Episodes Archive

Built On Bones #423

May 26, 2017

This week we dig into the world of bioarchaeology to discover what a bunch of dead people's bones can tell us about our past. We spend the hour with Brenna Hassett, bioarchaeologist and author of the new book Built on Bones: 15,000 Years of Urban Life and Death", learning about the surprising information stashed away in teeth, bones, and mass graves. Read More


Is Our Children Learning #422

May 19, 2017

This week on science for the people, we're taking on the educational system. We'll be talking with Ulrich Boser about what people think they know about education. It turns out that education is a lot like driving: everyone thinks they're well above average in their knowledge, which means half of us are probably wrong. Then, we'll speak with education researcher Luis Leyva about how math education privileges some at the expense of others. We may not think about it, but the way we have always taught math leaves many people of color behind. Finally, we'll speak with cognitive neuroscientist Suzanne... Read More


Hopeful Monsters #421

May 12, 2017

This week on Science for the People, we are talking about a controversial theory in evolutionary biology that has led to research on the role of single mutations that drastically alter the body plan of organisms. Guest host Anika Hazra speaks with Olivier Rieppel, curator of Evolutionary Biology at the Field Museum, about the history of this theory and where it stands within modern science. And she talks with Nipam Patel, professor of Molecular Cell Biology and Intergrative Biology at UC Berkely, about his experimental research on the role of certain mutated genes in the physical development of crustaceans. Read More


Medical Marijuana (Rebroadcast) #420

May 05, 2017

This week, we're taking a closer look at the medical marijuana controversy. How effective is medical marijuana and for what conditions is it a suitable treatment? In our attempt to separate evidence from anecdote we're joined by a panel of three: Dr. David Casarett, a palliative care physician and author of the book "Stoned: A Doctor's Case for Medical Marijuana"; Dr. Robert Wolff, a systematic reviewer for Kleijnen Systematic Reviews and coauthor of a recent systematic review to assess benefits and harms of cannabis for medical use; and Dr. Marcel Bonn-Miller, assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the... Read More


The Death and Life of the Single-Family House #419

April 28, 2017

This week on Science for the People we take a closer look at North America's housing culture: how it got the way it is today, and how it's changing. We speak with Nathanael Lauster, an Associate Professor in the Sociology Department at the University of British Columbia, about his book "The Death and Life of the Single-Family House: Lessons from Vancouver on Building a Livable City". Read More


Animal Research Revisited #418

April 21, 2017

This week we’re revisiting animal research. There's no denying animal research has done amazing things for both humanity and the animals we live and work with. But there are also good reasons why it makes people uncomfortable. We'll talk with philosopher John Hadley about the different philosophical perspectives on animal research, and how scientists might be more open about their practices. We'll also speak with philosopher Janet Stemwedel about current practices regulating research in the United States, how reducing animal use dovetails with issues of scientific reproducibility, and how we can have better, more productive conversations on what is often... Read More


Lab-Cultured Beef #417

April 14, 2017

This week we go into a lab that's working to make our kitchens more sustainable. Guest host Jessie Yaros speaks with Professor Mark Post about lab cultured beef, including how a hamburger is grown from scratch in the lab, the advantages of cultured beef over traditional factory farming processes, and the currently public perception of eating lab-made meat products. And Bethany Brookshire chats with astronomy writer Chris Crockett about the approaching Grand Finale of the Cassini mission and how the spacecraft's destruction could provide us with exciting new information about Saturn and its rings. Read More


Bodies Everywhere (Rebroadcast) #416

April 07, 2017

This week we're looking at the morbid and fascinating history of our attempts to grapple with disease and death. We're joined by medical historian Richard Barnett to talk about his book "The Sick Rose: Disease and the Art of Medical Illustration." And we'll speak to mortician and blogger Caitlin Doughty about her book "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory", and her ongoing YouTube series "Ask a Mortician", about the history, science and cultural attitudes attached to dealing with the deceased. Read More


Weapons of Math Destruction #415

March 31, 2017

This week on Science for the People we look at the modern, inventive ways we try to use math and algorithms to make better decisions, and what happens when those solutions cause more problems than they solve. We speak with Cathy O'Neil about her book Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy and the increasingly opaque and unregulated algorithms that are creeping into our lives. We also talk with David Robinson, co-founder and principal of the think tank Upturn, about their report on the current use of and evidence behind Predictive Policing. Read More


Perpetual Now #414

March 24, 2017

Most of us probably think about memories as being about the past. But when memories are gone, it becomes clear just how much they are also about the future. This week we are in search of lost memories. We'll speak with Michael McCloskey about how memories are formed and how you test for memory in people with amnesia. We'll also talk with Michael Lemonick about his new book, The Perpetual Now: A Story of Memory, Amnesia and Love", and the story of Lonnie Sue Johnson and her memory loss. This episode is hosted by Bethany Brookshire, science writer from Science... Read More


Concrete #413

March 17, 2017

This week is all about that most ubiquitous of building materials: concrete. Historian Robert Courland joins us to talk about his book "Concrete Planet: The Strange and Fascinating Story of the World's Most Common Man-Made Material", our long history using concrete, and what modern engineers could learn from the Romans. We'll speak with Cristina Zanotti, Assistant Professor in the Civil Engineering Department at the University of British Columbia, about building better -- and more sustainable -- modern concrete structures. And we'll talk with organizers Andrew Tefs and Dave Barchyn about the Great Northern Concrete Toboggan Race. Read More


PTSD #412

March 10, 2017

This week on Science for the People, we’re talking about our changing understanding of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and how we define the trauma that can trigger it. We speak with Alexei Morozov, an Assistant Professor at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, about his work studying the social signals of distress in mouse models, and about how animal models are helping us better understand PTSD in humans. And we talk with Dr. Monnica Williams, Associate Professor at the University of Connecticut and licensed psychologist, about our changing understanding of what trauma is and how it can be caused. Read More


Coal Wars (Rebroadcast) #411

March 03, 2017

This week we're learning more about the fossil fuel that powered humanity's first industrial age, and helped set us on a course for a looming climate crisis. We'll speak to Richard Martin, energy editor at the MIT Technology Review, about his book "Coal Wars: The Future of Energy and the Fate of the Planet." And we'll explore the environmental impact of coal with Jeff Deyette, assistant director of energy research in the Climate and Energy program at the Union of Concerned Scientists. Read More


The Big Sleep #410

February 24, 2017

This week we take a closer look at hibernation and how it works. We speak with Kelly Drew, a neuroscientist at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, who studies the Arctic ground squirrel, the "Usain Bolt" of hibernators. And we talk with Frank van Breukelen, a biologist at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, who studies an animal who isn't very good at hibernating: the tenrec. This episode is hosted by Bethany Brookshire, science writer from Science News. Read More


Trump War On Science #409

February 17, 2017

This week we look at what's happening to science in the first days of the Donald Trump presidency, and what might happen if we don't take action in a world where science is growing increasingly political — whether or not we want it to. Librarian John Dupuis returns to talk about what's happened so far, why he's started a chronology of this administration's affects on science, and the similarities and differences to the Canadian War on Science he tracked previously. And we speak with Katie Gibbs, Executive Director of Evidence for Democracy, about the particular challenges and concerns of scientists... Read More


The Wasp That Brainwashed the Caterpillar #408

February 10, 2017

This week, we look at the strange, curious, and sometimes amusing strategies creatures use to make it through the day. Guest host Jessie Yaros spends the hour with science writer and author Matt Simon talking about his new book "The Wasp That Brainwashed the Caterpillar: Evolution's Most Unbelievable Solutions to Life's Biggest Problems". The Science for the People team is excited to welcome Jessie Yaros, a new guest host, to our team. Jessie is a doctoral student in Neurobiology and Behavior in California. Read More


Voices Within #407

February 03, 2017

This week we're thinking about how we think: the ways we talk to -- and with -- ourselves, why we do it at all, and what happens when some of us hear voices that aren't our own. We spend the hour with Charles Fernyhough, Professor of Psychology at Durham University, about his book "The Voices Within: The History and Science of How We Talk To Ourselves". More links of interest: Hearing The Voice, an interdisciplinary study of voice hearing. You can find their FAQ here. Intervoice: The International Hearing Voices Network Read More


Running Low (Rebroadcast) #406

January 27, 2017

This week, we're going back to a previous episode and looking across the Periodic Table and assessing the scarcity of modern society's essential elements. We're joined by Dr. Thomas Graedel, Director of the Center for Industrial Ecology at Yale University, to talk about the rare metals that play a role in our electronic devices. We'll speak to physics Professor Dr. Moses Hung-Wai Chan about our dwindling supply of helium. And we'll talk about the phosphorous that plays a critical role in modern agriculture, with ecology professor Dr. James Elser, co-organizer of the Sustainable Phosphorus Initiative at Arizona State University. Read More


STEM Pipeline #405

January 20, 2017

This week we look at the current state of the STEM pipeline and what happens when people drip out. We speak with Paula Stephan, Professor of Economics at Georgia State University, about practicing "PhD contraception" in order to better match supply with realistic demand. We talk with Gary McDowell, Executive Director of Future of Research, about ways we might try to change the STEM process from the inside. And we speak with Melissa Vaught, a biochemist turned editor, about the realities of going into a science PhD and what to do on the other side. This episode is hosted by... Read More


Sex In The Sea #404

January 13, 2017

This week we talk about sex... in the sea! Anika Hazra speaks with marine biologist Marah Hardt about her new book "Sex in the Sea: Our Intimate Connection with Sex-Changing Fish, Romantic Lobsters, Kinky Squid, and Other Salty Erotica of the Deep". We discuss the multitude of bizarre strategies marine organisms use to get it on, the obstacles they face as humans become increasingly intrusive on their sex lives, and how we can protect the integrity of marine reproduction. Read More