Episodes Archive

Working while Marginalized #602

May 23, 2022

The thing about humans is that, as a social species, we work with other people. And this means we often, consciously or unconsciously, end up being awful to each other. If you are someone who is marginalized in the workplace--something that often happens to people of color, LGBTQIA+ people, people with disabilities and white women--how do you deal? The advice to lean in, put your head down and do the work, it's just not working. This week, we're talking with Alan Henry about his new guide to getting ahead as a marginalized person at work with his new book, Seen,... Read More


This is not about dinosaurs #601

April 25, 2022

Most people know how the age of dinosaurs ended. An asteroid hit and all the dinosaurs died out. But it's never quite that simple. In her newest book, The Last Days of the Dinosaurs: An Asteroid, Extinction, and the Beginning of Our World, Riley Black describes what the immediate post-impact world looked like, and what it would become. Read More


The one about vaginas #600

April 11, 2022

Vagina. Clitoris. Uterus. Ovary. These are body parts that about half the population is born with. And yet, there are so many questions about them that scientists have never answered. But there's also more new science about the vagina than you've ever, ever dreamed. We're talking with Rachel Gross about her new book Vagina Obscura: An Anatomical Journey. Read More


Losing Our Minds #599

March 29, 2022

Mental illness is being discussed openly and publicly more than it ever has been, but our understanding of what it is and its impacts are still a work-in-progress. What is mental illness and how do we distinguish it from the expected suffering that comes from being human? How has the public discussion around mental illness impacted our language, sometimes mixing together clinical language and colloquial language in complicated, confusing ways? We speak with academic psychologist Lucy Foulkes about her book "Losing Our Minds: What Mental Illness Really Is - And Isn't" and dig into the complexity of what mental illness... Read More


Train, boat, truck, it's the supply chain #598

March 14, 2022

I'm sure we've all heard the phrase 'supply chain disruption' by now. It might bring to mind ships floating outside LA or trucks jackknifed across a highway in the snow. But it's far, far more than that. Get ready for miles of conveyor belts and the largest robot in the world. Christopher Mims is here to talk about his book Arriving Today: From Factory to Front Door -- Why Everything Has Changed About How and What We Buy. Read More


The Trouble With Passion #597

February 18, 2022

Choosing a career path is a big decision. In the modern western world a career is practically synonymous with identity: whether we like it our not, what we do is a big part of who we are. And we are told to choose a career carefully, to find and follow our passion. But what is passion in this context? And why should we follow it? Does following passion into a career path leave us happier? Leave us on more sturdy footing in our life and career? Who gets ahead and who gets left behind when we all chase passion to... Read More


Tailoring your brain with science #596

January 31, 2022

Intent on improving your creativity or focus? Want to raise your IQ? What does that even mean? This week, we've got Emily Willingham back on the show to talk about tailoring the brain with science: The good, the bad, and the totally not proven. We're talking about her new book The Tailored Brain: From Ketamine, to Keto, to Companionship: A user's guide to feeling better and thinking smarter. Read More


Handmade: A Scientist’s Search for Meaning Through Making #595

January 17, 2022

In Handmade: A Scientist’s Search for Meaning Through Making, author Anna Ploszajski takes her experience of materials science out of the lab and into the world of craftspeople. Ploszajski's quest to fashion a broader perspective on stuff surpasses the dry and academic. In her book, Anna brings readers along through an exploration of materials ancient and modern, bringing out the ways that matter intersects with society and identity. On the show, we’ll talk about matter from glass to human hair, and we'll hear about the entwined history of some materials and how they have shaped history. Read More


Science to look forward to in 2022 #594

January 04, 2022

2021 has vanished, sucked into the black hole created by 2020. But while the pandemic continues, we are steadily climbing our way out. And what better way to gain momentum than to look forward at where science might be going? We’ve looking from the tiniest parts of the human body to the vast expanse of space to find out where we are going. Related Links: Floods Have Swamped the US. The Next Health Problem: Mold Covid Protections Kept Other Viruses at Bay. Now They’re Back As Covid Cases Rise, So Do Hospital-Related Infections Another Global Pandemic is Spreading - Among... Read More


Indigenous Knowledge and Decolonising Academia #593

December 23, 2021

We often think the practices of science and academics as a western-European invention, and while both science and the academy have created a lot of positive knowledge, it's important to take a step back and recognize the blind spots of science that come from European ways of thinking about the world, and to see how academics can disadvantage people who don't align with that worldview. We speak to Ray Pierotti, Associate Professor in the department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Kansas, about his book "Indigenous Knowledge, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology" to help us better understand how... Read More


The One About Nerdy Gifts, 2021 Edition #592

December 06, 2021

Last week we filled your reading list with 2021's best science books, and this week we're back with Bethany and Rachelle's giddy, geeky, and (hopefully) delightful list of non-book gift ideas to surprise the nerd in your life. And as always, we've created a companion blog post to this episode with links to everything we talked about (while supplies last!). You can also find this year's book recommendations episode here, and the companion blog post to that episode here. And if that's still not enough to satisfy your nerdy gift-giving needs, you can always check out our full Bookshelf here,... Read More


The One About Science Books, 2021 Edition #591

November 28, 2021

Another year, another haul of excellent science books! We bring back John Dupuis and Joanne Manaster to share some of their favourite science reads from 2021 to help you curate your reading list for 2022. Grab a cosy beverage and click on over to our companion blog post with the full book list (plus a few extra) and enjoy our annual book episode that is sure to expand your reading list. Read More


Furry felons and mammalian misdemeanors #590

October 28, 2021

Most true crime details the terrible deeds that humans do. But nature can be nefarious too. Animals and plants can kill, maim, or just make people deeply uncomfortable. Wild creatures can steal, trespass, jaywalk and much more. It’s the world of human-animal conflict, and we’re sitting down with Mary Roach, to talk about her latest book FUZZ: When Nature Breaks the Law. Read More


Damsels and Dragons #589

October 20, 2021

We sit down for a whirlwind tour of the entomological world of dragonflies and damselflies with Evolutionary Biologist Dr Jessica Ware, Assistant Curator of Invertebrate Zoology at the American Museum of Natural History. We get a crash-course in what makes these insects unique, how they fly, their life-cycles, and theories for how they got so colourful. And we talk about the importance of diversity in science and entomology, and how EntoPOC helps by providing POC paid memberships to entomological society to make participation, science communication and outreach more inclusive to POCs. Related Links: Jessica Ware's Lab Group EntoPOC Read More


What's Wild About Wilderness #588

September 30, 2021

Conserving wild species doesn't seem like it would be that controversial. No one wants to see an extinction. But at the same time, don't we believe that every animal matters? If every animal matters, how can we justify killing some to save others? And how do we determine what deserves saving in the first place? We sit down with Emma Marris to talk about her new book, "Wild Souls: Freedom and Flourishing in the Non-Human World". Read More


Dripping with Sweat #587

August 03, 2021

It's summer and that means sweat. But why do we use all those antiperspirants and deodorants? Why are we so ashamed of a cooling bodily function? This week host Bethany Brookshire talks with Sarah Everts, author of the new book "The Joy of Sweat: The Strange Science of Perspiration". Read More


Full Spectrum: How the Science of Color Made Us Modern #586

June 27, 2021

In "Full Spectrum: How the Science of Color Made us Modern", author Adam Rogers takes readers on a journey from prehistoric pigments to experiments working to make hues that exist only in the mind. This week, host Carolyn Wilke speaks with Adam Rogers about the evolution of the science of color and how it has influenced culture and history. We dip into the technology of paints and pigments and how they've colored the world and consider the role of the mind, as neuroscientists and linguists have sought to understand our perception of color and the language we use to describe... Read More


Lightning Flowers #585

May 17, 2021

How does someone's life change when they get or discover a chronic medical condition? What is it like to have a long-term relationship with the modern healthcare system? How do we define medical necessity in a profession where knowledge is highly specialized while also balancing a patient's autonomy and quality of life? What are the impacts of creating lifesaving technology on the remote areas of the world where the resources to make them are extracted, and how do we take those impacts into the calculus of lifesaving value? This week host Rachelle Saunders speaks with Katherine Standefer, the author of... Read More


Time for the Gory Details #584

April 16, 2021

There are lots of things about the natural world many people like to avoid, or even pretend don't exist. Like the mites that are the same size and shape as the pores on our faces, or how likely it is that your dog will eat you when you die. Luckily, some people don't want to avoid those topics, and this week we're here with one of them. Host Bethany Brookshire talks with Erika Engelhaupt about her new book "Gory Details: Adventures in the Dark Side of Science". Read More


The Unavoidable Complexities of Food #583

March 30, 2021

We can definitely agree there is a lot about our current food systems that isn't sustainable. But what's harder to agree on is what we need to do to fix it for the better, while still ensuring everyone on the planet has enough to eat. Everyone has an opinion about what food we should eat and what food we shouldn't, what food systems are harmful and which are sustainable... but those opinions are often at odds. Why are we so passionate about what we eat and how that food gets to our plates? Host Rachelle Saunders talks with development chef... Read More