Episodes Archive

Vaccine Moonshot #577

November 09, 2020

We're still in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic, and one of the things many of us are hoping for every day is more good news about a vaccine. What does the Coronavirus vaccine effort look like? How does that compare to the usual way vaccines are pursued and developed? How many are in process, what stage are they at, what approach do they take, and which ones look promising? What's "good enough" for a Cornoavirus vaccine when it comes to efficacy and safety? How quickly can we roll one out when we decide one works well enough to start... Read More

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Programming Announcement: Slowing Down for a Bit #ANN1

November 02, 2020

Just a quick message abour our somewhat erratic programming schedule of late. For a variety of reasons, our team needs to slow down a bit to give ourselves time and energy to focus on other things going on in our lives and this crazy year, so we'll be going to a monthly schedule for a while to give us here at Science for the People some room to breath. Don't worry, we aren't going anywhere; we're just going a little slower for a while. Read More

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Science Communication in Creative Places #576

October 19, 2020

When you think of science communication, you might think of TED talks or museum talks or video talks, or... people giving lectures. It's a lot of people talking. But there's more to sci comm than that. This week host Bethany Brookshire talks to three people who have looked at science communication in places you might not expect it. We'll speak with Mauna Dasari, a graduate student at Notre Dame, about making mammals into a March Madness match. We'll talk with Sarah Garner, director of the Pathologists Assistant Program at Tulane University School of Medicine, who takes pathology instruction out of... Read More

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Tasting Qualities #575

October 05, 2020

Do you like tea? If you, like many of us, do, then you probably have an idea (or perhaps very strong opinions) of what a "good cup of tea" tastes like. But what does "quality tea" really mean? This week host Rachelle Saunders speaks with Sarah Besky, Associate Professor in the IRL School at Cornell and author of the book "Tasting Qualities: The Past and Future of Tea", about the unique history of tea production and valuation to try and understand what we mean when we say "quality tea". Read More

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State of the Heart #574

September 20, 2020

This week we focus on heart disease, heart failure, what blood pressure is and why it's bad when it's high. Host Rachelle Saunders talks with physician, clinical researcher, and writer Haider Warraich about his book "State of the Heart: Exploring the History, Science, and Future of Cardiac Disease" and the ails of our hearts. Read More

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Penis. That's It. That's the title. #573

September 13, 2020

This episode is about penises. That was your content warning. Penises. Where they came from. Why they're useful. And the many, many wild things that animals do with them. Come for the world's oldest penis, stay for the creature that ejaculates 80 percent of its bodyweight. Host Bethany Brookshire talks with Emily Willingham about her new book, "Phallacy: Life Lessons from the Animal Penis". Read More

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The Alchemy of Us #572

September 07, 2020

We live in a material world. Each piece of that stuff has a story behind it – from the inconspicuous glass and steel that fashions our built environments to the transistors in the tech that siphons up all our attention. In this week's conversation, host Carolyn Wilke speaks with scientist and science writer Ainissa Ramirez, author of "The Alchemy of Us: How Humans and Matter Transformed One Another", to pull back the curtain on the materials that have shaped society and the seemingly unlikely people behind them. Read More

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The Address Book #571

August 24, 2020

We don't really notice street addresses, but they're integral to how modern society works. They've become integral to our identity in ways we don't really notice... until we don't have one. But where did street addresses come from? Who decides what names or words can be addresses? And how does a government's approach to addresses impact its people? This week host Rachelle Saunders speaks with lawyer and writer Deirdre Mask about her new book "The Address Book: What Street Addresses Reveal About Identity, Race, Wealth, and Power". Read More

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Sea Ice #570

August 16, 2020

This week, host Marion Kilgour discusses the effects of climate change on Arctic sea ice, and the Inuit communities that rely on the ice for wood, food, and roads. SmartICE is a social enterprise developing a near real-time sea-ice monitoring and information sharing system that blends Inuit traditional knowledge with state-of-the-art technology. Rex Holwell explains how climate change has affected sea ice in his lifetime, and how SmartICE sensors are used to keep communities safe. And Dr. Trevor Bell joins us to discuss how SmartICE formed and why it's so important to ensure that the communities out on the sea... Read More

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Facing Fear #569

August 10, 2020

What do you fear? I mean really fear? Well, ok, maybe right now that's tough. We're living in a new age and definition of fear. But what do we do about it? Eva Holland has faced her fears, including trauma and phobia. She lived to tell the tale and write a book: "Nerve: Adventures in the Science of Fear". Read More

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Poker Face Psychology #568

July 27, 2020

Anyone who's seen pop culture depictions of poker might think statistics and math is the only way to get ahead. But no, there's psychology too. Author Maria Konnikova took her Ph.D. in psychology to the poker table, and turned out to be good. So good, she went pro in poker, and learned all about her own biases on the way. We're talking about her new book "The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned to Pay Attention, Master Myself, and Win". Read More

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Because Internet #567

July 20, 2020

This week we dig into the grammar, idiosyncracies, and patterns of mondern writing the internet has made not just possible, but necessary: the writing you and I do all the time via email, text and Tweet. Join host Rachelle Saunders and guest Gretchen McCulloch, blogger, Wired columnist, podcaster, and author of the book "Because Internet: Understand the New Rules of Language", as they pick apart the language of the internet era from the history and use of emojis to the ethics of using Twitter as a data resource to better understand language. Related links: Children Are Using Emoji for Digital-Age... Read More

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Is Your Gut Leaking? #566

July 12, 2020

This week we're busting the human gut wide open with Dr. Alessio Fasano from the Center for Celiac Research and Treatment at Massachusetts General Hospital. Join host Anika Hazra for our discussion separating fact from fiction on the controversial topic of leaky gut syndrome. We cover everything from what causes a leaky gut to interpreting the results of a gut microbiome test! Related links: Center for Celiac Research and Treatment website their YouTube channel, their Facebook page, and their Twitter feed. Read More

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The Great Wide Indoors #565

June 28, 2020

We're all spending a bit more time indoors this summer than we probably figured. But did you ever stop to think about why the places we live and work as designed the way they are? And how they could be designed better? We're talking with Emily Anthes about her new book "The Great Indoors: The Surprising Science of how Buildings Shape our Behavior, Health and Happiness". Read More

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Frances Glessner Lee and the Nutshell Studies #564

June 21, 2020

Around the end of the second world war, a set of tiny miniature dioramas depicting a variety of deaths were created to help teach investigators how to approach a crime scene. You may have heard of the Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death and their maker, Frances Glessner Lee... but you probably didn't know how Lee became interested in forensics, that she used her inheritance to establish a department of legal medicine at Harvard Medical School to accellerate the field, or that she used her political savvy to push the adoption of the medical examiner system in more jurisdictions. We talk... Read More

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Dissecting Bumble Bee Health #563

June 14, 2020

Yes, bumble bees are important pollinators. But they're also fascinating, cute and colorful. This week's episode can trace its origins to a flowery Sierra Nevada meadow where host Carolyn Wilke reported on guest Michelle Duennes' project of catching bumble bees to study their health. Three years and hundreds of bees later, we check in on the project. Hear all about the adventures of working with bumble bees, from flash freezing bees in the field to baking pollen cookies for lab colonies. We also talk bee conservation, bumble bee colors, and a bit of roller derby. Related links: Duennes Lab Michelle... Read More

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Black Lives Matter #BLM

June 07, 2020

We're taking a step back from our scheduled episode this week to ensure the important discussions around Black Lives Matter continue to stay in focus. Black voices are leading conversations about deep-rooted racism they have experienced and witnessed. These conversations aren't hard to find. We've included a few resources below to get you started if you aren't sure where or how to get started, but don't let these be the only things you engage with. General Black Lives Matter website Ways You Can Help Books How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi Between the World and Me by... Read More

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Superbug to Bedside #562

May 24, 2020

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. Read More

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The Race to Identify All Living Things #561

May 17, 2020

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... Read More

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That's the Yeast of your Worries #560

May 10, 2020

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 Read More

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