149 episodes

A two-time Peabody Award-winner, Radiolab is an investigation told through sounds and stories, and centered around one big idea. In the Radiolab world, information sounds like music and science and culture collide. Hosted by Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich, the show is designed for listeners who demand skepticism, but appreciate wonder.
WNYC Studios is a listener-supported producer of other leading podcasts including On the Media, Snap Judgment, Death, Sex & Money, Nancy and Here’s the Thing with Alec Baldwin.
© WNYC Studios

Radiolab WNYC

    • Documentary
    • 4.7, 78 Ratings

A two-time Peabody Award-winner, Radiolab is an investigation told through sounds and stories, and centered around one big idea. In the Radiolab world, information sounds like music and science and culture collide. Hosted by Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich, the show is designed for listeners who demand skepticism, but appreciate wonder.
WNYC Studios is a listener-supported producer of other leading podcasts including On the Media, Snap Judgment, Death, Sex & Money, Nancy and Here’s the Thing with Alec Baldwin.
© WNYC Studios

    The Wubi Effect

    The Wubi Effect

    When we think of China today, we think of a technological superpower. From Huawei and 5G to TikTok and viral social media, China is stride for stride with the United States in the world of computing. However, China’s technological renaissance almost didn’t happen. And for one very basic reason: The Chinese language, with its 70,000 plus characters, couldn’t fit on a keyboard. 

    Today, we tell the story of Professor Wang Yongmin, a hard headed computer programmer who solved this puzzle and laid the foundation for the China we know today.

    This episode was reported and produced by Simon Adler with reporting assistance from Yang Yang.

    Special thanks to Martin Howard. You can view his renowned collection of typewriters at: antiquetypewriters.com

    Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate. 

    • 55 min
    Uncounted

    Uncounted

    First things first: our very own Latif Nasser has an exciting new show on Netflix. He talks to Jad about the hidden forces of the world that connect us all.

    Then, with an eye on the upcoming election, we take a look back: at two pieces from More Perfect Season 3 about Constitutional amendments that determine who gets to vote.

    Former Radiolab producer Julia Longoria takes us to Washington, D.C. The capital is at the heart of our democracy, but it’s not a state, and it wasn’t until the 23rd Amendment that its people got the right to vote for president. But that still left DC without full representation in Congress; D.C. sends a "non-voting delegate" to the House. Julia profiles that delegate, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, and her unique approach to fighting for power in a virtually powerless role.

    Second, Radiolab producer Sarah Qari looks at a current fight to lower the US voting age to 16 that harkens back to the fight for the 26th Amendment in the 1960s. Eighteen-year-olds at the time argued that if they were old enough to be drafted to fight in the War, they were old enough to have a voice in our democracy. But what about today, when even younger Americans are finding themselves at the center of national political debates? Does it mean we should lower the voting age even further?

    Music in this episode by Carling & Will

    This episode was reported and produced by Julia Longoria and Sarah Qari.

    Check out Latif Nasser’s new Netflix show Connected here.

    Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate. 

    • 50 min
    Invisible Allies

    Invisible Allies

    As scientists have been scrambling to find new and better ways to treat covid-19, they’ve come across some unexpected allies. Invisible and primordial, these protectors have been with us all along. And they just might help us to better weather this viral storm.

    To kick things off, we travel through time from a homeless shelter to a military hospital, pondering the pandemic-fighting power of the sun. And then, we dive deep into the periodic table to look at how a simple element might actually be a microbe’s biggest foe.

    This episode was reported by Simon Adler and Molly Webster, and produced by Annie McEwen, Pat Walters, Simon Adler, and Molly Webster, with production help from Tad Davis.

    Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate. 

    • 41 min
    Baby Blue Blood Drive

    Baby Blue Blood Drive

    Horseshoe crabs are not much to look at.  But beneath their unassuming catcher’s-mitt shell, they harbor a half-billion-year-old secret: a superpower that helped them outlive the dinosaurs and survive all the Earth’s mass extinctions.  And what is that secret superpower? Their blood. Their baby blue blood.  And it’s so miraculous that for decades, it hasn’t just been saving their butts, it’s been saving ours too.

    But that all might be about to change.  

     Follow us as we follow these ancient critters - from a raunchy beach orgy to a marine blood drive to the most secluded waterslide - and learn a thing or two from them about how much we depend on nature and how much it depends on us.

    This episode was reported by Latif Nasser with help from Damiano Marchetti and Lulu Miller, and was produced by Annie McEwen and Matt Kielty with help from Liza Yeager.

    Special thanks to Arlene Shaner at the NY Academy of Medicine, Tim Wisniewski at the Alan Mason Cheney Medical Archives at Johns Hopkins University, Jennifer Walton at the library of the Marine Biological Lab, and Glenn Gauvry at the Ecological Research and Development Group.

    Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate. 

    • 1 hr 6 min
    Dispatches from 1918

    Dispatches from 1918

    It’s hard to imagine what the world will look like when COVID-19 has passed. So in this episode, we look back to the years after 1918, at the political, artistic, and viral aftermath of the flu pandemic that killed between 50 and 100 million people and left our world permanently transformed.

    This episode was reported and produced by Rachael Cusick, Tad Davis, Tracie Hunte, Matt Kielty, Latif Nasser, Sarah Qari, Pat Walters, Molly Webster, with production assistance from Tad Davis and Bethel Habte.

    Special thanks to the Radio Diaries podcast for letting us use an excerpt of their interview with Harry Mills. You can find the original episode here. For more on Egon Schiele’s life, check out the Leopold Museum’s biography, by Verena Gamper.

    Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.  

    • 1 hr 10 min
    The Flag and the Fury

    The Flag and the Fury

    How do you actually make change in the world? For 126 years, Mississippi has had the Confederate battle flag on their state flag, and they were the last state in the nation where that emblem remained “officially” flying.  A few days ago, that flag came down. A few days before that, it coming down would have seemed impossible. We dive into the story behind this de-flagging: a journey involving a clash of histories, designs, families, and even cheerleading. 

    This episode was reported and produced by Shima Oliaee, with production assistance from Annie McEwen and Bethel Habte. 

    It was a collaboration between OSM Audio and Radiolab. You can check out upcoming releases from OSM at: https://www.osmaudio.com/

    To read or listen to Kiese Laymon's memoir Heavy: https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/Heavy/Kiese-Laymon/9781501125669.

    To visit the Hospitality Flag website: https://declaremississippi.com/.

    • 1 hr 13 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
78 Ratings

78 Ratings

Jo Cleykens ,

The best!

The best podcast in my opinion. Looking forward to every episode, even after all those years.

C. Koenig ,

Outstanding science radio show

Every two weeks or so a new show is presented that covers some highly interesting and socially relevant topics from science. A must-hear!

Top Podcasts In Documentary

Listeners Also Subscribed To

More by WNYC