Time to Eat the Dogs

On Science, History, and Exploration

Episode 46: Australians’ First Encounter with Captain Cook


Postcard featuring James Cook superimposed over a map of Australia. Cook’s encounter with Aboriginal Australians at Botany Bay is illustrated in the top right corner (1907). Credit: National Museum of Australia

Maria Nugent talks about Aboriginal Australians first encounter with Captain Cook at Botany Bay, a violent meeting has come to represent the origin story of Australia’s colonization by Europeans. The encounter itself has been symbolized by a bark shield – said to have been used by indigenous Australians defending themselves against gunfire from Cook’s crew.


Gweagal activist Rodney Kelly pointing to the bark shield in the British Museum in 2016. Kelly seeks to return the shield to Australia. Credit: Rodney Kelly

Now on permanent display at the British Museum, the shield has come to mean different things for settler Australians and Indigenous Australians, even as historians and archaeologists debate whether it was it was really there at Botany Bay for this historic encounter. Maria Nugent is a Fellow in the Australian Centre for Indigenous History in the School of History at the Australian National University.


Maria Nugent


Episode 45: An American in Soviet Antarctica, Part II


Stamp commemorating the Soviet Union’s Antarctic bases

Stewart Gillmor — the sole American at Mirny Station in 1961 and 1962– continues his discussion of life at the Soviet base: how communism plays out 10,000 miles from Moscow, the problems with planes in Antarctica, and what to do when the diesel generator dies at the coldest place in the world.


Mirny Station

Episode 44: An American in Soviet Antarctica, Part I


Stewart Gillmore in Mirny Station, 1961.

Stewart Gillmor talks about his fourteen-month stay at Mirny Station, the Soviet Union’s Antarctica base. Gillmor was the sole American at Mirny in 1960-1962 during the height of the Cold War.


Gillmor holding the Russian coat he used at Mirny Station.

Episode 43: The 1948 Arnhem Land Expedition

Thomas Figure 1_fmt

Howell Walker photographing at Umbakumba, 1948. Photograph by Charles P Mountford. Courtesy of the State Library of South Australia, PRG487/1/2/209/1.

Historian Martin Thomas discusses the 1948 Arnhem Land expedition and the controversy that surrounds it. His new documentary, Etched in Bone (Ronin Films), which he co-directed with Beatrice Bijon, traces the events of the expedition and its effects upon the aboriginal communities of Northern Australia.

thomas and bijon

Beatrice Bijon (left) and Martin Thomas (right)

Episode 42: Mapping the Polar Regions


Cole Kelleher walks through the Adélie penguin colony at Cape Royds

Cole Kelleher talks about his work for the Polar Geospatial Center at the University of Minnesota, an agency that uses satellite data to support polar scientists in the field. In addition to making maps, Kelleher works with polar scientists, and coolest  of all, has teamed up with Google to provide street views of McMurdo Station in Antarctica (see links below). 


Cole Kelleher



Polar Geospatial Center

Antarctica Street Views on Google:

Taylor Valley Ventifact Boulder

Gonzales Spur

Arena Valley

Beacon Valley

Lake Bonney

Marshal Valley

McMurdo Station

Episode 41: My Interview with Radio Canberra


Broadcast journalist Jolene Laverty interviews me for ABC Radio Canberra. Laverty talks with me about my research, podcast, and recent work at Australian National University. Special thanks to ABC Radio for permission to rebroadcast this interview. 

laverty jpg


ABC Radio Canberra

“Sunday Brunch” with Jolene Laverty

Episode 40: Watching Vesuvius


Sean Cocco talks about the 1631 eruption of Vesuvius and its impact on Renaissance science and culture. Cocco is an associate professor of history at Trinity College. He is the author of Watching Vesuvius: A History of Science and Culture in Early Modern Italy.


Sean Cocco