Science on the SPOT HD Video Podcast

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The Science on the SPOT original web video series from KQED Science goes behind the scenes at local Bay Area labs, follows breaking discoveries, and gets you special access to obscure science locations and collections, plus much more. We drill down on one place, one concept, one person. Visit our website at KQED Science is the largest multimedia science and environment journalism and education unit in Northern California. KQED Science explores science and environment news, trends and events from the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond with its award-winning, multimedia reporting on television, radio and the Web. KQED Science also produces educator resources and actively engages in community outreach around science and environment issues. KQED Science was formed in October of 2012 as a result of KQED's commitment to increasing science news coverage and the consolidation of KQED’s two award-winning science and environment focused multimedia series, QUEST and Climate Watch. KQED Science covers breaking science news on the radio, web and social media. It also produces a weekly radio feature; in-depth television reports; the web video series “Science on the SPOT;” resources for science teachers and other educators; daily blog posts from prominent science experts; and special coverage of the science of sustainability on TV, radio, education and web resources through its QUEST Northern California unit, part of a new partnership to expand science and environment coverage with other NPR and PBS stations in Seattle, Cleveland, North Carolina, Wisconsin and Nebraska.

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The Science on the SPOT original web video series from KQED Science goes behind the scenes at local Bay Area labs, follows breaking discoveries, and gets you special access to obscure science locations& collections, plus much more.
🇬🇧 English
last modified
2017-11-29 22:47
last episode published
2014-03-03 16:30
publication frequency
33.18 days
KQED Science author  
KQED owner  
Number of Episodes
Detail page
Science & Medicine Natural Sciences



Date Thumb Title & Description Contributors

Predatory Plant: Lure of the Cobra Lily

The cobra lily (Darlingtonia californica) uses deception and patience to trick unsuspecting insect prey into its highly specialized pitcher traps.
KQED author

Science of Beer: Tapping the Power of Brewer's Yeast

Whether it’s a lager or ale, sour or bitter, dark or light, most beer has one thing in common: yeast. KQED Science visits a commercial yeast laboratory and a local brewery to reveal how this key ingredient is a major player in both science history and ...
KQED author

200 Geeks, 24 Hours: Science Hack Day in San Francisco

What happens when you fill up a giant space with over 200 eager science fans from around the Bay Area for a weekend? You get Science Hack Day San Francisco, a two-day event where a diverse group of "hackers" -- from developers and designers to scientis...
KQED author

ZomBees: Flight of the Living Dead

Something strange and unsettling is happening to Bay Area honeybees. Entomologists at San Francisco State University have identified the culprit: a tiny parasitic fly is causing the bees to exhibit bizarre nocturnal behaviors before suffering a gruesom...
KQED author

Chasing Pumas: Science on the SPOT

Join a research team from University of California, Santa Cruz as they track, tranquilize and collar a wild puma. The special GPS collars collect data on the puma’s location and behavior, and they reveal how the big cats survive in their shrinking habi...
KQED author

The Glowing Millipedes of Alcatraz: Science on the SPOT

More than a million visitors visit Alcatraz every year, but a recent discovery has revealed another attraction that lives within the shadows of this historic prison.
KQED author

Preserving the Forest of the Sea: Science on the SPOT

The University Herbarium at the University of California - Berkeley boasts one of the largest and oldest collections of seaweed in the United States, dating back to the time of the U.S. Civil War. Kathy Ann Miller, a curator at the herbarium, is leadi...
KQED author

Shadows and Spiders-- A Secret Cave in California: Science on the SPOT

The rural foothills along the Santa Cruz County Coast hold an ancient secret. Deep below the redwoods, White Moon Cave extends for nearly a mile -- making it one of the longest caves in California. But few people have ever been in it. Join the KQED Sci...
KQED author

Up all Night with SOFIA, NASA's Flying Observatory: Science on the SPOT

SOFIA is more than a telescope tucked into a re-purposed commercial airliner. It's a complete flying astronomical observation platform which carries a dozen or more astronomers, observers and crew far above the clouds to observe objects and phenomena t...
KQED author

New Hope for Heart Repair: Science on the SPOT

Scientists in San Francisco have coaxed mouse hearts to repair themselves from within. The breakthrough could lead to treatments for the 5 million people in the United States living with a damaged heart.
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Monarch Meetup: Science on the SPOT

Monarch Butterflies migrate from all over the western United States to overwinter along the California coast. Conservation Biologist Stu Weiss uses specialized photographic equipment to study what makes good Monarch overwintering habitat.
KQED author

National Wildlife Health Center Investigates: Science on the SPOT

The USGS National Wildlife Health Center investigates animal die-offs and threats to endangered species through on-site investigation and necropsies--animal autopsy--at its headquarters in Madison, Wisconsin.
KQED author

Resurrecting the Dead: Science on the SPOT

QUEST travels to the Cleveland Museum of Natural History to meet Dr. Spurlock, an anatomist and forensic reconstruction artist who uses clay to re-construct the faces of ancient humans in order to show what they looked like when alive. She also sketche...
KQED author

The Science of Salt Glaze Pottery: Science on the SPOT

The art and science of salt glaze pottery requires skills and techniques acquired over generations of trial and error. Ben Owen III combines his family’s experiential knowledge of ceramics and additional scientific knowledge to create and improve his u...
KQED author

Dark Matter- Inside the Compost Cycle: Science on the SPOT

How does San Francisco’s 600 tons of compostable waste become a nutrient-rich material that improves the quality of our local wines? Agronomist Bob Shaffer, Northern California's "compost guy," takes QUEST into the composting process.
KQED author

Salt Creek Tiger Beetles: Science on the SPOT

The Salt Creek tiger beetle is one of the most endangered species in the United States, with only 200 to 500 beetles left. They're found only in a small saline wetland area just north of Lincoln, Nebraska. QUEST Nebraska reports.
KQED author

Northern Pacific Rattlesnake Tracker: Science on the SPOT

Katie Colbert, a naturalist at the Sunol-Ohlone Regional Wilderness, shares with us how she tracked dozens of Nothern Pacific Rattlesnakes and what she learned about their movements and behaviors.
KQED author

Rendezvous With Horseshoe Crabs: Science on the SPOT

Watch as thousands of prehistoric horseshoe crabs take over a beach in Delaware.
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Bats Beneath Us: Science on the SPOT

Every summer, 250,000 bats take up residence under a freeway bridge in California's Central Valley. And each night, they exit the bridge in a stunning ribbon-like formation.
KQED author

Green Eggs By The Gram - Sustainable Caviar: Science on the SPOT

Once an exotic product associated with royalty and overfishing, caviar is now being farmed sustainably right here in California.
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Sound Waves - Listening to Orcas: Science on the SPOT

They are an icon of the Pacific Northwest, stirring a mix of fascination, awe and affection. Thousands of people come to the San Juan Islands in Puget Sound just to catch a glimpse of the Southern Resident orcas that call these waters home.
KQED author

Journey of the San Francisco Bay Trail: Science on the SPOT

A dedicated group of outdoor lovers and trail planners is working to build a 500-mile trail around San Francisco Bay. Come along as QUEST hikes and bikes the newest section.
KQED author

Lupe the Mammoth Comes to Life: Science on the SPOT

In 2005, a partial skeleton of a juvenile mammoth was discovered along the Guadalupe River near downtown San Jose. Those bones and a full-scale replica will be featured in The Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose's mammoth exhibit, set to open June ...
KQED author

Banana Slugs Unpeeled: Science on the SPOT

One of the most beloved and iconic native species within the old growth redwood forests is the Pacific Banana Slug. QUEST goes on a hunt to find and introduce Ariolomax dolichophallus, a bright yellow slug with a big personality.
KQED author

Secrets of Sourdough: Science on the SPOT

Since the Gold Rush days when prospectors baked loaves in their encampments, sourdough bread has been a beloved favorite of the Bay Area. But what is true sourdough bread? It's more than just the tangy flavor. Science on the SPOT visits with Maria Marc...
KQED author

Fungus Fair: Science on the SPOT

One day each December, Bay Area mushroom lovers fan out and collect fungi of all shapes and colors. They then display their finds at the Mycological Society of San Francisco’s annual Fungus Fair. QUEST tags along with fair organizer J.R. Blair and his ...
KQED author

Revisiting Albino Redwoods, Biological Mystery: Science on the SPOT

UC Santa Cruz plant biologist Jarmila Pitterman and her students are studying rare albino redwood trees in the Santa Cruz Mountains to better understand the inner workings of these unusual plants. By learning how albino redwoods survive, they may unloc...
KQED author

Revisiting Albino Redwoods, Cracking the Code: Science on the SPOT

Stanford geneticists Ghia Euskirchen and Barry Starr trek into the Santa Cruz Mountains to uncover the genetic mystery of the rare albino redwood trees. QUEST follows along as they seek to discover the root of the mutation. Taking both albino redwood a...
KQED author

Peregrine Falcons Up Close: Science on the SPOT

QUEST meets the San Francisco Zoo’s resident Peregrine Falcon, "Bella." Not long ago Peregrine Falcons were perched at the edge of extinction. But through the work of conservationists, they have rebounded and have been taken off the endangered species ...
KQED author

Open Source Creativity - Hackerspaces: Science on the SPOT

Inspired in part by the open source movement, public spaces are emerging where people congregate to share ideas, make cool projects, teach, and brainstorm with collaborators on everything from coding to cooking. With no leaders, they have one rule: "Be...
KQED author

Restoring San Francisco's Lost Manzanita: Science on the SPOT

QUEST explores how the San Francisco Botanical Garden is toiling to bring one of the city's rarest native plants, the Franciscana manzanita, back from the brink of extinction.
KQED author

Measuring Redwood Giants: Science on the SPOT

Forest ecologist Steve Sillett is leading a team of scientists as they climb and measure every branch of some of the last and tallest old growth redwoods in California. Their goal is to learn how these ancient giants have historically responded to cli...
KQED author

Watching the Tides: Science on the SPOT

Ocean tides rise and fall twice a day, influenced by the gravitational forces of the sun and moon. Studying tides' rhythmic movements helps us understand both the ocean and the cosmos. Astronomer Ben Burress explains how tides work, and QUEST visits Cr...
KQED author

Cal Academy Butterfly Collection: Science on the SPOT

The California Academy of Sciences has the largest collection of biological reference materials west of the Mississippi. Dating back over 100 years, the collection provides a treasure trove of biological information for scientists and researchers study...
KQED author

Fire and Butterflies: Science on the SPOT

Can fire save the endangered Mission Blue Butterfly? The Golden Gate National Recreation Area experiments with using controlled burns to improve habitat for this critically imperiled Bay Area native.
KQED author

Life on the Farallones: Science on the SPOT

The Farallon Islands off the coast of San Francisco are a vital home to many birds and marine mammals. While the forbidding and inhospitable nature of the Farallones may be ideal for wildlife, it also makes this a difficult place for scientists to live...
KQED author

Digging the Devil's Slide Tunnel: Science on the SPOT

California Highway One, between Pacifica and Montara, was carved out of the steep coastal cliffs. Plagued by closures due to rockslides and land slippage, this route has earned the nickname "The Devil's Slide." Now two tunnels beneath San Pedro Mountai...
KQED author

Color By Nano - The Art of Kate Nichols: Science on the SPOT

Artist Kate Nichols longed to paint with the iridescent colors of butterfly wings, but no such pigments existed. So she became the first artist-in-residence at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to synthesize nanoparticles and incorporate them into ...
KQED author

Driverless Cars: Science on the SPOT

Meet Shelley, a car that drives itself. Researchers at Stanford University have developed an autonomous race car and plan on taking it on one of the toughest courses in the country. First, the car is taking them for a test ride at the Santa Clara Count...
KQED author

Albino Redwoods, Ghosts of the Forest: Science on the SPOT

Pale ghosts that hide amidst their gigantic siblings, only a few dozen Albino redwood trees are known to exist. They are genetic mutants that lack the chlorophyll needed for photosynthesis-- how and why they survive is a scientific mystery. QUEST ventu...
KQED author

Science of Fog: Science on the SPOT

San Francisco 's fickle summer weather has earned it the nickname "Fog City." Science on the SPOT asks UC Berkeley's Todd Dawson to clear up the mysterious origins of this weather phenomenon, and share his research on how fog is integral to our state's...
KQED author

Marine Sanctuary Patrol Flight: Science on the SPOT

The Channel Islands, Monterey Bay, Gulf of the Farallones and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuaries cover more than 9,500 square miles of ocean habitat. While most fishing and shipping are still allowed within sanctuary waters, some activities are n...
KQED author

Skulls at the Cal Academy: Science on the SPOT

In our second episode of Science on the SPOT, join us on a behind-the-scenes trip deep into the massive collection of marine mammal skulls at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. You'd be surprised how much you can learn about an animal...
KQED author

Suiting up for Science- Swimming With Sharks: Science on the SPOT

In our first installment of QUEST's new Science on the SPOT web series, we go behind-the-scenes at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, with the intrepid dive team who keep the enormous Outer Bay Exhibit tank spic and span-- while swimming in 40 pounds of stainl...
KQED author