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Radiolab | Best Science Podcasts (2018)

Our selection of the best science podcasts of 2018. New science podcasts are updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.

Radiolab is a show about curiosity. Where sound illuminates ideas, and the boundaries blur between science, philosophy, and human experience. Radiolab is heard around the country on more than 500 member stations.

Rippin' the Rainbow an Even Newer One
2018-03-15 15:00:00
One of our most popular episodes of all time was our Colors episode, where we introduced you to a sea creature that could see a rainbow far beyond what humans can experience. Peacock mantis shrimps are as extraordinary as they are strange and boast what may well be the most complicated visual system in the world. They each have 16 photoreceptors compared to our measly three. But recently researchers in Australia put the mantis shrimps' eyes to the test only to discover that sure, they can SEE lots of colors, but that doesn't mean they can tell them apart. In fact, when two colors are close together - like yellow and yellow-y green - they can't seem to tell them apart at all.   MORE ON COLORS: There was a time -- between the flickery black-and-white films of yore and the hi-def color-corrected movies we watch today -- when color was in flux. Check out this blog post on how colors made it to the big screen from our director of research, Latif Nasser.  Our original episode was produced by Tim Howard and Pat Walters. This update was produced by Amanda Aronczyk. Special thanks to Chris Martin of Creative Aquarium Nation, Phil Weissman, David Gebel and Kate Hinds for lending us their colorful garments. Also thanks to Michael Kerschner, Elisa Nikoloulias and the Young New Yorkers' Chorus, as well as Chase Culpon and The Greene Space team. Support Radiolab today at
33 minutes, 2 seconds

Radiolab Presents: More Perfect - The Gun Show
2018-02-23 15:00:00
The shooting in Parkland, Florida on February 14, 2018, reignited an increasingly familiar debate about guns in this country. Today, we're re-releasing a More Perfect episode that aired just after the Las Vegas shooting last year that attempts to make sense of our country's fraught relationship with the Second Amendment. For nearly 200 years of our nation's history, the Second Amendment was an all-but-forgotten rule about the importance of militias. But in the 1960s and 70s, a movement emerged — led by Black Panthers and a recently-repositioned NRA — that insisted owning a firearm was the right of each and every American. So began a constitutional debate that only the Supreme Court could solve. That didn't happen until 2008, when a Washington, D.C. security guard named Dick Heller made a compelling case.
1 hour, 9 minutes, 5 seconds

The Curious Case of the Russian Flash Mob at the West Palm Beach Cheesecake Factory
2018-02-19 22:53:00
We don't do breaking news. But when Robert Mueller released his indictment a few days ago, alleging that 13 Russian nationals colluded to disrupt the 2016 elections, we had a lot of questions. Who are these Russian individuals sowing discord? And who are these Americans that were manipulated?? Join us as we follow a trail of likes and tweets that takes us from a Troll Factory to a Cheesecake Factory. This episode was produced by Simon Adler and Annie McEwen with reporting help from Becca Bressler and Charles Maynes.  Support Radiolab today at 
37 minutes, 34 seconds

Smarty Plants
2018-02-13 20:42:00
Do you really need a brain to sense the world around you? To remember? Or even learn? Well, it depends on who you ask. Jad and Robert, they are split on this one. Today, Robert drags Jad along on a parade for the surprising feats of brainless plants. Along with a home-inspection duo, a science writer, and some enterprising scientists at Princeton University, we dig into the work of evolutionary ecologist Monica Gagliano, who turns our brain-centered worldview on it's head through a series of clever experiments that show plants doing things we never would've imagined. Can Robert get Jad to join the march? This episode was produced by Annie McEwen.  Support Radiolab today at 
34 minutes, 54 seconds

Ghosts of Football Past
2018-02-03 16:08:00
In anticipation of Super Bowl LII (Go Eagles), we're revisiting an old episode about the surprising history of how the game came to be. It's the end of the 19th century -- the Civil War is over, and the frontier is dead. And young college men are anxious. What great struggle will test their character? Then along comes a new craze: football. A brutally violent game where young men can show a stadium full of fans just what they're made of. Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Penn -- the sons of the most powerful men in the country are literally knocking themselves out to win these gladiatorial battles. And then the most American team of all, with the most to prove, gets in the game and owns it. The Carlisle Indian School, formed in 1879 to assimilate the children and grandchildren of the men who fought the final Plains Wars against the fathers and grandfathers of the Ivy Leaguers, starts challenging the best teams in the country. On the football field, Carlisle had a chance for a fair fight with high stakes -- a chance to earn respect, a chance to be winners, and a chance to go forward in a changing world that was destroying theirs.  Support Radiolab today at 
36 minutes, 4

Radiolab Presents: More Perfect - One Nation, Under Money
2018-01-31 00:00:00
An unassuming string of 16 words tucked into the Constitution grants Congress extensive power to make laws that impact the entire nation. The Commerce Clause has allowed Congress to intervene in all kinds of situations — from penalizing one man for growing too much wheat on his farm, to enforcing the end of racial segregation nationwide. That is, if the federal government can make an economic case for it. This seemingly all-powerful tool has the potential to unite the 50 states into one nation and protect the civil liberties of all. But it also challenges us to consider: when we make everything about money, what does it cost us?
55 minutes, 4 seconds

The Voice in Your Head - A Tribute to Joe Frank
2018-01-22 21:03:00
How do you pay proper tribute to a legend that many people haven't heard of? We began asking ourselves this question last week when the visionary radio producer Joe Frank passed away, after a long struggle with colon cancer.  Joe Frank was the radio producer's radio producer.  He told stories that were thrillingly weird, deeply mischievous (and sometimes head-spinningly confusing!). He had a big impact on us at Radiolab.  For Jad, his Joe Frank moment happened in 2002, while sitting at a mixing console in an AM radio studio waiting to read the weather.  Joe Frank's Peabody Award-winning series "Rent-A-Family" came on the air. Time stood still. We've since learned that many of our peers have had similar Joe Frank moments. In this episode, we commemorate one of the greats with Brooke Gladstone from On the Media and Ira Glass from This American Life.  This episode was produced by Jad Abumrad with help from Kelly Prime and Sarah Qari.  Support Radiolab today at
Not Available

How to Be a Hero
2018-01-09 15:09:00
What are people thinking when they risk their lives for someone else? Are they making complicated calculations of risk or diving in without a second thought? Is heroism an act of sympathy or empathy?   A few years ago, we spoke with Walter F. Rutkowski about how the Carnegie Hero Fund selects its heroes, an honor the fund bestows upon ordinary people who have done extraordinary acts. When some of these heroes were asked what they were thinking when they leapt into action, they replied: they didn't think about it, they just went in. Neuroscientist Robert Sapolsky says there is a certain kind of empathy that leads to action. But feeling the pain of another person deeply is not necessarily what makes a hero.   Our original episode was reported and produced by Lynn Levy and Tim Howard. This update was produced by Amanda Aronczyk. Support Radiolab today at
28 minutes, 38 seconds

Inside Radiolab (Video)
2017-12-29 15:00:00
Take a stroll through where Radiolab is made and meet some of the people who have created your favorite episodes. Help make another year of curiosity possible.
Not Available

Bigger Little Questions
2017-12-22 00:59:00
When we dumped out our bucket of questions, there was a lot of spillover. Like, A LOT of spillover. So today, we're back for round two. This time with some bigger, little questions.   This episode was reported and produced by Annie McEwen, Bethel Habte, Latif Nasser, Matt Kielty, Simon Adler, and Tracie Hunte. Special thanks to Stephen Brady and Staff Sergeant Erica Picariello in the US Air Force's 21st Space Wing. Support Radiolab today at
1 hour, 2 minutes, 4 seconds

Best Science Podcasts 2018

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2018. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
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