It's not every day you meet an astronaut who scuba dives under the ice in Antarctica. Dr. Jessica Meir (featured in You're the Expert's "Comparative Physiologist" episode) is one of the most interesting guests we've had on the show. 


That's Dr. Meir training one of her bar-headed geese test subjects to fly. Bar-headed geese are able to fly at incredibly high altitudes (even over the peaks of the Himalayas). Dr. Meir had baby bar-headed geese imprint on her, then she raised them and taught them to be comfortable flying in a wind tunnel, where she could study their remarkable abilities up close.  

We talked about Dr. Meir's research on geese, her time in Antarctica, and her astronaut training. You can hear it all here

If you'd like to learn even more about Dr. Meir (and, really, who wouldn't?), here are some resources to check out: 

-A great profile of Dr. Meir in the Harvard Gazette 

-Dr. Meir on The Discovery Channel (video) 

-A brief overview of Dr. Meir's work by BBC Nature

For some deeper cuts, read Dr. Meir's papers in the Journal of Experimental Biology here.  

Also, check out this awesome slow motion video of one of Dr. Meir's geese flying in the wind tunnel. 

Super slow-motion video of UBC's Dr. Jessica Meir and bar-headed geese in high-altitude wind tunnel experiments.

On somewhat of a tangent: for more about life in Antarctica, you should watch Werner Herzog's documentary Encounters at the End of the WorldIt's amazing, beautiful and bizarrely hilarious, like everything Herzog does. This scene in particular, where Herzog fixates on a penguin's journey and turns it into a existential odyssey, kind of sums up everything amazing about his work.

An excerpt from "Encounters at the End of the World" by Werner Herzog, 2007.

AuthorChris Duffy