Episodes Archive

Future Bioethics #197

January 18, 2013

This week, we’re looking at the debates over the ethics of medicine and medical research, and the future of new medical technology. We’ll talk bioethics and public policy with Center for Inquiry CEO Ronald Lindsay. And we’re joined by Dr. Rob Tarzwell, to discuss Nootropics, the so-called “smart drugs” that might make designer brains a reality. Read More


World Changing Ideas 2012 #196

January 11, 2013

This week, we team up with Scientific American, to learn more about the technologies profiled in their World Changing Ideas feature article. We talk to Sci-Am editors and writers about cutting edge research. From artificial life forms to new ways to measure sustainability, these technologies just might shape our collective future. Read More


The Penis Panel #195

January 04, 2013

This week, we’re taking a closer look at the variety of organs that evolved to deliver reproductive cells. Evolutionary biologist John Logsdon, biologist and YouTube sensation Carin Bondar and blogger and researcher Scicurious return to the show to talk about penises (and penis-like organs) of every shape, size and species. Read More


Spider Silk (REBROADCAST) #146

December 28, 2012

This week, we’ll listen back to an episode featuring some of nature’s most accomplished materials scientists, and the amazing substance they produce. We’re joined by Leslie Brunetta, co-author of Spider Silk: Evolution and 400 Million Years of Spinning, Waiting, Snagging, and Mating. We’ll discuss the form, function and uses of the sticky wonder material, and the ways that its study can help us understand evolution. And science writer EdYong tells us about silkworms with spider genes and the hybrid silk they spin. Read More


Year In Science 2012 #194

December 21, 2012

This week, we’re looking back at some of the most important science news of 2012. Writers Maryn McKenna and David Dobbs, BoingBoing Science Editor Maggie-Koerth Baker, and paleontology blogger Brian Switek join us to share the stories that made headlines, and others that made an impact, without receiving as much attention. Read More


Science Books for Your Gift List #193

December 14, 2012

Whether you’re dropping a last-minute hint to a relative, or buying science books for the people you love, Skeptically Speaking has you covered. We’ve enlisted two dozen scientists, science writers and bloggers, including some of our favorite past guests. They’ll bring you their favorites from 2012, and some classics to help fill out anyone’s science library. Happy holidays! 2012 Science Book Suggestions Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes by Maria Konnikova Recommended by Scott Huler The Whale: In Search of the Giants of the Sea by Philip Hoare Recommended by Leslie Brunetta Gravity’s Engines: How Bubble-Blowing Black Holes Rule... Read More


The Particle at the End of the Universe #192

December 07, 2012

This week, we’re looking at one of the biggest science stories of 2012, and one of the largest instruments in the history of science. Guest host Marie-Claire Shanahan spends the hour with theoretical physicist Sean Carroll, author of the new book The Particle at The End of The Universe: How the Hunt for the Higgs Boson Leads Us to the Edge of a New World. They’ll discuss the search for the particle that gives all the others their mass, the story of the Large Hadron Collider, and the challenge of communicating with a broad audience about difficult topics in cutting-edge physics. Read More


More Current Controversies #191

November 30, 2012

This week, we’re looking at science stories driving headlines and causing conversation. We’ll speak to particle physicist James Pinfold about recent experiments that cast doubt on a possible explanation for dark matter, and new research that he’s conducting at the world’s largest experimental facility, the Large Hadron Collider. On the podcast, molecular pharmacologist David Kroll returns to explain the connection between high-caffeine energy drinks and health complications. And we’ll get some insight on the tension between societal conceptions of gender and the more nuanced reality, from Joel Baum, Director of Education and Training at Gender Spectrum. Read More


Rabid #190

November 23, 2012

This week, we’re talking about a viral menace that’s one of the scariest – and deadliest – known to science. We’ll talk to WIRED editor Bill Wasik  and veterinarian Monica Murphy about their book Rabid: A Cultural History of the World’s Most Diabolical Virus. And on the podcast, we’ll speak to post-doctoral researcher Elisabeth Whyte, about a crowd-funded project to use computer games to help adolescents with autism improve social skills and face processing abilities. Read More


Science and Culture (REBROADCAST) #106

November 18, 2012

This week, we’re listening back to an episode which examines the ways that society and science inform and influence each other. Frequent guest host Marie-Claire Shanahan, Professor of Science Education at the University of Alberta, and President of the Canadian Science Education Research Group, discusses how science fits into the broader framework of our common culture. And we talk to science writer Mike McRae, author of the book Tribal Science: Brains, Beliefs and Bad Ideas, which looks at how brains that evolved to maintain social connections can manage to make objective observations. Read More


Gay, Straight, and the Reason Why #189

November 11, 2012

This week, we’re looking at the science of sexual orientation, where debates over nature vs. nurture have influenced law, policy and equal rights. We’re joined by neuroscientist and writer Simon LeVay, to talk about his research on the topic, and his book Gay, Straight, and the Reason Why: The Science of Sexual Orientation. And on the podcast, astrophysicist Ethan Siegel returns to the show, to tell us about a new project using the information aggregation service TrapIt to improve learning in the classroom. Read More


Why Should I Care About Space? #188

November 04, 2012

In almost any discussion of space exploration and observation, one question always arises. Why should we spend the money, when there are problems here on Earth? This week, we’re going to tackle this question, with a panel of people who know just how important the science of space actually is. Penny4NASA‘s John Zeller and Noisy Astronomer Nicole Gugliucci return to the show, along with Scientific American Associate Editor John Matson, and Cynthia Phillips, Senior Research Scientist at the SETI Institute. They’ll discuss the technological, social and economic benefits of exploring space, and what it really means to all of us. Read More


Funny Science #187

October 26, 2012

We’re taking a break from live recording this week. On the podcast, we’re looking at the lighter side of science, both real and imagined. We’re joined by Marc Abrahams, editor and co-founder of the science humor magazine Annals of Improbable Research, the father of the Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony and author of the new book This Is Improbable. Researcher and blogger Scicurious returns to share more of her favorite Friday Weird Science posts. And we’ll talk to Phil Edwards, author of the Fake Science blog and textbook. Read More


The C Word #186

October 19, 2012

No, not that C word. This week, we’re talking about Cancer; its myriad forms, many causes, and most promising treatments. We’re joined by engineering professor Brendan Harley, who works on making cancer research more effective, and Dr. David Gorski, surgical oncologist and prominent science blogger. And on the podcast, author Kayt Sukel returns to the show, to discuss the efficacy and application of screening for breast cancer, and what effect pink-saturated awareness campaigns actually have on research and treatment efforts. Read More


Genetically Modified Foods Revisited #185

October 12, 2012

This week, we’ll spend the hour talking about genetically modified foods, that are causing conversation among scientists, lawmakers and the public. Horticulture professor Kevin Folta returns to the show, along with Karl Haro von Mogel and Anastasia Bodnar, co-editors of Biofortified.org. They’ll give us the scientific perspective on the benefits, and possible dangers, in manipulating the genes of  common food crops. Read More


Your Baby’s Best Shot #184

October 05, 2012

This week, we’re looking at the science – and pseudoscience – that affects the healthcare decisions parents make for their children, and women make for themselves. We’re joined by Allison Hagood and Stacy Herlihy, to talk about their book Your Baby’s Best Shot: Why Vaccines are Safe and Save Lives. And we’re joined by Skepchick.org founder Rebecca Watson, to talk about pseudoscience that’s targeted and marketed specifically at women. Read More


Current Controversies #183

September 28, 2012

This week, we’re looking at two science stories making headlines and stirring debate. Science writer David Dobbs returns to the show, to discuss the controversial neuroscience in Naomi Wolf’s new book Vagina: a Biography. And genetics researcher Michael White joins us to sort out the science from the hype in the results of the ENCODE genomics project. Read More


Science Cinema #182

September 21, 2012

This week, we’re looking at film and video as an exciting, engaging way to communicate science to the public. Guest host Marie-Claire Shanahan spends the hour with independent film-maker and former BBC video journalist Brady Haran, and artist and filmmaker Henry Reich, creator of the Minute Physics YouTube series. They’ll discuss the promise and pitfalls of telling science stories in moving pictures. Read More


Science Reporting 2012 #181

September 14, 2012

This week, we’re looking at new and evolving ways of bringing important science news to the public. Journalist and author Maryn McKenna returns to the show, to talk about her recent report for the Food & Environment Reporting Network, about evidence for a link between a common human infection and the overuse of antibiotics in chicken production. And science writer Jennifer Ouellette gives us the scoop on The Best Science Writing Online 2012, a collection of last year’s best science blog posts. Read More


Measure for Measure #180

September 07, 2012

This week, we’re thinking about science as an instrument, and the parallels between an understanding of music and the history of science. Thomas Levenson, Professor of Science Writing at MIT and author of Newton and the Counterfeiter, returns to talk about his 1994 book Measure for Measure: A Musical History of Science. And on the podcast, we’re joined by Vaughan Macefield, Professor of Integrative Physiology at the University of Western Sydney, to talk about his project that translates neural impulses into audible sound. Read More