Who You Gonna Call?

Making sense of it all through ‘Ghostbusters,’ astrophysics

By Mike Costanza

It’s all in “Ghostbusters.” Well, sort of. Whenever Adam Frank is a guest on the popular WXXI AM-1370 talk show “Connections,” host Evan Dawson might throw him a comical curve.

“I like to surprise him with audio on my show from the movie ‘Ghostbusters,’ because I think just about everything in the world can be explained with some reference to ‘Ghostbusters,’” Dawson explains, with more than a touch of humor.

Of course, that’s the original 1984 movie — you have to go to the source for these things. Dawson’s playing of audio from the flick has become a running gag, but a useful one.

“We always get a good laugh out of that, and amazingly, it enhances the explanation of the science,” Dawson explains.

Frank, a University of Rochester astrophysics professor with a wide range of interests, has appeared on “Connections” a number of times in the past few years, most often to discuss his work pertaining to climate change. His conversational style and use of humor have helped make serious, esoteric subjects understandable to listeners.

“He’s the best science communicator that I have ever met,” Dawson says. “He understands how to make science truly accessible, and even enjoyable, to a mass audience.”

Frank was on “Connections” recently to discuss his latest book, “Light of the Stars: Alien Worlds and the Fate of the Earth.” The work examines climate change from a cosmological perspective.

Frank’s interests range far beyond the sciences. He and his wife, Alana Cahoon, meditate together and share other pursuits.

“We like to go hiking together,” Cahoon says. “We love to dance together — swing dance.”

The duo also steps out for concerts, movies, theatrical performances and the like, and have memberships in Rochester’s Memorial Art Gallery, the Little Theatre, the George Eastman Museum and other local venues for the arts. Good friends are a particular joy, along with the conversations they bring.

“It can be almost about anything,” Cahoon says. “He has an inquisitive nature that can just dissect an apparent mundane subject to find the root of it and how it’s created, and turn almost anything into something interesting.”

Cahoon heads her own one-person business, GROW 2 B U.

“I’m a coach, and I help people bring balance into their lives,” she says.

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