Elsa Partan | CAI

Elsa Partan

Producer for Living Lab

Elsa Partan is a producer for Living Lab Radio. She first came to the station in 2002 as an intern and fell in love with radio. She is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. From 2006 to 2009, she covered the state of Wyoming for the NPR member station Wyoming Public Media in Laramie. She was a newspaper reporter at The Mashpee Enterprise from 2010 to 2013. She lives in Falmouth with her husband and two daughters.

Ways to Connect

Living Lab Radio: December 29 and 30, 2019.

Dec 29, 2019
E. Partan

This is the last episode of Living Lab Radio.

Heather Goldstone will be joining Woods Hole Research Center to communicate about what is possibly the most pressing issue of our time: climate change. Elsa Partan will be staying at WCAI as a news producer. 

It has been seven and a half years. We've done more than 800 interviews covering everything from black holes to sexual harassment. There’s really no way to sum all that up. Instead, today, we’re revisiting highlights from a handful of memorable interviews. 

Is Winter Miserable for Wildlife?

Dec 22, 2019
tim elliott/Shutterstock.com

Living Lab Radio: December 22 and 23, 2019

Dec 22, 2019
Michal Jarmoluk / https://pixabay.com/users/jarmoluk-143740

“If you have scientific misconduct, there are some clear rules that have been around for quite a while where your funding could be at jeopardy. We thought that sexual misconduct should be at that level. Even laboratory safety is an issue that can have consequences, so we said that – at the minimum – [sexual misconduct] should be at least at the level of scientific misconduct and safety.” – Joyce Wong

A lot of of chemistry and physics are behind how you perceive a sip of wine.
GANNA MARTYSHEVA/Shutterstock.com

Aude Watrelot, Iowa State University

When you take a sip of wine at a family meal or celebration, what do you notice?

An Announcement from Living Lab Radio

Dec 18, 2019

It is with deeply mixed emotions that I am leaving WCAI to lead communications at Woods Hole Research Center, the top-ranked climate change think tank. The last episode of Living Lab Radio will air on December 29th and 30th.

I walked into WCAI fifteen years ago with a newly minted Ph.D., and no radio or journalism experience to speak of. Could I learn to be a science reporter, I asked? The answer – yes – literally changed my life.

Polarstern arrived at MOSAiC ice floe, October 5, 2019.
Alfred-Wegener-Institut / Sebastian Grote (CC-BY 4.0)

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released its annual Arctic report card last week, with data tracking seven vital signs of Arctic health, including air and water temperatures, sea ice and tundra greenness. The conclusion: “Arctic ecosystems and communities are increasingly at risk due to continued warming and declining sea ice.”

Michael Schade / AP / From NPR story: n.pr/2RY9oqp

In the early hours of December 9th, the volcano known as Whakaari, or White Island off the northern coast of New Zealand erupted, killing several people

How the languages of the world arose is still an open question.
Image by Gordon Johnson from https://pixabay.com

There are thousands of languages spoken around the world today. While we know how many of them are related to each other, we know very little about how they actually arose.

"The main reason is because we can't travel back in time and go back to the times when these languages actually emerged," said Manuel Bohn, a postdoctoral researcher at Leipsig University.


We all know we’re supposed to eat a balanced diet with a combination of different types of foods. A growing body of research suggests the same is true when it comes to social behavior – that a mixture of different types of social interactions, as well as alone time, leads to the greatest well-being.

Living Lab Radio: December 15, 2019

Dec 15, 2019
Hundreds of researchers are taking turns spending two months aboard the icebreaker Polarstern, as it drifts with the Arctic sea ice in which it is stuck - deliberately.
Alfred-Wegener-Institut / Esther Horvath (CC-BY 4.0) / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

“We get to read the whole book. Normally, you go out for a couple of months. It's like you have a complicated mystery and you get two chapters and you're supposed to figure out what's going on. But here, we've already started. We’re there in the fall, when the ice begins to freeze, we'll watch it evolve through the whole winter and see what happens when summer comes.” – Don Perovich

Parker Solar Probe Findings Surprise Scientists

Dec 9, 2019

Last year, the Parker Solar Probe flew closer to the sun than anything ever has before. Now, scientists have released the first results, and there are some big surprises, like solar winds up to twenty five times faster than expected, and previously unknown rogue waves.

How to Pick the 'Right' Amount to Spend

Dec 9, 2019
Magnus D/flickr / Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

By Jay L. Zagorsky, Boston University

Gift giving is a big deal this time of year.

We've Reached 'Peak Cow,' Report Says

Dec 8, 2019
Elsa Partan

The Impossible Burger has put high tech meat alternatives on people’s plates and minds. But just how big could this emerging sector become? And how soon? A new analysis says it could make the cow all but obsolete in a matter of years.

A march outside the climate conference in Madrid, Spain, on Dec. 6, 2019.
Malopez 21, https://tinyurl.com/w9uw4cv

This year’s United Nations conference on climate change is underway in Madrid, Spain, with about 25,000 people from 200 countries attending.

The mood is one of urgency, according to participants.

Living Lab Radio: December 8, 2019

Dec 8, 2019
Thorsten Blank / Pixabay

“Essentially, the cost of producing protein is going to come down fast. So, it's five times cheaper by 2030 - and ten times by 2035 - than existing methods. And so, ultimately, this means 50 percent fewer cows by 2030. And it won't stop there.” – Catherine Tubb

A crater discovered in Siberia in July, 2014 - and several found subsequently - have been attributed to methane released when permafrost thaws.
Press Service of the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug Governor

In July of 2014, images of an enormous crater in the Siberian tundra captivated scientists and the public, alike. Others were soon found, and a cause proposed: climate change. Specifically, the finger was pointed at an underground build-up of methane released as permafrost thaws. But this was not a climate change impact that anyone had anticipated.

Public Domain

“A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.” – Max Planck

The Nobel Prize-winning physicist Max Planck articulated what has come to be known as Planck’s Principle in his 1950 Scientific Autobiography and Other Papers. The idea was born out of his frustration that eminent colleagues, notably Albert Einstein, were resistant to the revolutionary ideas of quantum mechanics that he had introduced.

Sebastien Wiertz / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

A new meta-analysis of dozens of studies finds evidence that mind-body therapies, like meditation, can reduce not only pain, but also opioid use.

Joe Ravi / CC-BY-SA 3.0

Before heading home for turkey, the Supreme Court this week declined to hear a case pitting a prominent climate scientist against a conservative news outlet and a free-market think tank. To be clear, this is considered a win for the climate scientist as it allows his defamation case to go forward.

Stargazing and storytelling are universal, age-old past-times. For millenia, people have looked to the sky, seen shapes in the stars, and attached stories to them. Constellations and their movements have been used to navigate the seas, predict personalities and major events, and to teach moral lessons.

Cranberries Through History

Nov 24, 2019
Karish Kobal, https://tinyurl.com/uzo2xxc

Cranberries are a staple on the American Thanksgiving table, but they used to be much more than a once-a-year novelty. They were a staple of Native American diets, and later, of early colonial diets.

The ways that cranberries have been grown and eaten have changed a lot over the centuries.

Bridging The Political Divide At Thanksgiving

Nov 24, 2019
mjmonty, https://tinyurl.com/rrgvntt

For many, the country's political divide has become intensely personal – dividing families and even breaking up Thanksgiving traditions.

We all know the old adage about avoiding politics and religion at the dinner table, but it seems harder to do these days. And frankly, it doesn't seem to be helping.

The first global geologic map of Titan is based on radar and visible-light images from NASA's Cassini mission, which orbited Saturn from 2004 to 2017.

Our monthly rundown of science headlines from Nature News, this time with video and podcast editor Benjamin Thompson as tour guide:

Living Lab Radio: November 24, 2019

Nov 24, 2019
The constellation Pleiades is recognized in many cultures, and its appearance in Northern skies in the fall has made it a signal for harvest festivals.
Boris.stromar/Wikimedia Commons / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en

“The sky was always there; the sky was the storyboard, filled with tales about the meaning of life and social relations. And people were making patterns on this storyboard even before they were painting on the walls of caves. Certainly, prehistoric people were doing it. And the story depends so much on who's the teller - the teller who has to make the story have legs. It's got to be a story that means something and that you can transfer from one culture to another as time changes.” – Anthony Aveni

This week on Living Lab Radio:

  • Nature's Benjamin Thompson shares recent headlines, from a new, global map of Saturn’s largest moon, to some science funders’ experiments with lottery systems to increase diversity in the research pool.

Naomi Oreskes On Why We Should Trust Science

Nov 17, 2019
A new book by Naomi Oreskes of Harvard University.
Princeton University Press

We don’t tend to acknowledge this, but at the heart of Living Lab Radio lies the belief that science can provide factual information that can help us make better decisions as individuals, as communities, and as societies.

But why should we trust science? How can we be sure that what we hear today won’t be proved wrong in the future?

Naomi Oreskes addresses these questions in her new book Why Trust Science?