Goggles Optional is a podcast where scientists from Stanford University provide their professional yet humorous takes from the world of science. Join us as our hosts explore the significant news and discoveries of the week using a combination of wit, analogies, and words with less than four syllables. Goggles Optional has been featured as a New and Noteworthy science podcast on iTunes and by the Stanford School of Medicine blog. Don’t worry, you don’t need to be a scientist to listen. The Goggles are Optional!


Diego Calderon


<– This guy is a first year PhD student in the Biomedical Informatics program at Stanford University. He graduated from Wesleyan University with a bachelor’s in biology and computer science. He thinks science is cool. Check out this video of two iPhones attached to a rocket. While not in lab you’ll find Diego biking around doing things. If you see him biking around doing stuff say “hi” and maybe you guys can do fun things together. [twitter] [episodes] founder


Emily C. Glassberg


Emily is a PhD student in the Biology Department at Stanford University and received her bachelor’s in Computational Biology and Genomics from Dartmouth College. Emily started doing science because that’s what nerds do (amiright?) and never found a good reason to stop. She loves learning about everything, but is especially intrigued by the evolution of human societies. Because how else will we avoid getting fooled by the Matrix? Or getting taken over by Google? Think about it. [episodes] founder


Katharine Ng


Katharine “Kat” Ng is a PhD candidate in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Stanford University. She graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles with a degree in Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics. Kat studies the interaction between the gut microbiota (the awesome community of bacteria that live in our intestines) and disease-causing pathogens. She has unintentionally studied this interaction on a personal level when traveling. After being interviewed by Goggles Optional in December 2013, Kat had so much fun that she had to join the team! When not taking naps or sampling poop, Kat enjoys drawing scienc-y things and hurting people with terrible puns.
[episodes] joined 3/2014


Nora Brackbill


Nora is a first year PhD student in the Department of Physics at Stanford. She grew up in Santa Cruz, where she became interested in science while exploring the tide pools and marine life of the Monterey Bay, and went on to study physics at UCLA. She is a bit of scientific wanderer, having worked on everything from modeling of stellar systems to building super fast cameras to quantum information processing, but never did learn practical things like how to avoid the LA traffic by quantum tunneling or why headphones get so tangled in pockets. She has recently settled in a neurobiology lab studying how visual information is encoded in the retina, so keep an eye out for that! She also particularly likes bad puns and science jokes (What did Donald Duck say in his physics class? QUARK QUARK).[episodes] joined 5/2014


Ted Sanders


Ted is earning a PhD in Applied Physics, where he gets paid to play with lasers, liquid helium, superconducting magnets, x-rays, and smelly whiteboard markers. At the moment, Ted’s research efforts are aimed at creating a new magnetic material whose magnetism can be switched on and off. In his spare time, Ted enjoys simulating old age by playing bridge and accumulating knee injuries.[episodes] joined 5/2014


Chelsea Schmaltz


Chelsea is currently a physics graduate at Stanford University and she received her undergraduate degree in physics from the University of Waterloo. She grew up in a suburb of Seattle, and it was here that she first discovered physics. Ever since high school Chelsea has been exploring the many riches and surprises that physics has to offer. This path has lead her to study atomic molecular and optical physics, a field that studies how molecules and atoms interact with light, and what these interactions can tell us about the fundamental qualities of matter. It is Chelsea’s goal that by joining Goggles Optional she can bring some of physics’ mysteries to the public and inspire the next generation of scientists.[episodes] joined 8/2014


Maulik Kamdar

Web Developer

Maulik is a PhD student in the Biomedical Informatics Program at Stanford University. He graduated from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur with a combined Bachelor’s and Master’s in Biotechnology. Apart from extracting proteins and engineering storage lipids, he developed a keen interest in web design and information visualization. After graduation, he worked at the world’s largest semantic web institute DERI, in a small, musical town named Galway, Ireland. He is interested to research at the intersection of biosciences, big data and the semantic web, and dreams to launch his own start-up in semantic search or personalized medicine one day. When he is not daydreaming, you would find him painting (he painted his entire dorm room!), traveling or cooking (only vegetarian!). [episodes] [website] [twitter] joined 3/2015


Scott Kravitz


Scott is a PhD student in particle physics trying to figure out what the deal is with neutrinos, the weirdest of the known building blocks of matter. So far, this quest has involved firing lasers a bunch (see: ultra-nerd safety glasses), a lot of head scratching, and going to a mine a half mile deep to escape the meddlesome influences of cosmic rays and human social interaction. His curiosity about the rules nature plays by are what got him into this mess, and he hopes to drag some listeners into the fray with Goggles Optional. When not doing physics, he’s been known to go rock climbing and has a weakness for unnecessarily complex board games.[episodes] joined 3/2015


Bing Wu

Sound Editor

Bing is a PhD student in the Department of Biology at Stanford University. She is interested in understanding the development of the nervous system (by manipulating genetic materials in fruit flies, for both practical reasons and the pure curiosity into how nature works). While not in the lab, she would like to explore how science is studied and/or interpreted. What she really wants to do is reading and writing. She may write a novel in the future.[episodes] joined 6/2015


Natalie Telis


Natalie is a PhD student in the Biomedical Informatics program at Stanford University. She began her first foray into science at the age of 10 by inventing (nearly) unpoppable bubbles, but went on to get bachelor’s degrees in Cell Biology and Mathematics at the University of California, Davis. In the lab, she works on evolutionary biology on very short or very long time-scales, depending on her mood and how much coffee she’s had. Outside of the lab, she enjoys biking, drawing, writing musical parodies, and — of course — blowing bubbles.[episodes] joined 6/2015

Dr. Laure Fresard


Laure is a postdoctoral fellow in the Pathology Department at Stanford University. Amazed by genetics since she discovered Mendel peas in high school, she decided to pursue a PhD in France, where she tried to figure out what chickens were made of… genomically. She has now switched from feeding the world to healing the world by understanding the genetic differences between people and their impact on gene expression. When not at work, you can find Laure walking around, smiling because … do we need a single reason to smile? [episodes] joined 8/2015


Dr. Nadine R. Martinez


Nadine is a postdoctoral scholar in the Obstetrics and Gynecology Department at Stanford School of Medicine. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Microbiology and Biology/Immunology from California State University, Los Angeles. She received her doctorate in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology in conjunction with the Chemical Engineering Department from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her current projects focus on studying preeclampsia and the amelioration of Rheumatoid arthritis during pregnancy. When Nadine’s not in running experiments, she is practicing karate or creating another art piece. [episodes] joined 8/2015


Dr. Rupa Lalchandani


Rupa is a postdoctoral fellow in the department of Neurosurgery and loves trying to understand science. Rupa grew up in Sacramento, CA, went to UCLA for undergrad (go Bruins!) and then decided to test out the east coast for graduate school. Georgetown University is closest to the Arctic circle she had ever been, and while DC has a certain charm (and seasons), she came back to California as soon as she finished her PhD. Rupa enjoys swimming in large bodies of water, running outdoors, and really corny jokes (ie: How do you make a kleenex dance? You put a little boogie in it). [episodes] joined 5/2016


Dr. Charlie Hogg


Charlie is a postdoc in the Environmental Fluid Mechanics Lab at Stanford University. He is currently working on where to locate seawater desalination plants so that they can make drinking water but not destroy coastal habitats with their salty discharges. Outside the lab, Charlie enjoys exploring his new home of California. [episodes] joined 5/2016


Shoshana Berleant


Shoshana is a software engineer at the Stanford Center For Reproducible Neuroscience, where she builds neuroimaging workflow tools. She graduated from the Ohio State University with a bachelor’s in computer science, tried the whole Silicon Valley thing for a while, then decided science is a lot more fun. When productive, she teaches kids how to build robots, debunks pseudo-science, and writes research software. When not productive, she watches television and plays with her dog, Beowuff. [episodes] joined 5/2016


Nicole Davis


Nicole is a PhD student in Microbiology & Immunology. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with degrees in biology and botany, where she learned a lot about leaf-cutter ants and the friendly bacteria that lived on their chests. Nicole thinks it’s really cool that people are walking ecosystems, and gets to spend most of her time studying how we cooperate with our bacteria to keep those ecosystems healthy. This is great because it often involves playing with poop! Outside the lab, she enjoys Carl Sagan’s Cosmos, The Lord of the Rings, exploring, rock climbing, and growing ferns in her backyard. [episodes] joined 10/2016


Jonathan Wosen


Jonathan is a PhD student in Immunology. When he’s in lab, Jonathan studies MHC class 2, a set of immune proteins that display fragments of normal and germ molecules for immune cells to inspect. In his free time, he likes to play basketball, read, listen to the radio (mostly NPR), and spend time with loved ones.  [episodes] joined 10/2016


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