Episode 024: Improving Photosynthesis with Dr. Steven Burgess





Meet plant biologist, Dr. Steven Burgess. In this episode Dr. Burgess talks about his research in improving photosynthesis to increase crop yields. He also tells us about important skills needed to be a scientist which he believes are important skills for everyone. Are we teaching these skills in our NGSS classrooms? You’ll have to listen to find out!

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 Show Highlights

  • 02:30 - 08:25    Learn about Steven's work with the RIPE lab
  • 06:30 - 11:45    Computational modeling and genetic modification
  • 12:15 - 13:30    How does this impact global warming? 
  • 15:30 - 19:00    How Steven got involved with this research
  • 19:30 - 23:55    Chlorophyll and light absorption
  • 24:30 - 29:30    Skills Steven thinks students need to pursue careers in science
  • 29:30 - 32:00    Teaching students to think like scientists

 Show Quotes 

"We don't know all the answers really. There are so many things we're still working out. And this is why we're doing research. Otherwise it'd be straight engineering." [13:05-13:15] Dr. Steven Burgess


"What is really exciting to me about this is that I've been working on photosynthesis for many years. I've seen lots of people try or talk about improving it, but no one managed to do it, or not very effectively. I think this is kind of one of the things about science. It's actually quite rare that people manage to do things that really improve things a lot. So this is what really attracted me to the project going on here. I moved from the UK over to the US specifically to work on this project, because I was really excited. I think this was a really exciting thing. It's an exciting time. And I really wanted to contribute. What really motivates me is the ability to make a difference, to use my skills to make a difference in the world." [16:50-17:30] Dr. Steven Burgess

"The skills you need for science are pretty widely applicable. So even if not every student is going to enter a career in science, they'll be able to use this in many parts of their life." [24:30-24:45] Dr. Steven Burgess


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