So you need your science fix, but written articles just aren’t doing it for you? Or do you have a long drive to work, and can’t stand hearing Biebs on the radio again? Podcasts have experienced a major resurgence in recent years as a fascinating form of storytelling, but they’re also one of our favourite ways to learn about science news and the world around us.
Science podcast lovers are spoilt for choice, but that means that if you’re just starting off, it can be a little daunting. But don’t worry - we’ve put together a list of our top science podcasts, and why we think you should check them out. So here they are, in no particular order.
1. Science Vs
"Everyone has an opinion, but then there’s science."
Australian science journalist Wendy Zukerman has created a show that tackles everything from pornography to the palaeo diet, and does it with flair. These 20-minute episodes take a recent fad or news-worthy topic and explain the actual science behind it (if there is any).
The mix of expert interviews and interesting audio content make the show a great first podcast for those wanting to get started.
So far, there’s only one season of Science Vs, but another is in the works for 2016, with news that Zukerman has been picked up by Gimlet Media in New York City.
Where to start? Check out this episode on the science happiness to start off.
Skeptics Guide has been going since 2005, and has over 500 episodes, at 80 minutes each. Although that probably sounds a bit intimidating, if you have some time to burn, these guys are definitely worth listening to.
Steve Novella is a neurologist at Yale University and hosts the show, along with a crew of four to six ‘skeptical rogues’ that join him every week to create interesting discussion about science news and critical thinking. The group has an avid community of fellow skeptics, who dispute pseudoscience and critically investigate the world around them.
Where to start? Check out this recent episode from February, which includes an interview with SciBabe, as well as the hype surrounding probiotics.
We understand if 80-minute podcasts are not your thing, so what about 60-second ones? Scientific American does a short podcast every single day, with interesting topics and scientists coming in to discuss their topics of expertise. The best bit? It’s only a minute long.
Where to start? Check out this one on the HPV vaccine.
Radiolab is awesome. Hosted by Jad Abumrad, but with a large number of staff, Radiolab is one of the best audio experiences in science podcasting. Abumrad and the team use sound, music, and expert interviews to weave an audio story in just 30 minutes. The blur between science, philosophy, and human experience is definitely worth a listen.
Where to start? Check out this episode about the intersections between biology and engineering.
This one-hour radio show broadcast by the BBC is not only educational, but also very entertaining. Based out of Cambridge University in the UK, the show deals with science news, listener questions, and interesting interviews with scientists. The premise is science stripped down to its bare essentials, and it definitely delivers as an informative and funny science podcast.
Where to start? Check out this 3-minute Question of the Week on "Do humans have pheromones?"
Nature releases a podcast every week about new studies published in the journal, interviews with the scientists involved, and in-depth analysis. It’s traditional science communication done right. Hosted by Kerri Smith and Adam Levy, the 30-minute show is an interesting look into the world of top scientists and ground-breaking research.
Where to start? Check out this episode about the future.