150 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 Studios

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.7 • 38.5K 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.

    La Mancha Screwjob

    La Mancha Screwjob

    All the world’s a stage. Or, sometimes it feels that way, especially these days. In this episode, originally aired in 2015, we push through the fourth wall, pierce the spandex-ed heart of professional wrestling, and travel 400 years into the past to unmask our obsession with authenticity and our desire to walk the line between reality and fantasy.

    Thanks to Nick Hakim for the use of his song "The Light". 

    Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab today.    

    Radiolab is on YouTube! Catch up with new episodes and hear classics from our archive. Plus, find other cool things we did in the past — like miniseries, music videos, short films and animations, behind-the-scenes features, Radiolab live shows, and more. Take a look, explore and subscribe!

     

    • 57 min
    Frailmales

    Frailmales

    This week, we bring you two stories about little guys trying to do big big things.

    First, self-proclaimed animal grinch producer Becca Bressler introduces us to perhaps the one creature that has warmed her heart: a cricket. And more specifically, a male cricket. This is a tale about a tiny Romeo insect trying to find a mate, and the ingenious lengths he’ll go to have his beckoning heard.

    And second, producer Annie McEwen journeys through perhaps the zaniest game of football that has ever been played. When a ragtag group of players take on the top team, will it be an underdog tale for the ages or an absolute disaster?

    Special thanks to Stephen Spann and Joshua Baxter at the Doris and Harry Vice University Library at Cumberland University as well as Alison Reynolds at Georgia Tech Library. Thanks also to Rick Bell, and to Scott Larson who wrote a book all about this game called Cumberland: The True Story of the Highest Scoring Football Game in History. And finally, thanks so much to our tape syncer Ambriehl Crutchfield for her help with this episode. 

    If you’re still interested in learning more about this epic football game, be sure to check out this brilliant and hilarious video by sportswriter Jon Bois.

    Lastly, don't forget to check out Death Sex and Money. We recommend episode titled Hard, which is deep dive into our relationship with erectile dysfunction, and the drugs developed to treat it.  

    Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab today.    

    Radiolab is on YouTube! Catch up with new episodes and hear classics from our archive. Plus, find other cool things we did in the past — like miniseries, music videos, short films and animations, behind-the-scenes features, Radiolab live shows, and more. Take a look, explore and subscribe!

    • 35 min
    Debatable

    Debatable

    In competitive debate future presidents, supreme court justices, and titans of industry pummel each other with logic and rhetoric. 

    Unclasp your briefcase. It’s time for a showdown. Looking back on an episode originally aired in 2016, we take a good long look at the world of competitive college debate. This is Ryan Wash's story. He's a queer, Black, first-generation college student from Kansas City, Missouri who joined the debate team at Emporia State University on a whim. When he started going up against fast-talking, well-funded, “name-brand” teams, from places like Northwestern and Harvard, it was clear he wasn’t in Kansas anymore. So Ryan became the vanguard of a movement that made everything about debate debatable. In the end, he made himself a home in a strange and hostile land. Whether he was able to change what counts as rigorous academic argument … well, that’s still up for debate.

    Special thanks to Will Baker, Myra Milam, John Dellamore, Sam Mauer, Tiffany Dillard Knox, Mary Mudd, Darren "Chief" Elliot, Jodee Hobbs, Rashad Evans and Luke Hill. 

    Special thanks also to Torgeir Kinne Solsvik for use of the song h-lydisk / B Lydian from the album Geirr Tveitt Piano Works and Songs










    Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab today.    

    Radiolab is on YouTube! Catch up with new episodes and hear classics from our archive. Plus, find other cool things we did in the past — like miniseries, music videos, short films and animations, behind-the-scenes features, Radiolab live shows, and more. Take a look, explore and subscribe!

    • 1 hr
    Hello, My Name Is

    Hello, My Name Is

    As a species, we’re obsessed with names. They’re one of the first labels we get as kids. We name and rename absolutely everything around us. And these names carry our histories, they can open and close our eyes to the world around us, and they drag the weight of expectation and even irony along with them. This week on Radiolab, we’ve got six stories all about names. Horse names, the names of diseases, names for the beginning, and names for the end. Listen to “Hello, My Name Is” on Radiolab, wherever you find podcasts. 

    Special thanks to Jim Wright, author of “The Real James Bond”, Tad Davis, Cole delCharco, Peter Frick-Wright, Alexa Rose Miller, Katherine De La Cruz, and Fahima Haque.Members of The Lab, watch for an audio extra on your exclusive feeds, a poem written and read by Mary Szybist, whom Molly Webster interviewed for her story in this episode about endlings. It is titled “We Think We Do Not Have Medieval Eyes.” If you are not yet a member and would like to listen to it, you can join here.

    Radiolab is on YouTube! Catch up with new episodes and hear classics from our archive. Plus, find other cool things we did in the past — like miniseries, music videos, short films and animations, behind-the-scenes features, Radiolab live shows, and more. Take a look, explore and subscribe!

    DOWNLOAD BRAILLE READY FILE HERE (https://zpr.io/BmPeeLvvRDrD)

    Citations:

    The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee

    Warhorse: Cavalry in Ancient Warfare by Philip SidnellCheck out ArtsPractica.com, a site focused on medical uncertainty. Alexa Rose Miller.

    • 1 hr 11 min
    The Other Latif: Cuba-ish

    The Other Latif: Cuba-ish

    Almost exactly twenty years ago, detainee 244 got transferred to Guantanamo Bay. Captured by American forces at the battle Tora Bora five months previous, Abdul Latif Nasser was shaved, hooded, shackled, diapered, and flown halfway across the world.

    The Radiolab special series, The Other Latif, kicked off when one of our hosts, Latif Nasser, made a bizarre and shocking discovery. He shares his name with detainee 244. A man the U.S. government paints a terrifying picture of as Al-Qaeda’s top explosives expert, and one of the most important advisors to Osama bin Laden. Nasser’s lawyer claims, on the other hand, that he was at the wrong place at the wrong time, and that he was never even in Al-Qaeda. This clash launched our Latif into a years-long investigation, picking apart evidence, attempting to separate fact from fiction, and trying to uncover what the man with whom he shares a name actually did or didn’t do. Along the way, Radiolab’s Latif reflects on American values and his own religious past, and wonders how a fellow nerdy, suburban Muslim kid, may have gone down such a strikingly different path.

    Episode 5: Cuba-ish 

    To mark the solemn occasion of the other Latif's transfer to, "the legal equivalent of outer space," we thought we'd replay Cuba-ish, the fifth episode of our special series which first aired back in 2020. In this episode, our Latif heads to Guantanamo Bay to try to speak to his namesake. Before he gets there, he dives deep, seeking the answer to what seems like a simple question: why Cuba? Why in the world did the United States pick this sleepy military base in the Caribbean to house “the worst of the worst”?  Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab today.    

    Radiolab is on YouTube! Catch up with new episodes and hear classics from our archive. Plus, find other cool things we did in the past — like miniseries, music videos, short films and animations, behind-the-scenes features, Radiolab live shows, and more. Take a look, explore and subscribe!

     

    • 1 hr 4 min
    NULL

    NULL

    A one-word magical spell. Several years back, that’s exactly what Joseph Tartaro thought he’d discovered. It was a spell that, if used properly, promised to make one’s problems disappear. And so he crossed his fingers, uttered the word and cast the enchantment on himself. The result, however, was anything but magical.

    Unbeknownst to Joseph, by unleashing this spell, he’d earned a lifetime membership into a cursed community. A clan made up of folks who, through no fault of their own, had become nameless and invisible. Today, the story of these unfortunate souls, the dark digital arts that took so much from them and the wizardry needed to give them new life.

    Special thanks to Sarah Chasins, Tony Hoare, Brian Kernighan and to Patrick McKenzie for writing that wonderful list of assumptions programmers believe about names. And also to all the folks who spoke to us and emailed us with stories of their own ‘problematic’ names.

    DOWNLOAD BRAILLE READY FILE HERE

    Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab today.    

    Radiolab is on YouTube! Catch up with new episodes and hear classics from our archive. Plus, find other cool things we did in the past — like miniseries, music videos, short films and animations, behind-the-scenes features, Radiolab live shows, and more. Take a look, explore and subscribe!

    • 19 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
38.5K Ratings

38.5K Ratings

ADDaD ,

It's hard to estimate the value of this podcast

This podcast stands out as pretty much constantly astounding. As someone who writes about science for a living, the 'scientific' concepts here are rendered in an enviably fascinating and pretty much idiot-proof way. It's a testament to the skills of the hosts in their use of the audio format that they can cruise through really complex stuff and give the ordinary listener entertainment and learning in a single scoop. This is the best. Now if they would only get season one on itunes....

false psychology ,

A great resource for childcare and blended families!

Great cast hosting a great pod that offers a variety of solutions to common family issues… very considerate in validating an adult’s response to boundary violations.

WalterPark ,

What happened???

What happened Radiolab?? I get that it was time for new hosts but every time an episode is posted it’s a rerun. I already listened to all these episodes - they were great - but I’m ready for new content!! What is going on??? Hopefully they can step it up soon because Radiolab is rapidly sliding off of my must-listen-to podcast list.

Top Podcasts In Society & Culture

iHeartPodcasts
Pineapple Street Studios | Wondery | Amazon Music
This American Life
Glennon Doyle & Cadence13
Apple TV+ / Campside Media
iHeartPodcasts

You Might Also Like

This American Life
NPR
Hidden Brain
The Atlantic and WNYC Studios
Roman Mars
The Moth

More by WNYC

WNYC Studios and The New Yorker
WNYC Studios
The Atlantic and WNYC Studios
Snap Judgment
Science Friday and WNYC Studios
WNYC Studios & OSM Audio