433 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 • 41.2K Ratings

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Requires subscription and macOS 11.4 or higher

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

    Lucy

    Lucy

    Chimps. Bonobos. Humans. We're all great apes, but that doesn’t mean we’re one happy family.

    This episode, a mashup of content stretching all the way back to 2010, asks the question, is cross-species co-habitation an utterly stupid idea? Or might it be our one last hope as more and more humans fill up the planet? A chimp named Lucy teaches us the ups and downs of growing up human, and a visit to The Great Ape Trust in Des Moines, Iowa highlights some of the basics of bonobo culture (be careful, they bite).

    EPISODE CITATIONS:

    Photos:

    Photo of Lucy and Janis hugging.  (https://zpr.io/U7qRdYDqxbGj)

    Videos:

    Lucy throughout the years (https://vimeo.com/9377513)Slideshow produced by Sharon Shattuck.

    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.

    • 57 min
    Selected Shorts

    Selected Shorts

    A selection of short flights of fact and fancy performed live on stage.

    Usually we tell true stories at this show, but earlier this spring we were invited to guest host a live show called Selected Shorts, a New York City institution that presents short fiction performed on stage by great actors (you’ll often find Tony, Emmy and Oscars winners on their stage). We treated the evening a bit like a Radiolab episode, selecting a theme, and choosing several stories related to that theme. The stories we picked were all about “flight” in one way or another, and came from great writers like Brian Doyle, Miranda July, Don Shea and Margaret Atwood. As we traveled from the flight of a hummingbird, to an airplane seat beside a celebrity, to the mind of a bat, we found these stories pushing us past the edge of what we thought we could know, in the way that all truly great writing does.

    Special thanks to Abubakr Ali, Becca Blackwell, Molly Bernard, Zach Grenier, Drew Richardson, Jennifer Brennan and the whole team at Selected Shorts and Symphony Space.

    EPISODE CREDITS:
    Produced by - Maria Paz Gutierrez
    Fact-checking by - Natalie Middleton
    and Edited by - Pat Walters

    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.

    • 48 min
    Memory and Forgetting

    Memory and Forgetting

    Remembering is a tricky, unstable business. This hour: a look behind the curtain of how memories are made...and forgotten.


    The act of recalling in our minds something that happened in the past is an unstable and profoundly unreliable process--it’s easy come, easy go as we learn how true memories can be obliterated, and false ones added. Then, Oliver Sacks joins us to tell the story of an amnesiac whose love for his wife and music transcend his 7-second memory.

    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.

    • 57 min
    Small Potatoes

    Small Potatoes

    An ode to the small, the banal, the overlooked things that make up the fabric of our lives.

    Most of our stories are about the big stuff: Important or dramatic events, big ideas that transform the world around us or inspire conflict and struggle and change. But most of our lives, day by day or hour by hour, are made up of … not that stuff. Most of our lives are what we sometimes dismissively call “small potatoes.” This week on Radiolab, Heather Radke challenges to focus on the small, the overlook, the everyday … and find out what happens when you take a good hard look at the things we all usually overlook.

    Special thanks to Moeko Fujii, Kelley Conway, Robin Kelley, Jason Isaacs, and Andrew Semans

    EPISODE CREDITS:

    Reported by - Heather Radke, Rachael Cusick, and Matt Kielty
    with help from - Erica Heilman
    Produced by - Annie McEwen and Matt Kielty
    Original music and sound design contributed by - Annie McEwen, Matt Kielty, and Jeremy Bloom
    Fact-checking by - Emily Krieger and Diane Kelly
    and Edited by  - Alex Neason

    EPISODE CITATIONS:

    Audio -Check out Ian Chillag’s podcast, Everything is Alive, from Radiotopia.

    Museums -Learn more about The Museum of Everyday Life, located in Glover, Vermont, here.

    Newsletter - Heather Radke has a newsletter all about small potatoes. It’s called Petite Patate and you can subscribe at HeatherRadke.substack.com.

    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.

    • 59 min
    The Distance of the Moon

    The Distance of the Moon

    In an episode we last featured on our Radiolab for Kids Feed back in 2020, and in honor of its blocking out the Sun for a bit of us for a bit last week, in this episode, we’re gonna talk more about the moon. According to one theory, (psst listen to The Moon Itself if you want to know more) the moon formed when a Mars-sized chunk of rock collided with Earth, the moon coalesced out of the debris from that impact. And it was MUCH closer to Earth than it is today. This idea is taken to its fanciful limit in Italo Calvino's story "The Distance of the Moon" (from his collection Cosmicomics, translated by William Weaver). Read by Liev Schreiber, the story is narrated by a character with the impossible-to-pronounce name Qfwfq, and tells of a strange crew who jump between Earth and moon, and sometimes hover in the nether reaches of gravity between the two.

    This reading was part of a live event hosted by Radiolab and Selected Shorts, and it originally aired on WNYC’s and PRI’s SELECTED SHORTS, hosted by BD Wong and paired with a Ray Bradbury classic, “All Summer in a Day,” read by musical theater star Michael Cerveris.


    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.

    • 40 min
    The Moon Itself

    The Moon Itself

    There’s a total solar eclipse coming. On Monday, April 8, for a large swath of North America, the sun will disappear, in the middle of the day. Everywhere you look, people are talking about it. What will it feel like when the sun goes away? What will the blocked-out sun look like? But all this talk of the sun got us thinking: wait, what about the moon? The only reason this whole solar eclipse thing is happening is because the moon is stepping in front of the sun. So in today’s episode, we stop treating the moon like a bit player in this epic cosmic event, and place it centerstage. We get to know the moon, itself — from birth, to middle age, to … death.

    This episode was reported by Molly Webster, Pat Walters, Becca Bressler, Alan Goffinski, Maria Paz Guttierez, Sarah Qari, Simon Adler and Alex Neason, and produced by Matt Kielty, Becca Bressler, Pat Walters, Maria Paz Guttierrez, Alan Goffinski and Simon Adler.

    It was edited by Becca Bressler and Pat Walters. Fact-checked by Diane Kelly and Natalie A Middleton. Original Music and sound design by Matt Kielty, Jeremy Bloom, and Simon Adler. Mixing help from Arianne Wack.

    Special thanks to Rebecca Boyle, Patrick Leverone and Daryl Pitts at the Maine Gem and Mineral Museum in Bethel Maine, Renee Weber, Paul M. Sutter, Matt Siegler, Sarah Noble, and Chucky P.

    EPISODE CREDITS:

    Reported by - Molly Webster, Pat Walters, Becca Bressler, Alan Goffinski, Maria Paz Guttierez, Sarah Qari, Simon Adler and Alex Neason Produced by -Matt Kielty, Becca Bressler, Pat Walters, Maria Paz Guttierrez, Alan Goffinski and Simon Adler Original music and sound design contributed by - Matt Kielty, Jeremy Bloom and Simon Adlerwith mixing help from  - Arianne Wack Fact-checking by - Natalie Middleton and Diane Kelley and Edited by  - Pat Walters and Becca Bressler

    EPISODE CITATIONS:

    Books - Rebecca Boyle’s book, Our Moon: How the Earth’s Celestial Companion Transformed the Planet, Guided Evolution and Made Us Who We Are.

    PEOPLE IN NORTH AMERICA, HERE'S HOW TO RECYCLE YOUR USED ECLIPSE GLASSES (https://zpr.io/D6wB7dA4Sb3m)
    *unless you want to hold onto them till the next one on August 23rd, 2044


    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.

    • 49 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
41.2K Ratings

41.2K 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....

KEM woof ,

Used to love it

This show just isn’t the Shane since Jad and Robert left. There are far more reruns than new content. Hoping they can get it back on track.

RandomNickname00 ,

First Time Skipping an Episode

One of the best shows out there. The Small Potatoes episode was banal to the extreme. I couldn’t take it after 20 minutes and I really wanted to like it. But it made me glad that I don’t financially support the show because if I did, I would’ve pulled my funding. I can’t believe actual money was spent to talk about a guy’s toothpaste habits for 20 minutes. Radiolab is at its best when it’s fascinating. Please keep to that. Thank you.

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