SciTech Now Episode 29

Episode twenty-nine of SciTech Now brings you the latest breakthroughs in science, technology and innovation. We meet an organization based in the South Bronx that’s bringing tech jobs back to cities and learn about how biofluorescence in fish could yield biomedical breakthroughs.

TRANSCRIPT

COMING UP, THE URBA ONSHORING MOVEMENT..

WE ARE CREATING A POSITIO FOR OURSELVES THAT IS INTEGRAL TO THE TECH ECONOMY.

...FISH BIOFLUORESCENCE..

NOW WE WERE SEEING GREEN, W WERE SEEING PATTERNS, WE WER SEEING BOTH GREEN AND RED.

AND THE FACT THAT WE WERE SEEING IT IN SO MANY DIFFERENT SPECIE REALLY GOT US EXCITED.

...THE CONVERGENCE OF SCIENCE AND STORYTELLING

YOU KNOW, NORMALLY, I THINK OF, 'OKAY, I'M GONNA GO TALK T A KINDERGARTEN CLASS NOW,' OR, 'I'M GONNA GO HELP OUT A MUSEU NOW.

I HADN'T REALLY THOUGHT OF, 'OH, LET ME CONNECT WITH PEOPLE ON AN EMOTIONAL LEVEL ABOUT SCIENCE.

IT'S ALL AHEAD.

FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM IS MADE POSSIBLE BY THE CORPORATION FOR PUBLIC BROADCASTING AND CONTRIBUTIONS TO THIS STATION.

HELLO. I'M HARI SREENIVASAN WELCOME TO 'SciTech NOW,' OU WEEKLY PROGRAM BRINGING YOU TH LATEST BREAKTHROUGHS IN SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, AND INNOVATION LET'S GET STARTED.

THERE'S A BURGEONING MOVEMEN CALLED 'URBAN ONSHORING' WHICH IS FOCUSED ON BRINGING TECH JOBS BACK TO AMERICA.

WE HAVE THE STORY OF ONE ORGANIZATION AT THE FOREFRONT, PUSHING TO CREATE TECHNOLOGY AND ENTREPRENEURIAL ECOSYSTEMS I ITS NEIGHBORHOOD AND ACROSS TH COUNTRY.

AROUND THE COUNTRY, THERE HAS BEEN A PUSH IN THE TECH INDUSTRY TO KEEP THESE JOBS AT HOME INCLUDING IN THE GAMIN COMMUNITY.

I WAS A SEMIPROFESSIONA GAMER FOR ABOUT 14 YEARS

I HAVE, LIKE, MOST OF THE CONSOLES THAT ARE OUT.

I'M VERY INTO PC GAMING.

I'VE BEEN GAMING SINCE I WA AROUND 4 YEARS OLD, AND ACTUALLY WENT TO SCHOOL FOR IT GOT MY DEGREE, AND CURRENTLY I'M WORKING ON MY FIRST INDI PROJECT.

WHILE MANY OF THESE ADVANCE GAMERS HAVE A DEEP KNOWLEDGE O COMPUTER AND VIDEO GAMES AND THEIR DESIGN, MANY HAVE HA TROUBLE TRANSLATING THEIR HIGHLY DEVELOPED SKILLS INTO JOBS I THE TECH SECTOR.

THERE IS SUCH A HUGE GA BETWEEN ENTRY-LEVEL AND ACTUALLY GETTING INTO THE TECH INDUSTRY THAT WAS MY PROBLEM.

I HAD ALL THE CREDENTIALS, BUT THERE WAS NO ACTUAL BRIDGE T GET THERE.

ACCORDING TO TH ENTERTAINMENT SOFTWARE ASSOCIATION, THERE ARE AROUN 150,000 PEOPLE WORKING IN TH MULTI-BILLION-DOLLAR U.S. GAMING INDUSTRY -- A NUMBER THA CONTINUES TO GROW.

MAJORA CARTER IS A URBAN-REVITALIZATION STRATEGIS IN THE SOUTH BRONX, NEW YORK WHO SAW AN OPPORTUNITY TO BRIN SOME OF THESE TECH JOBS TO HER NEIGHBORHOOD

I'M CONSTANTLY LOOKING FO WAYS TO CREATE OPPORTUNITIES FOR LOW-INCOME COMMUNITIES TO MOVE INTO THE REAL ECONOMY.

THE WORLD IS FIRMLY IN THE DIGITAL AGE, SO WE STARTED IMMEDIATELY TO LOOK FOR WHER ARE THE PAYING POINTS WITHIN THE TECH WORLD WHERE WE CAN FIND A WAY TO KIND OF MAKE SURE THA THE FOLKS IN OUR COMMUNITIES CAN CONNECT AND THEN BUILD CAREERS FROM THAT, AND WE FOUND IT I QUALITY ASSURANCE.

QUALITY-ASSURANCE TESTING, OR 'Q.A.,' IS THE METHOD BY WHICH A PIECE OF SOFTWARE IS TESTED TO ENSURE THAT IT MEETS DESIG SPECIFICATIONS IT IS A CRUCIAL PIECE OF THE SOFTWARE-DEVELOPMENT PROCESS BUT OVER THE LAST 20 YEARS, MUCH OF THIS WORK HAS BEEN SENT OVERSEAS

WHEN WE DID OUR MARKE RESEARCH, THERE WAS A LOT OF DISSATISFACTION IN THE INDUSTRY, IN TERMS OF THE PRODUCT THAT THEY GOT BACK.

AND WE REALIZED WE TH GAME-PLAYING PUBLIC.

WE WERE THEIR MARKET AND IF WE COULD ADD VALUE, I TERMS OF, LIKE, THE TYPE O FOCUS GROUPS AND MARKET INSIGHTS THAT OUR FOLKS WOULD JUS NATURALLY GIVE TO A PRODUCT, THEN WE COULD NOT ONLY TEST IT BUT WE COULD ALSO PROVIDE THOS MARKET INSIGHTS, WHICH WER INCREDIBLY VALUABLE TO OUR CLIENTS.

TO FILL THIS NEED, SHE FORMED StartUp BOX, A QUALITY-ASSURANCE COMPANY THAT WOULD SERVE AS SUBCONTRACTOR TO NEW YORK CITY GAME DEVELOPERS AND PROVID ENTRY-LEVEL Q.A. POSITIONS AND JOB TRAINING TO MEMBERS OF THE BRONX COMMUNITY.

WE ALL KNOW THAT Q.A.'s A ENTRY-LEVEL POSITION, BUT WE'R HOPING THAT IT'S A FOOT IN THE DOOR TO THE INDUSTRY ITSELF.

AND IT'S SOMETHING THAT, AS GAMER, YOU KNOW, WE COVET.

YOU KNOW, WE WANT TO GET IN.

TO GET OFF THE GROUND StartUp BOX HIRED A SMALL GROU OF TESTERS AND PARTNERED WIT CLIENTS LOOKING FOR GAME-TESTING AND CUSTOMER-SERVICE ASSISTANCE.

DURING THE DAY, THIS PLACE IS FILLED WITH HALF A DOZEN YOUNG TESTERS, AND WHAT THEY DO IS THEY GET A PIECE OF SOFTWARE - USUALLY A GAME OR SOME OTHER TYPE OF USER-EXPERIENC PRODUCT -- AND THEN THEY DO BU REPORTING AND STEPS TO REPEAT TO FIGURE OUT EXACTLY 'IS THERE ANYTHING WRONG WITH THIS GAME?

SO THEY CAN REPORT BACK TO THE CLIENT TO MAKE BETTER WAYS T FIX IT

IT'S NOT THE CONVENTIONAL OFFICE SETTING, BUT NO TESTING PIT EVER IS.

BUT I THINK THEY'RE ALSO GAINING THE OPPORTUNITY TO BE IN PROFESSIONAL SETTINGS AROUND PEOPLE WHO ARE AT HIGHER HEIGHTS IN THE INDUSTRY THAT THEY ASPIRE TO BE IN

StartUp BOX EMPLOYEES ALS GET THE OPPORTUNITY TO MEET WITH THE COMPANY'S CLIENTS DIRECTLY ALLOWING THEM TO GET EXPOSUR AND TO MAKE CONTACTS IN TH INDUSTRY

CURRENTLY, WE'RE WORKING WITH TWO DOTS, A GAME ABOUT CONNECTING DOTS.

I'M THE GO-BETWEEN BETWEEN TWO DOTS AND StartUp BOX, SO THEY'LL HAND ME AN ASSIGNMEN AND I'LL DELEGATE IT TO MY TEAM.

SO, I THINK THE CLIENT VISITS ARE EFFECTIVE FOR THAT, JUST SHOWING THAT THAT LADDER ISN'T INVISIBLE.

IT'S DEFINITELY ATTAINABLE, EVEN FOR PEOPLE WHO COME FROM COMMUNITIES LIKE THIS.

WE HAVE MINIMAL VIABL TRAINING, WHICH IS JUST, ESSENTIALLY, LESS THAN A DAY LONG, WHERE WE'RE TEACHING DIFFERENT TYPES OF PRETTY SIMPLE BUG-REPORTING SOFTWARE AND THEN THE REST OF IT IS JUS ON THE JOB

THIS MINIMAL TRAINING ALLOW FOR MANY MORE PEOPLE TO COME THROUGH THE DOOR

WE KNOW THAT THE TYPE OF WORK THAT YOU DO IN QUALITY ASSURANCE ACTUALLY PROVIDES A FANTASTI FOUNDATION FOR YOU TO BUILD YOUR OTHER CAREER THOSE ARE GREAT SKILLS AND TRANSFERRABLE TO ANYTHING IN LIFE, QUITE FRANKLY.

WE'RE ARMING THEM WITH TH EXPERIENCE THAT THE REST OF TH WORLD TELLS THEM THEY CAN'T HAVE UNLESS THEY HAVE A BUNCH O LETTERS BEHIND THEIR NAME.

WE EXPECT AND ENCOURAG ATTRITION.

WE WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT THEY GET PICKED UP BY OTHER PLACES.

SOME OF THE EMPLOYEES HAV ALREADY MADE GREAT LEAPS SINCE FIRST WALKING INTO THE StartUp BOX OFFICE

I RECENTLY GOT ACCEPTED T ANOTHER SCHOOL, SO I WILL BE TRANSFERRING THERE IT'S NEW YORK INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY, FOR COMPUTER SCIENCE.

SO THE EXPERIENCE GAINED HER WORKING FOR OTHER PEOPLE HAS YOU KNOW, INSPIRED ME TO BE THAT PERSON

IT'S RIGHT UP MY ALLEY.

I PLAN ON HEADING UP MY OW STUDIOS ONE DAY, SO IT'S GIVIN ME PLENTY OF EXPERIENCE.

BY CREATING Q.A.-JO OPPORTUNITIES IN THE SOUTH BRONX, StartUp BOX HAS PLAYED AN IMPORTANT ROLE IN TH URBAN-ONSHORING MOVEMENT AND HAS TAKEN STEPS TO BRINGING TH TECH SECTOR TO THE NEIGHBORHOOD.

THIS LITTLE SPACE BECAME ON OF THE MOST SUCCESSFUL, EVEN THOUGH INFORMAL, COMMUNITY CENTERS.

PART OF THE IMPORTANT REASON WHY WE WANTED TO MAKE SURE THA PEOPLE COULD SEE US WAS THAT W WANTED FOLKS IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD TO KNOW THAT PEOPLE WHO LOOK JUST LIKE THEM WERE INVOLVED I THE TECH ECONOMY WHAT WE'RE DOING IS SAYING 'YO KNOW WHAT?

WE'VE GOT TALENT IN OUR OW COMMUNITIES.

WE'RE GONNA SUPPORT AND TRAI AND NURTURE IT HERE.

WE ARE CREATING A POSITION FOR OURSELVES THAT IS INTEGRAL T THE TECH ECONOMY

OVER THE PAST 20 YEARS, MUCH OF THE COUNTRY' QUALITY-ASSURANCE TESTING, O Q.A., HAS MOVED OVERSEAS, TO PLACES LIKE INDIA AND TH PHILIPPINES.

BUT SEVERAL ORGANIZATIONS AR TRYING TO BRING MANY OF THES JOBS BACK TO THE U.S., PARTICULARLY TO PLACES WHERE THESE JOBS ARE NEEDED MOST JOINING ME NOW I PRASANNA TAMBE, ASSOCIAT PROFESSOR AT THE NEW YOR UNIVERSITY STERN SCHOOL OF BUSINESS SO, TELL US ABOUT -- FIRST O ALL -- WHAT IS Q.A.? WHAT IS QUALITY ASSURANCE?

SO, Q.A. TESTING IS BASICALLY THE PROCESS OF MAKING SURE THA SOFTWARE WORKS LIKE YOU WANT I TO THE DEVELOPERS WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT THERE'S NO UNANTICIPATE BUGS, AND ESPECIALLY WITH TH SIZE, SPEED, AND SCOPE O SOFTWARE TODAY, WE REALLY WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT IT'S ROBUST -- ANYTHING THE USERS MIGHT DO AN NOT BREAK IN WAYS THAT ARE UNEXPECTED

OKAY, SO, RIGHT NOW, WHY DI ALL OF THESE Q.A. JOBS G OVERSEAS 'CAUSE IT'S CHEAPER?

SO, IT'S A GREAT CANDIDAT FOR OFFSHORING ONE OF THE REASONS IS BECAUSE, HISTORICALLY, Q.A. TESTING HAS BEEN DONE KIND OF LIKE A RELAY RACE IT'S SEQUENTIAL, IN THAT YOU HAVE SOFTWARE DEVELOPERS WHO DEVELOP THE SOFTWARE, AND THEY CAN JUST HAND IT OFF TO OTHE TEAMS FOR A PERIOD OF MONTHS O WEEKS, SO IT'S KIND OF SEQUENTIAL THAT WAY.

SO IT'S VERY REASONABLE TO D WITH TWO DIFFERENT TEAMS IN TW DIFFERENT LOCATIONS.

AND SO IT'S BEEN A GOO CANDIDATE FOR OFFSHORING FOR THAT REASON.

AND HOW DO WE KNOW THAT IT' COMING BACK?

SO, WE SEE A MOVEMENT T BRINGING SOME OF THESE JOB BACK TO THE U.S.

I THINK ONE OF THE REASONS FOR THAT IS BECAUSE THE NATURE - THE LIFE CYCLE OF SOFTWARE I CHANGING WE SEE A LOT MORE RAPID SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT.

WE SEE A LOT MORE OF DEVELOPMENT ORGANIZED INTENDED TO ANSWER QUICKLY CONSUMER FEEDBACK AN USER FEEDBACK.

AND AS A RESULT, YOU DON'T HAV SO MUCH OF THIS SEQUENTIAL NATURE OF DEVELOPMENT AN TESTING AND, REALLY, IT'S MUCH MORE ITERATIVE AND SO THIS IS OPENING UP A GA IN THE MARKETPLACE WHERE A LOT OF THE HEADACHES THAT AR TRADITIONALLY ASSOCIATED WIT GOING OFFSHORE CAN MAYBE B SOLVED AND DONE IN A MOR EFFICIENT WAY BY HAVING SOME O THESE JOBS ONSHORE

OKAY, AND THERE IS A PROJEC IN THE BRONX, StartUp BOX, THAT'S RUNNING I MEAN, ARE THERE OTHER CITIES THAT ARE TRYING TO BRING THESE SPECIFIC TYPES OF JOBS BACK?

I BELIEVE THAT THERE ARE FEW OTHER OF THESE TYPES O INITIATIVES.

I'VE SEEN SOMETHING -- I BELIEVE -- IN INDIANA AND A FE OTHERS WHERE YOU HAVE YOUT UNEMPLOYMENT, UNDERSERVE COMMUNITIES WHO ARE -- IT'S GOOD OPPORTUNITY, BASICALLY, T BRING IN TECHNICAL SKILLS AN HAVE THEM ADDRESS THESE KIND OF -

AND LET'S TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THOSE SKILLS I MEAN, IT SEEMS THAT CODING I ACTUALLY ACCESSIBLE TO LOW-INCOME COMMUNITIES I CERTAIN WAYS THROUGH THESE PROGRAMS IS THIS KIND OF AN OPPORTUNITY TO SORT OF SIDESTEP WHAT MIGHT BE THE NORMAL SET OF JOBS IN A PARTICULAR ZIP CODE?

YEAH. I THINK IT IS, AND THINK ONE OF THE REASONS THA IT'S A NICE OPPORTUNITY IS THA ONE OF THE DIFFICULT THINGS FO TECHNOLOGY-LABOR MARKETS HAS BEEN THAT SKILLS MOVE SO QUICKLY THAT IF YOU GO THE TRADITIONAL CHANNEL -- FOUR-YEAR, SIX-YEAR EDUCATION -- BY THE TIME YOU GET OUT, THE INDUSTRY COULD HAVE MOVED ON TO ANOTHER SET OF SKILLS AND SO IF YOU HAVE THESE PROGRAMS THAT CAN TAKE PEOPL WHO ARE LOOKING FOR WORK AND SAY 'IN SIX WEEKS OR EIGHT WEEKS, IN A COMPRESSED FORMAT, WE CAN GIVE YOU THOSE SKILLS,' IT'S A MUCH MORE EFFICIENT WAY, IN SOM RESPECTS, TO PROVIDE INDUSTR WORKERS THAT CAN DO THAT KIN OF WORK.

ARE THERE A LOT OF THESE KIND OF CODING BOOT CAMPS THAT AR EMERGING RIGHT NOW

YOU SEE A LOT MORE OF THEM IN NEW YORK THERE'S A TREMENDOUS TEC ECONOMY BLOOMING IN NEW YORK OF COURSE, SAN FRANCISCO HAS A NUMBER, AS WELL.

A LOT OF INTEREST IN GETTING THESE SKILLS IN A HURRY -- CODING SKILL, AS YOU MENTIONED AND SO YOU SEE A LOT MORE OF THESE KINDS OF BOOT CAMPS AND LOT MORE OF THESE TRAINING PROGRAMS

AND BESIDES THE KIDS THAT MIGHT BE GOING INTO TH FAST-FOOD JOBS, THIS IS ALSO PEOPLE THAT ARE DECIDING T SWITCH CAREERS I MEAN, IF, LET'S SAY YOU WERE WORKING AS AN ADMIN IN A OFFICE, MAKING $25,000 O $30,000 A YEAR, WHAT CAN INVESTING IN ONE OF THESE TECH BOOT CAMPS -- HOW SIGNIFICANTL CAN THAT BE A CHANGE, IF YOU GET INTO ONE OF THESE COMPANIES?

SO, I THINK THAT TECH SKILL IN GENERAL ARE BECOMIN INCREASINGLY IMPORTANT ACROS ALL SECTORS.

SO, OF COURSE, I.T. JOBS - THERE'S A LOT TO LIKE ABOUT I.T.

JOBS BUT EVEN ACROSS OTHE OCCUPATIONS -- LIKE SALES, LIK MARKETING, LIKE ACCOUNTING - WE'RE SEEING TECHNICAL SKILL BECOMING MORE AND MORE IMPORTANT.

CODING, FOR EXAMPLE.

DATA ANALYSIS -- DATA SCIENCE IS BECOMING MORE IMPORTANT FOR AL KINDS OF JOBS.

THESE SKILLS ARE MOVING PEOPLE INTO THE TECH ECONOMY.

IT'S ALMOST, NO MATTER WHO YOU ARE, IT'S GOOD TO GET THES SKILLS ON YOUR RéSUMé.

I JUST SAW A HEADLINE FLASH BY THAT SAID THAT SOME OF TH BIGGEST SCHOOL DISTRICTS I AMERICA ARE STARTING TO PU COMPUTER SCIENCE AS KIND OF BASIC COURSE, THAT THEY'RE MAKING IT ACCESSIBLE TO KIDS T TAKE AS AN ELECTIVE, ALMOST LIKE FRENCH OR SPANISH WAS WHEN WERE GOING TO SCHOOL PUT THIS IN PERSPECTIVE FOR US WHERE DOES THIS, I GUESS FACILITY OR THIS CAPACITY RANK IN THE LEVEL OF SKILL THAT YOU'RE GONNA NEED TO BE FUNCTIONING CITIZEN IN THE UNITED STATES IN 25 YEARS?

I THINK THAT REFLECTS THE GROWING NEED FOR WHAT SOME PEOPLE MIGHT CALL 'COMPUTATIONAL THINKING' IN KIND OF DAY-TO-DA JOBS WE'VE TRADITIONALLY HAD SOME KINDS OF SKILLS THAT ARE NECESSARY FOR JOB, AND I THINK, MORE AND MORE THE FEELING IS THAT UNDERSTANDING AT A BASIC LEVEL HOW COMPUTER ALGORITHM WORK, EVEN IF THEY'RE NO DIRECTLY WORKING ON THEM O BUILDING THEM, UNDERSTANDING WHAT'S GOING ON BEHIND THE MACHINE IS BECOMING IMPORTANT NO MATTER WHO YOU ARE AND SO, AT A MOST BASIC LEVEL OF EDUCATION, IT'S BECOMING IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND A LITTLE BIT ABOUT HOW THESE THINGS ARE DESIGNED

AND IN THE OVERAL LABOR-MARKET PICTURE, I MEAN, IS THERE A NET LOSS, STILL, OF TH JOBS THAT WENT OVERSEAS BECAUSE, LET'S SAY, TECH SUPPORT OR CALL-CENTER WORK IS STILL LESS EXPENSIVE IN INDIA OR TH PHILIPPINES?

AND HOW DO WE KIND OF MAKE U FOR THAT I MEAN, MAYBE JOBS ARE GONE, BUT WHAT ARE THE NEW JOB THAT WE CAN CREATE HERE?

YEAH, I THINK OFFSHORING HA BEEN TWO DECADES IN THE MAKING I THINK THE NUMBER OF JOBS - IT'S A BIG NUMBER.

I'M NOT SURE, SURELY, TO TELL IF WE'RE GOING TO COUNTERBALANC THAT IN ANY REAL WAY, BUT TH DEMAND FOR SOFTWARE IS GROWING EVERYWHERE AROUND THE WORLD, AND SO THERE'S A LOT OF OPPORTUNITY, I THINK, A LOT OF OPPORTUNITY TO CREATE NEW POCKETS OR NEW HUBS OF TECHNOLOGY THAT CAN SERVICE THESE DIFFERENT SECTORS.

SO, I KNOW THAT WE NECESSARILY HAVE TO COMPETE WITH THOSE OFFSHORE JOBS TO DO SOMETHIN VERY VIABLE IN SOME OF THESE UNDERSERVED COMMUNITIES.

OKAY, PRASANNA TAMBE FROM NYU -- THANKS SO MUCH.

THANKS.

HELLO I'M CHRISTINE McCARTHY I AM A RESEARCH SCIENTIST AT LAMONT-DOHERTY EARTH OBSERVATORY OF COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY THE DEEPEST WE CAN DRILL I ACTUALLY ONLY A FRACTION OF TH DEPTH OF THE EARTH IF THE EARTH WERE AN APPLE, FO INSTANCE, WE CAN ONLY SCRATC THE SURFACE OF THE SKIN.

SO, WE HAVE TO USE OTHER METHODS TO SEE INSIDE THE EARTH.

ACTUALLY, WE DO SOMETHING VERY SIMILAR TO WHAT DOCTORS DO WHE THEY WANT TO SEE INSIDE WITHOU CUTTING.

THEY USE X-RAYS BECAUSE X-RAYS TRAVEL THROUGH AND BOUNCE OF AND INTERACT WITH BONES AN TISSUES IN DIFFERENT WAYS, AND THEY ARE ABLE TO CREATE A 3- IMAGE OF THE INSIDE OF YOU WELL, WHEN AN EARTHQUAKE HAPPENS, ENERGY IS RELEASED IN EVERY DIRECTION.

MUCH OF THAT ENERGY PASSES THROUGH THE EARTH AND BOUNCE OFF AND INTERACTS WITH DIFFERENT STRUCTURES IN DIFFERENT WAYS SO SEISMOLOGISTS TAKE THOS SIGNALS THAT ARE COLLECTED FRO AROUND THE WORLD AND THEY PU THEM TOGETHER INTO A KIND OF 3-D IMAGE OF THE EARTH AND WHAT THEY FIND IS ACTUALLY THAT INSIDE THE EARTH, THERE'S A KIND OF A CONVEYOR BELT WHER COLD CRUST IS SINKING DOWN AND WARM, POSSIBLY MOLTEN, STUFF I COMING UP.

AND THE REASON WE WANT TO STUD THIS IS BECAUSE IF WE GET BETTER IDEA OF THE REAL DETAIL OF HOW THAT CONVEYOR BELT WORK AND HOW THE PLUMBING SYSTEM FO THE MELT WORKS, WE'LL GET BETTER AT BEING ABLE TO PREDICT EARTHQUAKES AND VOLCANIC ERUPTIONS.

UP NEXT, A TEAM O RESEARCHERS EMBARK ON AN UNDERWATER ADVENTURE AND STUMBLE UPON AN UNEXPECTED, COLORFUL WORLD.

MY RESEARCH O BIOFLUORESCENCE STARTE ACCIDENTALLY AT THE BEGINNING OF 2011, I WENT DOWN TO LITTLE CAYMAN ISLAND T HELP SOME COLLEAGUES PHOTOGRAP CORAL BIOFLUORESCENCE.

AND JUST BY ACCIDENT, A GREE FLUORESCENT EEL HAPPENED TO SWIM IN FRONT OF ONE OF OUR PHOTOGRAPHERS' CAMERAS WE DIDN'T ACTUALLY SEE THA UNDERWATER IT WAS ONLY AFTERWARDS IN TH IMAGE THAT THE PHOTOGRAPHE PRESENTED TO US.

WE THOUGHT AT FIRST IT WAS A JOKE, THAT IT WAS PHOTOSHOPPED IN, BUT HE CONFIRMED THAT IT WASN'T, AND WE COULD TELL THAT IT WAS A FALSE MORAY EEL, AND IT WAS BRIGHTLY GREEN THERE WAS NOTHING REPORTED I THE LITERATURE ABOUT GREEN FLUORESCENCE IN FISHES, SO I GOT US THINKING ABOUT HO WIDESPREAD THIS PHENOMENON MIGHT BE IN FISHES AND THEN LED TO OTHER STUDIES WHERE WE WEN DOWN, COLLECTED AS MANY FISHES AS WE COULD, AND SCANNED THE FOR BIOFLUORESCENCE.

WE FELT LIKE WE WERE REALLY ONTO SOMETHING NEW HERE, LIKE WE WERE JUST STARTING TO DISCOVER ALL THESE DIFFERENT FAMILIES THERE HAD BEEN ONE PAPER THA MENTIONED A LITTLE BIT OF RE FLUORESCENCE, BUT NOW WE WER SEEING GREEN, WE WERE SEEING PATTERNS, WE WERE SEEING BOT GREEN AND RED.

AND THE FACT THAT WE WERE SEEING IT IN SO MANY DIFFERENT SPECIE REALLY GOT US EXCITED.

BIOFLUORESCENCE IS AN OPTICA PROPERTY IN WHICH LIGHT IS ABSORBED AND THEN GIVEN BACK OFF AS A SLIGHTLY LOWER ENERGY, SO BLUE LIGHT MIGHT BE ABSORBED TAKEN IN, AND GIVEN BACK OFF ALMOST INSTANTANEOUSLY AS GREE OR REDS.

BIOFLUORESCENCE WAS FIRS DISCOVERED IN THE 1960s.

THE SCIENTISTS FOUND THAT IT WAS TIGHTLY COUPLED WITH THE BIOLUMINESCENT JELLYFISH, WHER THE JELLYFISH IS PRODUCING A BLUE LIGHT, AND THERE WAS THIS GREEN FLUORESCENT PROTEIN THAT WAS ABSORBING THAT BLUE LIGH AND GIVING OFF THE GREEN LIGHT THAT YOU WOULD SEE FROM TH ANIMAL AS THE MOLECULAR-BIOLOGY REVOLUTION TOOK HOLD IN TH 1990s, THEY WERE ABLE TO FIGUR OUT THE SEQUENCE OF THAT FLUORESCENT PROTEIN.

THEY COULD TAKE THAT OUT, PUT IT IN FRONT OF ANOTHER GENE IN LIVING ORGANISM.

IT'S LIKE PUTTING A BICYCL REFLECTOR ON IT.

AND SUDDENLY, NOW YOU COULD LOOK AT GENE EXPRESSION, YOU COUL SEE HOW PROTEINS MOVE AROUND INSIDE CELLS SO THIS REALLY HAS TRANSFORMED OUR WAY IN WHICH WE CAN STUD LIFE IT PROBABLY TOOK US OVER TWO YEARS OF DESIGNING DIFFERENT KINDS OF EQUIPMENT THAT WE CAN USE TO STUDY FIS BIOFLUORESCENCE.

FOR THE SUBMARINE, WE'VE ALS DESIGNED DIFFERENT KINDS O CAMERAS THAT CAN GO TO 4,000 METERS DEEP.

WE USE VERY HIGH-ENERGY BLU LIGHTS TO STIMULAT BIOFLUORESCENCE, AND THEN WE HAVE A FILTER OVER THE CAMER THAT TAKES OUT THIS BLUE ENERGIZING LIGHT AND LETS US SEE THE LOWER-ENERGY, LONGER WAVELENGTHS -- THE GREENS, REDS, ORANGES, AND YELLOWS MANY OF THE FISH GROUPS IN WHICH BIOFLUORESCENCE IS VERY COMMON HAVE A FILTER BUILT INTO THEIR EYE THAT ENABLES THEM TO SEE BIOFLUORESCENCE.

IT FUNCTIONS TO ELIMINATE AN REFLECTED AMBIENT, OR BLUE LIGHT -- THE SAME KIND OF SETU WE'D USE IN OUR CAMERAS.

IN OUR SEARCH TO FIND OUT HOW MANY SPECIES AND HOW PREVALENT BIOFLUORESCENCE IS, WE TOO TRIPS TO THE BAHAMAS, WE TOO TRIPS TO THE SOLOMON ISLANDS WE WENT TO THE MYSTIC AQUARIUM AND WE KIND OF WENT TANK BY TANK BY TANK, SEEING WHICH FISH DISPLAYED BIOFLUORESCENCE.

WHAT I FOUND MOST SURPRISIN IS JUST HOW WIDESPREAD IT IS ACROSS THE TREE OF LIFE FO BONY FISHES -- AND CARTILAGINOUS FISHES, AS WELL.

WHAT I ALSO FIND INTERESTING I THAT IT'S MOST VARIED AND MOST COMMON IN VERY CRYPTICALLY PATTERNED, CAMOUFLAGED LINEAGE ON THE REEF.

FISHES THAT YOU WOULD NEVE NOTICE OTHERWISE UNDER WHITE LIGHT, UNDER FLUORESCENT LIGHT THEY'RE EXTREMELY BRILLIANT AN VIVID.

WE KNOW THAT BIOFLUORESCENCE PROBABLY FUNCTIONS IN MATING BEHAVIOR, COMMUNICATION WITHIN A SPECIES, SO SPECIES ARE SOMEHO IDENTIFYING EACH OTHER POTENTIALLY USING FLUORESCEN PATTERNS, WHICH IS QUITE NOVEL WE HAVE TO PUT OURSELVES IN TH POSITION OF THE FISH AND WHA THEY CAN SEE, AND SOME OF THES PATTERNS MAY ACTUALLY ACT TO MAKE THE FISH VERY DIFFICULT T SEE FOR OTHER FISH

FOR MORE FROM THE AMERICA MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY, CHECK OUT THE LINK ON OUR WEBSITE.

UP NEXT, WE TAKE YOU WHERE SCIENCE IS A STORY WELL-TOLD ACROSS THE COUNTRY, PEOPLE FRO ALL WALKS OF LIFE ARE TAKING T THE STAGE TO TELL THEIR STORIE OF HOW SCIENCE HAS MADE DIFFERENCE IN THEIR LIVES OR HAS CHANGED THEM ON A PERSONAL AND EMOTIONAL LEVEL.

HERE'S REPORTER ANDREA VASQUEZ

PLEASE WELCOME TO THE STAGE BRADFORD JORDAN.

[ CHEERS AND APPLAUSE

THIRD-GRADE SHOW-AND-TELL I A HIGH-STAKES GAME, ESPECIALLY IN MR. DENHOLM'S CLASS A CASTLE VIEW ELEMENTARY SCHOOL IN RIVERSIDE, CALIFORNIA.

SOMEWHERE, RATIONAL OR NOT, I HAD THIS VAGUE, DARK VISION OF THE CITY JUST COMING UNRAVELED

SO, I'M A MEDICAL ACTOR I AM SOMEONE THAT ACTS OUT A CHARACTER THAT HAS AN AILMEN FOR MEDICAL STUDENTS BUT A FEW MONTHS AGO, I SHOW U TO WORK THINKING THAT THAT DAY I WAS GONNA HAVE AN STD, AND.. [ LAUGHTER ] ...I GET THERE, AND MY SUPERVISOR HANDS ME TH SCHEDULE, AND HE SAYS THERE' BEEN A CHANGE AND THAT TODAY I'M GOING TO GIVE BIRTH.

AND I'M GONNA GIVE BIRTH THREE TIMES.

THEY'RE ALL SHARING STORIES ABOUT SCIENCE.

BEN LILLIE IS A FORMER PARTICL PHYSICIST WHO TURNED TO TH STAGE FOR A WAY TO COMBINE SCIENCE AND STORYTELLING

WHAT'S MISSING IS TALKING ABOUT SCIENCE IN HOW IT AFFECT PEOPLE AND HOW IT INTERSECTS WITH PEOPLE'S LIVES.

THAT'S WHAT I'D BEEN FLAILIN AROUND TRYING TO FIND.

I TRIED TO A STAND-UP SET.

I TRIED TO A SOLO SHOW THOSE WERE BOTH TERRIBLE WE WANTED SCIENCE AND PEOPLE'S LIVES, STORIES -- JUST PUT THE TOGETHER AND DO IT

LILLIE MET ANOTHER PHYSICIST- TURNED-STORYTELLER, AND THE TW FOUNDED THE 'STORY COLLIDER,' PODCAST OF TRUE PERSONAL STORIES ABOUT SCIENCE TOLD LIVE ONSTAGE.

SENIOR PRODUCER ERIN BARKER WA SKEPTICAL AT FIRST

I THOUGHT IT WAS A DUMB IDEA.

I THOUGHT, 'IT'S GONNA BE SO BORING NO ONE'S GONNA WANT TO COME TO THAT.'

[ LAUGHS ] BUT I WENT TO THE FIRST SHOW FOR THE FIRST TIME IT WAS REALLY AMAZING, AND I TURNS OUT, SCIENCE STORIES ARE NOT STORIES ABOUT, YOU KNOW, THAT CLASS IN HIGH SCHOOL THAT YOU SKIPPED.

ADAM BECKER IS A FREELANC ASTROPHYSICIST AND VETERAN 'STORY COLLIDER' PERFORMER, WH SEES IT AS A WAY TO TALK T PEOPLE ABOUT SCIENCE WITHOUT A LECTURE.

I LIKE TELLING STORIES.

I LIKE TALKING ABOUT SCIENCE T PEOPLE NORMALLY, I THINK, 'OKAY, I' GONNA GO TALK TO A KINDERGARTE CLASS NOW,' OR 'I'M GONNA GO HELP OUT A MUSEUM NOW.

I HADN'T REALLY THOUGHT OF, 'OH, LET ME CONNECT WITH PEOPLE ON AN EMOTIONAL LEVEL ABOUT SCIENCE.

AN IMPOSTOR SYNDROME IS WHEN YOU THINK THAT EVERYBODY ELS BELONGS WHERE YOU ARE BECAUS THEY'RE CLEARLY TALENTED AND INTELLIGENT, AND YOU AND WHAT MADE IT WORSE STRANGELY, WAS THAT I HAD THIS INCREDIBLY EXCELLENT PhD ADVISOR NAMED DRAGAN HUTERER

THEY'RE STORIES ABOUT LOV AND COURAGE AND GOALS AN AMBITIONS, AND I THINK THAT' WHAT SURPRISED ME THE MOST

TODAY, I HAD WORKED WITH HIM!

WE WERE EQUALS HE CAME TO ME FOR HELP I TOLD HIM WHAT TO DO, AND I WAS A GOOD IDEA.

I SOUNDED SMART.

I SOUNDED INFORMED I SOUNDED LIKE I BELONGED.

AND I FELT GOOD.

STORYTELLERS, LIKE TH AUDIENCE, ARE A MIX OF SCIENTISTS AND NON-SCIENTISTS.

WE HAVE SENIOR SCIENTISTS WE HAVE GRAD STUDENTS.

WE HAVE POSTDOCS BUT THEN WE ALSO HAVE PEOPLE WHO HAVE HAD NO FORMAL CONTACT WIT SCIENCE SINCE, LIKE, MIDDLE-SCHOOL SCIENCE CLASS.

THE IDEA OF GIVING FAKE BIRTH IS CAUSING ME SO MUCH MORE PANIC AND ANXIETY THAN THE IDEA OF GIVING BIRTH OR HAVING BABY AT ALL, AND I'M JUS STARING AT MY SUPERVISOR, AN I'M LIKE, 'I HAVE NO OTHER CHOICE BUT TO QUIT THIS JO RIGHT NOW.

PART OF WHAT WE REALLY WANT IS TO SHOW THAT SCIENCE REALLY DOES AFFECT EVERYONE, AND SO W TRY TO GET AS BROAD A SPECTRUM AS WE CAN.

WHAT'S THE FIRST RULE O 'STORY COLLIDER'

'NO LEARNING.

THAT'S RIGHT.

THERE IS NO LEARNING A 'STORY COLLIDER.

THE SCIENCE HERE IS FO ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY.

BUT AUDIENCES LEARN.

THE 'STORY COLLIDERS' PRODUCER WORK WITH PERFORMERS TO GIVE THEIR STORIES A NARRATIVE AR AND SIMPLIFY THE HARD SCIENCE.

WE FIND THAT IF THERE'S JUS ONE PIECE OF JARGON OR JUST ON PIECE OF COMPLICATED SCIENCE I A STORY THAT THE AUDIENCE REALLY TAKES IT IN, AND THEY WILL ACTUALLY REMEMBER IT FOR A REALLY LONG TIME BUT IF IT GETS TOO BOGGED DOWN THEN IT BECOMES TOO COMPLICATED.

AND THAT ORBITING, WHERE TW STORMS ROTATE AROUND EACH OTHE WHEN THEY GET CLOSE, IS CALLED THE FUJIWHARA EFFECT AND I KNEW THAT I HAD NEVER SEEN THIS BEFORE -- NOT EVEN IN A SCIENTIFIC PAPER AND DEFINITEL NOT WHEN I WAS SITTING ON TH GROUND IN THE PLACE WHERE TH WEATHER WAS GONNA HAPPEN

'STORY COLLIDER' IS NOT ALONE IN ITS PURSUIT TO MAKE SCIENCE DIGESTIBLE FOR A WIDER AUDIENCE.

BLOGS, YouTube CHANNELS, AND OTHER PODCASTS ARE JOGGING MEMORIES OF HIGH-SCHOOL SCIENC CLASS FOR A GROWING NUMBER O PEOPLE BUT 'STORY COLLIDERS' CREATORS THINK THERE'S SOMETHING SPECIA ABOUT THIS MEDIUM THAT CONNECT PERSONAL EXPERIENCE AND SCIENCE.

WE REALLY NEED TO GET A SENSE OF INTIMACY BETWEEN TH STORYTELLER AND THE AUDIENCE AND DOING IT LIVE REALLY HELPS AND THEN AUDIO PODCASTS AR GREAT FOR THAT YOU KNOW, YOU'RE SITTING THERE MOSTLY WITH HEADPHONES JUS LISTENING TO ANOTHER PERSON' VOICE, AND IT REALLY HELPS PEOPLE GET INTO THE STORIES.

I THINK THE MORE THAT PEOPL REMEMBER THAT SCIENCE IS A HUMAN ENTERPRISE -- IT'S A THING THA DO AND THOSE PEOPLE AR THEIR NEIGHBORS AND THEI FRIENDS -- THE BETTER, YOU KNOW.

PUT A HUMAN FACE ON IT

SO, I WENT HOME, AND I SAID 'DAD, I NEED YOUR HELP I NEED TO WIN SHOW-AND-TELL.

THEN MY DAD -- HERO -- REACHES INTO THIS TUPPERWARE, AND LIKE ARTHUR PULLING HIS SWORD FRO THE STONE, HE LIFTS UP, IN FRONT OF EVERYONE IN THE CLASS -- YES, IT'S TRUE, IT'S REAL -- A HUMA BRAIN!

TAKE THAT, HIKARU YAMAMOTO [ LAUGHTER ]

AND THAT WRAPS IT UP FOR THIS TIME FOR MORE ON SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, AND INNOVATION, VISIT OU WEBSITE.

YOU CAN ALSO CHECK US OUT ON FACEBOOK AND JOIN TH CONVERSATION ON TWITTER.

UNTIL NEXT TIME, I'M HARI SREENIVASAN THANKS FOR WATCHING.

FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM WA MADE POSSIBLE BY THE CORPORATION FOR PUBLIC BROADCASTING AN CONTRIBUTIONS TO THIS STATION.