What on Earth?! is a podcast hosted by Dr. Jazmin Scarlett (she/her)— Historical and Social Volcanologist and Student Support Administrator at Queen Mary University of London— and Dr. Nuzhat Tabassum (she/her), Education Policy Assistant and Geologist at the Royal Academy of Engineering.

We spoke with Jazmin for this interview.

(Links: What on Earth?!'s website and Twitter, Jazmin's Twitter, and Nuzhat's Twitter.)


What is What on Earth?!?
What on Earth?! is a podcast that celebrates the diversity of researchers and what they research in earth science, [which is the] the least diverse of the STEM disciplines. But it's also for exploring justice, equality, diversity and inclusion (JEDI) issues that guests want to talk about.

What is the origin story of What on Earth?!, and why did you want to make it?
It started with Nuzhat and I wondering what earth science podcasts were available, and realizing at the time (in 2018), that 1) there were very few around, and 2) those that were available did not have diverse hosts or guests (e.g. cisgender, straight, white). So we wanted to change that! As we were both PhD students at the time with not a lot of funds available, we crowdfunded our equipment and so on, and it was a success. However, due to how busy we were, we didn't get 'round to developing our episodes until last year.

Which episode would you recommend a new listener start with?
This's difficult because each episode is so unique! If you're looking to know more about someone's research and learn some cool science, I would listen to Episode 1 with Sonal Khanolkar, as she introduces the earth science discipline of micropaleontology and foraminifera. If you want something relating to JEDI and academia, I would recommend Episode 3 with Mike Sulu, as we talk about the importance of mentorship and the Race Equality Charter in UK institutions.

What's been challenging or surprising about making What on Earth?!?
It has been surprising talking to guests who are seen as "JEDI champions" just talk about their research. They're so well known for their JEDI work that we don't know much about their actual research, and it’s so fascinating what they do!

What would you like LGBTQ+ scientists to know about What on Earth?!?
We take intersectionality seriously when we're deciding which guests to talk to, and currently Series 2 is shining a light on some inspirational and amazing LGBTQ+ scientists!