LabOratory Podcast: Documenting Personal Narratives of Scientific Significance

Rene Francolini and Sam Sewell, LabOratory Podcast, Woods Hole, MA, United States
LabOratory Podcast is a radio program focused on interviewing emeritus scientists with the goal to educate listeners through their stories, document their histories of scientific life in their field, present challenges faced while conducting research, and showcase the changes the scientific community has experienced over the years.

Today, up and coming scientists are often focused on cutting-edge technology and encouraged to apply the most up-to-date methods to their work over learning about prior technologies and methods that are now considered outdated. Famous scientific advances are presented to newly minted scientists as textbook fact, without consideration of the often circuitous path these advances followed. Scientists and laymen alike read well-polished, curated papers, which can make scientific research seem cold, sterile, and as if it was succinct and faced no pitfalls. Documenting these unpolished moments and invoking the untold through oral storytelling is what we are aiming to achieve with this podcast.

We believe that scientists harbor stories that aren’t shared with the world. Stories of why and how they got into their field of study, stories of methods used that are now disappearing due to technological advances, stories of life changing moments with colleagues they have worked alongside, and stories of how the scientific community as well as the public have both resisted and welcomed changes to the now accepted norms through the years.

We also believe that hearing these accounts can remind us all that we are truly part of a community, one that relies on each person’s input and contribution, no matter how large, small, or publicly known it may be.

The goal of the LabOratory Podcast is to shed light onto the human stories and journeys of scientists, foster a connection between the world of science and the general public, and provide an oral reminder that scientific research is just as human as we are.