Episodes

  • 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.

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    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 Issacs, 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 Isaacs, 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)!

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    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.

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  • 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.

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    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.

  • Testudinology. Enigmatology. Hagfishology. Raccoonology. Meteorology. Chronobiology. Chickenology. Delphinology. Bryology. Vampirology. Zymology. Echinology. Screamology. Melaninology. Dolorology.

    In this episode, we introduce you to one of our all-time favorite science podcasts. Ologies. A show that’s a kindred spirit to ours, but also… very different. In each episode, Host Alie Ward interviews a brilliant, charming ologist, and wanders with them deep into their research, quirky facts they’ve learned throughout their career and their personal motivations for studying what they study. “It’s all over the map,” she says. And we love it.

    To give you a taste of the show, we’re playing her ep on scotohylology, the study of dark matter, with UC-Riverside theoretical particle physicist Flip Tanedo (https://zpr.io/FJWL4NtH5Wsi). If you like it, you can find more than 300 more episodes of Ologies at ologies.com.

    Episode Credits
    Reported by - Alie Ward
    Produced by - Pat Walters
    with mixing help from - Arianne Wack
    Fact-checking by - Diane Kelly

    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)!

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    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 first glance, Golden Balls was just like all the other game shows — quick-witted host, flashy set, suspenseful music. But underneath all that, each episode asked a very serious question: can you ever really trust another person? Executive producer Andy Rowe explains how the show used a whole lot of money and a simple set of rules to force us to face the fact that being good might not end well.

    The result was a show that could shake your faith in humanity — until one mild-mannered fellow unveiled a very unusual strategy, and suddenly, it was a whole new ball game. With help from Nick Corrigan and Ibrahim Hussein, we take a closer look at one of the strangest moments in game show history.


    Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show.
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    Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.

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    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.

  • Heaven and hell, Judgement Day, monotheism — these ideas all came from one ancient Persian religion: Zoroastrianism. Also: Sky Burials. Zoroastrians put their dead on top of a structure called The Tower of Silence where vultures devour the body in a matter of hours. It’s clean, efficient, eco-friendly. It’s how it’s been for thousands of years.

    Until 2006. That’s when a Zoroastrian woman living in Mumbai snuck up into the tower and found bloated, rotting bodies everywhere. The vultures were gone. And not just at the tower — all across the country.

    In this episode, we follow the Kenyan bird biologist, Munir Virani, as he gets to the bottom of this. A mystery whose stakes are not just the end of an ancient burial practice, but the health of all the world’s ecosystems.

    The answer, in unexpected ways, points back to us.

    Special thanks to Daniel Solomon, Peter Wilson, Samik Bindu, Vibhu Prakash, Heather Natola and the Rapture Trust in New Jersey, and Avir’s uncle Hoshang Mulla, who told him about this story over Thanksgiving dinner.


    EPISODE CREDITS
    Reported by - Avir Mitra
    with help from - Sindhu Gnanasambandan
    Produced by - Sindhu Gnanasambandan
    with help from - Pat Walters
    Original music and sound design contributed by - Jeremy Bloom
    with mixing help from - Arianne Wack
    Fact-checking by - Diane Kelly
    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 [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.

  • Abortion pills — a combo of two drugs, mifepristone and misoprostol — are on notice: on April 7, 2023, a federal judge said the FDA’s approval of mifepristone was invalid. And then, not more than an hour later, another federal judge in a separate case said that mifepristone had to stay on the market in certain states. With these two contradictory rulings, mifepristone — and medical abortion, in general — is in the crosshairs. So, today, we want to rewind to an episode we made last year. It looks at these two drugs over the last 40 years, from their origin stories and development, to how their administration from doctors to patients keeps evolving. This story, for us, started…

    Special thanks to Mariana Prandini Assis and Pam Belluck.

    EPISODE CREDITS

    Reported by - Molly Webster, Avir Mitra
    Produced by Sarah Qari
    with mixing help from - Arianne Wack
    Fact-checking by - Diane Kelly
    and Edited by - Becca Bressler

    CITATIONS:

    Articles:

    From one of our sources, Abigail Aiken: “Safety and effectiveness of self-managed medication abortion provided using online telemedicine in the United States: A population based study” (https://zpr.io/kG3hNFXM4kb9)

    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.

  • How much does knowledge cost? While that sounds like an abstract question, the answer is surprisingly specific: $3,096,988,440.00. That’s how much the business of publishing scientific and academic research is worth.

    This is the story of one woman’s battle against a global network of academic journals that underlie published scientific research. In 2011, Alexandra Elbakyan had just moved home to Kazakhstan after a disappointing few years trying to study neuroscience in the United States when she landed on an internet forum where a bunch of scientists were all looking for the same thing: access to academic journal articles that were behind paywalls. That’s the moment the very simple, but enormously powerful, website called Sci Hub was born.

    The site holds over 88 million articles and serves up about a million downloads to people in practically every country on the globe. We travel to Kazakhstan to meet the mysterious woman behind it all and to find out what it takes to make everything we know about anything available to anyone anywhere, for free.

    Special thanks to Vrindra Bhandari, Balázs Bodó, Stephen Buranyi, Ian Graber-Stiehl, Joel Joseph, Noorain Khalifa, Aparajita Lath, Steve McLaughlin, Marcia McNutt, Randy Scheckman Tanmay Singh, Deborah Harkness, Joe Karaganis, Lawrence Lessig, Glyn Moody, and Steven Press.

    Episode Credits:
    Reported by - Eli Cohen
    Reporting help from - Karishma Mehrotra, Emily Krumberger and Norihelys Ramos
    Produced by Simon Adler
    with help from - Eli Cohen
    Original music and sound designed by - Simon Adler
    Mixing by - Jeremy Bloom
    Edited by - Alex Neason

    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.

    Radiolab is on YouTube! Catch up with new episodes and hear classics from our archive. Plus, find other cool things we did in the past — like miniseries, music videos, short films and animations, behind-the-scenes features, Radiolab live shows, and more. Take a look, explore and subscribe!

    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.

  • Tuesday afternoon, summer of 2017: Scotty Hatton and Scottie Wightman made a decision to help someone in need and both paid a price for their actions that day — actions that have led to a legal, moral, and scientific puzzle about how we balance accountability and forgiveness.

    In this 2019 episode, we go to Bath County, Kentucky, where, as one health official put it, opioids have created “a hole the size of Kentucky.” We talk to the people on all sides of this story about stemming the tide of overdoses. We wrestle with the science of poison and fear, and we try to figure out whether and when the drive to protect and help those around us should rise above the law.

    Special thanks to Earl Willis, Bobby Ratliff, Ronnie Goldie, Megan Fisher, Alan Caudill, Nick Jones, Dan Wermerling, Terry Bunn, Robin Thompson and the staff at KIPRC, Charles Landon, Charles P Gore, Jim McCarthy, Ann Marie Farina, Dr. Jeremy Faust and Dr. Ed Boyer, Justin Brower, Kathy Robinson, Zoe Renfro, John Bucknell, Chris Moraff, Jeremiah Laster, Tommy Kane, Jim McCarthy, Sarah Wakeman, and Al Tompkins.

    CDC recommendations on helping people who overdose: https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/pdf/patients/Preventing-an-Opioid-Overdose-Tip-Card-a.pdf

    Find out where to get naloxone: https://prevent-protect.org/. It is also now available over-the-counter. (https://zpr.io/SMX9yYDUta7a).

    EPISODE CREDITS:

    Reported by - Peter Andrey Smith with Matt Kielty
    Produced by - Matt Kielty

    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)!

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    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.

  • Cat Jaffee didn’t necessarily think of herself as someone who loved being alone. But then, the pandemic hit. And she got diagnosed with cancer. Actually, those two things happened on the exact same day, at the exact same hour. In the shadow of that nightmarish timing, Cat found her way to a sport that celebrated the solitude that was forced on her, and taught her how to not only embrace self-reliance, but to love it.

    This sport is called competitive bikepacking. And in these competitions, riders have to bring everything they need to complete epic bike rides totally by themselves. They pack all the supplies they think they’ll need to survive, and have to refuse some of the simplest, subtlest, most intangible boosts that exist in our world.

    But a leader has emerged in this sport. Her name is Lael Wilcox, and she’s a total rockstar in the world of competitive bikepacking. She’s broken all kinds of records. And also, some rules. Most recently, on this one ride she did across the entire state of Arizona.

    We set out to find out what it means — for Cat, for Lael, and for any of us — to endure incredibly hard things, totally alone. The answer is on the course, in our bodies, and hidden in that mysterious place between us and the people we care about.

    Special thanks to Anna Haslock, Nico Sandi, Michael Fryar, Moab Public Radio, Nichole Baker and Payson McElveen for sharing their studio with us, and The Radavist, for letting us use the audio of Lael’s ride across Arizona. You can watch the original video here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4HOk0MmgFwE).

    EPISODE CREDITS

    This episode was reported by - Cat Jaffee and Rachael Cusick
    Produced by - Rachael Cusick
    with help from - Pat Walters
    Original music and sound design by - Jeremy Bloom
    with mixing help from - Arianne Wack
    Fact-checking by - Emily Krieger
    Edited by - Pat Walters

    CITATIONS:

    Videos:

    You can watch Lael’s you can watch Lael’s ride across Arizona here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4HOk0MmgFwE).

    And see the next season of racing by following along on TrackLeaders.com (http://trackleaders.com/)

    Articles:

    You can find Jim Coan’s study on emotional support here (https://zpr.io/Y2yMXZMgnMKv).

    Audio:

    For more on Lael Wilcox, you can check out her interviews with the podcasts Adventure Stache (https://zpr.io/EtkFsW8b6VdS) and Bikes or Death (https://zpr.io/ZSTAECjAifn5).

    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.

    Radiolab is on YouTube! Catch up with new episodes and hear classics from our archive. Plus, find other cool things we did in the past — like miniseries, music videos, short films and animations, behind-the-scenes features, Radiolab live shows, and more. Take a look, explore and subscribe!

    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.

  • How do you fix a word that’s broken? A word we need when we bump into someone on the street, or break someone’s heart. In our increasingly disconnected secular world, “sorry” has been stretched and twisted, and in some cases weaponized. But it’s also one of the only ways we have to piece together a sense of shared values and beliefs. Through today's sea of sorry-not-sorries, empty apologies, and just straight up non-apologies, we wonder in this episode from 2018 what it looks like to make amends.

    EPISODE CREDITS:

    Reported and Produced by - Annie McEwen
    with help from - Simon Adler

    CITATIONS:
    The program at Stanford that Leilani went through (and now works for) (https://zpr.io/eYhfZnwznHfD) was a joint creation between Stanford and Lee Taft.

    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.

  • Tiny buttons have such a hold on us. They can be portals to power, freedom, and destruction. Today, with the help of buttons, we tell you about taking charge of the little things in life, about fortunes made and lost, and about the ease with which the world can end.

    Confused? Push the button marked Play.

    Special thanks for the music of Brian Carpenter's Ghost Train Orchestra

    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 week we examine one of nature's most humble creations: crabs. Turns out when you look closely at these little scuttlers, things get surprisingly existential — about how to come into being, how to survive chaos, and how to live. We even examine the possibility of evolutionary destiny.

    This episode is a two-parter, a double-decker crab cake of sorts. Served up on a bed of lettuce and beautiful weirdness. The first layer comes from producer Rachael Cusick, and is a story she told live on stage at Pop-Up Magazine (http://www.popupmagazine.com) as a part of their Fall of 2022 tour. It chronicles a cross-species love story between artist Mary Akers (http://maryakers.com/) and an overlooked pet store companion, a creature that even Chris Tudge (https://zpr.io/MyUNwPAaqewg)the scientist dedicated to this creature, you could say — could not get a ring on. The second layer is cooked up by Lulu, who tries to understand why crabs keep evolving (according to recent work by Jo Wolfe (https://zpr.io/2GftY9RjbLkF), Heather Bracken-Grissom (https://zpr.io/HhvMVfnThp5P) and Javier Luque (https://zpr.io/xBiQHEtNSKZr)).

    Crack a leg and see what we mean.

    Special thanks to the entire team at Pop Up Magazine, Randi Rotjan, Jan Pechenik, Renae Brodie, Samantha Edmonds, whose story (https://zpr.io/ELQS4VkJGaSa) from The Outline introduced us to Mary,

    EPISODE CREDITS:

    Reported by - Rachael Cusick and Lulu Miller
    with help from - Annie McEwen
    Produced by - Becca Bressler
    with help from Ekedi Fausther-Keeys
    Original music and sound design contributed by - Ghost Girl, Jeremy Bloom
    with mixing help from - Arianne Wack
    Fact-checking by - Diane Kelly
    and Edited by - Haley Howle and Pat Walters


    CITATIONS:

    Articles:
    If you want more details about hermit crab breeding, head over to Mary’s blog to read more: http://maryakers.com/inthecrabitat/

    Or check out the Land Hermit Crab Owners Society: https://lhcos.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.

  • First aired in 2015, this is an episode about social media, and how, when we talk online, things can quickly go south. But do they have to? In the earlier days of Facebook, we met with a group of social engineers who were convinced that tiny changes in wording can make the online world a kinder, gentler place.

    We just have to agree to be their lab rats.

    Because Facebook, or something like it, is where we share and like and gossip and gripe. And before we were as aware of its impact, Facebook had a laboratory of human behavior the likes of which we’d never seen. We got to peek into the work of Arturo Bejar and a team of researchers who were tweaking our online experience, to try to make the world a better place.

    And even now, just under a decade later, we’re still left wondering if that’s possible, or even a good idea.

    EPISODE CREDITS

    Reported by - Andrew Zolli
    Original music and sound design contributed by - Mooninites

    REFERENCES:

    Articles
    Andrew Zolli’s blog post about Darwin’s Stickers (https://zpr.io/ZpMeUnRmVMgP) which highlights another one of these Facebook experiments that didn’t make it into the episode.

    Books
    Andrew Zolli’s Resilience: Why Things Bounce Back (https://zpr.io/7fYQ9iDYAQBu)
    Kate Crawford's Atlas of AI: Power, Politics, and the Planetary Costs of Artificial Intelligence (https://zpr.io/9rU5CGSit3W4)

    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.

  • After years of being publicly shamed for “fleecing” the taxpayers with their frivolous and obscure studies, scientists decided to hit back with… an awards show?! This episode, we gate-crash the Grammys of government-funded research, A.K.A. the Golden Goose Awards. The twist of these awards is that they go to scientific research that at first sounds trivial or laughable but then turns out to change the world. We tell the story of one of the latest winners: a lonely Filipino boy who picked up an ice cream cone that was actually a covert vampire assassin. Decades later, that discovery leads to an even bigger one: an entire pharmacy's worth of new drugs hidden just below the surface of the ocean.


    EPISODE CREDITS:

    Reported by - Latif Nasser and Maria Paz Gutiérrez
    with help from - Ekedi Fausther-Keeys
    Produced by - Maria Paz Gutiérrez and Matt Kielty
    with help from Ekedi Fausther-Keeys

    Original music and sound design contributed by Matt Kielty
    with mixing help from Arianne Wack.
    Fact-checking by Emily Krieger
    Editing by Soren Wheeler, who thought the whole episode should have been a little shorter.

    Special thanks to Erin Heath, Haylie Swenson, Gwendolyn Bogard, Valeria Sabate and everyone else at AAAS who oversee the Golden Goose Awards. Also to Maggie Luddy, and former Congressman Jim Cooper, Terry Lee Merritt at University of Utah, Jim Tranquada, John McCormack, and the Cosman Shell Collection at Occidental College.

    CITATIONS:

    Videos -

    Gorgeous slo mo video of cone snails hunting (https://zpr.io/uiWrS3J2BuZM).

    A recent segment from our down-the-hall neighbors at On The Media (https://zpr.io/VZHSLPdkdAxH) about breakthrough science featuring the late Senator William Proxmire.

    Check out dazzling documentary shorts on each of the Golden Goose Awards winners (https://zpr.io/Tpxxrzzuz6GS) on their website.

    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 this deep cut from 2012, we are searching for platonic ideals longing for completion, engaged in epic quests for holy grails in science, linguistics, and world peace. And along the way, we’ll meet the dreamers and measure just how impossible their dreams are.

    First: a perfect moment. On day 86 of a 3-month trek to and from the South Pole, adventurer Aleksander Gamme (https://zpr.io/ryaJzt5vaNTZ) discovered something he'd stashed under the ice at the start of his trip. He wasn't expecting such a rush of happiness in that cold, hungry instant, but he hit the bliss jackpot.

    Producer Tim Howard (https://zpr.io/bfxEEMYHf5vT) brings us the incredible and tragic story of Charles Bliss -- the man that inspired this show. As Charles's friend Richard Ure and writer Arika Okrent (https://zpr.io/3gjsdSePpQbG) explain, Bliss believed that war was often caused by the misuse of language. Having lived through the hell of Nazi concentration camps, he set about creating the perfect language, based on symbols and logic. Years later, Shirley McNaughton accidentally discovered it, and started using it to communicate with her students -- kids with cerebral palsy who quickly picked up the language and made it their own. At first, Charles was thrilled...until he started to feel his original dream of saving the world was slipping from his fingers.

    And finally, co-host Latif Nasser (https://zpr.io/pJsnQSYWJLTe) explains how, on a cold, snowy farm in Vermont in 1880, a kid named Wilson Bentley put a snowflake under a microscope and started a lifelong quest to capture perfection.

    EPISODE CREDITS:
    Reported by - Tim Howard
    Produced by - Tim Howard

    CITATIONS:

    Videos:

    Aleksander and his glorious gift to his future self. (https://zpr.io/STUpZqWqrBwy)
    Books:

    Arika Okrent, In the Land of Invented Language (https://zpr.io/uqBLpYQr7xNT)Lorraine Daston and Peter Galison, Objectivity (https://zpr.io/JpdC8rS7Uqjq)Duncan C. Blanchard, The Snowflake Man: A Biography of Wilson A Bentley (https://zpr.io/YaqeAw4XucRT)Ken Libbrecht, The Secret Life of a Snowflake: An Up-Close Look at the Art and Science of Snowflakes (https://zpr.io/DtZrbyFc3M75), Ken Libbrecht's Field Guide to Snowflakes (https://zpr.io/wg79x4HPCFun)W.A. Bentley, Snowflakes in Photographs (https://zpr.io/ccQfy9ZGFDDh)

    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.

  • We continue the story of a covert smuggling operation to bring abortion pills into Ukraine, shortly after the Russian invasion. In this episode, reporters Katz Laszlo and Gregory Warner go to Ukraine, landing on a fall night during a citywide blackout, to pick up the trail of the pills and find out about the doctors and patients who needed them. But as they follow the pills around the country, what they learn changes their understanding of how we talk about these pills, and how we talk about choice, in a war.

    This episode is the second of two done in collaboration with NPR’s Rough Translation. You can find the first episode here (https://zpr.io/CnmNVFQ6X5gc).

    Special thanks to the Rough Translation team for reporting help. Thanks also to Liana Simstrom, Irene Noguchi, and Eleana Tworek. Thanks to the ears of Valeria Fokina, Andrii Degeler, Noel King, Robert Krulwich and Sana Krasikov. And to our interpreters, Kira Leonova and Tetyana Yurinetz. Thanks to Drs Natalia, Irna & Diana. To Yulia Mytsko, Yulia Babych, Maria Hlazunova, Nika Bielska, Yvette Mrova, Lauren Ramires, Jane Newnham, Olena Shevchenko, Marta Chumako, Jamie Nadal, Jonathan Bearak, and the many others who we spoke with for this story. Thank you to NPR’s International Desk and the team at the Ukraine bureau. Translations from Eugene Alper and Dennis Tkachivsky. Voice over from Lizzie Marchenko and Yuliia Serbenenko. Archival from the Heal Foundation.

    Legal guidance provided by Micah Ratner, Lauren Cooperman, and Dentons.

    Ethical guidance from Tony Cavin.


    EPISODE CREDITS:

    Guest hosted by - Gregory Warner and Molly Webster

    Reported by - Katz Laszlo, Gregory Warner

    Produced by - Tessa Paoli, Daniel Girma, Adelina Lancianese

    w/ production help from - Nic M. Neves

    Mixer - James Willetts and Robert Rodriguez

    w/ mixing help from - Jeremy Bloom

    Fact-checking by - Marisa Robertson-Textor

    and Edited by - Brenna Farrell

    Music:

    John Ellis composed the Rough Translation theme music.

    Original music from Dylan Keefe.

    Additional music from Blue Dot Sessions and FirstCom Music.

    CITATIONS

    Photos -

    See a Lviv blackout through host Gregory Warner’s eyes – he posted photos from his time in Lviv on Twitter (https://zpr.io/egzpZZw7xPKk).

    Podcasts -

    To understand Ukraine’s president, it helps to know the training ground of his youth: the competitive comedy (https://zpr.io/ympqrikgCkE3) circuit, in this Rough Translation episode. Listen to “No-Touch Abortion” (https://zpr.io/5SB6bpNzUs6r) from Radiolab for more on the science and use of abortion pills

    Articles -

    Further reading: a study on medical abortion (https://zpr.io/f8h5WNfKaMtk) by Galina Maistruck, one of the main sources in our piece

    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.

  • You know the drill — all it takes is one sperm, one egg, and blammo — you’ve got yourself a baby. Right? Well, in this 2015 episode, conception takes on a new form — it’s the sperm and the egg, plus: two wombs, four countries, and money. Lots of money.

    This is the story of an Israeli couple, two men, who go to another continent to get themselves a baby — three, in fact — by hiring surrogates to carry the children for them. As we follow them on their journey, an earth-shaking revelation shifts our focus from them to the surrogate mothers. Unfolding in real time, as countries around the world considered bans on surrogacy, this episode looked at a relationship that manages to feel deeply affecting and deeply uncomfortable at the same time.

    “Birthstory” is a collaboration with the brilliant radio show and podcast Israel Story, created to tell stories for, and about, Israel. Go check ‘em out! (https://zpr.io/rX3DazcJiUUG)

    Israel Story's five English-language seasons were produced in partnership with Tablet Magazine (https://zpr.io/HxYET7psAbPh) and we highly recommend you listen to all of their work at (https://zpr.io/HD3LSqq25LEx)

    This episode was produced and reported by Molly Webster.

    Special thanks go to: Israel Story, and their producers Maya Kosover, and Yochai Maital; reporters Nilanjana Bhowmick in India and Bhrikuti Rai in Nepal plus the International Reporting Project (https://zpr.io/KxN7etFiqWHL); Doron Mamet, Dr Nayana Patel, and Vicki Ferrara; with translation help from Aya Keefe, Karthik Ravindra, Turna Ray, Tom Wasserman, Pradeep Thapa, and Adhikaar (https://zpr.io/MDyadskgwZtH), an organization in Ridgewood, Queens advocating for the Nepali-speaking community.

    Audio Extra:

    Tal and Air had a chance to meet each surrogate once - just after the deliveries, after all the paperwork was sorted out, and before any one left Nepal. As Amir says, they wanted to say "a big thank you." These meetings between intended parents, surrogate, and new babies are a traditional part of the surrogacy process in India and Nepal, and we heard reports from the surrogates that they also look forward to them. These moments do not stigmatize, reveal the identity of, or endanger the surrogates. Tal and Amir provided the audio for this web extra.




    EPISODE CREDITS:
    Reported by - Molly Webster
    with help from - Maya Kosover, Yochai Maital, Bhrikuti Rai

  • In the weeks following the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, a young doctor in Germany sees that abortion pills are urgently needed in Ukraine. And she wants to help. But getting the drugs into the country means going through Poland, which has some of the strictest abortion laws in Europe. So, she gets creative. What unfolds is a high-stakes, covert-operation run by a group of strangers. With everyone deciding: who to trust? In collaboration with NPR’s Rough Translation (https://zpr.io/9UpCwb2Smjzw), we find out what happened.

    Part 1 of 2 episodes.

    Special thanks to Wojciech Oleksiak, Katy Lee, Maria Hlazunova, Valeria Fokina, Sara Furxhi, Noel King, Robert Krulwich and Sana Krasikov, and our homies over at Rough Translation. Thanks also to Micah Loewinger and Laura Griffin. Illustrations came from Oksana Drachkovska.

    And thank you to the many sources and experts we interviewed who asked to remain anonymous.

    Episode Credits:

    Guest hosted by - Gregory Warner and Molly Webster
    Reported by - Katz Laszlo
    Produced by - Daniel Girma and Tessa Paoli
    Mixer - Gilly Moon
    with mixing help from - Jeremy Bloom
    Fact-checking by - Marisa Robertson-Textor
    and Edited by - Brenna Farrell

    CITATIONS:

    Videos

    Watch Deutsche Welle’s Abortion in Europe documentary (https://zpr.io/YHctj4bZQwHM).

    Podcasts

    Listen to Eleanor MacDowell’s A Sense of Quietness (https://zpr.io/eHhcHusxrhfE) on the BBC.Listen to NPR’s Joanna Kakissis’s story This Secretive Network Helps Ukranian Refugees Find Abortions in Poland (https://zpr.io/LsQw9V6ByfFg).Our reporter, Katz Laszlo, reports on European current affairs and reproductive health, and produces for The Europeans (https://zpr.io/sHAvrvqU2m8t) podcast, which features stories across the continent, including in Ukraine. Our collaborators, NPR’s Rough Translation (https://zpr.io/9UpCwb2Smjzw)

    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 this episode, first aired in 2011, we talk about the meaning of a good game — whether it's a pro football playoff, or a family showdown on the kitchen table. And how some games can make you feel, at least for a little while, like your whole life hangs in the balance. This hour of Radiolab, Jad and Robert wonder why we get so invested in something so trivial. What is it about games that make them feel so pivotal?

    We hear how a recurring dream about football turned into a real-life lesson for Stephen Dubner, we watch a chessboard turn into a playground where by-the-book moves give way to totally unpredictable possibilities, and we talk to Dan Engber, a one time senior editor at Slate, now at The Atlantic, and a bunch of scientists about why betting on a longshot is so much fun. And finally, we talk to Malcolm Gladwell about why he loves the overdog.

    CITATIONS:

    Videos -

    The Immaculate Reception (https://zpr.io/izhV3Sm88SWF) by Franco Harris on December 23, 1972. Harris was the Pittsburgh Steelers’ fullback at the time.

    Books -

    Stephen J. Dubner’s book, Confessions of a Hero Worshipper (https://zpr.io/iQUwfF8vGArj)

    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.