Episodes Archive

Before the Lights Go Out #160

April 13, 2012

This week, we’re  joined by Maggie-Koerth Baker, Science Editor at Boing-Boing, to talk about her new book Before the Lights Go Out: Conquering the Energy Crisis Before It Conquers Us. Maggie will discuss the economics and social incentives that spurred the growth of our existing energy system, and what we can do to prepare for a new energy future. Read More


Too Big To Know #159

April 06, 2012

This week we’re talking about how global connectivity and the rise of big data are transforming the way we look at knowledge. We’re joined by David Weinberger, co-director of Harvard’s Library Innovation Lab, to talk about his book Too Big to Know: Rethinking Knowledge Now That the Facts Aren’t the Facts, Experts Are Everywhere, and the Smartest Person in the Room Is the Room. And we’ll speak to Lindsey Pinto, Communications Manager of OpenMedia.ca, about their work to safeguard a free and open Internet for Canadians. Read More


Reef Madness #158

March 30, 2012

This week, guest host Marie-Claire Shanahan spends the hour with science writer David Dobbs, to talk about his book Reef Madness: Charles Darwin, Alexander Agassiz, and the Meaning of Coral. The 2005 book, which was recently adapted into a set of serialized blog posts, recounts the century-long controversy over the origins of coral reefs, and its relationship to the history of evolutionary theory. They’ll discuss the challenges of writing the stories of science and the importance of sharing them with a wide audience. Read More


Predators and Prey #157

March 23, 2012

This week, we’re looking into the many strategies that animals employ in the struggle to eat other animals. We’re joined by freelance science writer Matt Soniak, to discuss the often complex relationship between hunter and hunted. And biological anthropologist Greg Laden returns for another edition of Everything You Know is Sort of Wrong. He’ll tell us about humanity’s history as hunters, and how it may – or may not – affect our behavior today. Read More


Beyond 42 #156

March 16, 2012

This week, we’re experiencing the power of stories to communicate science. Join us for Beyond 42: How Science Can Use Stories to Explain Life, the Universe and Everything. This event, recorded live in Edmonton, features Scientific American Blog Editor Bora Zivkovic, and a fantastic cast of scientists telling moving stories that communicate the wonder of science and discovery. Our storytellers this week were Sol Delos Santos, Greg Henkelman, Monica Chahal, Courtney Hughes and Marie-Claire Shanahan, who appears courtesy of The Monti Audio Series. Read More


Dirty Minds #155

March 09, 2012

This week, we’re looking into what happens in our brains when we’re experiencing some of the most powerful feelings we feel. We’ll spend the hour with science writer Kayt Sukel, to talk about her book Dirty Minds: How Our Brains Influence Love, Sex, and Relationships. From pheromones to fMRI, it’s an entertaining and informative look at the neuroscience of affection. Read More


Mathtastic! Part Two #154

March 02, 2012

This week, guest host Rachelle Saunders is back for part two of our two-part series on the fun and fascinating world of math. Rachelle spends the whole hour with Ian Stewart, mathematician, professor of Mathematics at the University of Warwick, and author of over two dozen books, on topics from chaos theory to symmetry, and the history of math itself. Read More


Mathtastic! Part One #153

February 24, 2012

This week, we’re diving into the fascinating math that describes the world around us. Guest host Rachelle Saunders speaks to Malcolm Roberts, PhD Applied Mathematician at the University of Alberta, about fluid dynamics, the math that models motion in fluids, gasses, plasmas, and reveals the secret to pouring the perfect beer. And Desiree Schell talks to theoretical astrophysicist Ethan Siegel, about building a reliable science and health news aggregator. Read More


The Poisoner's Handbook #152

February 17, 2012

This week, we’re talking science and storytelling. Guest host Marie-Claire Shanahan speaks to science journalist and author Deborah Blum about her national bestseller The Poisoner’s Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York. The book tells the fascinating story of the way that chemical detectives started a revolution in the investigation of crime. And Desiree Schell talks to Bora Zivkovic, blog editor at Scientific American, about a new event that teaches science through personal stories. Read More


Everyday Superpowers #151

February 10, 2012

This week, we’re looking at the amazing abilities and potential of the human body. Evolutionary neurobiologist Mark Changizi joins us to talk about his book The Vision Revolution, which looks at the evolution of vision from a novel new direction. And Dr. Torah Kachur discusses practical ways that science and technology can get us closer to the extraordinary abilities we see in science fiction. Read More


Fungi and Fossils #150

February 03, 2012

This week, we’re talking about strange lifeforms that stretch our assumptions about the natural world. Molecular pharmacologist David Kroll, Science Communications Director of the Nature Research Center at North Carolina’s state Museum of Natural Sciences, returns to tell us about fungi and their amazing uses, from necessities like bread and beer, to medical and environmental breakthroughs. And on the podcast, we’re joined by Sarah Mathews, principal investigator at the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University, to discuss a new study that used genetic techniques to overturn the popular conception of cycads as “living fossils.” Read More


There Will Be Blood: The Evolution and Function of Menstruation #149

January 27, 2012

This week, we’re talking about what may be the most stigmatized facet of human reproduction. We’re joined by Dr. Kate Clancy, anthropology professor and science blogger, to learn about the physiology and function of menstruation, and the history of how it’s been considered in medicine and myth. And on the podcast, biologist P.Z. Myers looks at menstruation from an evolutionary perspective. Read More


Brain Bits #148

January 20, 2012

This week, we take a look at some of the most interesting things we’ve learned about the brain. We’ll revisit some of our favorite episodes on the brain and its fascinating functions, from interpreting music, to justifying cruel behavior, and its role in gender identity. And we’re joined by Ingrid Wickelgren, editor at Scientific American Mind, for a new segment on how our brains are wired to believe weird things. Read More


Science and Politics #147

January 13, 2012

This week, it’s a panel discussion about what happens when science intersects with politics. We’re joined by Sheril Kirshenbaum, co-author of Unscientific America, anthropologist/blogger Greg Laden, and Shawn Lawrence Otto, co-founder of ScienceDebate.org and author of Fool Me Twice: Fighting the Assault on Science in America. We’ll explore the tension between evidence and rhetoric, and what happens when public policy ignores solid science. And National Center for Science Education Executive Director Eugenie Scott returns to discuss an exciting new project to defend consensus science. Read More


Spider Silk #146

January 06, 2012

This week, we’re looking at 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 Ed Yong tells us about silkworms with spider genes and the hybrid silk they spin. Read More


World Changing Ideas: Part Two #145

December 30, 2011

This week, it’s Part Two of our series with Scientific American, on the technologies profiled in their World Changing Ideas feature article. We’ll talk to Sci-Am editors and writers, and researchers who are developing cutting edge tech that just might shape the future of our society, our planet, and our survival as a species.  In Part Two, cardiologist Dr. Eric Topol discusses the use of smartphones to monitor your vital signs in real time. Sci-am’s Executive Editor Fred Guterl tells us about software that could mean the end of computer freezes. Senior Technology Editor Michael Moyer explains how metal-loving microbes could revolutionize the mining industry. Sustainability and tech journalist Christopher Mims discusses computer chips that... Read More


World Changing Ideas: Part One #144

December 23, 2011

This week, it’s Part One of our series with Scientific American, on the technologies profiled in their World Changing Ideas feature article. We talk to Sci-Am editors and writers, and researchers who are developing cutting edge tech that just might shape the future of our society, our planet, and our survival as a species. In Part One, we speak with Senior Technology Editor Michael Moyer, about a possible nanotech solution to drug-resistant bacteria. Sustainability and tech journalist Christopher Mims discusses cutting edge battery technology that could power the next generation of electric cars, and a novel new biometric system that might eliminate the need to carry... Read More


Here is a Human Being #143

December 16, 2011

This week, we’re digging into the genome, the molecular blueprint that our bodies use to build themselves. We’ll discuss DNA, genetics, and personal genomics with Dr. Misha Angrist, Assistant Professor at the Duke Institute for Genome Sciences Policy, and author of  Here Is a Human Being: At the Dawn of Personal Genomics.  And we’ll speak to Dr. Thomas Perls, Director of the New England Centenarian Study, about his work on the Archon Genomics X Prize. Read More


Science is a Hell of a Drug #142

December 09, 2011

…and drugs are a hell of a science. Researcher and blogger Scicurious returns to examine the various substances that we use to alter consciousness. How do they affect us, how do we study them, and do they have any uses beyond their recreational properties? And we’ll speak to Dr. David Kroll, Chair of the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at North Carolina Central University, about cannabimimetics, synthetic compounds that mimic the effects of marijuana. Read More


The Common Cold #141

December 02, 2011

This week we’re discussing the viral menace that makes our lives miserable, and has stymied attempts at a cure from the earliest days of medicine. Pharmacist Scott Gavura returns to the show, to tell us how colds infect us, what causes their symptoms, and why we just can’t seem to keep them from coming back. Find out how – or if – your favorite folk remedy works. Check out our Guide To Science Based Holiday Giving, for links to the organizations mentioned at the end of the show. Here are links to the research tools that Scott mentioned: Free Resources:... Read More