441 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

    • Science
    • 4.6 • 41.3K Ratings

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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

    Lose Lose

    Lose Lose

    This episode we look at a high profile sporting event where, thanks to a quirk in the tournament rules, the best shot at winning was … to lose.


    To celebrate the imminent start of the Summer Olympic Games in Paris, France we have an episode originally reported in 2016. No matter what sport you play, the object of the game is to win. And that’s hard enough to do. But we found a match where four top athletes had to do the opposite in one of the most high profile matches of their careers. Thanks to a quirk in the tournament rules, their best shot at winning was … to lose.
    This week, in honor of the 2024 Summer Olympics, we are rerunning a story from 2016 in which we scrutinize the most paradoxical and upside down badminton match of all time. A match that dumbfounded spectators, officials, and even the players themselves. And it got us to wondering … what would sports look like if everyone played to lose?

    Special thanks to Aparna Nancherla, Mark Phelan, Yuni Kartika, Greysia Polii, Joy Le Li, Mikyoung Kim, Stan Bischof, Vincent Liew, Kota Morikowa, Christ de Roij and Haeryun Kang.

    We have some exciting news! In the “Zoozve” episode, Radiolab named its first-ever quasi-moon, and now it's your turn! Radiolab has teamed up with The International Astronomical Union to launch a global naming contest for one of Earth’s quasi-moons. This is your chance to make your mark on the heavens. Submit your name ideas now through September, or vote on your favorites starting in November: https://radiolab.org/moon

    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.

    • 31 min
    How to Save a Life

    How to Save a Life

    What would you do if someone’s heart stopped right in front of you?

    We get it… the world feels too bleak and too big for you to make a difference. But there is one thing - one simple tangible thing - you can do to make all the difference in the world to someone, possibly even a loved one, at arguably the worst moment of their life.

    Statistics show that 1 out of every 5 people on earth will die of heart failure. Cardiac arrests can happen anywhere, anytime - in your bed, on the street, on your honeymoon. And every minute that passes after your heart stops beating, your chances of surviving drop dramatically. For all the strides modern medicine has made in treating heart conditions, the ambulance still doesn’t always make it in time. The only person who can keep you alive during those crucial first few minutes is a stranger, a neighbor, your partner, anyone nearby willing to perform CPR. Yet most of us don’t do anything.

    Join Radiolab host Latif Nasser, ER doctor and Radiolab contributor Avir Mitra, and TikTok stars Dr. and Lady Glaucomflecken, as we discover the fascinating science of cardiac arrest, hear a true and harrowing story of a near-death experience, and hunt down the best place to die (hint… it’s not a hospital). Plus, with the help of the American Red Cross and the Bee Gees, you, yes you, will learn how to do hands-only CPR!

    Special thanks to Will and Kristin Flannery of course..Check out the Glaucomflekens own podcast “Knock Knock, Hi!” (LINK), the Greene Space here at WNYC’s home in NYC… first of all Jennifer Sendrow, who really made it happened and helped us make it work at basically every stage of the process .. and the rest of the Greene Space crew: Carlos Cruz Figueroa, Chase Culpon, Ricardo Fernández, Jessica Lowery, Skye Pallo Ross, Eric Weber, Ryan Andrew Wilde, and Andrew Yanchyshyn.

    Also, thank you to the Red Cross for helping us make this happen and providing the CPR dummies, and all the people we had there doing the training: Ashley London, Jeanette Nicosia, Charlene Yung, Jacob Stebel, Tye Morales, Anna Stacy.  Aditya Shekhar.

    We have some exciting news! In the “Zoozve” episode, Radiolab named its first-ever quasi-moon, and now it's your turn! Radiolab has teamed up with The International Astronomical Union to launch a global naming contest for one of Earth’s quasi-moons. This is your chance to make your mark on the heavens. Submit your name ideas now through September, or vote on your favorites starting in November: https://radiolab.org/moon

    EPISODE CREDITS: Reported by - Avir Mitrawith mixing help from - Jeremy BloomAnd Fact-checking by - Natalie Middleton

    CITATIONS:

    Please put any supporting materials you think our audience would find interesting or useful below in the appropriate broad categories.

    Videos:

    Check out the whole show in its full glory at the website for WNYC’s Greene Space: https://www.thegreenespace.org/

    Will Flannery’s Youtube channel, Dr. Glaucomflecken: https://www.youtube.com/@DGlaucomflecken

    Classes:If you’d like to sign up to learn CPR, and get certified, the Red Cross provides classes all across the country and online, just go to https://www.redcross.org/take-a-class, to learn more

    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.

    • 47 min
    Happy Birthday, Good Dr. Sacks

    Happy Birthday, Good Dr. Sacks

    Radiolab wishes Oliver Sacks a happy birthday.

    First aired back in 2013, we originally released this episode to celebrate the 80th birthday of one of our favorite human beings, Oliver Sacks. To celebrate, his good friend, and our former co-host Rober Krulwich, asks the good doctor to look back, and explain how thousands of worms and a motorbike accident led to a brilliant writing career.

    We have some exciting news! In the “Zoozve” episode, Radiolab named its first-ever quasi-moon, and now it's your turn! Radiolab has teamed up with The International Astronomical Union to launch a global naming contest for one of Earth’s quasi-moons. This is your chance to make your mark on the heavens. Submit your name ideas now through September, or vote on your favorites starting in November: https://radiolab.org/moon

    • 23 min
    The Alford Plea

    The Alford Plea

    A man finds himself forever caught between guilt and innocence.


    In 1995, a tragic fire in Pittsburgh set off a decades-long investigation that sent Greg Brown Jr. to prison. But, after a series of remarkable twists, Brown found himself contemplating a path to freedom that involved a paradoxical plea deal—one that peels back the curtain on the criminal justice system and reveals it doesn’t work the way we think it does.

    • 53 min
    Birdie in the Cage

    Birdie in the Cage

    Can you fit the identity of a whole nation into a dance? Of course not. But we tried anyway.

    People have been doing the square dance since before the Declaration of Independence. But does that mean it should be THE American folk dance? That question took us on a journey from Appalachian front porches, to dance classes across our nation, to the halls of Congress, and finally a Kansas City convention center. And along the way, we uncovered a secret history of square dancing that made us see how much of our national identity we could stuff into that square, and what it means for a dance to be of the people, by the people, and for the people.

    We have some exciting news! In this “Zoozve” episode, Radiolab named its first-ever quasi-moon, and now it's your turn! Radiolab has teamed up with The International Astronomical Union to launch a global naming contest for one of Earth’s quasi-moons. This is your chance to make your mark on the heavens. Submit your name ideas now through September, or vote on your favorites starting in November: https://radiolab.org/moon

    Special thanks to Jim Mayo, Claude Fowler, Paul Gifford, Jim Maczko, Jim Davis, Paul Moore, Jack Pladdys, Mary Jane Wegener, Kinsey Brooke and Connie Keener.

    • 44 min
    Aphantasia

    Aphantasia

    What does it mean to see – and not see – in your mind?

    Close your eyes and imagine a red apple. What do you see? Turns out there’s a whole spectrum of answers to that question and Producer Sindhu Gnanasambandan is on one far end. In this episode, she explores what it means to see – and not see – in your mind.

    • 34 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
41.3K Ratings

41.3K 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....

FNOMINL ,

Thinker? Get it in your life!

Feeds my quirky intellectual curiosity!!

That'sAnOpinion ,

Good episodes behind paywall

The classic episodes, the ones that where the only mission was pursuing truth and feeding curiosity, are all lock behind a paywall.

The folks who took the reigns ought to be ashamed of themselves for riding the coattails of a once truly great podcast.

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