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Rebecca Ramirez

Rebecca Ramirez (she/her) is the founding producer of NPR's daily science podcast, Short Wave. It's a meditation in how to be a Swiss Army Knife, in that it involves a little of everything — background research, finding and booking sources, interviewing guests, writing, cutting the tape, editing, scoring ... you get the idea.

Ramirez's journey to radio producer was a happy accident. At the University of Southern California, she pursued a double major in history and neuroscience. It was fun and engaging, but with no obvious career path. She answered an ad for an internship while playing an NPR podcast, and got hired! After graduation, she began an internship for Invisibilia,NPR's podcast about the unseeable forces that control human behavior. From there, she dove head-first into a completely different job - producing daily news on Morning Edition, NPR's daily morning news magazine. After a year, she jumped at the chance to help start a new NPR podcast. Aside from the joy of the hard work, Ramirez is involved in increasing NPR's diversity, both in its journalism through source diversity efforts and on staff as a leader of the Marginialized Genders and Intersex People of Color (MGIPOC) Mentorship Program.

Ramirez hails from Florida and lives in Washington, D.C.

  • No matter what you're doing right now – sitting, standing, walking – you're moving. First, because Earth is spinning around on its axis. This rotation is the reason we have days. Second, because Earth and other planets in our solar system are orbiting the sun. That's why we have years. Third, you're moving because the sun and the rest of our solar system is orbiting the center of the Milky Way galaxy at over 500,000 miles per hour. If all of that isn't nauseating enough, everything in the entire universe is expanding outward. All the time. But in the 1970s, astrophysicists noticed something strange about our galactic neighborhood, or Local Group. The whole clump of neighboring galaxies was being pulled off course at over one million miles per hour, towards something we couldn't see — the "Great Attractor." This Great Attractor sits in the "Zone of Avoidance," an area of space that is blocked from view by the stars and gas of the Milky Way. Today on the show, host Regina G. Barber talks to astrophysicist Jorge Moreno about this mysterious phenomenon: What it might be and what will happen when we eventually reach it. Curious about other cosmic mysteries? Email us at shortwave@npr.org.
  • The James Webb Space Telescope will give a glimpse of the earliest galaxies formed after the Big Bang — but only if the telescope is kept frigid. That's why there's a tennis court-sized sunshield.
  • The safest way to have Thanksgiving this year is to stay in your social bubble. But those traveling to gather with friends and loved ones should keep pandemic safety guidelines in mind.
  • The comet, 2I/Borisov, looks surprisingly like comets closer to home. It's a sign that the processes that formed the sun and planets are at work elsewhere in the universe.
  • Young helped shape the sound of '60s and '70s Southern popular music for his work on songs like "Sweet Caroline" and "Hooked on a Feeling."