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U.S. Department of Energy

ALLISON LANTERO: Aaaaand we’re back! Welcome to season 2 of Direct Current - An Podcast.

MATT DOZIER: I’m Matt Dozier.

LANTERO: And I’m Allison Lantero.

DOZIER: First off, we wanted say a quick thank you to everyone who listened to the first season of Direct Current. We really appreciate your support and your enthusiasm, and all your emails asking about when the podcast would be coming back. The answer to that is: next week! We’re very excited about the stories we’ve got lined up for the coming episodes, and we think you’re really going to enjoy them.

LANTERO: We’ve also got something new in store for you this season. We’ll be doing mini-episodes to hold you over between our full-length shows. -- we’re calling them “Short Circuits” -- They’ll cover things like a sponge that only soaks up oil and the history of the light bulb. And While we're hard at work, we wanted to give you a quick preview of what we've got in coming up in Season 2 of Direct Current.


PRESIDENT FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT: “December seventh, 1941, a date which will live in infamy.”

RAY SMITH: Dress him up to look like a salesman, put him on a passenger train up through Chicago and out to Los Alamos: that’s how every bit of the uranium for little boy got transported from Y-12 to Los Alamos.

RUTH HUDDLESTON: You think that people can’t keep secrets but I found out that women can keep secrets. We really did. We did a good job.


(Sound of water gurgling)

NEWS CLIPS: “An explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig...That rig has now sunk...We looked down at thick brown streaks of crude on a sea that is normally deep green...And clean-up crews spent the day trying to keep the 12 mile long oil slick from the rig from reaching shore.”

(Upbeat music)

SETH DARLING: You take this oleo sponge and you put it down on that oil slick and it is just visibly remarkable, you know, a second or less and it has just soaked it right up. We can soak up oil, squeeze it out, soak up more, squeeze it out, over and over again until literally you just get bored or tired. Being able to develop a technology that can really make a difference in those types of catastrophes is just awesome.


LANTERO: Buckle up for a journey through all 17 National Labs… in 17 minutes. Ready?

DOZIER: Here we go!

(Sound of air horns)

Brookhaven National Lab opened 1947 in Upton, NY. More than fifty years ago… (Fades out)


NATALIA TORO: Dark matter is one of these things that, uh, we know very little about it right now.

ANDREW SONNENSHEIN: Sometimes the axion experiments are compared to trying to turn, to tune into a radio station which is at a unknown frequency. So what we have -- we have the world’s most sensitive radio receiver, we basically make one turn of the dial every year despite having these incredibly sensitive amplifiers.


SECRETARY RICK PERRY: I’m proud to be an American every day. But today, I’m truly blessed and as proud as I’ve ever been to say that I am on a team of men and women who have the potential to change the world.


ROBOT VOICE: This is direct current.