Time to Eat the Dogs

A Podcast About Science, History, and Exploration

Archive for Expeditions

Faces, Beauty, and the Brain

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“An ideal head, destitute of character” Johann Lavater, 1792.

Rachel Walker talks about physiognomy — the study of the human face — and why it was so popular among scientists and the general public in the 18th and 19th centuries. Walker is an assistant professor of history at the University of Hartford. She is completing a book based on her dissertation, “A Beautiful Mind: Faces, Beauty, and the Brain in the Anglo-Atlantic World, 1780-1860.”

Walker - Headshot

Rachel Walker


Replay: Aboriginal 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. She is the author of Captain Cook Was Here.


Maria Nugent

The History of Arctic Fever


Radio host Kevin Fox interviews me about the history of American Arctic exploration, the subject of my first book, The Coldest Crucible: Arctic Exploration and American Culture. The disappearance of the Franklin Expedition in 1845 turned the Arctic into an object of fascination.


Kevin Fox

By the end of the century, it had become an ‘Arctic Fever.’ Fox is the host of the radio program Geographical Imaginations for RadioFabrik in Salzburg, which is also available on iTunes as a podcast.


U.S. Grinnell Expedition, 1854

Replay: 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

Replay: 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.

The British Expeditionary Literature of Africa


Adrian Wisnicki

Adrian Wisnicki talks about the British expeditionary literature of the late 1800s. Reading between the lines of Victorian travel accounts, Wisnicki sees outlines of a bigger story — local peoples, landscapes, and ways of life. Wisnicki is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Faculty Fellow of the Center for Digital Research in the Humanities. For the past ten years he has served as the director (along with co-director Megan Ward) of Livingstone Online a digital museum and library devoted to the written, visual, and material legacies of British explorer David Livingstone. Wisnicki is the author of Fieldwork of Empire, 1840-1900: Intercultural Dynamics in the Production of British Expeditionary Literature.


Replay: The Mars Rover Curiosity


Emily Lakdawalla talks about the design and construction of Curiosity, formally known as the Mars Science Laboratory, one of the most sophisticated machines ever built. Curiosity landed on Mars in 2012 where it has been conducting research within the ancient Gale Crater.

Lakdawalla is a senior editor at the Planetary Society where she writes and blogs about planetary exploration. She is a frequent guest on Planetary Radio. She is also the author of The Design and Engineering of Curiosity: How the Mars Rover Performs Its Job.


Emily Lakdawalla


Lakdawalla’s Curiosity Goodreads Page

Lakdawalla’s Planetary Society Blog

NASA’s Mars Scientific Laboratory Website