Brains On!® is a science podcast for curious kids and adults from American Public Media. Each week, a different kid co-host joins Molly Bloom to find answers to fascinating questions about the world sent in by listeners. Like, do dogs know they’re dogs? Or, why do feet stink? Plus, we have mystery sounds for you to guess, songs for you to dance to, and lots of facts -- all checked by experts.
What's in the COVID vaccine?
In this episode, we're using our zoom ray to zoom way in and answer your questions about the COVID vaccine. What's in the COVID vaccine? How does it work? And how do they make it? We'll also look at how our fight against the new coronavirus has had a huge impact on another virus: influenza. And, we'll head to a stadium to learn what 95% effective means for a vaccine. (Warning: There are seagulls overhead!)
Plus, we'll have a brand new mystery sound and a Moment of Um that answers the question: what do scientists eat in Antarctica?
Read Katherine Wu’s article about what’s happening with the flu this year: https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2021/02/covid-19-flu-season/617924/
Find the rest of our episodes about coronavirus here, including episodes on the vaccine, masks, social distancing, and how we’re processing this historic time: https://www.brainson.org/page/coronavirus
This episode is sponsored by: Sitka Salmon Shares (sitkasalmonshares.com/brainson) and Purple.com (Purple.com: purple.com/brainson10 promo code: brainson10)
What's behind the waves and tides?
In this encore episode, we answer the questions: How does the moon control the tides? Where do waves come from? And what’s it like to live in a tide pool?Sir Isaac Newton drops by and drops some knowledge. He helps explain why the tides ebb and flow. Then, an oceanographer/surfer tells us where waves come from and how they get their shape – cowabunga! Plus we hear about what it’s like for marine life that move to a new neighborhood once or twice a day. Sometimes it’s underwater, sometimes it’s not. Plus a brand new Moment of Um answers the question: Why don’t our ears have bones? And there’s a new group of listeners to be added to the Brains Honor Roll.
This episode was originally published on Aug. 30, 2016.This episode is sponsored by Sun Basket (sunbasket.com/brainson and promo code BRAINSON)
Why do we have crushes?
When you've got a crush on someone, it can feel a bit overwhelming. All of a sudden, you might have butterflies in your stomach! And maybe you find yourself acting differently than you normally would. Why does our brain do this to us anyway? In this episode, we'll answer a slew of your crush-related questions: Why do we get crushes? Why do they make you feel so many feelings? How do you decide who you have a crush on? Plus, how do you navigate all the tricky parts of crushes -- like your crush finding out you like them?
We tackle all these questions. Stick around for a Moment of Um that answers: "What would happened if it rained oobleck?"
Let's go bananas!
HARVEY, our omnipresent virtual voice assistant, gets a software update that makes him go bananas for bananas. And if we talk about anything except bananas, he turns the microphones off! We talk to geneticist Dr. Janina Jeff about how much DNA we share with a banana, find out why bananas make other fruits ripen, how bananas grow, and where that slipping on a banana peel joke came from. Speaking of jokes, we'll hear a bunch of banana jokes from listeners too! Plus: The Moment of Um answers the question: "Why are peaches fuzzy?"
You can hear more from Dr. Jeff on her podcast In Those Genes.
Silent film expert Lea Stans has a wonderful blog post about the history of the banana peel joke that you can read right here. You can see some of those early comics that featured the joke!
Today’s episode is sponsored by:
KiwiCo (kiwico.com/brainson code: BRAINSON)
Purple (purple.com/BRAINSON10 promo code BRAINSON10)
A super special shot: All about coronavirus vaccines
In December, people started getting vaccinated against COVID-19. This is a huge scientific accomplishment and important step in making it safe for us to hang out in person again. So how did scientists develop these vaccines so fast? And how did they test the vaccines to make sure they’re safe? And how do these mRNA vaccines work?
We have answers to all your questions, plus New York Times science journalist Apoorva Mandavilli explains what scientists have found out about how long immunity lasts to this new coronavirus. And Kara and Gilly are back with a cow-side chat about herd immunity. Plus: A new mystery sound and a Moment of Um that answers the question, "What would happen if the moon fell down onto earth?"
Today’s episode is sponsored by Sitka Salmon Shares (http://sitkasalmonshares.com/brainson)
Meet Gitanjali Rao, Time Magazine's first-ever Kid of the Year
Today we have a special episode featuring an old friend of ours -- scientist and inventor Gitanjali Rao. Time Magazine recently named her the first-ever Kid of the Year!
We first met Gitanjali back in 2018, when she was the co-host for a series of episodes we did all about water. Back then, she was a 12 year old who had recently won 2017 Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge.
Now, she's a very busy 15 year-old who is an inventor, STEM advocate and author. Molly and Gitanjali chat about how kids can turn their ideas into reality, and why kids shouldn't be afraid to share their viewpoints and skills with the world -- we need them!
Gitanjali has also written a book, which you can check out here.
Also, you can hear Gitanjali judge a very science-y Smash Boom Debate: Helium vs Neon!
Check out the water series that Gitanjali co-hosted:
What’s in your water?
The wonderful weirdness of water
Keeping water healthy, one clue at a time
Burning rivers of fire
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