28 episodes

A podcast about the left turns, missteps, and lucky breaks that make science happen.

Undiscovered Science Friday and WNYC Studios

    • Science
    • 4.7 • 753 Ratings

A podcast about the left turns, missteps, and lucky breaks that make science happen.

    New Show: Universe of Art

    New Show: Universe of Art

    Science Friday’s new podcast about science-inspired art is out now!

    • 2 min
    New Show: Science Diction

    New Show: Science Diction

    Hello Undiscovered fans! We're here to tell you about a new show we've been working on at Science Friday. Science Diction is a podcast about words—and the science stories behind them.
    Hosted by SciFri producer and self-proclaimed word nerd Johanna Mayer, each episode of Science Diction digs into the origin of a single word or phrase, and, with the help of historians, authors, etymologists, and scientists, reveals a surprising science connection. Here's a sneak peek!

    • 2 min
    Spontaneous Generation

    Spontaneous Generation

    These days, biologists believe all living things come from other living things. But for a long time, people believed that life would, from time to time, spontaneously pop into existence more often—and not just that one time at the base of the evolutionary tree. Even the likes of Aristotle believed in the “spontaneous generation” of life until Louis Pasteur debunked the theory—or so the story goes. 

    • 20 min
    Into The Ether

    Into The Ether

    In 1880, scientist Albert Michelson set out to build a device to measure something every 19th century physicist knew just had to be there. The “luminiferous ether” was invisible and pervaded all of space. It helped explain how light traveled, and how electromagnetic waves waved. Ether theory even underpinned Maxwell’s famous equations! One problem: When Alfred Michaelson ran his machine, the ether wasn’t there. 
    Science historian David Kaiser walks Annie and Science Friday host Ira Flatow through Michaelson’s famous experiment, and explains how a wrong idea led to some very real scientific breakthroughs.
    This story first aired on Science Friday.
     
    GUEST
    David Kaiser, Germeshausen Professor of the History of Science, Professor of Physics, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
     
    FOOTNOTES
    Find out more about the Michelson-Morley experiment on APS Physics. 
    Read an archival article from the New York Times about the physicists’ experimental “failure.”
     
    CREDITS
    This episode of Undiscovered was produced by Annie Minoff and Christopher Intagliata. Our theme music is by I Am Robot And Proud. 

    • 18 min
    Planet Of The Killer Apes

    Planet Of The Killer Apes

    In Apartheid-era South Africa, a scientist uncovered a cracked, proto-human jawbone. That humble fossil would go on to inspire one of the most blood-spattered theories in all of paleontology: the “Killer Ape” theory. 
    According to the Killer Ape theory, humans are killers—unique among the apes for our capacity for bloodthirsty murder and violence. And at a particularly violent moment in U.S. history, the idea stuck! It even made its way into one of the most iconic scenes in film history. Until a female chimp named Passion showed the world that we might not be so special after all.

    • 23 min
    Like Jerry Springer For Bluebirds

    Like Jerry Springer For Bluebirds

    “Do men need to cheat on their women?” a Playboy headline asked in the summer of 1978. Their not-so-surprising conclusion: Yes! Science says so! The idea that men are promiscuous by nature, while women are chaste and monogamous, is an old and tenacious one. As far back as Darwin, scientists were churning out theory and evidence that backed this up. In this episode, Annie and Elah go back to the 1970s and 1980s, when feminism and science come face to face, and it becomes clear that a lot of animals—humans and bluebirds included—are not playing by the rules.

    • 25 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
753 Ratings

753 Ratings

reviewflower ,

But…

Hey podcasters, note that vitamin B12 is not lacking from the diets of millions of vegan Indians, not to speak of those vegans who eat a varied diet including traditional components. B12 is actually produced by fermentation. Pickle, being a common indigenous food where food preservation by refrigeration isn’t a universal given, provides B12

scamdestroyer ,

Such a Wonderful Podcast

I would love to know why it seems like many women seem to talk with a gruffy voice thats sounds terribly like they needed to clear their throat (yesterday)! I find it so annoying to listen to that many times I stop listening. This episode today was a good example. The Eagles portion was the most irritating.

camdenM1561 ,

Just Wanna Say Somethin’

Oki... I like this podcast. My dad listens to this at work, and on a night where I couldn’t sleep, (I can never sleep.) he put on an episode: I, Robovie. It didn't help me sleep, just gave me something to listen to while I try to sleep. It is extremely boring to lie in bed for hours, as you may know if you have the same problem.

edit: hello

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