Nav: Home

Big Picture Science | Top Science Podcasts 2020

The top science podcasts of 2020 updated daily.


Big Picture Science
Big Picture Science weaves together a universe of big ideas from robots to memory to antimatter to dinosaurs. Tune in and make contact with science.

Climate Changed
2020-02-17 09:30:31
Have you adapted to the changing climate? Rising waters, more destructive wildfires, record-breaking heatwaves. Scientists have long predicted these events, but reporting on climate change has moved from prediction to description. There's no time for dwelling on "we should haves." Communities and organizations are being forced to adapt. Find out what that means, the role of the new "resilience officers," and the unique response of Native American cultures. Plus, is the coronavirus outbreak made worse by climate change?  Guests: James Randerson - Professor of Earth Science, University of California, Irvine Victor Rodriguez - PhD student, Carnegie Mellon University, Department of Engineering and Public Policy Kyle Whyte - Professor in the Departments of Philosophy and Community Sustainability, and tribal member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation Tracey Goldstein - Professor in the Department of Pathology, Immunology, and Microbiology, University of California, Davis
51 minutes, 33 seconds


Frogs' Pants (Rebroadcast)
2020-02-10 07:33:25
It's one of the most bizarre biological experiments ever. In the 18th century, a scientist fitted a pair of tailor-made briefs on a male frog to determine the animal's contribution to reproduction.  The process of gestation was a mystery and scientists had some odd-ball theories.   Today, a 5th grader can tell you how babies are made, but we still don't know exactly what life is.  In our quest to understand, we're still at the frogs' pants stage. Find out why conception took centuries to figure out.  Also, why the 1970s Viking experiments, specifically designed to detect life on Mars, couldn't give us a definitive answer.  Plus, can knowing where life isn't help define what it is?  Take a tour of the world's barren places.  Guests: Jay Gallentine - Author of books about space and space history. Edward Dolnick - Author and former science writer at the Boston Globe.  His book is The Seeds of Life: From Aristotle to Da Vinci, from Shark's Teeth to Frogs' Pants. Chris McKay - Planetary scientist, NASA Ames Research Center.  Originally aired July 10, 2017
51 minutes, 22 seconds


Skeptic Check: Science Denial (rebroadcast)
2020-02-03 07:50:15
Climate change isn't happening.  Vaccines make you sick.  When it comes to threats to public or environmental health, a surprisingly large fraction of the population still denies the consensus of scientific evidence.  But it's not the first time - many people long resisted the evidentiary link between HIV and AIDS and smoking with lung cancer. There's a sense that science denialism is on the rise.  It prompted a gathering of scientists and historians in New York City to discuss the problem, which included a debate on the usefulness of the word "denial" itself.  Big Picture Science was there. We report from the Science Denial symposium held jointly by the New York Academy of Sciences and Rutgers Global Health Institute.  Find out why so many people dig in their heels and distrust scientific findings.  Plus, the techniques wielded by special interest groups to dispute some inconvenient truths.  We also hear how simply stating more facts may be the wrong approach to combating scientific resistance. Guests: Melanie Brickman Borchard - Director of Life Sciences Conferences at New York Academy of Sciences Nancy Tomes - professor of history at Stony Brook University Allan Brandt - professor of history of science and medicine at Harvard University. Author of "The Cigarette Century: The Rise, Fall, and Deadly Persistence of the Product that Defined America" Sheila Jasanoff - Director of Program on Science, Technology and Society and professor of environment, science and technology at Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University Michael Dahlstrom - Associate Director of Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication, and associate professor at Iowa State University Matthew Nisbet - professor of communication and public policy at Northeastern University Arthur (Art) Caplan - professor and founding head of medical ethics at NYU School of Medicine
51 minutes, 1 second


A Twist of Slime
2020-01-27 08:01:14
Your daily mucus output is most impressive.  Teaspoons or measuring cups can't capture its entire volume.  Find out how much your body churns out and why you can't live without the viscous stuff.  But slime in general is remarkable.  Whether coating the bellies of slithery creatures, sleeking the surface of aquatic plants, or dripping from your nose, its protective qualities make it one of the great inventions of biology. Join us as we venture to the land of ooze! Guests: Christopher Viney - Professor of materials science and engineering at the University of California, Merced Katharina Ribbeck - Bioengineer at MIT Anna Rose Hopkins - Chef and partner at Hank and Bean in Los Angeles Ruth Kassinger - author of "Slime: How Algae Created Us, Plague Us, and Just Might Save Us"
51 minutes, 1 second


The Ears Have It
2020-01-20 09:28:41
What's the difference between a bird call and the sound of a pile driver?  Not much, when you're close to the loudest bird ever.  Find out when it pays to be noisy and when noise can worsen your health.  Just about everyone eventually suffers some hearing loss, but that's not merely aging.  It's an ailment we inflict on ourselves.  Hear how a team in New York City has put sensors throughout the city to catalog noise sources, hoping to tame the tumult. And can underwater speakers blasting the sounds of a healthy reef bring life back to dead patches of the Great Barrier Reef? Guests: Mark Cartwright - Research Assistant Professor at New York University's Department of Computer Science and Engineering Charles Mydlarz - Research Assistant Professor at New York University's Center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP) and the Music and Audio Research Lab (MARL) David Owen - Staff writer at The New Yorker, and author of Volume Control: Hearing in a Deafening World Jeff Podos - Professor in the Department of Biology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst Steve Simpson - Professor of Marine Biology and Global Change, Exeter University, U.K.
51 minutes, 1 second


Perpetual Emotion Machine [rebroadcast]
2020-01-13 07:14:06
Get ready for compassionate computers that feel your pain, share your joy, and generally get where you're coming from.  Computers that can tell by your voice whether you're pumped up or feeling down, or sense changes in heart rate, skin, or muscle tension to determine your mood.  Empathetic electronics that you can relate to. But wait a minute - we don't always relate to other humans.  Our behavior can be impulsive and even self-sabotaging - our emotions are often conflicted and irrational.   We cry when we're happy.  Frown when we're pensive.  A suite of factors, much of them out of our control, govern how we behave, from genes to hormones to childhood experience.  One study says that all it takes for a defendant to receive a harsher sentence is a reduction in the presiding judge's blood sugar. So grab a cookie, and find out how the heck we can build computers that understand us anyway.  Guests: Rosalind Picard - Professor at the MIT Media Lab and co-founder of the companies Affectiva and Empatica.  Robert Sapolsky - Professor of neuroscience at Stanford University, and author of Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst. 
50 minutes, 31 seconds


Your Brain's Reins [rebroadcast]
2020-01-06 07:37:11
You are your brain.  But what happens when your brain changes for the worse - either by physical injury or experience?  Are you still responsible for your actions? We hear how the case of a New York man charged with murder was one of the first to introduce neuroscience as evidence in court.  Plus, how technology hooks us - a young man so addicted to video games, he lacked social skills, or even a desire to eat.  Find out how technology designers conspire against his digital detox. Also, even if your brain is intact and your only task is choosing a sock color, are you really in control?  How your unconscious directs even mundane behavior ... and how you can outwit it.  Guests: Kevin Davis - Author of The Brain Defense: Murder in Manhattan and the Dawn of Neuroscience in America's Courtrooms Hilarie Cash - Co-founder and chief clinical officer of reSTART, an internet addiction recovery program Adam Alter - Assistant professor of marketing and psychology at New York University, Stern School of Business, and author of Irresistible: the Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked Peter Vishton - Psychologist at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia
50 minutes, 31 seconds


Skeptic Check: Heal Thyself [rebroadcast]
2019-12-30 10:34:20
Do we still need doctors?  There are umpteen alternative sources of medical advice, including endless and heartfelt health tips from people without medical degrees. Frankly, self-diagnosis with a health app is easier and cheaper than a trip to a clinic.   Since we're urged to be our own health advocate and seek second opinions, why not ask Alexa or consult with a celebrity about what ails us? Find out if you can trust these alternative medical advice platforms.  Plus, lessons from an AIDS fighter about ignoring the findings of medical science.   And, if AI can diagnose better than an MD, will we stop listening to doctors altogether? It's our monthly look at critical thinking ... but don't take our word for it! Guests: Katherine Foley - Science and health reporter at Quartz, and author of the article "Alexa is a Terrible Doctor" Paul Offit - Professor of pediatrics at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and the Perlman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and author of "Bad Advice: Or Why Celebrities, Politicians, and Activists Aren't Your Best Source of  Health Information" Richard Marlink - Director Rutgers Global Health Institute. Shinjini Kundu - Research Fellow, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Stuart Schlisserman - Internist, Palo Alto, California   originally aired September 24, 2018
51 minutes, 26 seconds


Handling the Holidays
2019-12-23 09:14:38
The stress of the holidays can make you want to hide under the covers with a warm cup of cocoa.  From gift buying to family gatherings, the holidays can feel like being inside a pressure cooker.  But don't despair!  Science can help make the holidays a little brighter, from some gift-giving tips from our animal friends to embracing pessimism before a challenging social event to stopping that annoying merry melody on repeat in your head. Guests: Adam South - Research assistant professor at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University Mitch Ratcliffe - CEO and publisher of Earth911 Julie Norem - Psychology professor at Wellesley College and author of "The Positive Power of Negative Thinking" Elizabeth Margulis - Music professor at Princeton University and author of "On Repeat: How Music Plays the Mind" Steve Ilardi - Clinical psychology associate professor at the University of Kansas.  Read his paper on the effects of sugar here.
53 minutes, 47 seconds


HtH1_South
2019-12-23 09:06:31

10 minutes, 11 seconds




Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Manoush's Favorites: Moving Forward
We're hard at work on new episodes of the TED Radio Hour, which will start rolling out in March. In the meantime, new host Manoush Zomorodi shares some of her favorite episodes of the show. This episode originally aired on June 21, 2019. When the life you've built slips out of your grasp, you're often told it's best to move on. But is that true? Instead of forgetting the past, TED speakers describe how we can move forward with it. Guests include writers Nora McInerny and Suleika Jaouad, and human rights advocate Lindy Lou Isonhood.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#551 Translating Science, Part 2
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...
Now Playing: Radiolab

The Other Latif: Episode 3
The Other Latif Radiolab's Latif Nasser always believed his name was unique, singular, completely his own. Until one day when he makes a bizarre and shocking discovery. He shares his name with another man: Abdul Latif Nasser, detainee 244 at Guantanamo Bay. The U.S. government paints a terrifying picture of The Other Latif as Al-Qaeda's top explosives expert, and one of the most important advisors to Osama bin Laden. Nasser's lawyer claims that he was at the wrong place at the wrong time, and that he was never even in Al-Qaeda. This clash leads Radiolab's Latif into a years-long investigation, picking apart evidence, attempting to separate fact from fiction, and trying to uncover what this man actually did or didn't do. Along the way, Radiolab's Latif reflects on American values and his own religious past, and wonders how his namesake, a fellow nerdy, suburban Muslim kid, may have gone down such a strikingly different path.   Episode 3: Sudan Latif turns his focus to Sudan, where his namesake spent time working on a sunflower farm. A sunflower farm owned... by Osama bin Laden. Latif scrutinizes the evidence to try to discover whether - as Abdul Latif's lawyer insists - it was just an innocent clerical job, or whether - as the government alleges - it was what turned him into an extremist fighter.  This episode was produced by Suzie Lechtenberg, Sarah Qari, and Latif Nasser.  With help from Niza Nondo and Maaki Monem. Fact checking by Diane Kelly and Margot Williams. Editing by Jad Abumrad and Soren Wheeler. Original music by Jad Abumrad, Alex Overington, Jeremy Bloom, and Amino Belyamani.  Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.