148 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 Jad Abumrad, Lulu Miller, and Latif Nasser.

Radiolab WNYC

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.7 • 35 Ratings

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 Jad Abumrad, Lulu Miller, and Latif Nasser.

    Of Bombs and Butterflies

    Of Bombs and Butterflies

    Ecologist Nick Haddad was sitting in his new office at North Carolina State University when the phone rang. On the other end of the line was... The U.S. Army. The Army folks told him, “Look, there’s this endangered butterfly on our base at Fort Bragg, and it’s the only place in the world that it exists. But it’s about to go extinct. And we need your help to save it.” Nick had never even heard of the butterfly. In fact, he barely knew much about butterflies in general. Nonetheless, he said yes to Uncle Sam. “How hard could it be?” he wondered. Turns out, pretty hard. He'd have to trick beavers, dodge bombs, and rethink the fundamental nature of life and death in order to rescue this butterfly before it disappeared forever.

    This episode was reported by Latif Nasser, and produced by Rachael Cusick. Original music by Jeremy Bloom. Mixing by Arianne Wack.

    Special thanks to: Snooki Puli, Cita Escalano, Jeffrey Glassberg, Margot Williams, Mark Romyn, Elizabeth Long, the Public Affairs and Endangered Species Branches at Fort Bragg.

    Want to learn more? you can ...... read Nick Haddad’s book The Last Butterflies: A Scientist’s Quest to Save a Rare and Vanishing Creature... take a peek at Thomas Kral’s original 1989 paper about the Saint Francis Satyr... visit Fort Bragg's webpage about the Saint Francis Satyr 

    Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.    

    • 41 min
    Oliver Sipple

    Oliver Sipple

    One morning, Oliver Sipple went out for a walk. A couple hours later, to his own surprise, he saved the life of the President of the United States. But in the days that followed, Sipple’s split-second act of heroism turned into a rationale for making his personal life into political opportunity. What happens next makes us wonder what a moment, or a movement, or a whole society can demand of one person. And how much is too much? 

    Through newly unearthed archival tape, we hear Sipple himself grapple with some of the most vexing topics of his day and ours - privacy, identity, the freedom of the press - not to mention the bonds of family and friendship. 

    Reported by Latif Nasser and Tracie Hunte. Produced by Matt Kielty, Annie McEwen, Latif Nasser and Tracie Hunte.

    Special thanks to Jerry Pritikin, Michael Yamashita, Stan Smith, Duffy Jennings; Ann Dolan, Megan Filly and Ginale Harris at the Superior Court of San Francisco; Leah Gracik, Karyn Hunt, Jesse Hamlin, The San Francisco Bay Area Television Archive, Mike Amico, Jennifer Vanasco and Joey Plaster.

    Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.

    Episode originally published 09/21/2017

    • 1 hr 3 min
    HEAVY METAL

    HEAVY METAL

    Today we have a story about the sometimes obvious but sometimes sneaky effects of the way that we humans rearrange the elemental stuff around us. Reporter Avir Mitra and science journalist Lydia Denworth bring us a story about how one man’s relentless pursuit of a deep truth about the Earth led to an obsession that really changed the very air we breathe.

    This episode was reported by Avir Mitra, and produced by Matt Kielty, Becca Bressler, Rachael Cusick, and Maria Paz Gutiérrez.

    Special thanks to Cliff Davidson, Paul M. Sutter, Denton Ebel, and Sam Kean. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.

    • 42 min
    In the Running

    In the Running

    Diane Van Deren is one of the best ultra-runners in the world, and it all started with a seizure. In this short, Diane tells us how her disability gave rise to an extraordinary ability.

    • 19 min
    60 Words, 20 Years

    60 Words, 20 Years

    It has now been 20 years since September 11th, 2001. So we’re bringing you a Peabody Award-winning story from our archives about one sentence, written in the hours after the attacks, that has led to the longest war in U.S. history. We examine how just 60 words of legal language have blurred the line between war and peace.

    In the hours after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, a lawyer sat down in front of a computer and started writing a legal justification for taking action against those responsible. The language that he drafted and that President George W. Bush signed into law - called the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) -  has at its heart one single sentence, 60 words long. Over the last decade, those 60 words have become the legal foundation for the "war on terror."

    In this collaboration with BuzzFeed, reporter Gregory Johnsen tells us the story of how this has come to be one of the most important, confusing, troubling sentences of the last two decades. We go into the meetings that took place in the chaotic days just after 9/11, speak with Congresswoman Barbara Lee and former Congressman Ron Dellums about the vote on the AUMF. We hear from former White House and State Department lawyers John Bellinger & Harold Koh. We learn how this legal language unleashed Guantanamo, Navy Seal raids and drone strikes. And we speak with journalist Daniel Klaidman, legal expert Benjamin Wittes and Virginia Senator Tim Kaine about how these words came to be interpreted, and what they mean for the future of war and peace.

    Finally, we check back in with Congresswoman Lee, and talk to Yale law professor and national security expert Oona Hathaway, about how to move on from the original sixty words.

    Original episode produced by Matt Kielty and Kelsey Padgett with original music by Dylan Keefe. Update reported and produced by Sarah Qari and Soren Wheeler.

    Special thanks to Brian Finucane.

    Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate. 

    • 1 hr 9 min
    The Unsilencing

    The Unsilencing

    Multiple sclerosis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, even psoriasis — these are diseases in which the body begins to attack itself, and they all have one thing in common: they affect women more than men. Most autoimmune disorders do. And not just by a little bit, often by a lot; in some cases, as much as sixteen times more. But why? On today’s episode, we talk to scientists trying to answer that question. We go back 100 million years, to when our placenta first evolved and consider how it might have shaped our immune system. We dive deep into the genome, to stare at one of the most famous chromosomes: the X. And we also try to unravel a mystery — why is it that for some females, autoimmune disorders seemingly disappear during pregnancy?

    This episode was reported by Molly Webster, and produced by Sindhu Gnanasambandan and Molly Webster. The Gonads theme song was written, performed, and produced by Majel Connery and Alex Overington. 

    Looking for something else to listen to? We suggest pairing “The Unsilencing” with “Everybody’s Got One,” an episode about an unknown super-organ that nobody on the planet would be here without: the placenta.

    Want to learn more? You can …...check out a Montserrat Anguera XX study,...read Melissa Wilson’s placental, pregnancy hypothesis,…and get a primer on Rhonda Voskuhl’s estriol & Multiple Sclerosis work.

     

    Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.

    • 28 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
35 Ratings

35 Ratings

Aerosphere88 ,

Brilliant.

Huge thanks to all contributors.

Nikemr ,

Wonderful !

I can only say it is inspiring.

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