From 10 to 11 pm every Sunday night Greg Benton, Ian Char, and Jonathan Wilder Lavington, can be found live on the air. Their podcast, Probably Novel, is a new series on CU Boulder’s Radio 1190. Every week, they explore a new area of STEM fields and bring their audience information that takes them out of the normal realm of academics by discussing outside-the-box topics and perspectives.
Lavington, Benton, and Char are all in their last year within the Applied Mathematics Department. They started the podcast earlier this semester, with the guidance of, Manuel Lladser. He plays the role of “producer” on the show. What started as just a fun idea, quickly turned into reality thanks to Jonathan Wilder Lavington’s prior experience working for Radio 1190.
“It’s kind of crazy because we had this idea and then Wilder was like ‘oh, I’ll set something up.’ We literally went there and just started talking into a microphone. It’s pretty wild,” said Char.
So far, the guys have been inviting their peers onto the show to discuss their findings and research. Most of their listeners come from their inner friendship circles or are fellow classmates.
A struggle that they’ve faced is the air time for their show. Since they joined later in the semester, they were stuck with an unpopular timeslot. In the coming months, they hope to develop more of a structure for the show and develop themselves on campus. They’ve expressed gratitude for Lladser, and claimed that the coordination they have is thanks to him.
“We believe the show is a very refreshing and novel way to reach out to a broader community in Colorado, particularly in the Denver/Boulder area and to keep attracting high-quality undergrads to our program by exposing APPM's research strengths as well as how they relate to other departments in Campus,” said Lladser.
One of their goals for the upcoming semesters is to expand outreach by hosting a larger variety of people. They’ve only had one woman on the show and guests have only talked about coding for the most part.
Before a show, the group likes to go into interviews blind to the details regarding the guest’s research. Though this might be an unorthodox approach, the guys explain that this helps them to perceive what the audience might not understand ask good clarification questions. They usually let the guest decide the topic of the podcast, and let the talk about what they’re most passionate about.
Two of the most interesting stories, according to the guys, was when they had a guest on the show that discussed how to recreate microstructures of gecko hands to pull trash out of space and then the research suggested that there has never been a recorded case of Barn Swallows nesting on a non man-made structure.