Vacation show & tell: Finding science in Greece and Norway

Tiny Matters

Sam and Deboki went on vacations to Greece and Norway and (not so shockingly) found science along the way. Get ready to hear all about the northern lights, ancient skull surgery, lava bombs, and more!

Transcript of this Episode

Sam Jones: Hey there listeners, Deboki and I were both gone for a couple weeks in October. I was in Greece, Deboki was traveling throughout Norway. So for this week's episode of Tiny Matters, we wanted to do something a little bit different and share a few things from our vacations with each other and with you. And of course, a lot of those things are through a scientific lens.

Deboki Chakravarti: Yeah. Think of it as a little bit like our Tiny Show and Tell only it is the whole episode long, and it is about our travels and the things we've seen and the ways that our brains just cannot shut off the science side of the things we're interested in, even when we are on vacation and not supposed to be working.

Sam Jones: Sometimes a problem. So let's flip a coin to decide who kicks things off. Deboki, do you want heads or tails?

Deboki Chakravarti: I will go with heads.

Sam Jones: Okay. So if it lands on heads, then you get to decide if you go first or second.

Deboki Chakravarti: Cool.

Sam Jones: Heads it is.

Deboki Chakravarti: I appreciate all this power. How about you go first? I'm very excited to hear about your trip to Greece.

Sam Jones: All right, so I got married at the beginning of October.

Deboki Chakravarti: Congratulations.

Sam Jones: Thank you. And then we went on a honeymoon to Greece. I'd never been before, had always wanted to go. So before I get into a few fun little science bits, I want to talk about Greece itself for just a second. So Greece is stunning, Deboki you know that, you've been to Greece. We actually only missed each other in Greece by four days. Something like that.

Deboki Chakravarti: Yeah, something like that, I think. But it felt like as soon as I left Greece, you were finally like, I can go there now. Deboki's not there. The country is mine.

Sam Jones: No haha. So unfortunately there was no time for a Tiny Matters collaboration internationally. But what can you do? We're talking about it now. So in Greece, I could not help thinking, very nerdily, a little bit about Tiny Matters because there's so much cool Greek mythology that was really woven into the lives of people in Neolithic and ancient Greece, but also, I mean today, right? So it made me think a lot about our conversation with Moya McTier a few months ago, and the mythology surrounding the Milky Way and sort of this linking of science and myth. And also when I was in Greece, we had episode 20 come out, and in that episode we chatted with Emily Zarka, who mentioned that her favorite undead creature is the vampiric vrykolakas, which is from Greece. So I felt like I've been kind of dipping into some Greece related things unknowingly leading up to my trip.

I should also say that Greece has a very long, complex history. A lot has happened in Greece over many millennia and everywhere you go there's history. So you could even go into a hotel and there will be this big cutout hole in the floor with plexiglass over it, and you'll look down onto ruins that were buried underground and people only found because hotels were starting construction. So in Greece, people are constantly building around history, preserving history, building around it. And there's just this ever present feeling of the past in a very cool way. I loved it. It's pretty obvious. And also because of where Greece is located in Europe, but is also so close to Africa, so close to the Middle East, there's this really interesting mixing of cultures, not just today, but for millennia. And so it was a big region for trade for thousands of years, which means you see little bits and pieces of other societies mixed into the artwork, buildings, and maybe even medicine.

So this is kind of a little sciencey tidbit that I thought was kind of fun, but in Crete, which is one of the islands we visited, which is south of mainland Greece, there's been at least one skeleton found where the skull, or I guess a skull, I don't want to say a whole skeleton because it might just be the skull, found showing the healed marks of a surgery. So that would indicate a possible brain operation or at least some sort of skull operation where the patient survived. And this was 200, sorry, 2,200 to 1,720 BCE, a really long time ago.

Deboki Chakravarti: Man.

Sam Jones: Yeah.

Deboki Chakravarti: The thing that also, whenever I hear about things we found that, one of the things that I've been trying to think about more is the fact that the fact that we found one skull like that, it's not just like that's the one person who's ever had brain surgery done, right? There were other people probably and we just somehow found one example of it. Just imagining what were the tools, what were the methods? I just...

Sam Jones: Horrifying. A little bit horrifying.

Deboki Chakravarti: Yeah.

Sam Jones: I know. And we, in a Tiny Show and Tell a while back, I think one of the stories I brought up was sort of the first amputation that was ever possibly done. And I think that was about, I believe, 30,000 years ago, which is, again, what were you using to do that amputation? So this kind of ties back into what I was saying about trading, because Greece did a lot of trading with Egypt where about a 1,000 years before then there's also evidence of brain surgery, brain removal, and actually the tour guide that showed us these ruins was saying maybe they were exchanging notes. So I think that's another thing is that at least for me, growing up going to school, I was learning about ancient Egypt and ancient Greece. And there was never this discussion of, oh, actually they might have been exchanging a lot of ideas, including skull surgery. So I thought that that was kind of cool.

So the less positive take on being at the center of so much meant that a lot of people wanted what Greece had. So there was this constant destruction and rebuilding for centuries and centuries, really millennia. And that, of course, has impacted what ruins archeologists have been able to find. And on top of that, Greece, particularly the islands, have experienced these extreme events like earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. So my next little sciencey thing is talking about Santorini, which is the other Greek island we visited on our trip. So about 3,500 years ago, there was a massive volcanic eruption. And when I say massive, I mean it. I think some estimates were saying that its power was the equivalent of 40 atomic bombs making it a 100 times more powerful than Pompeii, which was this event where the ancient Roman city Pompeii was caught off guard with the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, and that was in the year 79.
So this was about 1,500 years before that.

And this volcanic eruption split Santorini from two pieces into five. And our tour guide actually told us that researchers think that that split happened in a matter of maybe four to five hours. I mean, how terrifying is that to have an impact that big that all of a sudden an island splits into pieces in a few hours?

Deboki Chakravarti: Sorry, can you remind me, when did you say this happened?

Sam Jones: Yes. So this happened about 3,500 years ago. I think it was around 1,500 BCE.

Deboki Chakravarti: That's technically a long time ago, but also really not that long ago at all.

Sam Jones: Yes. Yeah. We went to see these ruins on Santorini, this settlement, right? So it was known as the town of Akrotiri. There are these two or three story buildings that were buried under ash, and they were discovered accidentally about 60 years ago now. They've actually only recovered a very small portion of this ancient city, and they have not recovered any bodies. So why? Well, unlike Pompeii, it seems like the volcanic eruption potential was building. So you had these earthquakes leading up to it. And they know this, at least in part, because they found the imprints of bed frames when they uncovered the site and they were outside of the homes. And I didn't think about this, but in places with lots of earthquakes, people do that. They sleep outside because they'll drag their beds outside so that they're not injured if part of their house or things in their home fall down because of the earthquake.

And so the thought, currently, is that people waited out the earthquakes for a bit and even considered doing some rebuilding based on these piles of rocks and other construction materials that were found outside their homes but then things got worse and worse. Akrotiri close to the water, closer to the volcano. It's not where you would've wanted to be, but like I mentioned, this was a really intense volcanic blast and it covered the whole island in ash. It's thought to have killed thousands of people. But the skeletons are buried away, way underground, or the idea, the thought, is that a lot of people are swept away by a tsunami that would've likely followed the eruption. So it's truly apocalyptic. And then on top of that, there are lava bombs, which are also called volcanic bombs. So they're partially molten rock, they can be a variety of sizes. The ones that I saw were huge. And these are at the Akrotiri ruins. They've found them in the excavation.

And these lava bombs are actually all around Santorini. You wouldn't know because they kind of just look like these weird big boulders. The ones I saw were maybe four feet across so just imagine that falling from the sky. So what is a lava bomb? It's formed when a volcano ejects viscous bits of lava. They're shot into the air, they cool and they become an igneous rock. Igneous rock is just another word, essentially, for a rock that came from cooled magma or lava. And so I will put a little video showing that rock on my Twitter account the day that this episode comes out, which is November 16th. You can find me at samjscience if you're interested in seeing that. Now let's talk about something a little more relaxed than lava bombs, which is the beautiful buildings on Santorini.

So if an influencer posts a picture from Greece, I would bet that it is taken on Santorini with the white buildings that have those blue domes. Santorini is stunning. Those buildings make it look, I think, even more picturesque, just kind of overlooking the water. So let's talk about that color for a second. Why the white and blue? Well, the white is a simple white wash made of mostly lime, which is from limestone and water. So it was really easy to make and it was cheap. Lime is also a disinfectant, so it has some antimicrobial properties. During the 1938 cholera pandemic, people were mandated to paint their homes that color to disinfect water that was being collected off of roofs and hopefully cut down on disease spread. I do not know how much that would've actually made a difference. I don't know how likely it would be for cholera to spread that way, but it probably didn't hurt.

And then the blue was really just easy to make. You could add a pigment to the whitewash. In the mid 1900s it was mandated on many of the islands that you had to paint the roofs blue.

Deboki Chakravarti: Was that for just aesthetic consistency?

Sam Jones: Yes. It's the Greek flag colors, yes.

Deboki Chakravarti: Oh, right, that makes sense.

Sam Jones: Yeah. But today it's no longer law, but I think it's become such a look for the island. And it looks great and so people have just kind of kept it.

Deboki Chakravarti: That is so interesting though. I never heard the cholera thing before. That's so fascinating.

Sam Jones: Yeah. Yeah, I thought that was so interesting too. And another side note, I guess, is that because it is so dusty from all that volcanic ash that's still on the island, they actually repaint those buildings almost every single year.

Deboki Chakravarti: Oh wow.

Sam Jones: They have to because they get so dirty, it's so wild. Okay, last thing. It feels impossible to talk about a trip to Greece without mentioning Athens. So when we were there, we of course visited the Acropolis where there are a variety of monuments and structures. And I would say at the Acropolis, the one that people seem to come from far and wide to see is the Parthenon. The Parthenon was built between 447 and 338 BCE. And so we actually went to the Acropolis, including the Parthenon, with this awesome tour guide. His name's Orestis. If you're listening, planning a trip to Greece and you want Orestis's contact info, let me know, I'll put you in touch. He's an awesome tour guide. The thing I want to talk about are the Parthenon columns. They are made of Pentelic marble, which has this beautiful golden hue to it. It's a marble, which means it's made of calcite, which is also known as calcium carbonate. And it also has little bits of quartz in it that give it a little shimmer.

It gets its name from where it comes from, which is Mount Pentelikon, but they say sometimes Mounts Pentelis. It's north of Athens. And so I'm going to have you listen to a short clip from Orestis talking about this marble.

Orestis: All the monuments over here, the Parthenon plus the Erechtheion, and I believe most of the other staff around here was made out of best quality marble stone from the mountain Pentelis, some eight, nine miles outside Athens. The ancient Athenian masons used that kind of marble stones in the 440s, 430s, 420s for building the Parthenon and the Erechtheion and the other great monuments still standing on the Parthenon. The thing is that that kind of special marble stone has the special feature of growing in space. One, it's extracted from the living rock. Once it's taken down, it still expands for about one to two millimeters, give or take, maybe, for about 20 to 15 years. And this is why the wooden beams inside the columns would be preserved forever, air tightly sealed, since the marble stone would grow, which is absolutely crazy.

Sam Jones: Yeah, that's so cool. I'm going to look up exactly why they expand. Do you know off the top of your head or I'll look into it, don't worry. That's my job, I'm supposed to look into it.

Orestis: Please do and inform me because I am not a geologist, so.

Sam Jones: Yes, absolutely.

Orestis: Another piece of the story.

Sam Jones: Yeah. Well thank you.

Orestis: Most welcome.

Sam Jones: Okay, so I did not figure out the science.

Deboki Chakravarti: Oh no.

Sam Jones: I could not figure it out. So I talked with, of course, a bunch of chemists, but then also some of them knew geologists, and they just did not know. One of the ideas that one of them had was maybe it has something to do with the fact that it's more compressed before it's actually pulled from the bigger rock that it's in, and then it's able to somehow expand. But then they had all these questions about, does that mean the chemical structure is changing? What's happening?

And I should say it's not a temperature, humidity dependent thing either. It's just gradual expansion, apparently, over about 20 years. So I debated even mentioning this because I couldn't find the science, but then I thought that maybe it's a cool opportunity for anyone who might know anything about this to let us know because I'm so curious. I don't know if you're curious to Deboki, but I'm curious because...

Deboki Chakravarti: I am. I would like someone to know the answer and to tell us.

Sam Jones: Yes, it's driving me crazy. I spent so much time trying to track this down, I couldn't, so please help me. I'm losing my mind. And Orestis was mentioning that because it expands, you have in these columns, you have these sort of wooden blocks. And so when they were doing reconstruction, what I think is really cool is that when they were kind of taking apart these columns to try and put things back together, they were smelling pieces of wood from thousands of years ago that were trapped in this marble, which is just kind of, I don't know, I think it's just so cool to think the last person who smelled this was on the planet thousands of years ago and now I'm the next person who's sort of opening this up and it's like getting a whiff of the past. That's it. I'm ending on a mystery. I feel like we need to come up with a prize for anyone who can get back to me and let me know what is happening. Why does this Pentelic marble expand over the course of a couple of decades after it's pulled from the ground?

Deboki Chakravarti: Yeah, if you know, email us.

Sam Jones: Yeah, or send a message to Deboki or I on Twitter. Okay. Deboki, I'm so excited now that I've rambled, I'm so excited to hear about your trip throughout Norway.

Deboki Chakravarti: Yeah, we're going to leave the balmy atmosphere of Greece for some slightly colder weather. So as you know, but our listeners might not know, I'm currently living in Oslo, Norway for a few months. My husband's on sabbatical, he's visiting at the University of Oslo. And coming into this trip, I was a little bit familiar with Scandinavian and Nordic life. I'd studied abroad in Copenhagen when I was in college. So there were some things that I was sort of ready for like dark winters are coming up, things are a little bit more expensive, the public transportation's pretty functional. All of that I was kind of prepared for. But also when I studied abroad in Copenhagen, I was still in college, and I'm just generally more of an indoor kid, city girl kind of person. I spent that time really more enjoying the city life than kind of exploring more broadly.

But I guess, especially now I'm a little older, I can't necessarily enjoy the city in the same way because it hurts the next day. Coming out of lockdown too, I've been appreciating hikes in the outdoors a little bit more than I used to. I would not call myself an outdoors person, but I'm slightly more of an outdoorsy person than I used to be. And that's made Norway kind of an interesting place to be right now. I remember my first day I was here, I was just scrolling through TikTok as you do, and I was starting to get exposed to what Norwegian TikTok was going to be showing me. And one of the things that kept coming up in those TikToks and that at least at that time were kids talking about how their parents would always make them when they were younger, go for walks if it was nice out because in a place like Norway, you have to appreciate the sun when it's there. If it's there, then you got to go for a walk. You got to appreciate that.

And I don't know how universal that is because it's just TikTok. But there's a lot of ways that I feel like that kind of thing feels emblematic of what a lot of Norway has felt like in terms of my experience, in terms of just appreciating the outdoors a little bit more. And just especially because the outdoors here are pretty cool. It's pretty neat. And so I'm going to talk about that in terms of two stories from my travels around Norway. And I'm going to actually start with a thing that's more recent, which is a trip that I took to Western Norway to the city of Bergen. And just apologies to all of by Norw egian speakers, I've tried with the pronunciations, but I know that I'm very far off. But I was in Bergen a few weeks ago. We took a train from Oslo to Bergen and it's considered to be one of, at least from what I had heard, one of the most scenic train rides in Norway. And it was gorgeous.

It was around six to seven hours. At times you see these gorgeous lakes, other times more farmland, other times you're going up a mountain and you get to see all of the snow and these kind of icy glacial-looking kind of areas.

Sam Jones: Very different than my experience riding the Metro in D.C.

Deboki Chakravarti: Yes. Yeah, very different. So beautiful. And then you eventually come back down the mountain and you're in Bergen. And we also got really lucky. So one of the things that our tour guide told us, and that I checked later, is that on average it rains 227.1 days every year in Bergen, which means it rains most of the time there, right? But we got really lucky, we got two really great days of weather. It was pretty sunny, pretty nice to go out and that was great. That was super nice for us because we decided to go on a fjord cruise. So what is a fjord? If you visit Norway, this word comes up a lot. And I embarrassingly kept using the word fjord all the time being like fjord, fjord, fjord, but not really knowing what it was. And all I kind of knew was that it involved water, but I sort of thought of fjords as sort of just weird shapes of land.

But really what fjords refer to are the long, deep channels of water that make up a lot of the coastline of Norway and actually of other places as well. And they're surrounded by steep cliffs and these channels of water, they're also really narrow. And so basically what happened is that at some point, a long time ago, glaciers carved out the land. So they just dug out all of this land and created these really, really deep bodies of water and these just really, really cool channels to go through. And so there are a lot of fjords that you can visit in Norway and we just took one of the fjord cruises that was really close to the city of Bergen and it was just really cool. The cruise has both, you can stay indoors if you want, which is nice because once you go outside the boats are usually running pretty quickly and so it is super windy.

There's a point where I thought my hat was going to fully fly away. I think my glasses almost came off at one point, but it was so worth it because these cliffs are just so steep and magnificent. And my favorite thing was seeing all the trees that are just growing along the side of them. I don't even understand how trees can fit on that little kind of bit of rock. What are they growing on? What are they latching onto? Yeah, but they've figured it out. And then you can also see how these crevices start to form these slants, which I'm guessing is over time maybe they've sort of eroded in a weird particular way or there's just something shaping their direction where it forms these really, really interesting patterns. At one point we saw a bridge that was part suspension bridge, but also part floating bridge because the fjord is actually too deep for them to build the supports at the bottom of the water, which was really, really interesting.

Sam Jones: So the water is pretty far below the cliffs? It's quite far down you're saying?

Deboki Chakravarti: Mm-hmm.

Sam Jones: But then in addition, it's also very deep. It goes really, really far down. Okay. So that's awesome. Kind of creepy for some reason but so cool.

Deboki Chakravarti: Yeah. Yeah, apparently so we didn't learn any of this, but I just learned this from researching later. Apparently they're actually coral reefs in these fjords, but I think because of the depths it's like we don't really know that much about them. But it's just crazy to me because that water is deep and I think you get to a point where it's so deep you're dealing with a lot of water pressure if you're living down there as well. I want to know what it looks like in that water. And I'm sure there are people who have filmed it and I will have to go look for it now. But it's just so neat to see how all of that has interacted over such a long period of time. So that was our trip through the fjords. And so definitely if you're ever in Western Norway, I mean if you're in Western Norway it's probably to go see a fjord.

So now I have the second part of our trip, which is actually, it came before the first part. I wanted to talk about the fjords first because I feel that's so fundamental to Norway and to the geography here. But I also wanted to talk about the stars. But first, basically this part of the trip was to Northern Norway to a city called Bodø. And I know that I'm spelling that or I know that I'm saying that incorrectly because one of the o's has the slash through it and I just cannot get the emphasis correct. So one of the things that was most exciting to me about Bodø is that it is the furthest north I have ever been on this planet. I think before maybe the furthest north had been maybe Reykjavík, but this is now the winner. I have never been more north than I have been.

And this is also my first time in the Arctic Circle. The reason why I went to Bodø was not for any legitimate scientific enterprise, it was to watch my husband's favorite soccer team play against their team, which has been doing really well despite the fact that Bodø is actually a very, very small city. It is so small that you can actually walk from the airport to the city center. We did this when we were traveling. It's really nice because you don't have to worry about when you're going to catch the bus or an Uber or anything like that. You can just walk to the airport. It's very, very convenient. At worst, it's a little bit cold, but it's actually not that cold because the other thing that's a little bit interesting is a lot of that part of Norway or a lot of Norway is warmed by the Gulf Stream. So it's cold, it's not super comfy, but it's definitely not as cold as you might think if you're thinking like, hey, I am in the Arctic Circle.

So we figured while we're there, we're going to go watch the soccer game, but we should also take advantage of the fact that we're pretty for our north to see some Northern Lights. So for people who are not familiar with exactly what the Northern Lights are or Aurora Borealis, Northern Lights are what happens when charged particles from the sun hit the Earth's atmosphere at these really, really high speeds. And as they get to Earth, our magnetic field actually directs those particles towards the pole. And as they're moving, the particles are interacting with molecules in our Earth's atmospheres, so stuff like oxygen and nitrogen, and they're exciting those molecules and then those molecules are getting relaxed and that emits color, that emits, in this case a lot of times what you'll see are green like that Aurora Borealis green that Taylor Swift was singing about, that's charged particles interacting with oxygen.

That's not necessarily what she cares about, but that is what's going on.

And so technically the Northern Lights are happening a lot of the time, it's just a matter of being able to see them. So all of us in the US, or most of us in the US maybe if you're super far north you might be close enough to the pole where you're going to start seeing that activity, but otherwise we're just a little bit too south. And also, we've got city lights, we've got all of that stuff. It's just not super common. But as you get more and more north, the Northern Lights activity is a lot more visible. It's just a matter then of is the weather good and stuff like that. So basically to maximize your chance of seeing them, you're going to want to go somewhere north, you're going to want to get away from city lights. So we booked a little Northern Lights tour, we had this guide named Ivar who is absolutely wonderful. And basically his job was to help us try to find the Northern Lights.

The Northern lights are happening, it's just a matter of whether or not you're going to really hit the right probabilities of being in the right location. So that's a function of both the solar activity, but also things like weather, like are there going to be clouds and stuff? And so we were a little unsure if we were going to be able to see them because it had been raining a bit, the previous days had been pretty cloudy, so we weren't sure. And a lot of these tours, they actually have to have a cancellation policy because of that. They'll kind of have a sense ahead of time if the weather's been rainy, there's no point in going out. You don't want to be out at midnight when it's raining and you know that your chances are pretty minimal of getting to see anything. But we were cautiously optimistic because that day it was actually not raining. It was actually a little bit clearer. We could see the sky, we could see blue during the day so we were like, maybe we'll get lucky.

So Ivar congregated with us and this other couple who are also, they were also there for the game, but they were in and then they were also there to see now like, hey, maybe we'll be able to fit in some Northern Lights. And so Ivar basically explained to us what we were going to do to hunt for the Northern Lights. And this involved a bunch of different websites that have different models and different information that would hopefully point us to the best place to look for Northern Lights. So one of the most important things was the weather. What is the cloud situation looking like? What is the wind situation looking like? And based on the information we had for that night, it seemed like we were in a good spot, at least as far as clouds go. The wind was moving the clouds away from us. It didn't seem like we were going to have to worry too much about that.

He did tell us that there have been times where he's actually driven his tourists to Sweden to go look for the Northern Lights, which I guess is not that far when you're in Northern Norway, but I was like, oh man, I did not realize that going to another country was on the possibilities for how we were going to do this. So one of the other things he showed us was a model from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which has basically probabilities for where you'll be able to see Aurora Borealis within a certain timeframe and it uses things like solar wind velocity and magnetic field information to figure out that probability. So we kind of had a sense that, okay, the weather is good, now we kind of just got to hope for some changes in that magnetic field activity. So we went on a drive to different dark spots to see if we could see anything.

And it was really amazing because it's so dark and we're at such a different latitude that I'm used to that you see the constellations from just a completely different angle that, at least for me, it felt like seeing the Big Dipper from a completely different angle because you just are. I mean, you're at a different latitude and it's so bright. The city that we're near, it's so much smaller, the light pollution is just nowhere near the level that I've gotten used to living in other places that I've lived in. So it is just so cool to be able to see the night sky like that. And so we were there for a little bit, then we drove out to a secluded beach, which I mean it's a beach, but it is pretty cold and windy. So we waited there for a little bit. And I am 20 to 30% sure that I saw a little bit of Aurora action there. I think I saw a few stripes of green, but then it was just a little too cloudy.

And I think it was there, but I couldn't get any pictures of it so I don't know for sure. So we kind of just kept going from dark spot to dark spot hoping we would get lucky. And then we did get to a point where it was like we knew that the magnetic activity was changing and we could tell that it would be maybe in an hour or two that the activity would be perfect if we just found a dark spot, we would be able to see it. The problem that happened is that it started raining.

Sam Jones: Oh no.

Deboki Chakravarti: That was a huge bummer, Ivar was such a great guide, he took us to all these spots that even though it was so dark at the time, the next day we actually kind of, my husband and I did our own little trip revisiting those places to see what they looked like in broad daylight. And it was really cool to see this secluded little beach and this peak. And we actually went on a hike around that peak area and went further up to be able to see all around the city and to be able to see the islands that were in the distance. So it did end up being a really fruitful tour in that regard, or a fruitful hunt, because even if we didn't get to see the Aurora Borealis like we hoped, we did get to see a lot of areas that we realized later would be fun to revisit in that way.

Sam Jones: Well, sorry you didn't see it, but it does sound like at least you had a lot of fun on the hunt and you learned a lot about what the Aurora Borealis actually is, because I didn't know.

Deboki Chakravarti: Yeah. Yeah. I was just like it's a green thing in the atmosphere. But yeah, it was interesting revisiting to talk about it today, revisiting these websites that we had been using because in the moment I was just like, I trust Ivar, I trust that he means that if this graph shows me this, then that's a good sign.

Sam Jones: Yeah, that's really cool. I also do appreciate that you got a Taylor Swift Midnights reference in there because that's also a very exciting thing that happened while we were both away, is that Taylor Swift dropped an album, so yeah.

Deboki Chakravarti: Yeah, Midnights came out while I was in Bergen. I woke up at 06:00 AM to listen to it.

Sam Jones: Yeah, I'm glad. It sounds like you had a really fun trip. Now I also have sort of an itch to see the Aurora Borealis, so we'll see. Thanks for listening to this special episode of Tiny Matters, a production of the American Chemical Society. If you want to follow me on Twitter, you can find me at @samjscience.

Deboki Chakravarti: And you could find me at @okiedoki_boki.

Sam Jones: And if you have any questions for us, about us, about the podcast, about science, we're hoping to do a Q&A episode sometime in the next couple of months. So please send us an email And see you next time.