300 episodes

Whether we wear a lab coat or haven't seen a test tube since grade school, science is shaping all of our lives. And that means we all have science stories to tell. Every year, we host dozens of live shows all over the country, featuring all kinds of storytellers - researchers, doctors, and engineers of course, but also patients, poets, comedians, cops, and more. Some of our stories are heartbreaking, others are hilarious, but they're all true and all very personal. Welcome to The Story Collider!

The Story Collider Erin Barker & Liz Neeley

    • Science
    • 4.5, 710 Ratings

Whether we wear a lab coat or haven't seen a test tube since grade school, science is shaping all of our lives. And that means we all have science stories to tell. Every year, we host dozens of live shows all over the country, featuring all kinds of storytellers - researchers, doctors, and engineers of course, but also patients, poets, comedians, cops, and more. Some of our stories are heartbreaking, others are hilarious, but they're all true and all very personal. Welcome to The Story Collider!

    Impressions: Stories about our relationships to data

    Impressions: Stories about our relationships to data

    This week we present two stories from people who used technology to understand their relationships.
    Part 1: Digital consultant Phong Tran navigates his relationship through various digital platforms.
    Part 2: Fed up with feeling lonely, Sufian Zhemukhov embarks on a data driven analysis of his own unlikability.
    Phong Tran is a Creative Technologist at a digital consultancy. He works on websites and applications in both roles as a designer and a developer. As someone with a preference to dabble and a short attention span, he works on art projects in various mediums. The projects tend to ask questions about our relationship to our digital selves, and overall how that changes how we see each other. Also, at other times it's just about food Phong ate. A collection of his design can be found at phonghtran.com, and a collection of other things will be at his Instagram account, @phonghtran.
    Sufian Zhemukhov is an award-winning author and performer. He received the 2020 J. J. Reneaux Emerging Artist Award, from the National Storytelling Network, "to a storyteller of major and unique performing talent." He is The 2019 Moth Champion and winner at the 2018 Story Slam at the National Storytelling Festival. Sufian’s recent solo show, Flirting Like an American, received critical acclaim in Washington, DC and Rochester, NY. Sufian's stories are based on his personal experience as a first-generation immigrant and professor of international affairs at George Washington University that might be much funnier than you would expect. His recent book, Mass Religious Ritual and Intergroup Tolerance, won the 2019 Best Book Award at the International Studies Association.
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    • 27 min
    Celebrating 10 Years: Our favorite stories

    Celebrating 10 Years: Our favorite stories

    This week we present four of our favorite stories of all time.
    Part 1: Neuroscientist David Carmel tests his own understanding of the brain when his own father suffers a stroke.
    Part 2: Ralph Bouquet goes off script during a psychology research study with uncomfortable and revealing consequences.
    Part 3: Feeling isolated in her new job as a particle accelerator operator at Fermilab, Cindy Joe finds comfort in the friendship of her unconventional pet.
    Part 4: To discover why some survivors of trauma experience PTSD and some don't, scientist Rachel Yehuda must convince a community of Holocaust survivors to let her study them.
    David Carmel grew up reading Oliver Sacks and loving the weird stories of what goes wrong in people's brains, so he became a neuroscientist. He spends his days trying to figure out how the brain creates consciousness, and his nights trying to remember why he ever thought he could accomplish this. He is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Psychology at Victoria University of Wellington.
    Ralph Bouquet is the Director of Education and Outreach for NOVA, the PBS science documentary series produced by WGBH in Boston. At NOVA, Ralph’s team supports science educators through the creation of free classroom resources and finds creative ways to engage new audiences for NOVA’s broadcast and digital productions through science communication events around the country. Before NOVA, Ralph taught high school biology and chemistry in Philadelphia and then spent some time in ed-tech at a Boston-based startup. Ralph received his B.A. from Harvard University, and studied secondary science methods and urban education while completing his M.Ed. at UPenn.
    Cindy Joe is an engineering physicist at Fermilab, America’s particle physics and accelerator laboratory. She got her bachelor’s degree in physics and became a licensed senior nuclear reactor operator at Reed College in Portland, Oregon. After starting at Fermilab, she worked as a particle accelerator operator for seven years before taking her current role with several experiments studying neutrinos, tiny particles that might hold the answers to some of the universe’s biggest mysteries. Cindy is a frequent and deeply passionate contributor to Fermilab’s educational outreach programs and has spoken to audiences from elementary school students to members of Congress.
    Rachel Yehuda is a professor of psychiatry and neuroscience at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Director of the Mental Health Patient Care Center at the James J. Peters Bronx Veterans Affairs hospital. Her research on PTSD has included both human populations and animal models, neuroendocrinology, neuronal stimulations studies with human stem cells, and genomic and molecular biological studies of trauma. She has recently established a Center for Psychedelic Psychotherapy and Trauma at Mount Sinai.
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    • 1 hr 7 min
    Becoming Mom: Stories about wanting to mother

    Becoming Mom: Stories about wanting to mother

    This week we present two stories from two women who struggled to adopt.
    Part 1: Inspired by her work as a parental behavior researcher, Bianca Jones Marlin and her husband decide to become foster parents.
    Part 2: Raised by white adoptive parents, Kim Evey seeks out motherhood as a way to connect with her Asian identity.
    Dr. Bianca Jones Marlin is a neuroscientist and postdoctoral researcher at Columbia University in the laboratory of Nobel Laureate Dr. Richard Axel, where she investigates transgenerational epigenetic inheritance, or how traumatic experiences in parents affect the brain structure of their offspring. She holds a PhD in neuroscience from New York University, and dual bachelor degrees from St. John’s University, in biology and adolescent education. As a graduate student, her research focused on the vital bond between parent and child, and studied the use of neurochemicals, such as the “love drug” oxytocin, as a treatment to strengthen fragile and broken parent-child relationships. Dr. Marlin’s research has been featured in the Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, Scientific American, and Discover Magazine’s “100 Top Stories of 2015.” Dr. Marlin aims to utilize neurobiology and the science of learning to better inform both the scientific and educational community on how positive experiences dictate brain health, academic performance, and social well being.

    Kim Evey is a Los Angeles-based actress and stand up comedian who has been writing and performing comedy for over three decades. She began her comedy career in Seattle as a founding member of the critically acclaimed long-form improv group Kings' Elephant Theater and as a guest cast member on the Emmy-winning sketch comedy show "Almost Live."
    In LA, Kim has studied at The Groundlings and Improv Olympic and taught sketch comedy writing at ACME Comedy Theater. She has appeared in numerous commercials and TV shows, written for children's animation, created and starred in the Sony produced web series "Gorgeous Tiny Chicken Machine Show" and produced the trailblazing series "The Guild," a web show so successful that it was actually put on display in The Smithsonian American History Museum. She currently performs stand up at venues all over Los Angeles and her online clips have garnered over seven million views.
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    • 32 min
    Something's Not Right: Stories about needing to figure things out

    Something's Not Right: Stories about needing to figure things out

    This week we present two stories from people who needed to decipher themselves.
    Part 1: After some unfortunate night-time incidents, Keith Mellnick realizes he needs to better understand his sleepwalking before it starts causing even more problems.
    Part 2: Avneet Johal is excited to start his first year at university, but strange thoughts and behaviors keep getting in the way.
    Keith Mellnick is a freelance photographer whose past work in the Middle East, Central Asia, and East Africa has been highlighted by National Geographic Books, the Atlantic, and his brother's refrigerator. Based in Washington, DC, he currently works primarily with organized labor and progressive causes throughout the US. In addition to photography and storytelling, he enjoys any opportunity to escape into the woods--far from politics, Photoshop, and oppressive DC heat indexes.
    Avneet Johal is an award-winning storyteller based in Vancouver, BC with expertise in communication and leadership. He previously managed housing programs for the Canadian Mental Health Association and has worked on a series of successful political campaigns. A Canadian representative at the United Nations, he follows global affairs and also enjoys sports, languages, and (good) rap music. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Los Altos Institute and is honoured to work with a team of talented undergraduate students at the University of British Columbia – a team which he thanks for encouraging him to share his stories with a wider audience.
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    • 39 min
    When I Was a Scientist: Stories about an earlier life

    When I Was a Scientist: Stories about an earlier life

    This week we present two stories from people who used to be scientists.
    Part 1: Despite loving science, Ivan Decker's first exposure to field work doesn't go as planned.
    Part 2: Nathan Min tries to pursue a 'respectable' scientific career, but finds himself relating to the mice he studies.
    Originally from Vancouver, Ivan Decker is a stand-up comedian that now makes his home in Los Angeles California. He has been featured on CBC, CTV, TBS and many other media outlets as part of shows such as: The Debaters, Just for Laughs, CONAN and he has a half hour special on NETFLIX. In 2018, Ivan was also the first Canadian to win a JUNO award for comedy album of the year since the award was given to Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas for the soundtrack to the movie strange brew in 1984.
    Nathan Min is a TV writer, actor, and stand-up based in New York City. He recently wrote for Adult Swim’s “Joe Pera Talks with You.” Previously, “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.” He started performing stand up comedy as a freshman at Johns Hopkins University and went on to win the DC Improv’s Funniest College Stand Up competition at the end of his senior year. After college, he began studying at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in New York where he has since written for several house sketch teams. In 2014, he was selected as a finalist for the Andy Kaufman Award.
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    • 29 min
    Unprepared: Stories about unprepared parents

    Unprepared: Stories about unprepared parents

    This week we present two stories from people who found themselves without the tools they needed.
    Part 1: When Jack Walsh finds out his first child will be born in just a few days, he panics.
    Part 2: After experiencing hearing loss, Jeannie Gaffigan receives the startling news that she has a brain tumor.
    Jack Walsh is an Emmy-winning television producer, a generally engaging storyteller, a halfway-decent writer, and the world’s worst guitar player. He has performed at the Moth, the Atlanta Science Festival, DragonCon, and, strangely, a Yom Kippur service. A native of Canton, NC, he now lives in Decatur, GA, with his wife and two daughters.
    Jeannie Gaffigan is a director, producer and comedy writer. She co-wrote seven comedy specials with her husband Jim Gaffigan, the last 5 of which received Grammy nominations. Jeannie was the head writer and executive producer of the critically acclaimed THE JIM GAFFIGAN SHOW, and collaborated with Jim on the two New York Times Bestsellers, DAD IS FAT and FOOD A LOVE STORY. Jeannie’s own book, WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU PEARS, debuted on the New York Times Bestsellers List. Jeannie, with the help of her two eldest children and some other crazy moms, created THE IMAGINE SOCIETY, INC., a not for profit organization that connects youth-led service groups. Most impressively, she grew a tumor on her brain stem roughly the size of pear.
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    • 42 min

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5
710 Ratings

710 Ratings

Feisty Puma ,

Host Erin Barker

Heard Erin Barker’s story on The Moth. Enjoyed her dry humor & unique voice. Looked her up and found-out that she was host of the StoryCollider.
Checked the podcast, and I listened to a numbered of Great stories last night. I’ve subscribed, and I’m looking forward to hearing more!

Cow puppy gonzo ,

I love the story telling!

The hosts voice is annoying! The stories are usually fabulous. I would give more stars if I liked the host more. She really makes me want to unfollow this podcast. I keep following for the awesomeness of the story telling.

Libbylml ,

New host/format... not great

I loved this podcast ever since I heard it a few years ago, but there have been some changes dragging it downhill. One, the new additional host. Too much chatter that is inconsequential and a bit annoying. And two, the stories more often than not are not actually related to science at all! I hope this podcast take a turn again soon!

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