Episodes Archive

Life in Plastic, Not Fantastic #517

March 15, 2019

Our modern lives run on plastic. It's in the computers and phones we use. It's in our clothing, it wraps our food. It surrounds us every day, and when we throw it out, it's devastating for the environment. This week we air a live show we recorded at the 2019 Advancement of Science meeting in Washington, D.C., where Bethany Brookshire sat down with three plastics researchers - Christina Simkanin, Chelsea Rochman, and Jennifer Provencher - and a live audience to discuss plastics in our oceans. Where they are, where they are going, and what they carry with them. Related links:... Read More


The Keys to Skeletons Lost #516

March 08, 2019

Until we break a bone or two, we tend not to spend too much time thinking about our bones, where they come from, and how we know what we know about them. Well, today we've got a bone to pick with our own skeletons. We'll talk with Brian Switek, author of the book "Skeleton Keys: The Secret Life of Bone", about where your skeleton comes from, and how so many of the skeletons scientists have studied have complicated pasts and uncertain futures. Read More


Humanimal #515

March 01, 2019

Are humans special? We feel special, like we're somehow different from the rest of life on the planet. But are we really? This week, we spend the hour with Adam Rutherford, science broadcaster, writer, and author of the book "Humanimal: How Homo Sapiens Became Nature's Most Paradoxical Creature - A New Evolutionary History". We discuss the commone ways we think humans are different from other creatures and how, sometimes, those ideas turns out to be not quite correct. Along the way we also think a little more carefully about some of the deeply ingrained and sometimes subtle ideas people have... Read More


Arctic Energy (Rebroadcast) #514

February 22, 2019

This week we're looking at how alternative energy works in the arctic. We speak to Louie Azzolini and Linda Todd from the Arctic Energy Alliance, a non-profit helping communities reduce their energy usage and transition to more affordable and sustainable forms of energy. And the lessons they're learning along the way can help those of us further south. Read More


Dinosaur Tails #513

February 15, 2019

This week: dinosaurs! We're discussing dinosaur tails, bipedalism, paleontology public outreach, dinosaur MOOCs, and other neat dinosaur related things with Dr. Scott Persons from the University of Alberta, who is also the author of the book "Dinosaurs of the Alberta Badlands". Read More


All Over The Map #512

February 08, 2019

Today we're talking about maps: why we can spend hours pouring over them, the stories they tell, the information they visualize, and how they border between map and a work of art is a gloriously fuzzy one. We spend the hour with journalists Betsy Mason and Greg Miller, co-authors of a beautiful and fascinating new book "All Over the Map: A Cartographic Odyssey". You can see some of the maps we discuss over at the All Over the Map section of National Geographic. Read More


Ok you worked out, now what? #511

February 01, 2019

Ok, you got out the door and did a workout. Excellent work! Now you're sore. Rats. What do you do? Foam roll? Stretch? Stand butt naked in a tank pumping in liquid nitrogen? Put on specially branded pajamas? The recovery options are endless these days. But which of them work best? Heck, which even work at all? We're talking with Christie Aschwanden about her new book: "Good to Go: What the Athlete in All of Us Can Learn From the Strange Science of Recovery". Related links: ‘Good to Go’ tackles the real science of sports recovery - Review from Bethany... Read More


Gene Drives (Rebroadcast) #510

January 25, 2019

This week on Science for the People: who is driving this genetic bus? We'll talk with Kevin Esvelt about gene drives, what they are, where they come from what they can be used for, and why the science on gene drives should be done as openly as possible. Then, we'll speak with Laurie Zoloth about the ethical questions surrounding their use, why people are so afraid, and who should be making the decision to use this technology in the wild. This episode is hosted by Bethany Brookshire, science writer from Science News. Related Links How gene drives work Gene Drives... Read More


Anisogamy: The Beginning of Male and Female #509

January 18, 2019

This week we discuss how the sperm and egg came to be, and how a difference of reproductive interest has led to sexual conflict in bed bugs. We'll be speaking with Dr. Geoff Parker, an evolutionary biologist credited with developing a theory to explain the evolution of two sexes, about anisogamy, sexual reproduction through the fusion of two different gametes: the egg and the sperm. Then we'll speak with Dr. Roberto Pereira, research scientist in urban entomology at the University of Florida, about traumatic insemination in bed bugs. Read More


Freedom's Laboratory #508

January 11, 2019

This week we're looking back at where some of our modern ideas about science being objective, independent, and apolitical come from. We journey back to the Cold War with historian and writer Audra Wolfe, talking about her newest book "Freedom's Laboratory: The Cold War Struggle for the Soul of Science". Read More


Poaching, and We Don't Mean Eggs #507

January 04, 2019

We all know poaching elephants for their ivory and pangolins for their scales is wrong, right? Then why do people keep doing it? We speak with Rachel Nuwer, author of the book "Poached: Inside the Dark World of Wildlife Trafficking", to find out, and figure out what can be done to stop it. And we'll talk with Vincent Nijman about why, when scientists find a new or rare species, they might want to keep that exciting information to themselves. Related links: Secrecy considerations for conserving Lazarus species Keeping an ear to the ground: monitoring the trade in earless monitor lizards... Read More


Everybody Poops (Rebroadcast) #506

December 28, 2018

This week on Science for the People, everybody poops! And everybody pees. But we probably don't spend a lot of time thinking about exactly how that works. Well, put down your lunch and listen up. We're talking with David Chu, a pediatric urological surgeon about urine. Then we'll hear from his brother, Daniel Chu, who's a colorectal surgeon, about poop. Finally, we'll hear from IgNobel prize winner Patricia Yang about her work studying the flow rate of mammal pee, and why all mammals pee and poop at the same rate. This episode is hosted by Bethany Brookshire, science writer from... Read More


Top Science Stories of 2018 #505

December 21, 2018

We're looking back over 2018 and calling out our favourite science news stories from this past year: the ones we think you should remember -- or hear about for the first time if maybe you've been taking a break from the internet -- and we've brought in a team of reports from Science News to do it. Buckle up for a whistle stop tour of this year's most fascinating science news. Related links: Top 10 stories of 2018 on Science News News of the first gene-edited babies ignited a firestorm by Tina Hesman Saey Chinese scientists raise ethical questions with... Read More


The Art of Logic #504

December 14, 2018

How can mathematics help us have better arguments? This week we spend the hour with "The Art of Logic in an Illogical World" author, mathematician Eugenia Cheng, as she makes her case that the logic of mathematics can combine with emotional resonance to allow us to have better debates and arguments. Along the way we learn a lot about rigorous logic using arguments you're probably having every day, while also learning a lot about our own underlying beliefs and assumptions. Read More


Postpartum Blues (Rebroadcast) #503

December 07, 2018

When a woman gives birth, it seems like everyone wants to know how the baby is doing. What does it weigh? Is it breathing right? Did it cry? But it turns out that, in the United States, we're not doing to great at asking how the mom, who just pushed something the size of a pot roast out of something the size of a Cheerio, is doing. This week we talk to anthropologist Kate Clancy about her postpartum experience and how it is becoming distressingly common, and we speak with Julie Wiebe about prolapse, what it is and how it's... Read More


Nerd Gift Extravaganza #502

November 30, 2018

It's that time of year when nerds who care about each other buy each other nerdy presents. And because we know it can be so difficult to find that "just right" gift for the geek in your life, we're here to jump start the process with a boost of inspiration. We've brought back pop-science power-readers Joanne Manaster and John Dupuis to highlight their favourite books from the last year that you might not have heard of. And Bethany Brookshire and Rachelle Saunders prowl the internet for gift ideas that make our inner geeks squee with delight. Visit our news section... Read More


Hidden Technology #501

November 23, 2018

This week we spend the hour with Kat Jungnickel to discuss her new book "Bikes & Bloomers: Victorian women inventors and their extraordinary cycle wear". New technology can change social expectations and sometimes requires other new inventions so everyone can participate. Those might sound like modern problems, but Victorian Britain in the 1890's had to answer the question: how can a woman use the latest must-have technology, the safety bicycle, while wearing a corset and long, multilayered skirts? Read More


500th Episode #500

November 16, 2018

This week we turn 500! To celebrate, we're taking the opportunity to go off format, talk about the journey through 500 episodes, and answer questions from our lovely listeners. Join hosts Bethany Brookshire and Rachelle Saunders as we talk through the show's history, how we've grown and changed, and what we love about the Science for the People. Here's to 500 more episodes! Read More


Technology, Work and The Future (Rebroadcast) #499

November 09, 2018

This week, we're thinking about how rapidly advancing technology will change our future, our work, and our well-being. We speak to Richard and Daniel Susskind about their book "The Future of Professions: How Technology Will Transform the Work of Human Experts" about the impacts technology may have on professional work. And Nicholas Agar comes on to talk about his book "The Sceptical Optimist" and the ways new technologies will affect our perceptions and well-being. Read More


The Poison Squad #498

November 02, 2018

This week, let's go back in time. Back to the 1900s, when life was pure and clean, and your milk was preserved with formaldehyde, your meat with Borax and your canned peas with copper. On second thought, that trip back in time doesn't sound so great. This week, we're meeting the Poison Squad. We're spending the hour with Deborah Blum talking about the history of food regulation, or the lack thereof, and her new book "The Poison Squad: One Chemist's Single-Minded Crusade for Food Safety at the Turn of the Twentieth Century". This episode is hosted by Bethany Brookshire, science writer... Read More