Episodes Archive

Bacteria in Bodies and On The Farm #430

July 14, 2017

This week we look at how new science and new challenges are pushing us to think differently about the role of bacteria in healthcare and pest control in agriculture. We speak to award-winning science writer Ed Yong about his book I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life" and how our understanding of how microscopic organisms affect our life and health has changed. And we talk with Emily Monosson, environmental toxicologist and author, about her book "Natural Defense: Enlisting Bugs and Germs to Protect Our Food and Health" about the parallels between healthcare and agriculture... Read More


Gene Drives #429

July 07, 2017

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


Cities of the Future (Rebroadcast) #428

June 30, 2017

This week, we're listening to "Cities of The Future," a panel discussion about the future of human living spaces recorded live at CONvergence 2014. Panelists Jamie Bernstein, Ryan Consell and Shawn Lawrence Otto discuss how cities can adapt to accommodate the changing demographics, economics, and environment of a warming planet. Read More


The Life Project #427

June 23, 2017

This week we're diving deep into the history and current state of some of the largest and longest running studies in the world. We speak with science journalist, Chief Magazine Editor for Nature, and author Helen Pearson about her book "The Life Project: The Extraordinary Story of 70,000 Ordinary Lives" and the history of the long-running series of British longitudinal cohort studies. And we'll talk with Professor Parminder Raina about the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging an what it's like to be at the beginning of a cohort study that could run for decades. Read More


Everybody Poops #426

June 16, 2017

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


Cooperative Microbes #425

June 09, 2017

This week, we're looking at some of the ways bacteria cooperate with other organisms to break down plants. First we speak with Dr. Lisa Karr, Associate Professor of Animal Science at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and get into the details of how rabbits and cows ferment their food. And Mark Stumpf-Allen, Compost Programs Coordinator for the City of Edmonton, has some practical tips to help you keep your compost pile and soil alive and happy. Read More


Biohacking (Rebroadcast) #424

June 02, 2017

This week we're talking about do-it-yourself biology, and the community labs that are changing the biotech landscape from the grassroots up. We'll discuss open-source genetics and biohacking spaces with Will Canine of Brooklyn lab Genspace, and Tito Jankowski, co-founder of Silicon Valley's BioCurious. And we'll talk to transdisciplinary artist and educator Heather Dewey-Hagborg about her art projects exploring our relationship with genetics and privacy. Read More


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