Photo by: Purwo Kuncoro

Lunch Break Science Celebrates 50th Episode

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Arielle Johnson with geologist Dr. Patrick Gathogo on episode 48 of Lunch Break Science

When Leakey Foundation Education Director Arielle Johnson had to bring The Leakey Foundation’s public programs online due to the pandemic, she took the opportunity to create something entirely new. Within a few months of the cancellation of in-person events, she created and launched Lunch Break Science. As of December 1, 2022, she has produced 49 episodes highlighting a wide range of topics related to human origins.

The 50th episode will stream on December 15, 2022, at 11 am Pacific / 2 pm Eastern and it will feature past guests of the show answering audience questions and addressing common misconceptions about human evolution. Viewers of the livestream will have the opportunity to win prizes.

“I thought about what is unique and what I love most about The Leakey Foundation. While planning our public programs, I have the privilege of getting to know many of the scientists we fund. Hearing about the fascinating paths they take to get to where they are is always my favorite part,” said Arielle. She created Lunch Break Science as a platform for Leakey Foundation grantees to share not only their research but also their stories. “From PhD candidates at the start of their careers to world-renowned experts at the top of their fields, they each tell an integral part of the story of how human evolution research is conducted.”

Lunch Break Science is a livestreamed web series, like a television show, that features interviews with Leakey Foundation grantees and short “bite-sized” talks about their research. The show streams simultaneously to YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Viewers who watch Lunch Break Science live can join in by submitting questions for each guest to answer during the episode.

The virtual livestream format makes it possible to invite speakers from The Leakey Foundation’s global community of grantees. Scientists have joined live from Argentina, Canada, Kenya, and several US states, sharing talks on topics ranging from primate behavior to ancient DNA, fossil discoveries, geology, and human health.

In addition to presenting educational information about human evolution, this program, sponsored by Camilla and George Smith and the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation, is helping early career scientists fine-tune their science communication skills.

Chalachew Seyoum holding the 2.8-million-year-old fossil jaw he discovered in Ethiopia in 2013.

Not long after earning his PhD, Leakey Foundation grantee and Baldwin Fellow Dr. Chalachew Seyoum was the guest on episode three. “My interview during the Lunch Break Science series was a great experience. It gave me the opportunity to share my research and experience with the general public,” he said. “I also had a great time with Arielle Johnson, and I would be happy to work with her again.”

Lunch Break Science attracts a worldwide audience and creatively showcases the diverse range of research that The Leakey Foundation supports. We hope you will join in, take a break from your day, and feed your brain with The Leakey Foundation’s new show.

Grab your lunch and join The Leakey Foundation for the 50th episode of Lunch Break Science on Thursday, December 15 at 11 am Pacific / 2 pm Eastern / 6 pm.

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