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WHOI Sea Grant's Low Power Radio Project: Sound Waves 1620 AM

Transcript for Part I -- Woods Hole: Science Town

JAY ALLISON: Welcome to the village of Woods Hole. We know you're here because you're listening to this. We figured you might have a few minutes to kill, so we prepared a little something for you, to tell you about our town.

MUSIC - Roger Gramache's Big Band

DICK BACKUS: It's like all kinds of end of the road places. I mean, you're at the end of the road when you come to Woods Hole. I mean, you can't go any farther without taking to water. I suppose all end of the road places have a certain charm.

EDNA COLLOM: The view, the quiet.

PETER COLLOM: Everybody seems to know each other. If you were to send me a letter, I'd get it. Whether you put a P.O. Box or a street address or not. It's almost a step back for a half a century.

JAY: Woods Hole is a lot of things. Like other New England fishing villages, it's quaint in the appropriate ways. It has lighthouses, lobsters, taciturn Yankees. But primarily, let's face it, Woods Hole is a Science Town -- home to no fewer than six major institutions dedicated to scientific endeavor, and that's what we intend to tell you a little bit about.

SHELLEY LAUZON: Together as a community, I think Woods Hole is truly unique in the world. As a center, we believe we are the pre-eminent center of marine science in the world.

JAY: That's Shelley Lauzon of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, known locally as WHOI.

SHELLEY: The village of Woods Hole as you know, was a fishing and farming community from the time it was settled in the late 1600's to the early or late 1800's when a summer tourist, Spencer Fullerton Baird, who was then the head of the U.S. Commission on Fish and Fisheries, and he found the waters here very clean and unpolluted and full of species to study. So, he essentially established the science influence in the village of Woods Hole.

MUSIC: Tom Goux, Sea Shanty

JAY: One hundred years later, the waters around here are still rich in marine life -- like the Woods Hole squid whose single long neuron is helping scientists understand Alzheimer's Disease, or surf clams which are studied here for insight into breast cancer and human fertility, or toadfish which soon will be sent into space for research on human balance.

DARREN MANSFIELD: Yeah, that's what I do. I collect most of the animals. Everything here is local. It comes from the Cape Cod or close by areas.

JAY: Organism collector, Darren Mansfield

DARREN: I dive for different ones. I'll dive for the sponges, certain crabs. All of these tanks back here. What we do is collect marine specimens and all the marine specimens are shipped to different universities around -- pretty much the world. And they use the facility because it's the only one like it in the world. Technically it can sustain anything from the Caribbean all the way up to the Arctic. They have the ability to chill the water down to 30 degrees and also keep it as warm as 90 degrees. So you can take animals from anywhere in the world and contain them here, in an enclosed environment and they'd be perfectly fine.

JAY: The research here extends beyond marine life and medical studies. Scientists in Woods Hole are exploring everything from rain forests to global warming to geology.

ERIC DAVIDSON: Woods Hole is a unique place for science, period.

JAY: Eric Davidson of the Woods Hole Research Center.

ERIC: People who think about how the oceans work, also think about how the whole world works. So we realize, you can't just study the oceans, you have to also study the land and how the two interact.

JAY: John Burris of the Marine Biological Laboratory.

JOHN BURRIS: If you look at this community at large, the entire Woods Hole community including the Oceanographic, the USGS, the National Fisheries, Sea Education, the Woods Hole Research Center -- I would guess that approximately 2,000 people come to work each day in Woods Hole, 12 months of the year. They come from everywhere. Last year we had applicants for our summer programs from 87 countries, every continent except Antarctica.

MUSIC - Yara Cadwalader, Brazilian Classical music

JAY: And, of course, not only do scientists come here, the scientists of Woods Hole travel all over the globe, including Antarctica. Woods Hole scientists have discovered previously unknown species and re-discovered the Titanic. They have explored deepest reaches of the ocean and the mysteries of a single cell. They have contributed to vaccines, Naval architecture, and global climate change policy. Over 37 Nobel Laureates have passed through the laboratories here. Like I said, it's a Science Town -- but that's not all it is. For those of us who live here, there's more to it than that.

JOHN VALOIS: Ahh! Just the peace and the quiet. I make sure I see the water everyday. I'm on the water everyday, either in a Kayak or a rowboat or a sailboat. And the amount of information the ocean holds -- that if you're on it and you only know a little bit. If you watch birds and waves and clouds, and your own feelings when you're on the water, that independence that you have, that's what I like about it.

MUSIC - Roger's Big Band

JAY: This radio broadcast was brought to you the by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Sea Grant Program, and was produced by Atlantic Public Media for the new NPR stations in our region, 90.1 CAI for the Cape and Martha's Vineyard, and 91.1 NAN, Nantucket, a service of WGBH Boston.

When you reach a computer please drop by our website, (you knew there would be a website didn't you?) for links to all the institutions in town plus other interesting things including the local Woods Hole musicians you've been listening to like Tom Goux, Roger Gramache and Yara Cadwalader. The web address is, pencils ready?

My name is Jay Allison and I hope you've enjoyed listening. Stick around and hear another one, this one about commerce in this very parking lot, from whaling to the present.

Be sure to read all of the transcripts for the "Sound Waves" low power radio program:

Part II -- Woods Hole: Then and Now
Part III -- The Ferry Trip


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