Peer Review: Stories about other people's opinions

The Story Collider

09-02-2024 • 26分

In science, peer review plays a critical role in figuring out if research is good enough, robust enough. In this week’s episode, both of our storytellers find themselves looking for outside feedback on if they’re good enough. Part 1: At her NASA summer internship, Kirsten Siebach feels completely out of place among the Mars mission scientists. Part 2: Alison Spodek’s need to be seen as smart takes over her life. Kirsten Siebach is an Assistant Professor in the Rice University Department of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences and calls herself a Martian Geologist. She is currently a member of the Science and Operations Teams for the Mars 2020 rover Perseverance and the Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity, and previously worked on the science and engineering teams for the Phoenix Lander and the two Mars Exploration Rovers. She uses the images, chemistry, and other data that the rovers send back from Mars to study ancient environments on the Red Planet and compare them to ancient and modern environments on Earth. She received her bachelor’s degree in Earth and Planetary Science and Chemistry from Washington University in St. Louis and her Ph.D. in Geology from Caltech. Kirsten is actively engaged in science education and outreach and loves sharing the stories and images from Mars with students and the public. She has been interviewed in multiple documentaries and TV shows related to Mars exploration and has given over one hundred talks to students and interest groups around the world. Outside of professional interests, she loves travel and photography (on Earth as well as Mars), and enjoys swimming, hiking, and puzzles. Alison Spodek is a flamingo, majestically awkward in some circumstances, moderately graceful in others. A fierce competitor in her extended family’s daily Wordle competition, she is also an associate professor and chair of the chemistry department at Vassar College. There, her research focuses on the behaviors of all the most fun elements in the environment, particularly arsenic, mercury, lead, and uranium, but her real passion is helping people understand the world around them, particularly those who think they are “not good at science.” She lives in Beacon, NY with her husband, two kids, and a crotchety old dog. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit