The Sound of Science

A podcast that lets you hear the voices behind the scientific breakthroughs at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

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Far out: Fueling the future of space exploration

December 31, 2019

Plutonium-238 is critical to deep space exploration. The special isotope has powered missions that have enabled us to explore the atmosphere of Saturn, see the heart of Pluto and traverse the surface of Mars. But what if missions like those were no longer possible? That's a question NASA faced not so long ago as the U.S. was in short supply of the isotope. The decision was made to restart pu-238 production and Oak Ridge National Laboratory was the place to do it. In this episode you'll hear from the manager of the plutonium program, as well as from the team that makes the cladding to hold the fuel.

The human element: Expanding the periodic table

November 19, 2019

It’s the International Year of the Periodic Table. Did you know Oak Ridge National Laboratory has been helping shape the periodic table for more than seven decades? The lab has discovered three elements, and contributed to the discovery of several more through its isotope production and detector technology. In this episode, you’ll hear from a some of the team that helped discover one of the table’s newest elements, tennessine. 

Inventing the future: AI for science

October 15, 2019

Artificial intelligence is no longer just a subject of science fiction. From personal assistants to self-driving cars, it's revolutionizing everyday life. While AI may be more prevalent these days, there are still a lot of misconceptions about what it is and what it isn't. In this episode you'll hear from a few of Oak Ridge National Laboratory's AI developers and practitioners. They'll dispel some of those myths and discuss how AI is revolutionizing cancer research, manufacturing and plant biology.