There are a lot of fads, blogs and strong opinions, but then there’s SCIENCE. Science Vs is the show from Gimlet that finds out what’s fact, what’s not, and what’s somewhere in between. We do the hard work of sifting through all the science so you don't have to and cover everything from 5G and Pandemics, to Vaping and Fasting Diets.
Back From the Dead
Today we're telling tales that push life to the ultimate limit. We're bringing things back from the dead, diving into the mysteries of immortality and asking just how much can the human body take? We talk to Rohan Schoeman, Dr. Eduard Argudo, Audrey Mash, Prof. Ferdinando Boero, Prof. Shin Kubota, Dr. Moiya McTier, and Prof. David Howard.
UPDATE 5/17/21: An earlier version of this episode said that Nesyamun was scanned using MRI. While David has used MRI to scan vocal tracts in his research, Nesyamun’s vocal tract was imaged using a CT scan.
Check out the transcript here: https://bit.ly/33NVcF7
Credits: This episode was produced by Meryl Horn, Rose Rimler, Michelle Dang, Nick DelRose, and Wendy Zukerman, with help from Taylor White. We’re edited by Blythe Terrell and Caitlin Kenney. Fact checking by Eva Dasher. Translation by Ben Milam, Kana Hatakeyama, and Bumi Hidaka. Mix and sound design by Bumi Hidaka. Music written by Bumi Hidaka, Peter Leonard, Bobby Lord, Marcus Bagala, Emma Munger and So Wylie. And special thanks to all the researchers we talked to for this episode, including Dr. Jordi Riera, Professor Lars J Bjertnæs, Dr. Peter Paal, Dr. Herman Brugger, Prof. Maria Pia Miglietta, and Dr. Jenna Valley. And a big thanks to Sinduja Srinivasan, Katie Cruickshank, Jessica Mack, the Zukerman family and Joseph Lavelle Wilson.
A Seedy, Late-Night Adventure
Today, under cover of darkness, we're hunting buried treasure. This is a wild romp through one of the oldest science experiments in the world. And at first, everything was going to plan. Scientists had a secret map, headlamps, shovels … but then — out of nowhere — something got in the way. We go on this journey with plant biologists Professor Frank Telewski, Dr. Marjorie Weber, and Dr. David Lowry.
Check out the transcript here: https://bit.ly/3h4BKMv
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This episode was produced by Wendy Zukerman, with help from Rose Rimler, Nick DelRose, Taylor White, Meryl Horn, and Michelle Dang. We’re edited by Blythe Terrell. Extra recording from the amazing team at Michigan State University -- Kevin Epling, Greg Kohuth, and Jacob Templin-Fulton. And a big thanks to Kim Ward at MSU. Fact checking by Erica Akiko Howard. Mix and sound design by Bumi Hidaka. Music written by Bumi Hidaka, Peter Leonard, Marcus Bagala, Emma Munger and Bobby Lord. And special thanks to the Zukerman family and Joseph Lavelle Wilson.
Screens: Are They Ruining Our Brains and Mental Health and Eyes and
Tons of us are spending waaaayyy more time using screens these days — and it’s freaking us out. We’ve got all kinds of worries. Like, is all this screen time rotting kids’ brains? Is social media destroying our mental health? And then there’s our eyes. Our eyes!! Are all these screens ruining them too?! To find out, we speak to psychologist Dr. Brenna Hassinger-Das, communication studies researcher Dr. Natalie Pennington and optical physicist Dr. Maitreyee Roy.
Check out the transcript here: https://bit.ly/2Rfp0I4
This episode was produced by Michelle Dang with help from Wendy Zukerman, Rose Rimler, Meryl Horn, Nick DelRose and Taylor White. We’re edited by Blythe Terrell. Fact checking by Eva Dasher. Mix and sound design by Bumi Hidaka. Music written by Bumi Hidaka, Haley Shaw, Peter Leonard, Marcus Bagala, Emma Munger, and Bobby Lord. A huge thanks to all the researchers we got in touch with for this episode, including Professor Seang Mei Saw, Professor Mark Rosenfield, Dr. Cristian Talens Estarelles, Dr. Rebecca Brand, Professor Wallace Dixon and Dr. Deborah Kloska. And thanks to all of our wonderful listeners who sent us messages about their screen use! It was so lovely to hear from all of you! And special thanks to Khairi, KC, and Makai Williams, Christina Couch and Lillian Adams, and Connie and Sekwan Walker, Kendra Pierre-Louis, the Zukerman family and Joseph Lavelle Wilson.
Havana Syndrome: Did a Secret Weapon Fry Diplomats' Brains?
Back in 2016, U.S. Embassy workers in Cuba were struck by a mysterious noise, followed by symptoms like headaches, dizziness and memory problems. This sent the U.S. scrambling to try to find the culprit. Could it have been an ear-piercing sonic weapon? Or something even sneakier — a device that could beam microwaves into your brain?? We speak to journalist Tim Golden, Prof. Douglas Smith, Prof. Fernando Montealegre-Zapata, Dr. Mitchell Joseph Valdés-Sosa, Prof. Chris Collins, and Prof. Alan Carson.
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Check out the transcript here: https://bit.ly/2Pf3jan
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This episode was produced by Nick DelRose and Wendy Zukerman, with help from Meryl Horn, Rose Rimler, Michelle Dang and Taylor White. We’re edited by Blythe Terrell. Fact checking by Eva Dasher. Mix and sound design by Bumi Hidaka. Music written by Bumi Hidaka, Peter Leonard, Marcus Bagala, Emma Munger and Bobby Lord. Translation help by Kristin Torres. A huge thanks to the researchers who helped us out for this episode -- we spoke to around two dozen experts to get their thoughts on many different parts of this -- from the brain studies to the possibility of microwave weapons. Many of them just wanted to talk on background - but thank you so much for your time. And special thanks to Ayo Oti, Navani Otero, Andrea B. Scott, the Zukerman family and Joseph Lavelle Wilson.
How Science Created Morons
REBROADCAST: This episode looks at how one of the worst ideas in science got a big push from a bad study… and intellectuals of the day lapped it up. We speak to science writer Carl Zimmer and Prof. J. David Smith, whose research helped get to the bottom of this messed-up story.
Check out the full transcript here: https://bit.ly/3sZ3m8P
This episode was produced by Kaitlyn Sawrey, Wendy Zukerman, and Romilla Karnick with help from Meryl Horn, Rose Rimler, Shruti Ravindran and Nick DelRose. We’re edited by Blythe Terrell, extra editing help from Alex Blumberg and PJ Vogt. An extra thanks to Phoebe Flanagan as well as Emily Ulbricht for help with German translations. Fact checking by Michelle Harris and Nick DelRose. Mix and sound design by Emma Munger and Bumi Hidaka. Music written by Peter Leonard, Bobby Lord and Emma Munger. We also spoke to Professor Peter Visscher for this episode. Thank you. A huge thanks to all the Zukerman Family and Joseph Lavelle Wilson.
Coronavirus: How Scary Are the Variants?
UPDATE 4/13/21: Since this episode published, there has been some evidence linking the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine to rare blood clots. As of April 13, there were six cases in the U.S. out of more than 6.8 million doses, and one person had died. The CDC and FDA have recommended pausing the vaccine while they learn more.
Details are here: https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2021/s0413-JJ-vaccine.html
Just as coronavirus vaccinations are ramping up, a bunch of new variants are here, threatening to muck everything up. So we’re wondering — will these jabs still work, or is this the pandemic that never ends? To find out, we talk to Dr. Ben Reis, biochemist Prof. Pei-Yong Shi, virologist Prof. Ann Sheehy, and infectious disease expert Dr. Katy Stephenson.
Check out the transcript here: https://bit.ly/3mbc0hQ
This episode was produced by Wendy Zukerman, Rose Rimler, Nick DelRose and Meryl Horn, with help from Michelle Dang and Taylor White. We’re edited by Blythe Terrell, editing help from Caitlin Kenney. Fact checking by Taylor White. Mix and sound design by Bumi Hidaka. Music written by Peter Leonard, Marcus Bagala, Emma Munger and Bobby Lord. A huge thanks to the researchers we got in touch with for this episode as well as all the listeners who told us about their vaccine experience! And special thanks to the Zukerman family and Joseph Lavelle Wilson.
I travel nurse and this podcast keeps me awake when I have to drive!
Science Vs Hit or Miss: Screen Use
Part II of review for this episode (adult portion):
Again, if you know much about the topics being discussed, you’ll find episodes of Science VS potentially infuriating because there is often little actual data given or interpreted or contextualized. For the effects of adult screen use, we might want to know about the algorithms determining what we see on FB, IG, Google, etc. Check out the podcast Brave New Planet, episode on algorithms and developing AI. Also worth watching The Social Dilemma (streaming on Netflix). I’m not advocating any of the conclusions here, but fill your mind with various datasets and assessments and consider for yourself. Psychology isn’t the only field studying the effects of screens on adults, teens, and kids, though it is presented here as if that interpretation is enough.
Science with a side of wit!
I subscribe to 17 science podcasts and this is one of my favorites. In a podcast universe of science shows that try to cover many things in a single episode, I especially appreciate the more in-depth focus of Science VS.
Wendy is a fantastic host and I enjoy her humor. I also find her voice and accent quite pleasant. She deserves more accolades for her contributions as a science communicator.