336 episodes

Radiolab is on a curiosity bender. We ask deep questions and use investigative journalism to get the answers. A given episode might whirl you through science, legal history, and into the home of someone halfway across the world. The show is known for innovative sound design, smashing information into music. It is hosted by Lulu Miller and Latif Nasser.

Radiolab Radiolab

    • Gesellschaft und Kultur
    • 4.9 • 443 Ratings

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Requires subscription and macOS 11.4 or higher

Radiolab is on a curiosity bender. We ask deep questions and use investigative journalism to get the answers. A given episode might whirl you through science, legal history, and into the home of someone halfway across the world. The show is known for innovative sound design, smashing information into music. It is hosted by Lulu Miller and Latif Nasser.

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Requires subscription and macOS 11.4 or higher

    Ukraine: The Handoff

    Ukraine: The Handoff

    We continue the story of a covert smuggling operation to bring abortion pills into Ukraine, shortly after the Russian invasion. In this episode, reporters Katz Laszlo and Gregory Warner go to Ukraine, landing on a fall night during a citywide blackout, to pick up the trail of the pills and find out about the doctors and patients who needed them. But as they follow the pills around the country, what they learn changes their understanding of how we talk about these pills, and how we talk about choice, in a war. 

    This episode is the second of two done in collaboration with NPR’s Rough Translation. You can find the first episode here (https://zpr.io/CnmNVFQ6X5gc).

    Special thanks to the Rough Translation team for reporting help. Thanks also to Liana Simstrom, Irene Noguchi, and Eleana Tworek. Thanks to the ears of Valeria Fokina, Andrii Degeler, Noel King, Robert Krulwich and Sana Krasikov. And to our interpreters, Kira Leonova and Tetyana Yurinetz. Thanks to Drs Natalia, Irna & Diana. To Yulia Mytsko, Yulia Babych, Maria Hlazunova, Nika Bielska, Yvette Mrova, Lauren Ramires, Jane Newnham, Olena Shevchenko, Marta Chumako, Jamie Nadal, Jonathan Bearak, and the many others who we spoke with for this story. Thank you to NPR’s International Desk and the team at the Ukraine bureau. Translations from Eugene Alper and Dennis Tkachivsky. Voice over from Lizzie Marchenko and Yuliia Serbenenko. Archival from the Heal Foundation.

    Legal guidance provided by Micah Ratner, Lauren Cooperman, and Dentons. 

    Ethical guidance from Tony Cavin. 

    EPISODE CREDITS:

    Guest hosted by - Gregory Warner and Molly Webster

    Reported by - Katz Laszlo, Gregory Warner 

    Produced by - Tessa Paoli, Daniel Girma, Adelina Lancianese

    w/ production help from - Nic M. Neves

    Mixer - James Willetts and Robert Rodriguez

    w/ mixing help from - Jeremy Bloom

    Fact-checking by - Marisa Robertson-Textor

    and Edited by - Brenna Farrell

    Music:

    John Ellis composed the Rough Translation theme music. 

    Original music from Dylan Keefe. 

    Additional music from Blue Dot Sessions and FirstCom Music.  

     

    CITATIONSPhotos - 


    See a Lviv blackout through host Gregory Warner’s eyes – he posted photos from his time in Lviv on Twitter (https://zpr.io/egzpZZw7xPKk).

    Podcasts -


    To understand Ukraine’s president, it helps to know the training ground of his youth: the competitive comedy (https://zpr.io/ympqrikgCkE3) circuit, in this Rough Translation episode. 
    Listen to “No-Touch Abortion” (https://zpr.io/5SB6bpNzUs6r) from Radiolab for more on the science and use of abortion pills 

    Articles - 

    Further reading: a study on medical abortion (https://zpr.io/f8h5WNfKaMtk) by Galina Maistruck, one of the main sources in our piece

    Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)!

    Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.

    Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing radiolab@wnyc.org.


    Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

     

    • 32 min
    Birthstory

    Birthstory

    You know the drill — all it takes is one sperm, one egg, and blammo — you’ve got yourself a baby. Right? Well, in this 2015 episode, conception takes on a new form — it’s the sperm and the egg, plus: two wombs, four countries, and money. Lots of money. 

    This is the story of an Israeli couple, two men, who go to another continent to get themselves a baby — three, in fact — by hiring surrogates to carry the children for them. As we follow them on their journey, an earth-shaking revelation shifts our focus from them to the surrogate mothers. Unfolding in real time, as countries around the world considered bans on surrogacy, this episode looked at a relationship that manages to feel deeply affecting and deeply uncomfortable at the same time. 

    “Birthstory” is a collaboration with the brilliant radio show and podcast Israel Story, created to tell stories for, and about, Israel. Go check ‘em out! (https://zpr.io/rX3DazcJiUUG) 

    Israel Story's five English-language seasons were produced in partnership with Tablet Magazine (https://zpr.io/HxYET7psAbPh) and we highly recommend you listen to all of their work at (https://zpr.io/HD3LSqq25LEx) 

    This episode was produced and reported by Molly Webster.

    Special thanks go to: Israel Story, and their producers Maya Kosover, and Yochai Maital; reporters Nilanjana Bhowmick in India and Bhrikuti Rai in Nepal plus the International Reporting Project (https://zpr.io/KxN7etFiqWHL); Doron Mamet, Dr Nayana Patel, and Vicki Ferrara; with translation help from Aya Keefe, Karthik Ravindra, Turna Ray, Tom Wasserman, Pradeep Thapa, and Adhikaar (https://zpr.io/MDyadskgwZtH), an organization in Ridgewood, Queens advocating for the Nepali-speaking community. 

    Audio Extra:

    Tal and Air had a chance to meet each surrogate once - just after the deliveries, after all the paperwork was sorted out, and before any one left Nepal. As Amir says, they wanted to say "a big thank you." These meetings between intended parents, surrogate, and new babies are a traditional part of the surrogacy process in India and Nepal, and we heard reports from the surrogates that they also look forward to them. These moments do not stigmatize, reveal the identity of, or endanger the surrogates. Tal and Amir provided the audio for this web extra.


    EPISODE CREDITS: Reported by - Molly Websterwith help from - Maya Kosover, Yochai Maital, Bhrikuti Rai

    • 1 hr 1 min
    Ukraine: Under the Counter

    Ukraine: Under the Counter

    In the weeks following the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, a young doctor in Germany sees that abortion pills are urgently needed in Ukraine. And she wants to help. But getting the drugs into the country means going through Poland, which has some of the strictest abortion laws in Europe. So, she gets creative. What unfolds is a high-stakes, covert-operation run by a group of strangers. With everyone deciding: who to trust? In collaboration with NPR’s Rough Translation (https://zpr.io/9UpCwb2Smjzw), we find out what happened. Part 1 of 2 episodes.Special thanks to Wojciech Oleksiak, Katy Lee, Maria Hlazunova, Valeria Fokina, Sara Furxhi, Noel King, Robert Krulwich and Sana Krasikov, and our homies over at Rough Translation. Thanks also to Micah Loewinger and Laura Griffin. Illustrations came from Oksana Drachkovska. 

    And thank you to the many sources and experts we interviewed who asked to remain anonymous.

    Episode Credits:Guest hosted by - Gregory Warner and Molly WebsterReported by - Katz LaszloProduced by - Daniel Girma and Tessa PaoliMixer - Gilly Moonwith mixing help from - Jeremy BloomFact-checking by - Marisa Robertson-Textorand Edited by - Brenna Farrell

    CITATIONS:

    Videos


    Watch Deutsche Welle’s Abortion in Europe documentary (https://zpr.io/YHctj4bZQwHM).

    Podcasts


    Listen to Eleanor MacDowell’s A Sense of Quietness (https://zpr.io/eHhcHusxrhfE) on the BBC.
    Listen to NPR’s Joanna Kakissis’s story This Secretive Network Helps Ukranian Refugees Find Abortions in Poland (https://zpr.io/LsQw9V6ByfFg).
    Our reporter, Katz Laszlo, reports on European current affairs and reproductive health, and produces for The Europeans (https://zpr.io/sHAvrvqU2m8t) podcast, which features stories across the continent, including in Ukraine. 
    Our collaborators, NPR’s Rough Translation (https://zpr.io/9UpCwb2Smjzw)

    Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)!Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing radiolab@wnyc.org.


    Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

     

    • 42 min
    Games

    Games

    In this episode, first aired in 2011, we talk about the meaning of a good game — whether it's a pro football playoff, or a family showdown on the kitchen table. And how some games can make you feel, at least for a little while, like your whole life hangs in the balance. This hour of Radiolab, Jad and Robert wonder why we get so invested in something so trivial. What is it about games that make them feel so pivotal?

    We hear how a recurring dream about football turned into a real-life lesson for Stephen Dubner, we watch a chessboard turn into a playground where by-the-book moves give way to totally unpredictable possibilities, and we talk to Dan Engber, a one time senior editor at Slate, now at The Atlantic, and a bunch of scientists about why betting on a longshot is so much fun. And finally, we talk to Malcolm Gladwell about why he loves the overdog.

    CITATIONS:

    Videos - 

    The Immaculate Reception (https://zpr.io/izhV3Sm88SWF) by Franco Harris on December 23, 1972. Harris was the Pittsburgh Steelers’ fullback at the time.

    Books - 

    Stephen J. Dubner’s book, Confessions of a Hero Worshipper (https://zpr.io/iQUwfF8vGArj)

    Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)!

    Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.

    Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing radiolab@wnyc.org


    Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

    • 55 min
    Universe In Verse

    Universe In Verse

    For a special New Year’s treat, we take a tour through the history of the universe with the help of… poets. Our guide is Maria Popova, who writes the popular blog The Marginalian (formerly Brain Pickings), and the poetry is from her project, “The Universe in Verse” — an annual event where poets read poems about science, space, and the natural world.

    Special thanks to all of our poets, musicians, and performers: Marie Howe, Tracy K. Smith, Rebecca Elson, Joan As Police Woman, Patti Smith, Gautam Srikishan, Zoe Keating, and Emily Dickinson.

    EPISODE CREDITS:

    Reported by - Lulu Millerwith help from - Maria PopovaProduced by - Sindhu Gnanasambandanwith mixing help from - Jeremy BloomFact-checking by - Natalie A. Middletonand Edited by  - Pat Walters

    FURTHER READING AND RESEARCH:To dig deeper on this one, we recommendBooks: - Tracy K Smith’s “Life On Mars” (https://zpr.io/weTzGTbZyVDT)- Marie Howe’s “The Kingdom Of Ordinary Times” (https://zpr.io/Tj9cWTsQxHG3)- Rebecca Elson’s “A Responsiblity To Awe” (https://zpr.io/PLR3KL8SfuPR)- Patti Smith’s “Just Kids” (https://zpr.io/zM47P5KqqKZx)Music:- Joan As Policewoman (https://joanaspolicewoman.com/)- Gautam Srikishan (https://www.floatingfast.com/)- Zoe Keating (https://www.zoekeating.com/)

    Internet:- The Marginalian blog post (https://zpr.io/abTuDFH9pfwu) about Vera Rubin- Check out photos of Emily Dickinson’s Herbarium (https://zpr.io/XkgTscKBfem6), a book of 424 flowers she picked and pressed and identified while studying the wild botany of Massachusetts.Tracy K. Smith, “My God, It’s Full of Stars” from Such Color: New and Selected Poems. Copyright © 2011 by Tracy K. Smith. Read by the author and used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Graywolf Press, Minneapolis, Minnesota, www.graywolfpress.org.Fun fact: This episode was inspired by the fact that many Navy ships record the first log entry of the New Year in verse! To see some of this year's poems and learn about the history of the tradition, check out this post by the Naval History and Heritage Command. And, if you want to read a bit from Lulu's interview with sailor poet Lt. Ian McConnaughey, subscribe to our newsletter.

    Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)!

    Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.

    Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing radiolab@wnyc.org.


    Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

    • 32 min
    New Normal

    New Normal

    This episode —first released in 2009 and then again in 2015, with an update — asks, what is “normal”? Maybe it exists, maybe not. We examine peace-loving baboons with Stanford neuroscientist Robert Sapolsky, talk to Stu Rasmussen, whose preferred pronouns were he/him (https://zpr.io/nUdsZawNmhwt), and his neighbors in Silverton, Oregon about how a town chooses its community over outsider opinions. And lastly, we speak with an evolutionary anthropologist, Duke University’s own Brian Hare, and an evolutionary biologist Tecumseh Fitch, then at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, now at the University of Vienna, Austria, about foxes who love to snuggle.And what we find is that normal — maybe the only normal — is change.

    EPISODE CREDITS Reported by - Aaron CohenProduced by - Soren Wheelerwith help from - Annie McEwenCITATIONSArticles -Stu Rasmussen’s NYT Obituary (https://zpr.io/nUdsZawNmhwt).

    Theater - Andrew Russel’s “Stu for Silverton” (https://zpr.io/Jn5JP276pwhj) the play based on Stu Rasmussen’s life. 

     

    Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)!

    Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing radiolab@wnyc.org


    Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

    • 1 hr 8 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
443 Ratings

443 Ratings

CC235711 ,

Highly recommend

I listen to a lot of podcasts, and Radiolab is one that I come back consistently to. Listen to this podcast to spark curiosity, entertainment, critical thinking, many emotions including hope, and more. It’s a great space to mull ideas, and can be a jumping off point for inspiring further research (whether internet surfing or scientific) & projects. The editing and music contributes to a high-quality listening experience and easier understanding. I love and appreciate this podcast and the team so much. Thank you!

ttngo55 ,

Retroactive paywall

Used to be an occasional listener of Radiolab. Just discovered that I had downloaded an episode a few years ago to listen later. But to no avail – it turns out that it has been *retroactively* put behind a paywall.

Just to be clear: I don’t mind the paywall per se. But downloading and having some control over when/how files are played is an essential part of podcasting … and the entire idea behind RSS. And why it fits so well with public radio and adjacent formats.

It just feels wrong. Like… having received a gift, taking it home, and then someone breaking into your house to take it back because you didn’t unpack it immediately.

This is not how DRM should work… and I quite dislike this whole 3,49/month model. It moves podcasting towards a walled garden, dilutes and corrupts the ides behind it… and… idk… when you disable a file that you let me download retroactively that’s just the point where you’re basically SONY.

Nah… I’m out. It’s been nice.

clymene1986 ,

Good stories with terrible sound

I like this podcast for its grippingly told stories about interesting topics, but often have to stop half way through because the way the sound is put together literally gives me a headache. Constant, fast transitions, multiple confusing layers of sound and pointlessly loud background noise make it as stressful and hard to listen to as a Nolan movie.

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