Episodes Archive

Effective Altruism #344

November 20, 2015

This week, we're learning how science can boost the effectiveness of philanthropy. We'll talk to philosophy professor William MacAskill about his book "Doing Good Better: Effective Altruism and How You Can Make a Difference." And we'll speak to education researcher Brendan Rigby about the ethics and impact of "voluntourism." Read More


Conversations About Death #343

November 13, 2015

This week we're exploring the science that informs our understanding of death and dying. We'll talk to Simon Davis about Post Mortem, his VICE column that explores death and other morbid topics. And analytical chemist Raychelle Burks returns to share strategies and techniques employed by forensic scientists. Read More


Amazons (Rebroadcast) #342

November 06, 2015

This week we're learning how science can shed light on the stories told by our ancestors. We're joined by folklorist and science historian Adrienne Mayor, author of "The Amazons: Lives and Legends of Warrior Women across the Ancient World," to learn what archaeology can tell us about legendary warrior women in cultures from around the world. And we'll talk to anthropologist John Hawks to learn how researchers gain insights from ancient human remains. Read More


Psychedelic Treatments #341

October 30, 2015

This week, we're talking about powerful mind-altering substances, and their potential to help treat serious mental and physical illness. We'll spend the hour with Brad Burge, Director of Communications and Marketing at Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), talking about their research and advocacy around the medical, legal, and cultural context of the therapeutic use of psychedelics. Read More


Mandatory Vaccination #340

October 23, 2015

This week, we're talking about disease prevention, public health, and whether or not some types of vaccinations should be mandatory. We'll spend the hour in a panel discussion with Barry Bloom, Harvard University's Distinguished Service Professor of the Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases, University of Toronto public health ethicist Alison Thompson, pediatrician and University of Pennsylvania vaccinology professor Paul Offit, and Nicholas Little, Vice President and General Counsel at the Center for Inquiry. Read More


Citizen Science #339

October 16, 2015

This week we're learning about distributed science projects that get the public involved in testing hypotheses and crunching data. We're joined by physicist Eric Donovan to talk about the Auroral Zone, a website that crowdsources the classification of auroras in Earth's atmosphere. We'll talk to molecular biologist Gabriel Licina of Science for the Masses about testing eyedrops to enhance night vision. Geography and environmental studies professor Robert McLeman introduces us to NatureWatch and RinkWatch, two projects that recruit people across Canada to report their observations of climate and the environment. And we'll speak to Anna Goldstein and Macon Lowman of Letters... Read More


Science and the Canadian Federal Election #338

October 09, 2015

This week, we're talking about politics, and the prospects for pro-science politicians, parties and voters in Canada. We'll spend the hour with panelists Katie Gibbs, Executive Director of Evidence for Democracy, science librarian John Dupuis, journalist Mike De Souza, and former Canadian government scientist Steven Campana, for an in-depth discussion about the treatment of science by the current Canadian government, and what's at stake for science in the upcoming federal election. Read More


Martians (REBROADCAST) #337

October 02, 2015

This week we're celebrating exciting science and entertainment focused on Mars, by listening back to two interviews about the fascinating red planet. We're joined by "lifelong space nerd" Andy Weir, to talk about "The Martian," his gripping debut novel that was recently adapted into a big-budget movie. And we're joined by journalist Elmo Keep, to talk about her article on Mars One, a nonprofit that claims to be planning a reality show about a one-way trip to establish a Martian colony. Read More


Lovelace and Babbage #336

September 25, 2015

This week we're learning about a pair of 19th-century geniuses, and the friendship that gave rise to the era of modern computers. We'll speak to artist and animator Sydney Padua about her graphic novel "The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage: The (Mostly) True Story of the First Computer." And we'll talk to Suw Charman-Anderson, founder of Ada Lovelace Day, an international celebration of the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and math. Read More


Fact Checking Elections #335

September 18, 2015

This week we're back at the intersection of science and politics, comparing economic data to partisan talking points and polling predictions to election results. We'll talk to Jim Stanford, economist at Unifor, about his report "Rhetoric & Reality: Evaluating Canada’s Economic Record Under the Harper Government." And we'll speak to pollster and consultant Donna Dasko about the science and art of polling in Canadian federal elections. Read More


Eye of the Beholder #334

September 11, 2015

This week, we're learning about the history of optics, and how our perception of the world and how we see it underwent a radical transformation in 17th-century Holland. We'll spend the hour with historian, philosopher, and science writer Laura J. Snyder, talking about her book "Eye of the Beholder: Johannes Vermeer, Antoni Van Leeuwenhoek and the Reinvention of Seeing." Science for the People is now on Patreon, and is accepting your support and donations! Visit the Patreon page to get more information about how it works, and learn about the extra content you can access as a monthly supporter! You can... Read More


How to Clone a Mammoth #333

September 04, 2015

This week we're learning about genetics research that could help preserve existing species, and might let us bring back others that have gone extinct. We'll talk to Beth Shapiro, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of California, Santa Cruz about her book "How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction." And we'll speak to biologist Richard Frankham about the use of "genetic rescue" to keep isolated animal populations from becoming dangerously inbred. Read More


Coffee Table Science #332

August 28, 2015

This week, we'll meet the authors of three big books that use stunning images to tell intriguing stories about the history of science. We'll discuss evolution and the building of the fossil record with invertebrate palaeontologist Paul Taylor, author of "A History of Life in 100 Fossils". Archivist Julie Halls shares stories of unheralded ingenuity from her book "Inventions that Didn't Change the World." And we'll learn about attempts to map the world in three dimensions from independent conservator Sylvia Sumira, author of "Globes: 400 Years of Exploration, Navigation, and Power." Read More


The Birth of The Pill (REBROADCAST) #331

August 21, 2015

This week we're listening back to an episode exploring the intersection of science, society and sex, and the origin story of the birth control pill. We'll speak to author Jonathan Eig about his book "The Birth of the Pill: How Four Crusaders Reinvented Sex and Launched a Revolution." And writer Rose Eveleth returns to talk about the history and design of the vaginal speculum. Read More


Animal Weapons #330

August 14, 2015

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." Don't forget to fill out our Listener Feedback Survey! Read More


Coal Wars #329

August 07, 2015

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


Sex, Drugs and Rock 'N' Roll #328

July 31, 2015

This week we're looking at the science - and surprising sophistication - of the instincts we serve in the pursuit of pleasure. We're joined by science writer and journalist Zoe Cormier to talk about her book "Sex, Drugs and Rock n’ Roll: The Science of Hedonism and the Hedonism of Science." And we'll indulge our passion for nerdy gift giving with Simon Saval, co-founder of GeekWrapped. Read More


Research, Regulation, and Ethics #327

July 24, 2015

This week we're learning about the regulatory frameworks that try to balance scientific progress with the safety of research subjects. We'll speak to Holly Fernandez Lynch and I. Glenn Cohen of the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School about their book "Human Subjects Research Regulation: Perspectives on the Future." And we'll speak to health journalist and editor Hilda Bastian about research, journalism, ethics and "The Chocolate Hoax." Read More


Bruno Pontecorvo #326

July 17, 2015

This week, we're digging into a tale of intrigue that may have changed the course of physics research in the 20th century. We'll spend the hour with Frank Close, Professor of Physics at the University of Oxford and Fellow of Exeter College, Oxford, talking about his book "Half-Life: The Divided Life of Bruno Pontecorvo, Physicist or Spy." We'll learn about Pontecorvo's groundbreaking career in particle physics, his defection to the Soviet Union, and the accusations that he traded nuclear secrets at the height of the Cold War. Read More


Happy People #325

July 10, 2015

This week we're exploring what science can tell us about happiness. We'll speak to John Helliwell, Co-Director of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) Programme on Social Interactions, Identity, and Well-Being, about the World Happiness Report, a global project that uses tools from economics, psychology, health statistics and more to study the happiness of people and nations. And we'll speak to journalist  Michael Booth about his book "The Almost Nearly Perfect People: Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia." Read More