This Loh is riding high

The host of an offbeat radio science show on KPCC has a new partner in UC Irvine.

September 05, 2013|By Rhea Mahbubani
  • Sandra Tsing Loh, host of 90-second syndicated radio show, “The Loh Down on Science,” will join UC Irvine in the fall as an adjunct professor.
Sandra Tsing Loh, host of 90-second syndicated radio… (Tatjana Loh )

How do starfish stay cool out of water?

Why do certain kinds of music give us the chills?

Which makes more of an impact — a full beer bottle or an empty one?

This isn't tomfoolery — each question is rooted in the scientific world and answered by Sandra Tsing Loh on 89.3 KPCC every weekday. Early birds tune in at 5:49 a.m. to hear the five-time author sprinkle facts with fun in her 90-second segment, "The Loh Down on Science." The show's website describes the moniker as a fusion of LOL (laugh out loud) and OH (aha!).

The Pasadena resident recently teamed up with UC Irvine as an adjunct professor of visual art. Her two classes include "Science Communication Skills," a graduate-level course for science majors, and "The Mirror, the Lamp and the I-Phone: Art and Aesthetics." Also, UCI has proffered administrative and financial help for the syndicated radio show, Loh said.


Loh combines what could be considered right- and left-brain specialties. She earned a bachelor's degree in physics from the California Institute of Technology and a master's as part of the Professional Writing Program at the University of Southern California.

Her collaboration with UCI makes the university "co-producers," according to Joseph Lewis, dean of UCI's Claire Trevor School of the Arts.

"My mantra is that artists are always scientists even if the reverse isn't always true," he said. "Writing is a very big aspect of what we do in the arts. Artists need to be able to write well, explain to people what they're doing and also create proposals."

Lewis is looking forward to adding a well-recognized writer — one who has contributed to National Public Radio's "Morning Edition" and American Public Media's "Marketplace" — to the UCI faculty. He also believes Loh will benefit because her show, poised for exposure to a different demographic, has the potential to grow beyond its estimated 4 million weekly listeners.

"Her relationship with the sciences and arts is a boon to us, and she will also be associated with one of the top research institutions in the world," Lewis said.

Loh's voice is transmitted on 140 radio stations across the United States, including Armed Forces Radio, which boasts a presence in 40 countries. It takes only a few minutes to realize that Loh thoroughly enjoys her job. Words and laughter jumble together when she mentions that wacky studies are easier to find than people might imagine.

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