436 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
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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

    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
    Argentine Invasion

    Argentine Invasion

    From a suburban sidewalk in southern California, Jad and Robert witness the carnage of a gruesome turf war. Though the tiny warriors doing battle clock in at just a fraction of an inch, they have evolved a surprising, successful, and rather unsettling strategy of ironclad loyalty, absolute intolerance, and brutal violence.

    David Holway, an ecologist and evolutionary biologist from UC San Diego, takes us to a driveway in Escondido, California where a grisly battle rages. In this quiet suburban spot, two groups of ants are putting on a chilling display of dismemberment and death. According to David, this battle line marks the edge of an enormous super-colony of Argentine ants. Think of that anthill in your backyard, and stretch it out across five continents.

    Argentine ants are not good neighbors. When they meet ants from another colony, any other colony, they fight to the death, and tear the other ants to pieces. While other kinds of ants sometimes take slaves or even have sex with ants from different colonies, the Argentine ants don’t fool around. If you’re not part of the colony, you’re dead.

    According to evolutionary biologist Neil Tsutsui and ecologist Mark Moffett, the flood plains of northern Argentina offer a clue as to how these ants came to dominate the planet. Because of the frequent flooding, the homeland of Linepithema humile is basically a bootcamp for badass ants. One day, a couple ants from one of these families of Argentine ants made their way onto a boat and landed in New Orleans in the late 1800s. Over the last century, these Argentine ants wreaked havoc across the southern U.S. and a significant chunk of coastal California.

    In fact, Melissa Thomas, an Australian entomologist, reveals that these Argentine ants are even more well-heeled than we expected - they've made to every continent except Antarctica. No matter how many thousands of miles separate individual ants, when researchers place two of them together - whether they're plucked from Australia, Japan, Hawaii ... even Easter Island - they recognize each other as belonging to the same super-colony.

    But the really mind-blowing thing about these little guys is the surprising success of their us-versus-them death-dealing. Jad and Robert wrestle with what to make of this ant regime, whether it will last, and what, if anything, it might mean for other warlike organisms with global ambitions.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

    Sign up for our newsletter. 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.

    • 21 min
    Mixtapes to the Moon

    Mixtapes to the Moon

    They promised to change you. They ended up changing all of us.

    On July 20, 1969 humanity watched as Neil Armstrong stepped foot on the moon. It was the dazzling culmination of a decade of teamwork, a collective global experience unlike anything before or since, a singular moment in which every human being was invited to feel part of something larger than themself. There was however, one man who was left out.

    This week on Radiolab we explore what it means to be together and - of course - the cassette tapes that changed it.

    Special thanks to WBUR and the team at City Space for having us and recording this event, all the other folks and venues that hosted us on tour, Sarah Rose Leonard and Lance Gardner at KQED for developing this show with us and Alex Overington for musically bringing it to life.

    EPISODE CREDITS:
    Reported by - Simon Adler
    Produced by - Simon Adler
    Original music and sound design contributed by - Alex Overington
    Fact-checking by - Emily Krieger
    and Edited by - Soren Wheeler

    EPISODE CITATIONS:
    Videos -
    Check out Zack Taylor’s beautiful documentary CASSETTE: A Documentary Mixtape (https://vimeo.com/127216590)

    Mall videos referenced in the episode: https://youtu.be/bPrZOk1DgGY?si=l8dE8_GUxHznuqHL

    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, X (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.

    • 37 min
    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

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....

FNOMINL ,

Top 5 of all time!

Feeds my quirky intellectual curiosity!!

12222018 ,

What happened ?

The show was my introduction into podcasts back in the day. I love it! Jad and Robert were magical together. But now…. I have a hard time listening to this . It’s not interesting . Please get it back on track .

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