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#500 500th Episode from Science for the People

From Science for the People - This week we turn 500! To celebrate, we're taking the opportunity to go off format, talk about the journey through 500 episodes, and answer questions from our lovely listeners. Join hosts Bethany Brookshire and Rachelle Saunders as we talk through the show's history, how we've grown and changed, and what we love about the Science for the People. Here's to 500 more episodes!


Science for the People
Science for the People is a weekly syndicated long-format interview radio show and podcast which explores the connections between science, popular culture, history, and public policy, to help listeners understand the evidence and arguments behind what is in the news and on the shelves. Every week, our hosts sit down with science researchers, writers, authors, journalists, and experts to discuss science from the past, the science that affects our lives today, and how science might change our future.

#500 500th Episode
2018-11-15 20:00:00
This week we turn 500! To celebrate, we're taking the opportunity to go off format, talk about the journey through 500 episodes, and answer questions from our lovely listeners. Join hosts Bethany Brookshire and Rachelle Saunders as we talk through the show's history, how we've grown and changed, and what we love about the Science for the People. Here's to 500 more episodes!
1 hour


#562 Superbug to Bedside
2020-05-23 21:00:00
By now we're all good and scared about antibiotic resistance, one of the many things coming to get us all. But there's good news, sort of. News antibiotics are coming out! How do they get tested? What does that kind of a trial look like and how does it happen? Host Bethany Brookeshire talks with Matt McCarthy, author of "Superbugs: The Race to Stop an Epidemic", about the ins and outs of testing a new antibiotic in the hospital.


#561 The Race to Identify All Living Things
2020-05-16 21:00:00
This week on Science for the People, we're diving into the world of DNA barcoding. We speak with Mehrdad Hajibabaei, Associate Professor in the Department of Integrative Biology and the Centre for Biodiversity Genomics at the University of Guelph, about the International Barcode of Life. And we discuss how you can contribute to the field of DNA barcoding with Sujeevan Ratnasingham, Associate Director of Informatics and Adjunct Professor at the Centre for Biodiversity Genomics at the University of Guelph. This episode is hosted by Anika Hazra. Related links: Hajibabaei Lab Centre for Biodiversity Genomics International Barcode of Life Sujeevan Ratnasingham and his Twitter...


#560 That's the Yeast of your Worries
2020-05-09 21:00:00
Like many people these days, you might be spending your time at home making bread. Maybe you couldn't find instant yeast and decided that sourdough didn't sound that hard. But the colony of wild yeast you've nurtured is more marvelous than you probably expect. Today host Marion Kilgour discusses a small corner of the wonderful world of yeast with Sudeep Agarwala from Ginkgo Bioworks. Related links: A Twitter thread on sourdough advice from Sudeep Agarwala A Twitter thread on lentil-based sourdough from Sudeep Agarwala


#559 Notes From a Transplant Surgeon
2020-04-25 21:00:00
One of the most amazing things modern medicine does is organ transplants: literally taking organs like the lungs or the heart from recently dead people and using them to replace the failing organs in living, critically ill people, giving them a second shot at living a fuller life. How and when did we first figure out how to do this? What does a modern transplant look like? And what is it like to be the doctor who takes from death to give life? This week host Rachelle Saunders talks with Dr Joshua Mezrich, Associate Professor of Surgery in the Division...


#558 Good Drugs, Bad Companies
2020-04-18 21:00:00
Medicines. We all need to take them. And it seems like the prices are just getting higher and higher. Luckily, generics offer a cheaper alternative. And we are told that they are both the same drug and do the same thing, we assume in the same way. But it turns out that's not really quite true. This week, we're talking with Katherine Eban about her book "Bottle of Lies: The Inside Story of the Generic Drug Boom". Related links: After a scandal, a one-sided warning against generic drugs by Jeremy Greene in The Washington Post Ranbaxy's empty promises by Katherine...


#557 Homeschool STEM Resource Extravaganza
2020-04-11 21:00:00
With many schools closed and parents looking for resources to help keep children stuck at home engaged and still learning, the hosts of Science for the People stuck on our curation caps and did some digging to create a list of STEM themed online resources for students of all ages and interests. This week we take a break from our usual format so that hosts Bethany Brookshire and Rachelle Saunders can showcase these great resources and hopefully help you find a few that your at-home student is keen to explore. Find a link to every learning resource we talk about...


#556 The Power of Friendship
2020-03-28 21:00:00
It's 2020 and times are tough. Maybe some of us are learning about social distancing the hard way. Maybe we just are all a little anxious. No matter what, we could probably use a friend. But what is a friend, exactly? And why do we need them so much? This week host Bethany Brookshire speaks with Lydia Denworth, author of the new book "Friendship: The Evolution, Biology, and Extraordinary Power of Life's Fundamental Bond". This episode is hosted by Bethany Brookshire, science writer from Science News.


#555 Coronavirus
2020-03-21 21:00:00
It's everywhere, and it felt disingenuous for us here at Science for the People to avoid it, so here is our episode on Coronavirus. It's ok to give this one a skip if this isn't what you want to listen to right now. Check out the links below for other great podcasts mentioned in the intro. Host Rachelle Saunders gets us up to date on what the Coronavirus is, how it spreads, and what we know and don't know with Dr Jason Kindrachuk, Assistant Professor in the Department of Medical Microbiology and infectious diseases at the University of Manitoba. And...


#554 Coders
2020-03-14 21:00:00
Tech, computers, code, security vulnerabilities, hacking elections... We hear about the technical change, but what about the subculture of tech and coders that brought it about? Who are these people who -- in the words of our guest today - "are among the most quietly influential people on the planet"? Rachelle Saunders digs into this topic with writer Clive Thompson, author of the new book "Coders: The Making of a New Tribe and the Remaking of the World".


#553 Scan All Fishes
2020-03-07 20:00:00
This week is all about fish. All about ALL the fish, actually. Biomechanicist Adam Summers shares about his adventures in studying fish and CT scanning them. Adam and a community of researchers are working to take 3D scans of all known fish on Earth: some 34,000 species and counting. New host Carolyn Wilke and Adam discuss the project, the diversity of fish — fish that fight, float upstream, cling to rocks and more - and advising animators on the films Finding Nemo and Finding Dory.


#552 The First Cell
2020-02-22 20:00:00
This week we take a closer look at what cancer is, how it works, and what makes it so hard to treat without shying away or ignoring the human experience of cancer for patients and their families. We talk with Dr Azra Raza, oncologist, Professor of Medicine, Director of the MDS Center at Columbia University, and author of the new book "The First Cell and the Human Costs of Pursuing Cancer to the Last".


#551 Translating Science, Part 2
2020-02-15 20:00:00
This week on Science for the People, we're discussing how Siksika become one of the official translation languages for press releases from the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO). The area of the world that is now known as Canada has an abundance of distinct languages; according to the 2016 Census, over 70 are still spoken. But the British government, and then the Canadian government, spent generations trying to prevent children from learning these languages. One of the languages spoken in the prairies is Siksika, also called Blackfoot (the English translation). Host Marion Kilgour speaks to Sharon Yellowfly and Corey Gray...


#550 Translating Science, Part 1
2020-02-08 20:00:00
This week, we're discussing the opportunities and challenges of using Zulu, a language that has traditionally been excluded from science journalism, to share discoveries with a new audience. Host Marion Kilgour speaks with Sibusiso Biyela, science communicator at ScienceLink and a contributor at South African science news website SciBraai. Related links: Decolonizing Science Writing in South Africa on The Open Notebook by Sibusiso Biyela


#549 Let's Get Slimy
2020-02-01 20:00:00
Algae. What springs to mind when you read that word? Maybe a seaweed forest? Maybe a pond covered in scum? Maybe a red tide? Those are all algae, and they can all change the world in different ways. This week Bethany Brookshire talks with Ruth Kassinger about the history, present and future of algae and her new book, "Slime: How Algae Created Us, Plague Us, and Just Might Save Us". This episode is hosted by Bethany Brookshire, science writer from Science News.


#548 Land and Ocean Conservation 101
2020-01-18 20:00:00
This week we're talking about land and ocean conservation: what it means to protect our land and oceans, the complexities of competing interests and international boundries, and how well Canada is doing at conserving its most important wild areas. Helping us wrap our heads around it are National Parks Program Director Alison Ronson and National Oceans Program Director Candace Newman from the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS). This episode is hosted by Rachelle Saunders. Related links and resources: 2019 Parks and Protected Areas Report 2019 Oceans Report 2019 Climate Change Report 2019 Successes Blog Aichi Biodiversity Targets IPBES Global...


#547 The D Factor: The Dark Side of Your Personality
2020-01-11 20:00:00
This week on Science for the People, we're discussing dark personality traits. Everyone has them, and how they manifest themselves depends on your "D" level. We'll be speaking with Ingo Zettler, a Professor of Psychology at the University of Copenhagen and a member of the team of researchers who put forward the theory of the common core of dark personality traits, about what the "D" factor is and what influences your "D" level. This episode is hosted by Anika Hazra. Related links: The dark core of personality on APA PsycNET The Dark Factor of Prsonality: Theory of Common Core of...


#546 2019, But Make It Science
2020-01-03 20:00:00
It's 2020, but we're looking back. What were the biggest science stories of 2019? Well, it was a big year for lots of things. Black hole pictures, vaping illnesses... and lots and lots of climate change news. Come on a trip down memory lane with us and the writers at Science News magazine as we take a look back at some of the top science stories of the last year. Related links: Most Americans now see signs of climate change where they live Countries urgently need to ramp up emissions cuts to meet climate targets IPCC report warns of a...


#545 Where Have All the Antibiotics Gone?
2019-12-20 20:00:00
Antibiotics. You know the drill. You get a bacterial infection, you get an antibiotic, and a few days or a week later, you're all better. But these days, that idyll is under threat as bacteria evolve to work around our drugs. So... where are the new, better antibiotics? Well, it's time to follow the money. We speak with David Shlaes about how the antibiotic drug pipeline works and why it's drying up. And we'll speak with Maryn McKenna about what happens when one antibiotic drug's price goes through the roof. Related links: The Antibiotics Business Is Broken - But There's...


#544 Prosperity Without Growth
2019-12-13 20:00:00
The societies we live in are organised around growth, objects, and driving forward a constantly expanding economy as benchmarks of success and prosperity. But this growing consumption at all costs is at odds with our understanding of what our planet can support. How do we lower the environmental impact of economic activity? How do we redefine success and prosperity separate from GDP, which politicians and governments have focused on for decades? We speak with ecological economist Tim Jackson, Professor of Sustainable Development at the University of Surrey, Director of the Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Propserity, and author of...


#543 Give a Nerd a Gift
2019-12-06 20:00:00
Yup, you guessed it... it's Science for the People's annual holiday episode that helps you figure out what sciency books and gifts to get that special nerd on your list. Or maybe you're looking to build up your reading list for the holiday break and a geeky Christmas sweater to wear to an upcoming party. Returning are pop-science power-readers John Dupuis and Joanne Manaster to dish on the best science books they read this past year. And Rachelle Saunders and Bethany Brookshire squee in delight over some truly delightful science-themed non-book objects for those whose bookshelves are already full. Since...


#542 Climate Doomsday
2019-11-29 20:00:00
Have you heard? Climate change. We did it. And it's bad. It's going to be worse. We are already suffering the effects of it in many ways. How should we TALK about the dangers we are facing, though? Should we get people good and scared? Or give them hope? Or both? Host Bethany Brookshire talks with David Wallace-Wells and Sheril Kirschenbaum to find out. This episode is hosted by Bethany Brookshire, science writer from Science News. Related links: Why Climate Disasters Might Not Boost Public Engagement on Climate Change on The New York Times by Andrew Revkin The other kind...


#541 Wayfinding
2019-11-15 20:00:00
These days when we want to know where we are or how to get where we want to go, most of us will pull out a smart phone with a built-in GPS and map app. Some of us old timers might still use an old school paper map from time to time. But we didn't always used to lean so heavily on maps and technology, and in some remote places of the world some people still navigate and wayfind their way without the aid of these tools... and in some cases do better without them. This week, host Rachelle Saunders...


#540 Specialize? Or Generalize?
2019-11-08 20:00:00
Ever been called a "jack of all trades, master of none"? The world loves to elevate specialists, people who drill deep into a single topic. Those people are great. But there's a place for generalists too, argues David Epstein. Jacks of all trades are often more successful than specialists. And he's got science to back it up. We talk with Epstein about his latest book, "Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World".


#539 A Bit of Bird Behaviour
2019-10-25 21:00:00
This week we're discussing birds, behaviour, and chickadees. How do you look at behavioural traits in birds, how different birds value information gathering, and how those traits affect foraging? Marion Kilgour speaks to Dr. Kim Mathot, the Canada Research Chair in Integrative Ecology, about how and why birds make decisions, and how individuals value and act on information, how they share information within groups, and what value that information has in managing uncertainty. Chickadees calls recorded by Jonathon Jongsma, from xeno-canto.


#538 Nobels and Astrophysics
2019-10-18 21:00:00
This week we start with this year's physics Nobel Prize awarded to Jim Peebles, Michel Mayor, and Didier Queloz and finish with a discussion of the Nobel Prizes as a way to award and highlight important science. Are they still relevant? When science breakthroughs are built on the backs of hundreds -- and sometimes thousands -- of people's hard work, how do you pick just three to highlight? Join host Rachelle Saunders and astrophysicist, author, and science communicator Ethan Siegel for their chat about astrophysics and Nobel Prizes.


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#562 Superbug to Bedside
By now we're all good and scared about antibiotic resistance, one of the many things coming to get us all. But there's good news, sort of. News antibiotics are coming out! How do they get tested? What does that kind of a trial look like and how does it happen? Host Bethany Brookeshire talks with Matt McCarthy, author of "Superbugs: The Race to Stop an Epidemic", about the ins and outs of testing a new antibiotic in the hospital.
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Covid has disrupted the most basic routines of our days and nights. But in the middle of a conversation about how to fight the virus, we find a place impervious to the stalled plans and frenetic demands of the outside world. It's a very different kind of front line, where urgent work means moving slow, and time is marked out in tiny pre-planned steps. Then, on a walk through the woods, we consider how the tempo of our lives affects our minds and discover how the beats of biology shape our bodies. This episode was produced with help from Molly Webster and Tracie Hunte. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.