Episodes Archive

Lightning Flowers #585

May 17, 2021

How does someone's life change when they get or discover a chronic medical condition? What is it like to have a long-term relationship with the modern healthcare system? How do we define medical necessity in a profession where knowledge is highly specialized while also balancing a patient's autonomy and quality of life? What are the impacts of creating lifesaving technology on the remote areas of the world where the resources to make them are extracted, and how do we take those impacts into the calculus of lifesaving value? This week host Rachelle Saunders speaks with Katherine Standefer, the author of... Read More

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Time for the Gory Details #584

April 16, 2021

There are lots of things about the natural world many people like to avoid, or even pretend don't exist. Like the mites that are the same size and shape as the pores on our faces, or how likely it is that your dog will eat you when you die. Luckily, some people don't want to avoid those topics, and this week we're here with one of them. Host Bethany Brookshire talks with Erika Engelhaupt about her new book "Gory Details: Adventures in the Dark Side of Science". Read More

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The Unavoidable Complexities of Food #583

March 30, 2021

We can definitely agree there is a lot about our current food systems that isn't sustainable. But what's harder to agree on is what we need to do to fix it for the better, while still ensuring everyone on the planet has enough to eat. Everyone has an opinion about what food we should eat and what food we shouldn't, what food systems are harmful and which are sustainable... but those opinions are often at odds. Why are we so passionate about what we eat and how that food gets to our plates? Host Rachelle Saunders talks with development chef... Read More

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Cities Lost and Found #582

March 01, 2021

What do ancient cities have to tell us about ourselves and our future? Annalee Newitz talks about their latest book, "Four Lost Cities: A Secret History of the Urban Age", and what ancient ruins can tell us about our modern selves. From Catalhoyuk to Cahokia, join us on a tour of cities past. Read More

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The Art and Science of Play #581

February 02, 2021

For humans and creatures of all sorts, play goes beyond having fun. Cognitive scientist Junyi Chu shares about the motives behind play, from showing off one's fitness to practicing skills, and she shares about her research studying children, play and cognition. Game designer Holly Gramazio comes at play from the perspective of an artist. She talks about how games, such as Pokemon Go or others that originated during the pandemic, can change how players perceive a place and connect to other people. Related link: Play, Curiosity, and Cognition by Junyi Chu and Laura E. Schulz Read More

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So Long 2020, We Won't Miss You #580

January 07, 2021

2020 is over, and honestly? Good riddance. But before we go, let's take a look back. Because 2020 was tough, but it was also a year that science played a bigger role in people's lives than ever before. Hosts Bethany Brookshire and Rachelle Saunders talk with Tina Saey, Deja Perkins, and Carolyn Gramling about three big science stories that definitely made an impact on 2020. Related links: The science stories that defined 2020: coronavirus, diveristy movements and more As 202 comes to an end, here's what we still don't know about COVID-19 This COVID-19 pandemic timeline shows how fast the... Read More

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It's a Pandemic, Why Are We So Bored?! #579

December 21, 2020

It's the holidays and it's 2020. For many of us, it's the first time we won't be able to be together, doing the traditional things we always do. It seems like it might be okay, I mean, people are always telling us to make our own traditions. So why does it hurt so much? Why does the loss of our rituals leave us so adrift? And why, with all the pressure of the pandemic and joblessness and politics are any of us bored? Bethany Brookshire speaks with Science News social sciences writer Sujata Gupta about the importance of rituals, and... Read More

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Science Books for Science Nerds #578

December 08, 2020

Once again we've brought back Joanne Manaster and John Dupuis to reflect on their 2020 reading lists, and to highlight their favourite reads. So grab a coffee, tea, hot cocoa, or other cosy beverage of your choice, pull up our companion blog post with the full book list with links, and settle in for our annual episode that is sure to add new books to your reading list. Charities mentioned in this episode: National Low Income Housing Coalition (USA) American Indian Science and Engineering Society (USA) Equal Justice Initiative (USA) Charity Navigator (USA) Food Banks Canada Canadian Alliance to End... Read More

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Vaccine Moonshot #577

November 09, 2020

We're still in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic, and one of the things many of us are hoping for every day is more good news about a vaccine. What does the Coronavirus vaccine effort look like? How does that compare to the usual way vaccines are pursued and developed? How many are in process, what stage are they at, what approach do they take, and which ones look promising? What's "good enough" for a Cornoavirus vaccine when it comes to efficacy and safety? How quickly can we roll one out when we decide one works well enough to start... Read More

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Programming Announcement: Slowing Down for a Bit #ANN1

November 02, 2020

Just a quick message abour our somewhat erratic programming schedule of late. For a variety of reasons, our team needs to slow down a bit to give ourselves time and energy to focus on other things going on in our lives and this crazy year, so we'll be going to a monthly schedule for a while to give us here at Science for the People some room to breath. Don't worry, we aren't going anywhere; we're just going a little slower for a while. Read More

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Science Communication in Creative Places #576

October 19, 2020

When you think of science communication, you might think of TED talks or museum talks or video talks, or... people giving lectures. It's a lot of people talking. But there's more to sci comm than that. This week host Bethany Brookshire talks to three people who have looked at science communication in places you might not expect it. We'll speak with Mauna Dasari, a graduate student at Notre Dame, about making mammals into a March Madness match. We'll talk with Sarah Garner, director of the Pathologists Assistant Program at Tulane University School of Medicine, who takes pathology instruction out of... Read More

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Tasting Qualities #575

October 05, 2020

Do you like tea? If you, like many of us, do, then you probably have an idea (or perhaps very strong opinions) of what a "good cup of tea" tastes like. But what does "quality tea" really mean? This week host Rachelle Saunders speaks with Sarah Besky, Associate Professor in the IRL School at Cornell and author of the book "Tasting Qualities: The Past and Future of Tea", about the unique history of tea production and valuation to try and understand what we mean when we say "quality tea". Read More

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State of the Heart #574

September 20, 2020

This week we focus on heart disease, heart failure, what blood pressure is and why it's bad when it's high. Host Rachelle Saunders talks with physician, clinical researcher, and writer Haider Warraich about his book "State of the Heart: Exploring the History, Science, and Future of Cardiac Disease" and the ails of our hearts. Read More

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Penis. That's It. That's the title. #573

September 13, 2020

This episode is about penises. That was your content warning. Penises. Where they came from. Why they're useful. And the many, many wild things that animals do with them. Come for the world's oldest penis, stay for the creature that ejaculates 80 percent of its bodyweight. Host Bethany Brookshire talks with Emily Willingham about her new book, "Phallacy: Life Lessons from the Animal Penis". Read More

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The Alchemy of Us #572

September 07, 2020

We live in a material world. Each piece of that stuff has a story behind it – from the inconspicuous glass and steel that fashions our built environments to the transistors in the tech that siphons up all our attention. In this week's conversation, host Carolyn Wilke speaks with scientist and science writer Ainissa Ramirez, author of "The Alchemy of Us: How Humans and Matter Transformed One Another", to pull back the curtain on the materials that have shaped society and the seemingly unlikely people behind them. Read More

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The Address Book #571

August 24, 2020

We don't really notice street addresses, but they're integral to how modern society works. They've become integral to our identity in ways we don't really notice... until we don't have one. But where did street addresses come from? Who decides what names or words can be addresses? And how does a government's approach to addresses impact its people? This week host Rachelle Saunders speaks with lawyer and writer Deirdre Mask about her new book "The Address Book: What Street Addresses Reveal About Identity, Race, Wealth, and Power". Read More

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Sea Ice #570

August 16, 2020

This week, host Marion Kilgour discusses the effects of climate change on Arctic sea ice, and the Inuit communities that rely on the ice for wood, food, and roads. SmartICE is a social enterprise developing a near real-time sea-ice monitoring and information sharing system that blends Inuit traditional knowledge with state-of-the-art technology. Rex Holwell explains how climate change has affected sea ice in his lifetime, and how SmartICE sensors are used to keep communities safe. And Dr. Trevor Bell joins us to discuss how SmartICE formed and why it's so important to ensure that the communities out on the sea... Read More

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Facing Fear #569

August 10, 2020

What do you fear? I mean really fear? Well, ok, maybe right now that's tough. We're living in a new age and definition of fear. But what do we do about it? Eva Holland has faced her fears, including trauma and phobia. She lived to tell the tale and write a book: "Nerve: Adventures in the Science of Fear". Read More

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Poker Face Psychology #568

July 27, 2020

Anyone who's seen pop culture depictions of poker might think statistics and math is the only way to get ahead. But no, there's psychology too. Author Maria Konnikova took her Ph.D. in psychology to the poker table, and turned out to be good. So good, she went pro in poker, and learned all about her own biases on the way. We're talking about her new book "The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned to Pay Attention, Master Myself, and Win". Read More

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Because Internet #567

July 20, 2020

This week we dig into the grammar, idiosyncracies, and patterns of mondern writing the internet has made not just possible, but necessary: the writing you and I do all the time via email, text and Tweet. Join host Rachelle Saunders and guest Gretchen McCulloch, blogger, Wired columnist, podcaster, and author of the book "Because Internet: Understand the New Rules of Language", as they pick apart the language of the internet era from the history and use of emojis to the ethics of using Twitter as a data resource to better understand language. Related links: Children Are Using Emoji for Digital-Age... Read More

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