Long before Serial, I was listening to podcasts every day. I listen in the car during my lengthy commute, while I am doing house work, walking the dog, or even in the lab when I am stuck mindlessly labeling tubes or washing glassware. I learn so much from the podcasts I listen to, and they are entertaining and fun! I promise! However, my mass consumption of podcasts has often left me feeling isolated when I try to strike up a conversation with someone about something I heard on last weeks Radio Lab and they reply, “What’s a podcast?” Well, that stops this March! Major podcast producers have declared the month of March to be #trypod month. I will no longer let my friends and family miss out on this fantastic form of entertainment. To get you all to #trypod, here is a list of my favorite (non-scientist friendly) science podcasts…
- Science Vs. is a fantastic podcast from Gimlet Media that tackles some of the most controversial and opinion filled topics by delving into the science. It is hosted by the delightful and enthusiastic Wendy Zuckerman, and has just released it’s second season by reviewing all of the science behind the hot button talking points surrounding Immigration, and the unfortunately relevant to my life, issue of Acne.
- You’re the Expert is a hilarious mash-up of science and comedy, presented in a Game Show format. Host, Chris Duffy, with the help of a panel of comedians, interviews a scientist each week to learn about their work, life, and whatever the curious panel might ask The Expert. The most recent episode… The Love Life of Penguins!
- Star Talk Radio, hosted by beloved astrophysicist, Neil deGrasse Tyson, explores the intersection of Pop Culture and Science. The show covers topics like the Big Bang, Space Exploration, and the future of Earth with the added spice of comedian co-hosts, celebrities, and brilliant scientists.
- But Why? This podcast from Vermont Public Radio is a podcast where your kids burning science questions get answered by experts in a manner that is fun and digestible for all ages. A great way to pass the time during those long family car rides to Grandma’s!
- Story Collider. It was recently reported that a lot of Americans do not personally know a single scientist. Well, this podcast will introduce you to a diverse group of everyday scientists. In this The Moth style podcast, scientist tell moving and fascinating stories about their life and work with often intense passion and a personal touch. I suggest the March 3rd episode that starts with a story from University of New Hampshire Graduate School Alum, Helen Cheng.
- Radio Lab is a beautifully produced podcast and radio show from WNYC that can also be heard weekly on your local NPR station. Though not currently releasing regular new episodes there is an impressive archive of fascinating science stories to consume on-line. You will fall in love with ying-and-yang hosts, Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich, as they weave their way through the science with the help of experts. If you enjoy this, you might also check out their new mini-series, More Perfect, which uses many of the same tools to take listeners through the fascinating and often surprisingly dramatic history of the Supreme Court.
These should get you started! All of these podcasts are available for free on iTunes, or any other podcast app. I have a Samsung phone and like the Podcast Addict App. Oh, and a friendly tip, downloading and streaming uses a lot of data, best to download them on WiFi for off-line listening later. Happy Listening!