Episodes Archive

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


Built #497

October 26, 2018

This week we're talking about towers, bridges, sinking cathedrals, and other feats of structural engineering. How do we build skyscrapers? How do engineers plan for disaster? What have we learned from structures that have failed about how to build things better? We speak with structural engineer Roma Agrawal about her book "Built: The Hidden Stories Behind Our Structures" and what the constructed world we live in looks like through an engineer's eyes. Read More


Anti-Intellectualism: Down With the Scientist! #496

October 19, 2018

This week we get to the bottom of anti-intellectualism. We'll be speaking with David Robson, senior journalist at BBC Future, about misology -- the hatred of reason and argument -- and how it may be connected to distrust of intellectuals. Then we'll speak with Bruno Takahashi, associate professor of environmental journalism and communication at Michigan State University, about how the way we consume media affects our scientific knowledge and how we feel about scientists and the press. Read More


Earth Science in Space #495

October 12, 2018

Some worlds are made of sand. Some are made of water. Some are even made of salt. In science fiction and fantasy, planet can be made of whatever you want. But what does that mean for how the planets themselves work? When in doubt, throw an asteroid at it. This is a live show recorded at the 2018 Dragon Con in Atlanta Georgia. Featuring Travor Valle, Mika McKinnon, David Moscato, Scott Harris, and moderated by our own Bethany Brookshire. Note: The sound isn't as good as we'd hoped but we love the guests and the conversation and we wanted to... Read More


The Tangled Taxonomic Tree #494

October 05, 2018

The idea of the tree of life appears in many of the world's religions, and it appears, famously, in science, with Darwin's famous tree of life, where species evolve over millions of years from a common ancestor in the trunk to new species in the branches. But while Darwin's tree of life endures in textbooks, t-shirts and tattoos, science has moved on. And the tree of life has become more of a tangle. We will speak with David Quammen about his new book "The Tangled Tree: A Radical New History of Life", and with Julie Dunning Hotopp, who studies how... Read More


Trowel Blazing (Rebroadcast) #493

September 28, 2018

This week we look at some of the lesser known historical figures and current public perception of anthropology, archaeology, and other fields that end in "ology". Rebecca Wragg Sykes, an archaeologist, writer, and co-founder of the TrowelBlazers, tells us about the Raising Horizons project and how their team is trying to shine the spotlight on the forgotten historical women of archaeological, geological, and palaeontological science. And Kristina Killgrove, assistant professor of anthropology at the University of West Florida and science writer, talks about the public perception of the fields of anthropology and archeology, and how those science are represented -... Read More


Flint Water Crisis #492

September 21, 2018

This week we dig into the Flint water crisis: what happened, how it got so bad, what turned the tide, what's still left to do, and the mix of science, politics, and activism that are still needed to finish pulling Flint out of the crisis. We spend the hour with Dr Mona Hanna-Attisha, a physician, scientist, activist, the founder and director of the Pediatric Public Health Initiative, and author of the book "What the Eyes Don't See: A Story of Crisis, Resistance, and Hope in an American City". Read More


Frankenstein LIVES #491

September 14, 2018

Two hundred years ago, Mary Shelley gave us a legendary monster, shaping science fiction for good. Thanks to her, the name of Frankenstein is now famous world-wide. But who was the real monster here? The creation? Or the scientist that put him together? Tune in to a live show from Dragon Con 2018 in Atlanta, as we breakdown the science of Frankenstein, complete with grave robbing and rivers of maggots. Featuring Tina Saey, Lucas Hernandez, Travor Valle, and Nancy Miorelli. Moderated by our own Bethany Brookshire. Related links: Scientists successfully transplant lab-grown lungs into pigs, by Maria Temming on Science... Read More


Breaking Down Chemical Weapons #490

September 07, 2018

It sounds like something out of a spy novel: an ex-spy is poisoned on a park bench, or a dictator's brother is sprayed in the face with a chemical weapon and dies. But these are real life events, and they are the result of chemical weapons. What are these chemicals, how do the work, and what on Earth do people do about them? We're talking with chemist Chris Cramer about his expertise, getting rid of chemical weapons. Related links: Nerge agent attack on spy used 'Novichok' poison, on c&en Novichok poisoning breakthrough as original container found, on Chemistry World Decontamination... Read More


Sand #489

August 31, 2018

Did you know that, even though sand the most used building materials in world, the sand in the desert is more or less useless? Did you know there is a serious black market trade in sand in certain parts of the world, and that people are murdered to protect that black market trade? This week we learn just how much of our modern world is built with, on, and using sand. We spend the hour with award-winning journalist and author Vince Beiser, talking about his new book "The World in a Grain: The Story of Sand and How it Transformed... Read More


Big Chicken (Rebroadcast) #488

August 24, 2018

We eat a lot of chicken. But we didn't used to. What changed? In part, what changed was the discovery that antibiotics could build a bigger, better chicken. Now, the big chicken may be suffering the results of too much medicine. This week, we hear from science journalist Maryn McKenna about her new book "Big Chicken: The Incredible Story of How Antibiotics Created Modern Agriculture and Changed the Way the World Eats." We'll also hear from zoonotic disease specialist Tara Smith about the challenges scientists face trying to get out of the lab and into the pigpen. This episode is... Read More


Knitting in PEARL #487

August 17, 2018

This week we're discussing math and things made from yarn. We welcome mathematician Daina Taimina to the show to discuss her book "Crocheting Adventures with Hyperbolic Planes: Tactile Mathematics, Art and Craft for all to Explore", and how making geometric models that people can play with helps teach math. And we speak with research scientist Janelle Shane about her hobby of training neural networks to do things like name colours, come up with Halloween costume ideas, and generate knitting patterns: often with hilarious results. Related links: Crocheting the Hyperbolic Plane by Daina Taimina and David Henderson Daina's Hyperbolic Crochet blog... Read More


Volcanoes #486

August 10, 2018

This week we're talking volcanoes. Because there are few things that fascinate us more than the amazing, unstoppable power of an erupting volcano. First, Jessica Johnson takes us through the latest activity from the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii to help us understand what's happening with this headline-grabbing volcano. And Janine Krippner joins us to highlight some of the lesser-known volcanoes that can be found in the USA, the different kinds of eruptions we might one day see at them, and how damaging they have the potential to be. Related links: Kilauea status report at USGS A beginner's guide to Hawaii's otherworldly... Read More


Fine Times with Wine #485

August 03, 2018

How do you pick your wine? By its history? By its grape? By the picture on the bottle? Well you're about to get your wine world turned upside down. We'll hear about the history of this fabulous fermentation from Kevin Begos, author of the book "Tasting the Past: The Science of Flavor and the Search for the Origins of Wine". Then we'll talk with Erika Szymanski about the little microbes that make it all possible, yeast! On the way, we're going to have Science for the People's first ever wine tasting! Related links: Background music: Mozart Flute Quartet in D... Read More


Animal Weapons (Rebroadcast) #484

July 27, 2018

This week, we're talking about weapons: both the ones that evolve in nature, and those created by humanity. We'll talk about the arms races that spur the development of horns and claws, warships and nuclear weapons, with Doug Emlen, Professor in the Division of Biological Sciences at the University of Montana, and author of "Animal Weapons: The Evolution of Battle." Read More


Wild Moms #483

July 20, 2018

This week we're talking about what it takes to be a mother in the wild, and how how human moms compare to other moms in the animal kingdom. We're spending an hour with Dr. Carin Bondar, prolific science communicator and author. We'll be discussing a myriad of stories from her latest book, "Wild Moms: Motherhood in the Animal Kingdom", covering the exciting, stressful and even sinister sides of motherhood. Read More