Podcasts for the Science Enthusiast

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Modern society keeps yelling out “there are not enough hours in a day” and “we must increase our multi-tasking capabilities” so let’s consider discovering science via podcasts. An array of choices await, each presenting science uniquely. Here are a few to sample:  

Science Friday (SciFri)   

Perhaps, your curiosity was sparked last week when you caught a brief news segment relating to a solar eclipse or the ability of a person paralyzed by a stroke to use thought controlled robotic arms. SciFri serves as a terrific vehicle to catch up every Friday and explore in more detail current science, technology, health and environmental events. This two hour, live radio show is part of NPR’s ‘Talk of the Nation’, featuring seasoned science correspondent, Ira Flatow. The host generates well-rounded, educational discussions amongst scientist, authors, and policy-makers in addition to allowing listeners to call in and ask questions during the show.

Stuff to Blow Your Mind  

Be awestruck by this exploratory approach to understanding natural science through investigating popular culture mysteries. Robert Lamb and Julie Douglas carry a 30-minute dialogue, volleying inquiries and citing stories. Listen to them dissect topics like the reality of crashing in an airplane. The show analyzes why we have irrational fears, what the statistics and studies surrounding crashes are, who is most likely  to survive a crash, the technical aspects of velocity, and managing a fall. Wouldn’t you want to know what the best position is to potentially survive a crash landing?


Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich host this one-hour stereophonic, audio concoction, investigating the crossover between philosophy, science, and the human experience. Well known for its innovative, stylized format, the radio show mixes unexpected elements. Radiolab dares to use thematic yet inharmonious music up against commentary and combines pre-recorded raw interview sections with live conversation. This unconventional approach illuminates complex science topics such as time or mortality to a wide audience. Although it is a nationally syndicated public radio program produced out of the WNYC station (New York), it is a limited run series.

Science Sessions 

Indulge in the Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences’ podcast program. Tune into brief conversations with cutting-edge researchers, Academy members, and policy makers as they discuss topics relevant to today’s scientific community. Learn the behind-the-scenes story of work published in PNAS, plus a broad range of scientific news about discoveries that affect the world around us.

Naked Scientists

For an international twist, check out Cambridge University’s physician- and researcher-generated radio show. Every Sunday evening Dr. Chris Smith, a medical physician, leads a one-hour show along side his science pals. The mission is to “strip down science” to its core through interviewing multiple world-renowned scientists in hopes of promoting science to the general public. The weekly episode topics vary greatly from “Making a Meal out of Microbes” to “Cracking Chronic Fatigue”.

Whether you are sitting in traffic, riding public transportation or running on a treadmill surely there is also an opportunity to gain some answers to challenging, scientific questions that are being posed out there in the world.

These are just a few suggestions of science podcasts available. What’s your favorite?

 Image: Science Friday

The statements and opinions expressed in this piece are those of the event participants and do not necessarily reflect the views of any organization or agency that provided support for this event or of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.