Trio ‘Sound’ off to back university research

Paul Mayne // Western NewsSecond-year Science students Mike Ge, Andrey Petropavloskiy and Max Soltysiak are taking their love of science to a wider audience via Sound of Science, the new Radio Western show.

It was just a matter of time before these guys got together. All three were first-year Scholar’s Electives students. All three were Science students. All three lived in Elgin Hall. In fact, they were roommates.

So, when Mike Ge, Andrey Petropavloskiy and Max Soltysiak started thinking about a radio show dedicated to science research at Western, it was a no-brainer.

“Over Winter Break, we talked about all the cool science research going on at Western, and we knew Max already had an alternative rock show on the radio,” Ge said. He wrote a proposal to CHRW citing the need to better communicate Western’s scientific discoveries to different members of the Western and London communities.

Flash forward to April when Sound of Science made its radio and Internet debut.

“We decided it would be a fun idea; they (the radio station) liked it. We also received support from Student Success Centre,” Ge continued. “The radio show not only gives us the chance to makes science interesting for everyone, but we also got so much training from the radio station, including interviewing techniques, the sort of questions to ask and how to make it less technical for the listeners.”

The trio has already produced three full-length episodes, having interviewed professors in the areas of Neuroscience, Biology and Psychology on everything from the human brain to artificial intelligence, as well as sat down with undergraduate researches to discuss joint stress and prostate cancer.

“A lot of people don’t realize how much cool research is actually going on here,” said Petropavloskiy, the show’s research reviewer. “If you ask people not in the sciences if they knew Western was one of the leading research centres in the country, a lot of them may not know about it, unless they’re on the inside.”

One of the goals for the show – and of science, in general – is to get information to as many people as you can, he added.

“This is a way to show people what science and research at Western is all about,” Petropavloskiy said. “At the same time, it’s allowing us to develop our own skills when it comes to writing and researching.”

Soltysiak, one of the show’s co-hosts along with Ge, said the show has broadened their perspective on Western.

“It gives us access to so many great professors and their research, otherwise we’d never get to meet these people to begin with,” Soltysiak said. “Doing this is fun for us. We were able to ask Mark Daley – a Biology professor and Associate Vice-President (Research) – about artificial intelligence. When are you going to get a chance to do that? It was great to get his views on something like that and how he views the world.”

For interest and convenience, science has been front and centre for the show’s programming up to this point. But Sound of Science wants to broaden its scope going forward to include stories outside of the traditional sciences, such as business, arts and humanities, music and others. They’d also like to encourage and invite other passionate students to help lead the production of individual episodes from their faculty.

“We would love to be able to hit every faculty. There is definitely some research happening in every faculty,” said Soltysiak.

In fact, the next episode, to be aired this fall, will feature a discussion with Juan-Luis Suárez, a professor in both Modern Languages and Literature and Computer Sciences, and newly appointed Associate Vice-President (Research), where he will talk about how synthetic biology has the ability to change our human identity.

TUNE IN, TURN ON

Visit CHRW, chrwradio.ca, or the Sound of Science website, soundofsci.org, to hear past episodes of the program.