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Episode 024: Improving Photosynthesis with Dr. Steven Burgess

Steve Burgess collecting data in the field with Steve Long.
Steven Burgess (right) collects data in a soybean field with RIPE Project Director Stephen Long (left). Credit: Claire Benjamin/RIPE Project

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!

"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," said Dr. Steven Burgess [16:50-17:30]​​​​. "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."

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

By: NGSNavigators

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