this past season. They had like unbelievable hosts. I hope you all check them out, like the episodes. And I’m really looking forward to start and try to do as good in the next season! I am a doctoral researcher, as we just said, at the MPI for Chemical Energy Conversion in Mülheim. And I’m also a chemist and I study catalysis, in particular. And I’m looking forward to start this new experience! And, well, I’m sure we’ll really enjoy that!

S: Definitely. And good luck for the next season! Speaking of next season, the letter N comes up, and that’s Niko. That was a great segue, wasn’t it? Not even Linus from Linus Tech Tips does segues like this, like, you know? 

Adrian: Oh, I don’t know if you can… 

N: I guess, debatable but all right. So, yeah. I’m Niko, I’m at the Max Planck Institute for Neurobiology, now in my fifth year.

S: Also an N institute.

N: Also an N institute, I guess. And yeah, I actually had to look up because, I have to admit, I was like leaving it to the other people to do the last half-year, I think, of the podcast. I was not really involved at all. And I was really happy that it was running as well as it did. And I think in the beginning of the year I was more involved with some episodes on Open Science. Like we had the head of the, well, of course, the ERC interview, but I was more talking about the episode with Stephen Curry from DORA. Yeah, which I found quite interesting just because research assessment is just, yeah, it’s always on my mind. So it was really nice to talk to him about this. And yeah, so I have to admit, next season I probably won’t be doing many episodes as I need to write my thesis, and so on. But maybe you’ll hear me like once or twice more.

S: Yeah, for sure. Next up, Renee.

R: Hi, I’m Renee. Also a doctoral researcher, also at the Max Planck Institute for Neurobiology, which is soon to be Biological Intelligence in 2022, which is very soon. 

S: Oh, really? 

R: I study neurotransmitter receptors in the fruit fly. And yeah, I’m going to be a host for the next season and looking forward to it!

S: That’s really cool! Okay, I guess…

N: And last but not least, you know… Did you want to introduce yourself? 

S: Yeah, I’m just introducing myself. But the problem is somehow there’s nobody starting with letter T, U, V, W, X, Y, or Z. So it’s always S coming at the end, for some reason. 

Adrian: How many hosts do you want?

S: Oh, well, if we want to expand to a multi-level operating machine that we want…

Adrian: I would recruit you but your name starts with an S… I’m sorry we’ve already got an S…

S: Anyway. Yeah, so I think everybody knows me. I’ve done enough things for this podcast, I guess, in the past. I’m Srinath. I’ve been your host for the past two years, for many episodes, and yeah… So yeah, I mean this year we had quite a few interesting episodes as well. So I think I was co-hosting probably a few episodes. And we had, of course, the Neil Tyson one. that was a good catch, I guess. Yeah, that was interesting. Anyway. So, basically, with this episode, like, the idea that we had was to just do a short recap of maybe just, you know, trying to understand how we got some of the guests that we did. Just, you know, like see what was the reason why we contacted some of the guests that we did. And also what we’re looking forward to in the next season. So perhaps let’s start with one of the interesting, like one of the few interesting guests that we had from the Equal Opportunity side. So, Alli, what was the reason for contacting the people that you did? And, you know, can you maybe unmute yourself and…

Alli: So the way we contacted guests was often like pretty organic. And I use “we” really generously because I’m gonna really miss Sandra next season because she was honestly the person who was contacting most of the guests. Like, as a team, we would come up with an idea together, she would contact the guests, and we would record together, and then I would do the editing. And so it was a really nice team. But the way she usually found the guests was, Sandra was really active on Twitter, and so she would find interesting people on Twitter, and just send them a message, and they would say yes. Some people, she would see interesting videos of them giving lectures on YouTube and think, “wow, I want to talk more to them”. But also, like I said, like just through the grapevine, we would have an idea for an episode. We would start saying to our colleagues, our friends, “hey, we have this idea”, like, “do you, can you think of anyone who could do that?”. And we would just get names and she would email them. Like, she was such a champion, emailing people all the time. And like, we got really great guests that way. So I’m gonna have to step up this season. 

S: All right. But, I mean, the idea of contacting people in that sort of, you know, space of careers, let’s say, you know, for like for women in science as well as trying to identify opportunities for people who, you know, underwent discrimination when they were applying for, let’s say, jobs, right? So, I mean, these are very interesting topics and I think they’re very relevant to a lot of PhDs. And like we, of course, have an Equal Opportunity working group. And I think, Renee, you were also a part of this working group?

R: Yep, I’m pretty active in the EO group. I think Allison is, too. 

S: Yeah.

Alli: Yeah, maybe we can join forces, keep the EO podcast going.

R: Yeah, totally.

S: All right. So yeah, I mean I think that’s quite interesting and I’m hoping for a lot more, you know, fruitful discussions coming up from this direction, as well for the next season. Maybe let’s move on to Bea to talk about how you wanted to contact some of the people that you did? I mean except for the Matthias Schmidt one. Can you maybe explain why you reached out to the guy from SpiroChem, the guy from the microalgae, and all those people?

B: Yeah. Yeah, so I mean I chose these people mainly because they are also topics and people that interest me. And I think doing a podcast on a topic that interests you gives you the best outcome. But I also thought that all these topics would be interesting for the wider audience. And also maybe topics that they haven’t been engaged in as often. And they’re all topics that I think people should be discussing more and should be talking about more. So that’s why I chose to, for example, talk to Jean-Francois Sassi on the use of microalgae in bioplastics. Yes, SpiroChem was mainly also for the chemists, I think. It’s a brand new company so it was interesting also to hear their journey and how they got started, which is also relevant to a lot of doctoral researchers that are maybe looking into starting a new business. And I mean, like Alli already said, in the end, you just have to email a bunch of people, keep on emailing your hosts, your guests if they don’t reply, and hope for the best.

S: Yeah, I mean speaking of hoping for the best, you are basically already doing interviews for season three. And I don’t want to spill the beans on some, you know, a secretive topic but we’re already preparing for season three. And maybe you want to just give a small teaser to what type of people you’re contacting and what these episodes are going to be about?

B: Sure. So I actually just recorded yesterday a podcast that comes out in season three, maybe even the first one, we’ll see. And that was actually at the Max Planck Institute for Metabolism Research, where I talked to professor Brüning on metabolism, obesity, and diabetes. So, I mean, currently, we’re basically living in an obesity epidemic. And so I think it’s also very important to understand the science behind it, and actually, the mechanisms that are going on within our body, and why and how we can cure or prevent diabetes or maybe even reverse it. So that one’s coming up soon and the good thing is that one was also recorded face-to-face in-person so it will be available with video. Let’s hope that, in the next season, we can continue recording some faces podcasts. But we’ll see how the situation goes. And then, yeah, I mean my plan would be to continue talking to different researchers within the Max Planck Society, that’s really my main focus for the next season.

S: Yeah, that sounds good. And good luck with the upcoming episodes as well!

B: Thanks!

S: Emma, you have a few episodes planned? Or do you want to interview a few people?

E: So there’s the idea there and like I would not like to spoil too much… Like a tiny little teaser I could try to give is that… The thing is, it’s still in the process of trying to figure out how it works… because like as a freshman and still in the process of learning, the idea would be still to focus on research, for sure. Like research and science topics in general that are of general interest, I would say. Especially like my interest is towards energy and a few other related topics. Mobility and transportation are also something I consider quite interesting and it’s very important for the future. So I will see if I manage to set up something in that direction. And I hope to be able to, with the help of some very well experienced people, that we have in the team like Niko, Srinath, Bea, and all the others… So we’ll see what will come out of this.

S: Sounds good, yeah. And good luck for contacting and getting the interviews done! Renee, you have any ideas of what type of episodes that you want to do in the upcoming season?

R: Yeah, I have a pretty vague idea of what episodes… I also would like to focus on science because we’re all scientists here but I’d also like to focus on science from people of diverse backgrounds. So yeah, that’s and I think interviewing people from all over. I would like to have a more sort of like international view on what’s happening in various countries that are not always represented in science on the big stage but do amazing science. So, yeah….

S: I mean, speaking about this topic, actually a friend of mine from my institute, he came up to me said, “hey, how come you never invited me to be on your podcast?”. And he was a professor in Brazil and he left that job to come to Germany to join as a postdoc. So he had a permanent professorship in Brazil and he left that to come to Germany, and now he works in the Bioinformatics team of my institute. So maybe he would be an interesting candidate? If you’re interested, I could put you in touch? And that would be something cool. But anyway, Adrian, now speaking about our peer review debate, which never happened?

A: The long, the long-standing plan, which I torpedoed through my inaction? I mean I want to get it done, I just got to get the time together. And now, I mean, thankfully, things are stabilizing a little bit more so… I mean, I did the research, I did work, and like putting together guests and stuff, I just never actually got the hosts together. I mean, the basic idea is still just a debate on systems of peer review: what are their benefits, what are their disadvantages, and how can we kind of think of altering these systems to improve access, reliability… You know, what are we going to lose, that kind of stuff, because it’s a part of science that I think people don’t evaluate enough.

Alli: He just needs a sec, he just needs a secretary to send the emails for him.

Adrian: I mean, I’m taking… I mean, I can offer zero salary and no benefits if anyone’s interested.

S: The banter is unbearable, but yeah.

Adrian: The banter is real, the podcast is not yet.

R: I mean, you do have a puppy, right? You could offer a puppy.

Adrian: I can offer pets, come to Dresden!

E: Look, pet cuddling is already a business somewhere, you know. I’m just saying. And cat cafes…

Adrian: We have two cats.

E: A puppy cafe.

Adrian: A puppy cafe would just be full of pee, that’s what I’ve learned.

Alli: No!

Adrian: The puppy cafe would just have pee everywhere. It’s the reason that they are cat cafes. But that’s still the idea.

S: All right. So I think that’s pretty much it, yeah. Niko, you want to say?

N: Do you have any like final words of the season, like…

S: You’re asking me?

N: No, yes, I don’t know. Because, I have to admit, I really like it, how the podcast is developing, becoming more like proper, like not proper, but like, you know, actually communicating science and not…. So, before, it was more like around science and now it’s actual science communication. And I think that’s really nice.

S: Yeah, I agree. I really like the direction, in which we’re heading. And I hope, I mean, again, like I wouldn’t be really involved next season because, again, same as Niko, need to finish writing the thesis and, you know, finish this PhD somehow, but based on what I’m hearing already, and it’s quite nice to see that there is, what do you call it, a good scope, into which we can sort of carve our niche and try to identify basically topics of interest. I mean, I think what I should also say, based on the listening stats, is that episodes to do with discussing science usually tend to do quite a bit better than episodes, which are about meta science communication topics. So I think that’s quite interesting as well. So people are really interested to hear what scientists and what researchers are doing and what, you know, researchers are planning to do. So I guess, this is a good direction. I mean it’s, of course, our interest driving the listenership as well, but it’s also listenership driving our interest in some way. But let’s not push it too far anyway. I think that’s pretty much all I have from my end. And if anybody else has anything to add please feel free to add…

S: Awkward silence it is, I like it.

Alli: You’ve said it all.

S: All right. So I think, without any further ado, I would let you all, you know, have your Saturdays back. And for the listeners, we are recording this on a Saturday afternoon, which is the prime time to go shopping but, you know…

R: Also a Saturday morning, yes.

Alli: Also a really early Saturday morning.

S: Yeah really early. Like what is it 6:00, 6:30 for you, Renee?

R: Yes. 

S: 6:45 or something, yeah. So, whoa!

R: Alpine start, yeah.

E: As you can see, someone in the team is really motivated. So we have really motivated people, as you can see.

Alli: You’ll be the first on the ski hill now.

S: All right. So thanks a lot to everyone for joining today and, again, on such short notice. And hope to have a great season ahead! And until then we’re taking a break. Season two is over, enjoy! And if you have missed some episodes, just go back and listen to them, you know, they’re available all the time. And if you don’t want to listen, you want to watch some episodes, they are also available on video. Some episodes are on video, including this one.

Adrian:  Just put them on loop. Just put them on loop, you know.

Alli: Fall asleep to it.

Adrian: It’s a great meditation. I mean, Srinath keeps pitching ASMR, you guys don’t know this, but he keeps pitching ASMR to us.

S: <Makes a noise with a plastic cover next to the mic.>I hope the spine tingles… I spilled whatever’s in that cover so I need to clean that up.

Adrian: You gotta get the omnidirectional sound so you can be like, “hello…”.

S: I do. I have one of those kits, right. So the lapel mic has an omnidirectional pickup pattern so…

Alli: He’s ready for ASMR.

Adrian: Season three is all ASMR. Science ASMR.

E: No. I’m not sure how it would end up.

S: Our definition of ASMR is different. It’s “As Some Might Research”, so there you go.

Alli: Oh my God.

Adrian: I think that’s a good way to leave.

S: All right. So with that, we end this episode, and we hope you enjoyed the banter and if not blame Adrian. Or blame the puppy.

Alli: We mostly blame the puppy.

S: That sounds good. All right, this episode was not harmed… Oh, sorry, no animals were harmed in the making of this episode. I want to just clarify that. I completely misspoke that line but, anyway… All right. See you all! Bye-bye!

All: Bye. 

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