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Astrophysicist Katie Mack and journalist Glenn Fleishman with a packed house at Ada's Technical Books.
Astrophysicist Katie Mack and journalist Glenn Fleishman with a packed house at Ada’s Technical Books.

We’d all like to know more about the universe, and on Jan. 13, Dr. Katie Mack, a postdoctoral researcher of dark matter, was interviewed at Ada’s Technical Books and Café on Capitol Hill in Seattle, to a packed room. A podcast of the session is available below.

Seattle tech journalist Glenn Fleishman spoke with Mack about dark matter and dark energy, black holes, exoplanets, when we’ll no longer be able to see the light of stars from other galaxies, the probability of life elsewhere in the universe, and much more. It’s a fascinating conversation, concluding with audience Q&A.

So how did she get into this field in the first place? Mack, who grew up in Los Angeles, explains that she has always been interested in how things work — taking apart the remote control as a kid, and making toy cars out of Legos and solar panels. When she was 8 years old, she heard about Stephen Hawking, read A Brief History of Time, and became fascinated by cosmic questions.

20150113_Adas-Katie_Mack-21“I got into it through really wanting to understand how things work,” she says. “I think that studying the sky is really one of the best ways to figure that out. It’s a laboratory for these fundamental questions.”

She also talks about what it’s like to work in the field, what an astrophysicist does during a typical day, and efforts to improve diversity in science.

We’ve known Glenn and followed his work for years in publications including Boing Boing, The Seattle Times, and the Economist. We’re honored to provide an online home for this inaugural version of his new podcast. Enjoy!

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