Episodes

  • Summer 2023 was a pretty scary one for the planet. Global temperatures in June and July reached record highs. And over in the North Atlantic Sea, the water temperature spiked to off-the-chart levels. Some people figured that meant we were about to go over the edge, doomsday. In the face of this, Hank Green (a long time environmentalist and science educator behind SciShow, Crash Course, and more), took to social media to put things in context, to keep people focused on what we can do about climate change.

    In the process, he came across a couple studies that suggested a reduction in sulfurous smog from cargo ships may have accidentally warmed the waters. And while Hank saw a silver lining around those smog clouds, the story he told—about smog clouds and cooling waters and the problem of geoengineering—took us on a rollercoaster ride of hope and terror. Ultimately, we had to wrestle with the question of what we should be doing about climate change, or what we should even talk about.

    Special thanks to Dr. Colin Carson and Avishay Artsy.

    EPISODE CREDITS:

    Reported by - Lulu Miller
    with help from - Alyssa Jeong Perry
    Production help from - Alyssa Jeong Perry
    Original music and sound design contributed by - Jeremy Bloom
    with mixing help from - Jeremy Bloom
    Fact-checking by - Natalie Middleton
    and Edited by - N/A


    CITATIONS:

    Videos:

    Sci Show (https://www.youtube.com/@SciShow)

    Crash Course (https://www.youtube.com/crashcourse)

    Articles:

    The article Hank came across (https://zpr.io/zKYxWht3Nmy7)

    Books:

    Under a White Sky (https://zpr.io/zKYxWht3Nmy7): The Nature of the Future by Elizabeth Kolbert

    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 [email protected].


    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.

  • Most of us would sacrifice one person to save five. It’s a pretty straightforward bit of moral math. But if we have to actually kill that person ourselves, the math gets fuzzy.

    That’s the lesson of the classic Trolley Problem, a moral puzzle that fried our brains in an episode we did almost 20 years ago, then updated again in 2017. Historically, the questions posed by The Trolley Problem are great for thought experimentation and conversations at a certain kind of cocktail party. Now, new technologies are forcing that moral quandary out of our philosophy departments and onto our streets.

    So today, we revisit the Trolley Problem and wonder how a two-ton hunk of speeding metal will make moral calculations about life and death that still baffle its creators.

    Special thanks to Iyad Rahwan, Edmond Awad and Sydney Levine from the Moral Machine group at MIT. Also thanks to Fiery Cushman, Matthew DeBord, Sertac Karaman, Martine Powers, Xin Xiang, and Roborace for all of their help. Thanks to the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism students who collected the vox: Chelsea Donohue, Ivan Flores, David Gentile, Maite Hernandez, Claudia Irizarry-Aponte, Comice Johnson, Richard Loria, Nivian Malik, Avery Miles, Alexandra Semenova, Kalah Siegel, Mark Suleymanov, Andee Tagle, Shaydanay Urbani, Isvett Verde and Reece Williams.

    EPISODE CREDITS

    Reported and produced by - Amanda Aronczyk and Bethel Habte

    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 [email protected]


    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.

  • Episodes manquant?

    Cliquez ici pour raffraichir la page manuellement.

  • Today, the story of an idea. An idea that some people need, others reject, and one that will, ultimately, be hard to let go of.

    Special Thanks to Carl Zimmer, Eric Turkheimer, Andrea Ganna, Chandler Burr, Jacques Balthazart, Sean Mckeithan, Joe Osmundson, Jennifer Brier, Daniel Levine-Spound, Maddie Sofia, Elie Mystal, Heather Radke

    EPISODE CREDITS:

    Reported by - Matt Kielty
    Produced by - Matt Kielty
    Original music and sound design contributed by - Matt Kielty
    with mixing help from - Arianne Wack
    Fact-checking by - Diane Kelly


    EPISODE CITATIONS:

    Videos:

    Lisa Diamond - Born This Way, TEDx (https://zpr.io/WJedDGLVkTNF)

    Books:

    Joanna Wuest - Born This Way: Science, Citizenship, and Inequality in the American LGBTQ+ Movement (https://zpr.io/rYPwyhNHtgXe)

    Dean Hamer - The Science of Desire: The Search for the Gay Gene and the Biology of Behavior (https://zpr.io/3FuKZyu2bgwE)

    Lisa Diamond - Sexual Fluidity: Understanding Women’s Desire and Love (https://zpr.io/cj3ZSLC2xccJ)

    Edward Stein - The Mismeasure of Desire: The Science, Theory, and Ethics of Sexual Orientation (https://zpr.io/UQfdNtyE3RtQ)

    Chandler Burr - A Separate Creation: The Search for the Biological Origins of Sexual Orientation (https://zpr.io/GKUDhyfNacUf)

    Jacques Balthazart - The Biology of Homosexuality (https://zpr.io/um6XMmpfkmQS)

    Anne Fausto-Sterling - Sexing the Body: Gender Politics and the Construction of Sexuality (https://zpr.io/rWNrTYLeLZ3s)


    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 [email protected].

  • In this episode from 2007, we take you on a tour of language, music, and the properties of sound. We look at what sound does to our bodies, our brains, our feelings… and we go back to the reason we at Radiolab tell you stories the way we do.

    First, we look at Diana Deutsch’s work on language and music, and how certain languages seem to promote musicality in humans. Then we meet Psychologist Anne Fernald and listen to parents as they talk to their babies across languages and cultures. Last, we go to 1913 Paris and sneak into the premiere of Igor Stravinsky’s score of The Rite of Spring.

    Check out Diana Deutsch's 'Audio Illusions' here (https://deutsch.ucsd.edu/psychology/pages.php?i=201).

    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 [email protected]

    Correction: An earlier version of this piece incorrectly stated the dates of two performances of “Rite of Spring” and the time that passed between them. The performance that inspired rioting occurred on May 29th, 1913. The second performance that we discussed occurred in April of 1914. The audio has been adjusted to reflect this fact.

    Correction: An earlier version of this piece incorrectly stated that the “Rite of Spring” was used in the movie “Fantasia” during the part that featured mushrooms. It was in fact used during the part that featured dinosaurs. The audio has been adjusted to reflect this fact.


    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.

  • A couple years ago, our producer Annie McEwen listened to an audio documentary that, she said, “tore my heart wide open.” That episode , “Finn and the Bell,” (https://zpr.io/TDjwQuXFDSz6) by independent producer Erica Heilman (maker of the podcast Rumble Strip), went on to win some of the biggest awards in audio (including a Peabody, https://zpr.io/tu4hwhKQ3TWN), and the rest of the staff finally got around to listening, and it tore our hearts wide open, too. It’s a story about a death, but as so many of the best stories about death tend to be, it ends up mainly being about life, in this case, the life of a small town in far northern Vermont, the town where Erica lives and makes her show. We think you’ll like it.

    You can find more than 200 other episodes of Rumble Strip here (https://zpr.io/dwGNnSFmAEFX).

    Erica’s episode about The Civic Standard (https://zpr.io/GJMP95QENFKq), the community organization started by Finn’s mom Tara Reese and her friend Rose Friedman, is here (https://zpr.io/9HL9mpZT4LTM). A follow-up episode to “Finn and the Bell” is here (https://zpr.io/ycxSU7ceDXNi). The episode Lulu mentions about the camp for people with and without disabilities is here (https://zpr.io/cnyyUWrfQJey).

    Special thanks to Clare Dolan, Tobin Anderson, Amelia Meath and of course, Tara Reese 🥚. Rumble Strip is a member of Hub and Spoke, a collective of independent podcasts from around the country.

    EPISODE CREDITS
    Reported by - Erica Heilman
    Produced by - Erica Heilman

    If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, there’s help available. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is open 24 hours a day at 1-800-273-TALK. There’s also a live chat option on their website(http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/).

    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 [email protected].


    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.

  • When we think of China today, we think of a technological superpower. From Huawei and 5G to TikTok and viral social media, China is stride for stride with the United States in the world of computing. However, China’s technological renaissance almost didn’t happen. And for one very basic reason: The Chinese language, with its 70,000 plus characters, couldn’t fit on a keyboard.

    Today, we tell the story of Professor Wang Yongmin, a hard headed computer programmer who solved this puzzle and laid the foundation for the China we know today.


    Episode Credits
    Reported by - Simon Adler
    Produced by - Simon Adler


    THE DETAILS TO SIMON ADLER’S LIVESHOW!

    For People in Chicago

    Simon will be performing at the Chicago at the Frank Lloyd Wright Unity Temple on Saturday, September 30th (https://zpr.io/jePmFHyKUqiM).

    For People in Boston

    Simon performs at the WBUR City Space on Friday, December 8th (https://zpr.io/jePmFHyKUqiM).

    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 [email protected]


    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.

  • Matthew Herrick was sitting on his stoop in Harlem when something weird happened. Then, it happened again. And again. It happened so many times that it became an absolute nightmare—a nightmare that haunted his life daily and flipped it completely upside down.

    What stood between Matthew and help were 26 little words. These 26 words, known as Section 230, are the core of an Internet law that coats the tech industry in Teflon. No matter what happens, who gets hurt, or what harm is done, tech companies can’t be held responsible for the things that happen on their platforms. Section 230 affects the lives of an untold number of people like Matthew, and makes the Internet a far more ominous place for all of us. But also, in a strange twist, it’s what keeps the whole thing up and running in the first place.

    Why do we have this law? And more importantly, why can’t we just delete it?


    Special thanks to James Grimmelmann, Eric Goldman, Naomi Leeds, Jeff Kosseff, Carrie Goldberg, and Kashmir Hill.


    EPISODE CREDITS
    Reported by - Rachael Cusick
    Produced by - Rachael Cusick and Simon Adler
    with mixing help from - Arianne Wack
    Fact-checking by - Natalie Middleton
    Edited by - Pat Walters

    EPISODE CITATIONS:

    Articles:
    Kashmir Hill’s story introduced us to Section 230.

    Books:
    Jeff Kosseff’s book The Twenty-Six Words That Created the Internet (https://zpr.io/8ara6vtQVTuK) is a fantastic biography of Section 230

    To read more about Carrie Goldberg’s work, head to her website (https://www.cagoldberglaw.com/) or check out her bookcheck out her book
    Nobody's Victim (https://zpr.io/Ra9mXtT9eNvb).

    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 [email protected].


    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.

  • In online news, stories live forever. The tipsy photograph of you at the college football game? It’s there. That news article about the political rally you were marching at? It’s there. A charge for driving under the influence? That’s there, too. But what if... it wasn’t?

    Several years ago a group of journalists in Cleveland, Ohio, tried an experiment that had the potential to turn things upside down: they started unpublishing content they’d already published. Photographs, names, entire articles. Every month or so, they met to decide what content stayed, and what content went. In this episode from 2019, Senior Correspondent Molly Webster takes us inside the room where the editors decided who, or what, got to be deleted. And we talk about how the “right to be forgotten” has spread and grown in the years since. It’s a story about time and memory, mistakes and second chances, and society as we know it.

    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 [email protected]


    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

  • In 1908, on a sunny, clear, quiet morning in Siberia, witnesses recall seeing a blinding light streak across the sky, and then… the earth shook, a forest was flattened, fish were thrown from streams, and roofs were blown off houses. The “Tunguska event,” as it came to be known, was one of the largest extraterrestrial impact events in Earth’s history. But what kind of impact—what exactly struck the earth in the middle of Siberia?—is still up for debate. Producer Annie McEwen dives into one idea that suggests a culprit so mysterious, so powerful, so… tiny, you won’t believe your ears. And stranger still, it may be in you right now. Or, according to Senior Correspondent Molly Webster, it could be You.

    EPISODE CREDITS

    Reported by - Annie McEwen and Molly Webster
    Produced by - Annie McEwen and Becca Bressler
    with help from - Matt Kielty
    Original music and sound design contributed by - Jeremy Bloom, Annie McEwen, Matt Kielty
    Mixing by - Jeremy Bloom
    with dialogue mixing by - Arianne Wack
    Fact-checking by - Diane Kelly
    and edited by - Alex Neason


    GUESTS
    Matt O’Dowd (https://www.mattodowd.space/)

    Special Thanks:

    Special thanks to, Matthew E. Caplan, Brian Greene, Priyamvada Natarajan, Almog Yalinewich

    EPISODE CITATIONS

    Videos:

    Watch “PBS Space Time,” (https://zpr.io/GNhVAWDday49) the groovy show and side-gig of physicist and episode guest Matt O’Dowd

    Articles:

    Read more (https://zpr.io/J4cKYG5uTgNf) about the Tunguska impact event!

    Check out the paper (https://zpr.io/vZxkKtGQczBL), which considers the shape of the crater a primordial black hole would make, should it hit earth: “Crater Morphology of Primordial Black Hole Impacts”

    Curious to learn more about black holes possibly being dark matter? You can in the paper (https://zpr.io/sPpuSwhGFkDJ), “Exploring the high-redshift PBH- ΛCDM Universe: early black hole seeding, the first stars and cosmic radiation backgrounds”

    Books:

    Get your glow on – Senior Correspondent Molly Webster has a new kids book, a fictional tale about a lonely Little Black Hole (https://zpr.io/e8EKrM7YF32T)


    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 [email protected].


    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.

  • Since the beginning of the space program, we’ve expected astronauts to be fully-abled athletic overachievers—one-part science geeks, two-part triathletes—a mix the writer Tom Wolfe called “the right stuff.”

    But what if, this whole time, we’ve had it wrong?

    In this episode from 2022, reporter Andrew Leland joins blind Linguistics Professor Sheri Wells-Jensen and a crew of 11 other disabled people. They embark on a mission to prove not just that they have what it takes to go to space, but that disability gives them an edge. On Mission AstroAccess, the crew members hop on an airplane to take a zero-gravity flightthe same NASA uses to train astronauts. With them, we learn that the challenges to making space accessible may not be the ones we thought. And Andrew, who is legally blind, confronts unexpected conclusions of his own.

    By the way, Andrew’s new book is out. In The Country of the Blind: A Memoir at the End of Sight (https://zpr.io/nLZ8H), Andrew recounts his transition from sighted to blind. Suspended between anxiety and anticipation, he also begins to explore the many facets of blindness as a culture. It’s well worth a read.

    Read the article by Sheri Wells-Jensen, published in The Scientific American in 2018. “The Case for Disabled Astronaut” (https://zpr.io/nLZ8H).

    This episode was reported by Andrew Leland and produced by María Paz Gutiérrez, Matt Kielty and Pat Walters. Jeremy Bloom contributed music and sound design. Production sound recording by Dan McCoy.Special thanks to William Pomerantz, Sheyna Gifford, Jim Vanderploeg, Tim Bailey, and Bill Barry

    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 [email protected]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.

  • At a tree ring conference in the relatively treeless city of Tucson, Arizona, three scientists walk into a bar. The trio gets to talking, trying to explain a mysterious set of core samples from the Florida Keys. At some point, they come up with a harebrained idea: put the tree rings next to a seemingly unrelated dataset. Once they do, they notice something that no one has ever noticed before, a force of nature that helped shape modern human history and that is eerily similar to what’s happening on our planet right now. With help from pirates, astronomers and an 80-year-old bartender, this episode will change the way you look at the sun. (Warning: Do not look at the sun.)

    Special thanks to Scott St George, Nathaniel Millett, Michael Charles Stambaugh, Justin Maxwell, Clay Tucker, Willem Klooster, Kevin Anchukaitis

    EPISODE CREDITS

    Reported by - Latif Nasser
    with help from - Ekedi Fausther-Keeys and Maria Paz Gutierrez
    Produced by - Maria Paz Gutierrez and Pat Walters
    with help from - Ekedi Fausther-Keeys and Sachi Mulkey
    Mixed by - Jeremy Bloom
    with mixing help from - Arianne Wack
    Fact-checking by - Natalie Middleton
    and Edited by - Pat Walters

    CITATIONS:

    Books:

    Tree Story (https://zpr.io/ULX279uzgW9q) by Valerie Trouet
    Sweetness and Power (https://zpr.io/cUEGqGGWMSaQ) by Sidney Mintz

    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 [email protected].

    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.

  • This is a story about your butt. It’s a story about how you got your butt, why you have your butt, and how your butt might be one of the most important and essential things for you being you, for being human.

    In this episode from 2019, Reporter Heather Radke and Producer Matt Kielty talk to two researchers who followed the butt from our ancient beginnings through millions of years of evolution, all the way to today, out to a valley in Arizona, where our butts are put to the ultimate test.

    Special thanks to Michelle Legro.

    EPISODE CREDITS:

    Reported by - Heather Radke and Matt Kielty
    Produced by - Matt Kielty
    with help from - Simon Adler and Rachael Cusick
    Original music and sound design contributed by - Jeremy Bloom
    Fact-checking by - Dorie Chevlen

    EPISODE CITATIONS:

    Books: Butts by Heather Radke

    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 [email protected]


    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.

  • Sad news for all of us: producer Rachael Cusick— who brought us soul-stirring stories rethinking grief (https://zpr.io/GZ6xEvpzsbHU) and solitude (https://zpr.io/eT5tAX6JtYra), as well as colorful musings on airplane farts (https://zpr.io/CNpgUijZiuZ4) and belly flops (https://zpr.io/uZrEz27z63CB) and Blueberry Earths (https://zpr.io/EzxgtdTRGVzz)— is leaving the show. So we thought it perfect timing to sit down with her and revisit another brainchild of hers, The Cataclysm Sentence, a collection of advice for The End.

    To explain: one day in 1961, the famous physicist Richard Feynman stepped in front of a Caltech lecture hall and posed this question to a group of undergraduate students: “If, in some cataclysm, all of scientific knowledge were to be destroyed, and only one sentence was passed on to the next generation of creatures, what statement would contain the most information in the fewest words?” Now, Feynman had an answer to his own question—a good one. But his question got the entire team at Radiolab wondering, what did his sentence leave out? So we posed Feynman’s cataclysm question to some of our favorite writers, artists, historians, futurists—all kinds of great thinkers. We asked them “What’s the one sentence you would want to pass on to the next generation that would contain the most information in the fewest words?” What came back was an explosive collage of what it means to be alive right here and now, and what we want to say before we go.


    Featuring:


    Richard Feynman, physicist - The Pleasure of Finding Things Out (https://zpr.io/5KngTGibPVDw)

    Caitlin Doughty, mortician - Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs (https://zpr.io/Wn4bQgHzDRDB)

    Esperanza Spalding, musician - 12 Little Spells (https://zpr.io/KMjYrkwrz9dy)

    Cord Jefferson, writer - Watchmen (https://zpr.io/ruqKDQGy5Rv8)

    Merrill Garbus, musician - I Can Feel You Creep Into My Private Life (https://zpr.io/HmrqFX8RKuFq)

    Jenny Odell, writer - How to do Nothing (https://zpr.io/JrUHu8dviFqc)

    Maria Popova, writer - Brainpickings (https://zpr.io/vsHXphrqbHiN)

    Alison Gopnik, developmental psychologist - The Gardener and the Carpenter (https://zpr.io/ewtJpUYxpYqh)

    Rebecca Sugar, animator - Steven Universe (https://zpr.io/KTtSrdsBtXB7)

    Nicholson Baker, writer - Substitute (https://zpr.io/QAh2d7J9QJf2)

    James Gleick, writer - Time Travel (https://zpr.io/9CWX9q3KmZj8)

    Lady Pink, artist - too many amazing works to pick just one (https://zpr.io/FkJh6edDBgRL)

    Jenny Hollwell, writer - Everything Lovely, Effortless, Safe (https://zpr.io/MjP5UJb3mMYP)

    Jaron Lanier, futurist - Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now (https://zpr.io/bxWiHLhPyuEK)

    Missy Mazzoli, composer - Proving Up (https://zpr.io/hTwGcHGk93Ty)

    Special Thanks to:

    Ella Frances Sanders, and her book, "Eating the Sun" (https://zpr.io/KSX6DruwRaYL), for inspiring this whole episode.

    Caltech for letting us use original audio of The Feynman Lectures on Physics. The entirety of the lectures are available to read for free online at www.feynmanlectures.caltech.edu.

    All the musicians who helped make the Primordial Chord, including:

    Siavash Kamkar (https://zpr.io/2ZT46XsMRdhg), from Iran

    Koosha Pashangpour (https://zpr.io/etWDXuCctrzE), from Iran

    Curtis MacDonald (https://zpr.io/HQ8uskA44BUh), from Canada

    Meade Bernard (https://zpr.io/gbxDPPzHFvme), from US

    Barnaby Rea (https://zpr.io/9ULsQh5iGUPa), from UK

    Liav Kerbel (https://zpr.io/BA4DBwMhwZDU), from Belgium

    Sam Crittenden (https://zpr.io/EtQZmAk2XrCQ), from US

    Saskia Lankhoorn (https://zpr.io/YiH6QWJreR7p), from Netherlands

    Bryan Harris (https://zpr.io/HMiyy2TGcuwE), from US

    Amelia Watkins (https://zpr.io/6pWEw3y754me), from Canada

    Claire James (https://zpr.io/HFpHTUwkQ2ss), from US

    Ilario Morciano (https://zpr.io/zXvM7cvnLHW6), from Italy

    Matthias Kowalczyk, from Germany (https://zpr.io/ANkRQMp6NtHR)

    Solmaz Badri (https://zpr.io/MQ5VAaKieuyN), from Iran

    All the wonderful people we interviewed for sentences but weren’t able to fit in this episode, including: Daniel Abrahm, Julia Alvarez, Aimee Bender, Sandra Cisneros, Stanley Chen, Lewis Dartnell, Ann Druyan, Rose Eveleth, Ty Frank, Julia Galef, Ross Gay, Gary Green, Cesar Harada, Dolores Huerta, Robin Hunicke, Brittany Kamai, Priya Krishna, Ken Liu, Carmen Maria Machado, James Martin, Judith Matloff, Ryan McMahon, Hasan Minhaj, Lorrie Moore, Priya Natarajan, Larry Owens, Sunni Patterson, Amy Pearl, Alison Roman, Domee Shi, Will Shortz, Sam Stein, Sohaib Sultan, Kara Swisher, Jill Tarter, Olive Watkins, Reggie Watts, Deborah Waxman, Alex Wellerstein, Caveh Zahedi.

    EPISODE CREDITS

    Reported by - Rachael Cusick (https://www.rachaelcusick.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 [email protected]


    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.

  • Given reporter Julia Longoria’s long love affair with the Supreme Court, it’s no surprise she’s become the new host of More Perfect (https://zpr.io/4R9fMg9gJ96k), a show all about how the Supreme Court got to be so… supreme. This week, we talk to Julia about her journey to the host seat, and we highlight an episode she produced for Radiolab in 2019 about a specific case: González v. Williams.

    In 1903 the U.S. Supreme Court refused to say that Isabel González was a citizen of the United States. Then again, they said, she wasn’t exactly an immigrant either. And they said that the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, Isabel’s home, was “foreign to the United States in a domestic sense.” Since then, the U.S. has cleared up at least some of the confusion about U.S. territories and the status of people born in them.

    But, more than a hundred years later, there is still a U.S. territory that has been left in limbo: American Samoa. It is the only place on Earth that is U.S. soil, but people who are born there are not automatically U.S. citizens. When we visit American Samoa, we discover that there are some pretty surprising reasons why many American Samoans prefer it that way.


    EPISODE CREDITS

    Reported by - Julia Longoria

    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 [email protected]


    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.

  • Shipworms. Hairy Chested Yeti Crabs. Parasitic Barnacles in the cloaca of Greenland Sharks. These are the types of creatures Sabrina Imbler, a columnist at Defector, likes to write about. The stranger, the better.

    In this episode, Imbler discusses how they balance maintaining scientific rigor while also drawing inspiration and metaphor from the animal world. Then they read a stirring essay from their new book, How Far the Light Reaches: A Life in Ten Sea Creatures . It’s about the sand striker, one of the ocean’s most gruesome predators, and the various prey that surround it. In learning about the relationships between predator and prey lurking in the murky bottom, Imbler ends up unearthing new insights about predation in human society. The essay deals with sexual assault so listen with care.

    EPISODE CREDITS

    Reported by - Lulu Miller

    Produced by - Sindhu Gnanasambandan

    Original music and sound design contributed by - Alex Overington

    with mixing help from - Jeremy Bloom and Arianne Wack

    Fact-checking by - Natalie Middleton

    and Edited by - Alex Neason and Pat Walters

    EPISODE CITATIONS

    Articles:
    Creaturefector” (https://zpr.io/3myWi4grgkGB) by Sabrina Imbler

    Books:
    How Far the Light Reaches: A Life in Ten Sea Creatures (https://zpr.io/agkRj7xyPG9T) by Sabrina Imbler
    Dyke (geology) (https://zpr.io/7kAtAKjdBqPa) by Sabrina Imbler

    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 [email protected].


    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.

  • Ross McNutt has a superpower: he can zoom in on everyday life, then rewind and fast-forward to solve crimes in a shutter-flash. But should he?

    In 2004, when casualties in Iraq were rising due to roadside bombs, Ross McNutt and his team came up with an idea. With a small plane and a 44 megapixel camera, they figured out how to watch an entire city all at once, all day long. Whenever a bomb detonated, they could zoom into that spot and then, because this eye in the sky had been there all along, they could scroll back in time and see—literally see—who planted it. After the war, Ross McNutt retired from the Air Force, and brought this technology back home with him. Manoush Zomorodi and Alex Goldmark (from the podcast Note to Self) give us the lowdown on Ross’ unique brand of persistent surveillance, from Juarez, Mexico to Dayton, Ohio. Then, once we realize what we can do, we wonder whether we should.

    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 [email protected]


    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.

  • In the 1970s, as LGBTQ+ people in the United States faced conservatives whose top argument was that homosexuality is “unnatural,” a pair of young scientists discovered on a tiny island off the coast of California a colony of seagulls that included… a significant number of female homosexual couples making nests and raising chicks together. The article that followed upended the culture’s understanding of what’s natural and took the discourse on homosexuality in a whole new direction.

    In this episode, our co-Host Lulu Miller grapples with the impact of this and several other studies about animal queerness on her life as a queer person.

    Special thanks to the History is Gay (https://www.historyisgaypodcast.com/) podcast.

    EPISODE CREDITS

    Reported by - Lulu Miller
    with help from - Sarah Qari
    Produced by - Sarah Qari
    Original sound design contributed by - Jeremy Bloom
    with mixing help from - Arianne Wack
    Fact-checking by - Diane Kelly
    and Edited by - Becca Bressler

    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 [email protected].

    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.

  • At the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, Japan, one athlete pulled a move that, as far as we know, no one else had ever attempted.

    In this episode, first aired in the Spring of 2016, we tell you about Surya Bonaly. Surya was not your typical figure skater: she is black, she is athletic, and she didn’t seem to care about artistry. Her performances—punctuated by triple jumps and other power moves—thrilled audiences around the world. Yet commentators claimed she couldn’t skate and judges never gave her high marks. But Surya didn’t accept that criticism. Unlike her competitors—ice princesses who hid behind demure smiles—Surya made her feelings known.

    Then, during her final Olympic performance, she attempted one jump that flew in the face of the establishment and marked her for life as a rebel.

    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 [email protected]


    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
    .

  • In 2021, editor Alex Neason's grandfather passed away. On his funeral program, she learned the name of his father for the first time: Wilson Howard. Not Neason. Howard. And when she asked her family why his last name was different from everybody else's, nobody had an answer.

    In this episode, we tag along as Alex searches for answers through swampy cemeteries, libraries, and archives in the heart of south Louisiana: who was her great grandfather, really? Is she supposed to be a Neason? Where did the name Neason come from, anyways? And is a name something whose weight you have to shed, or is it the only path forward into the future?

    Special thanks to, Cheryl Neason-Isidore, Karen Neason Dykes, Johari Neason, Keaun Neason, Kevin Neason, Anthony Neason, the late Clarence Neason Sr. and Anthony Neason, Clarence Neason Jr., Olivia Neason, Tori Neason, Orelia Amelia Jackson, Russell Gragg, Victor Yvellez, Asher Griffith, Devan Schwartz, Myrriah Gossett, Sabrina Thomas, Nancy Richard, Katie Neason, Amanda Hayden, Gabriel Lee, Paul Brandenburg, Justin Flynn, Mark Miller, Kenny Bentley, Jason Isaac, Irene Trudel, Bill Hyland, the staff members at the Orleans Parish, East Feliciana Parish, and Plaquemines Parish Clerk of Court offices.

    Episode Credits:
    Reported by - Alex Neason
    with help from - Nicka Sewell-Smith
    Produced by - Annie McEwen
    with help from - Andrew Viñales
    Music performed by - Jason Isaac, Paul Brandenburg, Justin Fynn, Mark Miller, and Kenny Bentley
    with engineering and mixing help from - Arianne Wack and Irene Trudel
    Fact-checking by - Emily Krieger

    Episode Citations:
    Audio - You can listen to the episode of La Brega (https://zpr.io/p5EcBJyU2dfJ), in English and in Spanish.

    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 [email protected].

    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.

  • Foreign enemies have seldom brought war to U.S. soil… right? In this episode from 2017, we tell you strange stories of foreign enemies landing on our shore.

    From bombs floating across the country without a sound (or even a discussion), to Nazi prisoners of war leading placid lives in towns nationwide, listen to how war quietly wormed its way into the heartland of the United States.

    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 [email protected]

    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.