Episodes Archive

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


Cities Lost and Found #582

March 01, 2021

What do ancient cities have to tell us about ourselves and our future? Annalee Newitz talks about their latest book, "Four Lost Cities: A Secret History of the Urban Age", and what ancient ruins can tell us about our modern selves. From Catalhoyuk to Cahokia, join us on a tour of cities past. Read More


The Art and Science of Play #581

February 02, 2021

For humans and creatures of all sorts, play goes beyond having fun. Cognitive scientist Junyi Chu shares about the motives behind play, from showing off one's fitness to practicing skills, and she shares about her research studying children, play and cognition. Game designer Holly Gramazio comes at play from the perspective of an artist. She talks about how games, such as Pokemon Go or others that originated during the pandemic, can change how players perceive a place and connect to other people. Related link: Play, Curiosity, and Cognition by Junyi Chu and Laura E. Schulz Read More


So Long 2020, We Won't Miss You #580

January 07, 2021

2020 is over, and honestly? Good riddance. But before we go, let's take a look back. Because 2020 was tough, but it was also a year that science played a bigger role in people's lives than ever before. Hosts Bethany Brookshire and Rachelle Saunders talk with Tina Saey, Deja Perkins, and Carolyn Gramling about three big science stories that definitely made an impact on 2020. Related links: The science stories that defined 2020: coronavirus, diveristy movements and more As 202 comes to an end, here's what we still don't know about COVID-19 This COVID-19 pandemic timeline shows how fast the... Read More


It's a Pandemic, Why Are We So Bored?! #579

December 21, 2020

It's the holidays and it's 2020. For many of us, it's the first time we won't be able to be together, doing the traditional things we always do. It seems like it might be okay, I mean, people are always telling us to make our own traditions. So why does it hurt so much? Why does the loss of our rituals leave us so adrift? And why, with all the pressure of the pandemic and joblessness and politics are any of us bored? Bethany Brookshire speaks with Science News social sciences writer Sujata Gupta about the importance of rituals, and... Read More


Science Books for Science Nerds #578

December 08, 2020

Once again we've brought back Joanne Manaster and John Dupuis to reflect on their 2020 reading lists, and to highlight their favourite reads. So grab a coffee, tea, hot cocoa, or other cosy beverage of your choice, pull up our companion blog post with the full book list with links, and settle in for our annual episode that is sure to add new books to your reading list. Charities mentioned in this episode: National Low Income Housing Coalition (USA) American Indian Science and Engineering Society (USA) Equal Justice Initiative (USA) Charity Navigator (USA) Food Banks Canada Canadian Alliance to End... Read More


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


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


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


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