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Podcast Profile: My Nuclear Life

podcast imageTwitter: @NuclearLifePod@ShellyLesh
54 episodes
2020 to present
Average episode: 50 minutes
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Categories: Interview-Style • Physics

Podcaster's summary: On July 16, 1945, in a New Mexico desert, the Trinity Test ushered in the Nuclear Age. No other piece of technology has penetrated the American consciousness like the nuclear bomb and found a place in everything from culture to medicine. This podcast explores how nuclear science has impacted and changed our world in both beneficial and destructive ways. We explore the intersection of nuclear science and society using interviews with historians, policymakers, experts in their fields, and first-hand accounts to weave a picture of your nuclear life.

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List Updated: 2023-Dec-02 13:28 UTC. Episodes: 54. Feedback: @TrueSciPhi.

2023-Nov-28 • 59 minutes
Understanding Edward Teller with Istvan Hargittai
What makes Edward Teller tick? Find out with physical chemist and author Istvan Hargittai on this episode.
2023-Oct-31 • 42 minutes
For the love of lasers with Donna Strickland
Physics Nobel Laureate Donna Strickland talks about all things lasers, how lasers relate to nuclear physics, and explains why she had to pay the long-distance bill to Sweden.
2023-Sep-26 • 50 minutes
Are radiation limits based on a lie? with Ed Calabrese
Meet Dr. Ed Calabrese, Professor of Environmental Health Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, School of Public Health & Health Sciences. Ed has spent years diving into the history...
2023-Aug-29 • 49 minutes
How to identify Manhattan Project Plutonium with Cody Folden
How can you find the age of Plutonium? Why is it important? What are the applications? Find out the answer to these questions and more on this episode of My Nuclear Life when Cody Folden joins Shel...
2023-Jul-25 • 64 minutes
Trying to stay alive at the Diefenbunker with Nathan Radke & Lee Kuhnle
My Nuclear Life and The Uncover Up visit the Diefenbunker: Canada's Cold War Museum. Join Shelly, Nathan, and Lee as they journey 75 feet underground to compare how the Canadian Government planned ...
2023-Jun-27 • 63 minutes
J. Robert Oppenheimer with Kai Bird
Get ready for the summer movie by joining Oppenheimer biographer Kai Bird (author of American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer) as he discusses Oppie's life and science.
2023-May-30 • 51 minutes
The 3rd Nuclear Age with Ankit Panda
What is the 3rd Nuclear Age? Wait, what about the 1st and 2nd? Join Shelly as she speaks to Stanton Senior Fellow Ankit Panda about how the world is grabbling with nuclear proliferation and what ch...
2023-Apr-25 • 41 minutes
The Origin of the Elements with Artemis Spyrou
Chemical elements make up the matter we observe in the universe but how did they form? How did scientists figure this out and what is left to learn? Artemis Spyrou joins Shelly to discuss the evolu...
2023-Mar-28 • 44 minutes
NIF fusion was a breakthrough, but what kind? with Bob Rosner
In December 2022, Lawrence Livermore's National Ignition Facility (NIF) achieved ignition. Join Shelly as she speaks with Bob Rosner about what this milestone means to Stockpile Stewardship and to ...
2023-Feb-28 • 39 minutes
Witnessing the Starfish Prime nuclear test with Jim Burkhart
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to witness an above-ground nuclear weapons test? Shelly is joined by Jim Burkhart who was stationed on the Johnston Atoll in 1962 when the largest nucle...
2023-Jan-31 • 52 minutes
Solving the solar neutrino problem with Nobel Laureate Art McDonald
From his beginnings as a nuclear physicist to his Nobel Prize-winning work on neutrinos, Arthur McDonald sits down with Shelly Lesher in the studio. Visit us at: Patreon: ...
2022-Dec-24 • 32 minutes
Is this the year NORAD shoots down Santa? With Martin Pfeiffer
Martin Pfeiffer aka @nuclearanthro joins Shelly to discuss the origin story of NORAD Tracks Santa and why it matters. Not suitable for children and may contain foul language. Visit us at: mynu...
2022-Dec-15 • 51 minutes
Mom, I'm scared, come pick me up! Students speak out.
Young scientists from the Division of Nuclear Physics (DNP) Conference react to the nuclear weapon talks which opened the conference. Hear their thoughts about the role nuclear scientists play in t...
2022-Nov-29 • 38 minutes
US Nuclear Weapons and the Nuclear Posture Review with Steve Fetter
With all the talk of nuclear weapons in Europe, learn about the US nuclear weapon triad with Dr. Steve Fetter. Recorded live during a nuclear physics conference, Drs. Fetter and Lesher discuss the...
2022-Oct-25 • 49 minutes
Inside the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone with Dominik & Lara from ChernobylX
In this episode, we take you inside the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone with Dominik Orfanus founder of ChernobylX and lead tour guide, Lara Graldina. What is it like inside the "Zone"? Who lives there? W...
2022-Sep-27 • 59 minutes
The Baby Tooth Study 2.0 with Marc Weisskopf
The St. Louis Baby Tooth Study has been reimagined. Using the original teeth collected from the children of the 1950s and 1960s Marc Weisskopf and his colleagues at Harvard are seeking to find new ...
2022-Aug-30 • 34 minutes
St. Louis Baby Tooth Survey with Nina Gilden Seavey
Nina Gilden Seavey discusses how the St. Louis Baby Tooth Survey helped persuade U.S. President Kennedy to sign the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty which ended above-ground nuclear weapons testing ...
2022-Jul-26 • 40 minutes
What if a nuclear engineer was elected US President? with Jonathan Alter
He was and served as the 39th President of the USA. But before his career in politics, Jimmy Carter was a Navy Nuke under Gen. Rickover. What did he do in the Navy? How did this time in the Nuclea...
2022-Jun-28 • 43 minutes
How did the U.S. Government plan for nuclear war without you? with Garrett Graff
Underground nuclear bunkers, the birth of FEMA, secret government plans for the end of the world, and more in this episode. Garrett Graff discusses his book Raven Rock: The Story of the U.S. Govern...
2022-May-31 • 53 minutes
Exploring the end of the world with nuclear literature and Daniel Cordle
This episode explores how we, as humans, grapple with the end of the world through nuclear literature including fiction, nonfiction, poems, etc. How do we grapple with the "end" if it is caused by...
2022-Apr-26 • 42 minutes
Shipbuilding with the precision of a watchmaker - ITER with Michael Loughlin
The history of fusion as a source of energy is discussed along with past and current projects. Is a fusion power plant still decades away? Visit us at: Patreon: www.patreo...
2022-Mar-29 • 68 minutes
Can Wargaming teach ethics? With John Emery
What is a war game? How did they shape our understanding of the Cold War? Did the mathematicians or social scientists win the war of the COW game? Learn about issues surrounding wargaming at RAND ...
2022-Mar-08 • 59 minutes
Nuclear Threat Reduction & Current Events with Matthias Grosse Perdekamp
Special episode on reducing nuclear threat with Prof. Matthias Grosse Perdekamp. Recorded when Russia was invading Ukraine.
2022-Feb-22 • 41 minutes
Radium & Marie Curie go Goth Rock with Charming Disaster
Today's episode features the musical duo Charming Disaster. They discuss the process of writing their new album based on the life of Marie Curie and the element she discovered, stories that did not...
2022-Jan-25 • 54 minutes
Using nuclear science to understand cultural heritage with Michael Wiescher
What role does nuclear science play in understanding art and culture? Michael Wiescher from The University of Notre Dame explains. Visit us at: Patreon:
2022-Jan-06 • 39 minutes
Should Khrushchev receive story credit for Dr. Strangelove? With Nathan and Lee from The UnCover Up
Nathan Radke and Lee Kuhnle from The UnCover Up podcast discuss Dr. Strangelove with Shelly and introduce an interesting conspiracy theory. Lee poses a question on if Nikita Khrushchev should re...
2022-Jan-04 • 47 minutes
The movie with the finest ending: Failsafe (1964) with Nathan & Lee from The UnCover Up
Nathan Radke and Lee Kuhnle from The UnCover Up podcast discuss Failsafe (1964) with Shelly and compare it to Dr. Strangelove. Find out what character made Lee want to quit watching Failsafe, who...
2021-Dec-28 • 60 minutes
What's with all the Nuclear Movies? With Nathan & Lee from The UnCover Up
Nathan and Lee from the UnCover Up podcast join today’s conversation in discussing their favorite nuclear movies spanning over the decades, involving wars, nuclear disasters, and so much more! Amon...
2021-Nov-30 • 54 minutes
Using radiation as a poison. The murder of Alexander Litvinenko with Pete Burgess
In this episode Pete Burgess discusses the murder of Alexander Litvinenko, a Russian spy who defected to the UK. Why is polonium-210 a good poison? How do you make it? Why wasn’t the public scared...
2021-Oct-26 • 57 minutes
How the Norwegians & British ended the Nazi atomic bomb program with Neal Bascomb
In this episode, host Shelly Lesher is joined by Neal Bascomb, author of The Winter Fortress, which tells the story of the plan to sabotage Hitler’s atomic bomb. Listen as Neal tells about the seve...
2021-Sep-28 • 60 minutes
Finger on the Button: Life as a Cold War Missileer with Col. (Ret.) Charles G. Simpson
Go inside a US missile silo with Col. (Ret.) Charles G. Simpson as he discusses his time as a US Air Force Missileer which started weeks before the Cuban Missile Crisis and ends shortly before the ...
2021-Sep-15 • 82 minutes
Scientists as activists, human rights, and ethics with Don Howard
This episode features Don Howard, a Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame with an interest in the ethics of emerging technologies. Shelly & Don explore the ethic...
2021-Aug-17 • 85 minutes
History of early computing with Thomas Haigh
In this episode Shelly speaks with Thomas Haigh, a historian of computing, about the ENIAC and its influence on nuclear physics. Learn how the ENIAC was more of an experimental apparatus than a co...
2021-Aug-03 • 58 minutes
The connection between nuclear disarmament, peace, and black freedom with Vincent Intondi
In this episode Shelly is joined by Dr. Vincent Intondi, history professor at Montgomery College in Maryland. He is invited on the podcast today to discuss his recent authorship of his eye opening...
2021-Jul-20 • 67 minutes
Nuking the Moon and other Shenanigans with The Uncover Up
In this episode, Shelly is joined by 2/3rds of The Uncover Up Conspiracy Podcast, Nathan Radke and Lee Kuhlne. They discuss the Pentagon UFO report, their joint Cold War obsession, what we can lear...
2021-Jul-06 • 42 minutes
The impact of the Cold War on LIGO with Tiffany Nichols
In this episode Shelly speaks to Tiffany Nichols, doctoral candidate at the Department of the History of Science at Harvard University, graduate student affiliate at the Black Hole Initiative and a...
2021-Jun-29 • 1 minutes
Announcement: My Nuclear Life / The UncoverUp Crossover
We are excited to announce our first crossover!
2021-Jun-22 • 52 minutes
The Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant Disaster with Adam Higginbotham
In this episode Shelly is joined by Adam Higginbotham, author of New York Times best selling book Midnight in Chernobyl. Listen as Shelly and Adam talk about his book and about the biggest nuclear...
2021-Jun-08 • 51 minutes
Death by control rod: The story of SL1 with Todd Tucker
In this episode of My Nuclear Life, Shelly speaks with Todd Tucker, author of several books including Atomic America: How a Deadly Explosion and a Feared Admiral changed the Course of Nuclear Hist...
2021-May-25 • 63 minutes
How to restart a nuclear reactor in Japan after the Fukushima disaster with Dreux Richard
In this episode, Shelly Lesher and Dreux Richard author of the book, Every Human Intention: Japan in the New Century, explore the post-Fukushima nuclear regulatory system of Japan and how to determ...
2021-May-11 • 68 minutes
Soviet bone records, Tom Lehrer, and music for your nuclear protest with Tim & Joanna Smolko
In this episode of My Nuclear Life, host Shelly Lesher speaks with Tim and Joanna Smolko, authors of Atomic Tunes: The Cold War in American and British Popular Music. They discuss atomic music acro...
2021-Apr-27 • 37 minutes
Deep beneath the surface: Innovating nuclear waste disposal with Elizabeth Muller
In this episode, Lexie Weghorn and Shelly Lesher discuss nuclear waste disposal with Elizabeth Muller, CEO of Deep Isolation. Topics include nuclear energy’s “waste problem”, how nuclear waste is c...
2021-Apr-13 • 62 minutes
Hanford Lab Pt. 2: How the DOE got into the museum business with Robert Franklin
In this episode, Shelly continues her conversation with Robert Franklin, Archivist & Oral Historian at the Hanford History Project. They discuss how Hanford's B-Reactor became a Manhattan Project N...
2021-Apr-13 • 81 minutes
Hanford Lab Pt. 1: The triumph of the engineer with Robert Franklin
In this episode, Shelly and Robert Franklin, Archivist & Oral Historian of the Hanford History Project dive into the history of the Hanford Laboratory and B-Reactor located in Washington State. The...
2021-Apr-06 • 16 minutes
Quarky News: Volk Field 1962
In this new segment of My Nuclear Life find out what happens at Volk Field one snowy night in 1962. For more information visit us at Sign up at Patreon:
2021-Mar-30 • 55 minutes
Radium: Luxurious, Beautiful, Expensive, and Modern with Lucy Santos
In this episode Shelly Lesher and Lucy Jane Santos, author of the book Half Lives: The Unlikely History of Radium discuss the beauty industry, salons, and radium in consumer products. Visit us a...
2021-Mar-16 • 57 minutes
Nuclear newsletters, queer theory, and Freedom of Information with Martin Pfeiffer
In this episode of My Nuclear Life, host Shelly Lesher interviews Martin Pfeiffer, a Ph.D. student of anthropology at the University of New Mexico. He is best known for his twitter account, @Nuclea...
2021-Mar-02 • 47 minutes
The War Science Won? Building the bomb, ingenuity, and politics with Richard Rhodes (Pt. 3)
Part 3 of our conversation with Richard Rhodes, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book, The Making of the Atomic Bomb. The conversation picks up the historical narrative of the WWII development...
2021-Jan-01 • 50 minutes
How to turn the US into a factory: Beer in Hanford, Silver from Fort Knox, and PO Box 1663 with Richard Rhodes (Pt. 2)
In this episode of My Nuclear Life, Shelly Lesher continues her conversation with Richard Rhodes, author of award winning book, The Making of the Atomic Bomb. Their previous conversation left off w...
2021-Jan-01 • 59 minutes
How it all began: Europe, fission, and the Nazis with Richard Rhodes (Pt. 1)
Today on My Nuclear Life, host Shelly Lesher speaks with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Richard Rhodes. This conversation has been broken up into three parts. This Part 1 discussion includes topics...
2020-Dec-30 • 40 minutes
Sunshine in a bottle. The origins of using radiation as a modern cancer treatment with Aimee Slaughter
In this episode of My Nuclear Life, host Shelly Lesher interviews Aimee Slaughter. They discuss early radium therapy its journey from sideshow attraction to a staple in US hospitals before WWII. Th...
2020-Dec-30 • 32 minutes
Thwarting nuclear ambitions with sanctions: Iran, North Korea, and ... Sweden? with Richard Nephew
In this episode of My Nuclear Life, host Shelly Lesher interviews Richard Nephew. Richard was the lead sanctions expert on the US negotiating team for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)...
2020-Dec-23 • 53 minutes
How do you celebrate Alaska Statehood? Nuke them a harbor with Dan O'Neill
In this episode of My Nuclear Life, host Shelly Lesher interviews Dan O’Neil. Dan is author of The Firecracker Boys. In this book, he speaks about Project Chariot, a U.S. atomic energy project in A...
2020-Dec-16 • 36 minutes
Saving the world with nuclear energy, one microreactor at a time with Leslie Dewan
In this episode of My Nuclear Life, host Shelly Lesher interviews Dr. Leslie Dewan. Leslie earned her PhD in Nuclear Engineering from MIT and is a cofounder of Transatomic Power, one of the first s...