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Radiolab is on a curiosity bender. We ask deep questions and use investigative journalism to get the answers. A given episode might whirl you through science, legal history, and into the home of someone halfway across the world. The show is known for innovative sound design, smashing information into music. It is hosted by Lulu Miller and Latif Nasser.
462 Episodes
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Lose Lose

Lose Lose

2024-07-1935:098

To celebrate the imminent start of the Summer Olympic Games in Paris, France we have an episode originally reported in 2016. No matter what sport you play, the object of the game is to win. And that’s hard enough to do. But we found a match where four top athletes had to do the opposite in one of the most high profile matches of their careers. Thanks to a quirk in the tournament rules, their best shot at winning was … to lose. This week, in honor of the 2024 Summer Olympics, we are rerunning a story from 2016 in which we scrutinize the most paradoxical and upside down badminton match of all time. A match that dumbfounded spectators, officials, and even the players themselves. And it got us to wondering …  what would sports look like if everyone played to lose?Special thanks to Aparna Nancherla, Mark Phelan, Yuni Kartika, Greysia Polii, Joy Le Li, Mikyoung Kim, Stan Bischof, Vincent Liew, Kota Morikowa, Christ de Roij and Haeryun Kang.We have some exciting news! In the “Zoozve” episode, Radiolab named its first-ever quasi-moon, and now it's your turn! Radiolab has teamed up with The International Astronomical Union to launch a global naming contest for one of Earth’s quasi-moons. This is your chance to make your mark on the heavens. Submit your name ideas now through September, or vote on your favorites starting in November: https://radiolab.org/moonOur newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)!Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing radiolab@wnyc.org.Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
How to Save a Life

How to Save a Life

2024-07-1250:3214

We get it… the world feels too bleak and too big for you to make a difference. But there is one thing - one simple tangible thing - you can do to make all the difference in the world to someone, possibly even a loved one, at arguably the worst moment of their life.Statistics show that 1 out of every 5 people on earth will die of heart failure. Cardiac arrests can happen anywhere, anytime - in your bed, on the street, on your honeymoon. And every minute that passes after your heart stops beating, your chances of surviving drop dramatically. For all the strides modern medicine has made in treating heart conditions, the ambulance still doesn’t always make it in time. The only person who can keep you alive during those crucial first few minutes is a stranger, a neighbor, your partner, anyone nearby willing to perform CPR. Yet most of us don’t do anything.Join Radiolab host Latif Nasser, ER doctor and Radiolab contributor Avir Mitra, and TikTok stars Dr. and Lady Glaucomflecken, as we discover the fascinating science of cardiac arrest, hear a true and harrowing story of a near-death experience, and hunt down the best place to die (hint… it’s not a hospital). Plus, with the help of the American Red Cross and the Bee Gees, you, yes you, will learn how to do hands-only CPR!Special thanks to Will and Kristin Flannery of course..Check out the Glaucomflekens own podcast “Knock Knock, Hi!” (KKH Pod), the Greene Space here at WNYC’s home in NYC… first of all Jennifer Sendrow, who really made it happened and helped us make it work at basically every stage of the process .. and the rest of the Greene Space crew: Carlos Cruz Figueroa, Chase Culpon, Ricardo Fernández, Jessica Lowery, Skye Pallo Ross, Eric Weber, Ryan Andrew Wilde, and Andrew Yanchyshyn.Also, thank you to the Red Cross for helping us make this happen and providing the CPR dummies, and all the people we had there doing the training: Ashley London, Jeanette Nicosia, Charlene Yung, Jacob Stebel, Tye Morales, Anna Stacy.  Aditya Shekhar.We have some exciting news! In the “Zoozve” episode, Radiolab named its first-ever quasi-moon, and now it's your turn! Radiolab has teamed up with The International Astronomical Union to launch a global naming contest for one of Earth’s quasi-moons. This is your chance to make your mark on the heavens. Submit your name ideas now through September, or vote on your favorites starting in November: https://radiolab.org/moonEPISODE CREDITS: Reported by - Avir Mitrawith mixing help from - Jeremy BloomAnd Fact-checking by - Natalie MiddletonCITATIONS:Please put any supporting materials you think our audience would find interesting or useful below in the appropriate broad categories.Videos:Check out the whole show in its full glory at the website for WNYC’s Greene Space: https://www.thegreenespace.org/Will Flannery’s Youtube channel, Dr. Glaucomflecken: https://www.youtube.com/@DGlaucomfleckenMusic:The perfect playlist for a CPR EmergencyClasses:If you’d like to sign up to learn CPR, and get certified, the Red Cross provides classes all across the country and online, just go to https://www.redcross.org/take-a-class, to learn moreOur newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)!Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing radiolab@wnyc.org.Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
First aired back in 2013, we originally released this episode to celebrate the 80th birthday of one of our favorite human beings, Oliver Sacks. To celebrate, his good friend, and our former co-host Rober Krulwich, asks the good doctor to look back, and explain how thousands of worms and a motorbike accident led to a brilliant writing career.We have some exciting news! In the “Zoozve” episode, Radiolab named its first-ever quasi-moon, and now it's your turn! Radiolab has teamed up with The International Astronomical Union to launch a global naming contest for one of Earth’s quasi-moons. This is your chance to make your mark on the heavens. Submit your name ideas now through September, or vote on your favorites starting in November: https://radiolab.org/moon.Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)!Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing radiolab@wnyc.org.Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
The Alford Plea

The Alford Plea

2024-06-2801:00:2517

In 1995, a tragic fire in Pittsburgh set off a decades-long investigation that sent Greg Brown Jr. to prison. But, after a series of remarkable twists, Brown found himself contemplating a path to freedom that involved a paradoxical plea deal—one that peels back the curtain on the criminal justice system and reveals it doesn’t work the way we think it does. Special thanks to John Lentini, Amanda Gillooly, Fred Buckner, Debbie Steinmeyer, Marissa Bluestine, Jason Hazlewood, Meredith Kennedy, Kristen Vermilya, Joshua Ceballos and Lauren Cooperman.We have some exciting news! In the “Zoozve” episode, Radiolab named its first-ever quasi-moon, and now it's your turn! Radiolab has teamed up with The International Astronomical Union to launch a global naming contest for one of Earth’s quasi-moons. This is your chance to make your mark on the heavens. Submit your name ideas now through September, or vote on your favorites starting in November: https://radiolab.org/moonEPISODE CREDITS:Reported by - Peter Smith and Matt Kielty Produced by - Matt Kielty Original music and sound design contributed by - contributed by Matt Kieltywith mixing help from - Arianne WackFact-checking by - Emily Kriegerand Edited by  - Becca BresslerEPISODE CITATIONS:Magazine Articles -More work by Peter Andrey Smith (https://zpr.io/wXfYn5GMM7dN) for Undark Magazine The Sniff Test (https://zpr.io/xkDzHsrrpFeR) for Science by Peter Andrey SmithBooks -"Why the Innocent Plead Guilty and the Guilty Go Free" (https://zpr.io/wF8KtSFKTmwi), by Judge Jed S Rakoff“Smoke but No Fire” (https://zpr.io/C3NceBFmhJk4) by Jessica S. Henry“Punishment Without Trial” (https://zpr.io/AbqT5u5eqSy5) by Carissa Byrne Hessick ** The transcript of Greg Brown Jr.’s plea from 2022 has yet to be made public. Signup for the Radiolab Newsletter!! It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)!Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.Follow our show on Instagram, X (formerly Twitter) and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing radiolab@wnyc.org.Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
Birdie in the Cage

Birdie in the Cage

2024-06-2146:4114

People have been doing the square dance since before the Declaration of Independence. But does that mean it should be THE American folk dance? That question took us on a journey from Appalachian front porches, to dance classes across our nation, to the halls of Congress, and finally a Kansas City convention center. And along the way, we uncovered a secret history of square dancing that made us see how much of our national identity we could stuff into that square, and what it means for a dance to be of the people, by the people, and for the people.Special thanks to Jim Mayo, Claude Fowler, Paul Gifford, Jim Maczko, Jim Davis, Paul Moore, Jack Pladdys, Mary Jane Wegener, Kinsey Brooke and Connie Keener.We have some exciting news! In this “Zoozve” episode, Radiolab named its first-ever quasi-moon, and now it's your turn! Radiolab has teamed up with The International Astronomical Union to launch a global naming contest for one of Earth’s quasi-moons. This is your chance to make your mark on the heavens. Submit your name ideas now through September, or vote on your favorites starting in November: https://radiolab.org/moonSubscribe to our newsletter!! It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)!Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing radiolab@wnyc.org.Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
Aphantasia

Aphantasia

2024-06-1439:4518

Close your eyes and imagine a red apple. What do you see? Turns out there’s a whole spectrum of answers to that question and Producer Sindhu Gnanasambandan is on one far end. In this episode, she explores what it means to see – and not see – in your mind.Special thanks to Kim Nederveen Pieterse, Nathan Peereboom, Lizzie Peabody, Kristin Lin, Jo Eidman, Mark Nakhla, Andrew Leland, Brian Radcliffe, Adam Zeman, John Green, Craig Venter, Dustin Grinnell, and Soraya Shockley.We have some exciting news! In this “Zoozve” episode, Radiolab named its first-ever quasi-moon, and now it's your turn! Radiolab has teamed up with The International Astronomical Union to launch a global naming contest for one of Earth’s quasi-moons. This is your chance to make your mark on the heavens. Submit your name ideas now through September, or vote on your favorites starting in November: https://radiolab.org/moonEPISODE CREDITS: Reported by - Sindhu GnanasambandanProduced by - Sindhu Gnanasambandanwith help from - Annie McEwenOriginal music and sound design contributed by - Dylan Keefewith mixing help from - Jeremy Bloom and Arianne WackFact-checking by - Natalie Middletonand Edited by - Pat WaltersSign up for our newsletter!! It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)!Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing radiolab@wnyc.org.Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
Argentine Invasion

Argentine Invasion

2024-05-3125:3210

From a suburban sidewalk in southern California, Jad and Robert witness the carnage of a gruesome turf war. Though the tiny warriors doing battle clock in at just a fraction of an inch, they have evolved a surprising, successful, and rather unsettling strategy of ironclad loyalty, absolute intolerance, and brutal violence.David Holway, an ecologist and evolutionary biologist from UC San Diego, takes us to a driveway in Escondido, California where a grisly battle rages. In this quiet suburban spot, two groups of ants are putting on a chilling display of dismemberment and death. According to David, this battle line marks the edge of an enormous super-colony of Argentine ants. Think of that anthill in your backyard, and stretch it out across five continents.Argentine ants are not good neighbors. When they meet ants from another colony, any other colony, they fight to the death, and tear the other ants to pieces. While other kinds of ants sometimes take slaves or even have sex with ants from different colonies, the Argentine ants don’t fool around. If you’re not part of the colony, you’re dead.According to evolutionary biologist Neil Tsutsui and ecologist Mark Moffett, the flood plains of northern Argentina offer a clue as to how these ants came to dominate the planet. Because of the frequent flooding, the homeland of Linepithema humile is basically a bootcamp for badass ants. One day, a couple ants from one of these families of Argentine ants made their way onto a boat and landed in New Orleans in the late 1800s. Over the last century, these Argentine ants wreaked havoc across the southern U.S. and a significant chunk of coastal California.In fact, Melissa Thomas, an Australian entomologist, reveals that these Argentine ants are even more well-heeled than we expected - they've made to every continent except Antarctica. No matter how many thousands of miles separate individual ants, when researchers place two of them together - whether they're plucked from Australia, Japan, Hawaii ... even Easter Island - they recognize each other as belonging to the same super-colony.But the really mind-blowing thing about these little guys is the surprising success of their us-versus-them death-dealing. Jad and Robert wrestle with what to make of this ant regime, whether it will last, and what, if anything, it might mean for other warlike organisms with global ambitions.We have some exciting news! In this “Zoozve” episode, Radiolab named its first-ever quasi-moon, and now it's your turn! Radiolab has teamed up with The International Astronomical Union to launch a global naming contest for one of Earth’s quasi-moons. This is your chance to make your mark on the heavens. Submit your name ideas now through September, or vote on your favorites starting in November: https://radiolab.org/moonSign up for our newsletter. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)!Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter, and, Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing radiolab@wnyc.org.Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
Mixtapes to the Moon

Mixtapes to the Moon

2024-05-2440:4016

They promised to change you. They ended up changing all of us. On July 20, 1969 humanity watched as Neil Armstrong stepped foot on the moon. It was the dazzling culmination of a decade of teamwork, a collective global experience unlike anything before or since, a singular moment in which every human being was invited to feel part of something larger than themself. There was however, one man who was left out.   This week on Radiolab we explore what it means to be together and - of course - the cassette tapes that changed it. Special thanks to WBUR and the team at City Space for having us and recording this event, all the other folks and venues that hosted us on tour, Sarah Rose Leonard and Lance Gardner at KQED for developing this show with us and Alex Overington for musically bringing it to life. EPISODE CREDITS:Reported by - Simon AdlerProduced by - Simon AdlerOriginal music and sound design contributed by - Alex OveringtonFact-checking by - Emily Kriegerand Edited by  - Soren WheelerEPISODE CITATIONS:Videos - Check out Zack Taylor’s beautiful documentary CASSETTE: A Documentary Mixtape (https://vimeo.com/127216590)Mall videos referenced in the episode - https://youtu.be/bPrZOk1DgGY?si=l8dE8_GUxHznuqHLOur newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)!Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.Follow our show on Instagram, X (Twitter) and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing radiolab@wnyc.org.Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
Lucy

Lucy

2024-05-1701:02:5522

Chimps. Bonobos. Humans. We're all great apes, but that doesn’t mean we’re one happy family.This episode, a mashup of content stretching all the way back to 2010, asks the question, is cross-species co-habitation an utterly stupid idea? Or might it be our one last hope as more and more humans fill up the planet? A chimp named Lucy teaches us the ups and downs of growing up human, and a visit to The Great Ape Trust in Des Moines, Iowa highlights some of the basics of bonobo culture (be careful, they bite).EPISODE CITATIONS -Photos:Photo of Lucy and Janis hugging.  (https://zpr.io/U7qRdYDqxbGj)Videos:Lucy throughout the years (https://vimeo.com/9377513)Slideshow produced by Sharon Shattuck.Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)!Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing radiolab@wnyc.org.Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
Selected Shorts

Selected Shorts

2024-05-1052:5114

A selection of short flights of fact and fancy performed live on stage.Usually we tell true stories at this show, but earlier this spring we were invited to guest host a live show called Selected Shorts, a New York City institution that presents short fiction performed on stage by great actors (you’ll often find Tony, Emmy and Oscars winners on their stage). We treated the evening a bit like a Radiolab episode, selecting a theme, and choosing several stories related to that theme. The stories we picked were all about “flight” in one way or another, and came from great writers like Brian Doyle, Miranda July, Don Shea and Margaret Atwood. As we traveled from the flight of a hummingbird, to an airplane seat beside a celebrity, to the mind of a bat, we found these stories pushing us past the edge of what we thought we could know, in the way that all truly great writing does.Special thanks to Abubakr Ali, Becca Blackwell, Molly Bernard, Zach Grenier, Drew Richardson, Jennifer Brennan and the whole team at Selected Shorts and Symphony Space.EPISODE CREDITS: Produced by - Maria Paz GutierrezFact-checking by - Natalie Middletonand Edited by  - Pat WaltersOur newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)!Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing radiolab@wnyc.org.Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
Memory and Forgetting

Memory and Forgetting

2024-04-2601:04:1045

Remembering is a tricky, unstable business. This hour: a look behind the curtain of how memories are made...and forgotten.  The act of recalling in our minds something that happened in the past is an unstable and profoundly unreliable process--it’s easy come, easy go as we learn how true memories can be obliterated, and false ones added. Then, Oliver Sacks joins us to tell the story of an amnesiac whose love for his wife and music transcend his 7-second memory.Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)!Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing radiolab@wnyc.org.Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
Small Potatoes

Small Potatoes

2024-04-1901:04:3710

An ode to the small, the banal, the overlooked things that make up the fabric of our lives.Most of our stories are about the big stuff: Important or dramatic events, big ideas that transform the world around us or inspire conflict and struggle and change. But most of our lives, day by day or hour by hour, are made up of … not that stuff. Most of our lives are what we sometimes dismissively call “small potatoes.” This week on Radiolab, Heather Radke challenges to focus on the small, the overlook, the everyday … and find out what happens when you take a good hard look at the things we all usually overlook.Special thanks to Moeko Fujii, Kelley Conway, Robin Kelley, Jason Isaacs, and Andrew SemansEPISODE CREDITS: Reported by - Heather Radke, Rachael Cusick, and Matt Kieltywith help from - Erica HeilmanProduced by - Annie McEwen and Matt KieltyOriginal music and sound design contributed by - Annie McEwen, Matt Kielty, and Jeremy BloomFact-checking by - Emily Krieger and Diane Kellyand Edited by  - Alex NeasonEPISODE CITATIONS:Audio -Check out Ian Chillag’s podcast, Everything is Alive, from Radiotopia.Museums -Learn more about The Museum of Everyday Life, located in Glover, Vermont, here.Newsletter - Heather Radke has a newsletter all about small potatoes. It’s called Petite Patate and you can subscribe at HeatherRadke.substack.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 radiolab@wnyc.org.Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
The Distance of the Moon

The Distance of the Moon

2024-04-1243:119

In an episode we last featured on our Radiolab for Kids Feed back in 2020, and in honor of its blocking out the Sun for a bit of us for a bit last week, in this episode, we’re gonna talk more about the moon. According to one theory, (psst listen to The Moon Itself if you want to know more) the moon formed when a Mars-sized chunk of rock collided with Earth, the moon coalesced out of the debris from that impact. And it was MUCH closer to Earth than it is today. This idea is taken to its fanciful limit in Italo Calvino's story "The Distance of the Moon" (from his collection Cosmicomics, translated by William Weaver). Read by Liev Schreiber, the story is narrated by a character with the impossible-to-pronounce name Qfwfq, and tells of a strange crew who jump between Earth and moon, and sometimes hover in the nether reaches of gravity between the two.This reading was part of a live event hosted by Radiolab and Selected Shorts, and it originally aired on WNYC’s and PRI’s SELECTED SHORTS, hosted by BD Wong and paired with a Ray Bradbury classic, “All Summer in a Day,” read by musical theater star Michael Cerveris.Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)!Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing radiolab@wnyc.org.Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
The Moon Itself

The Moon Itself

2024-04-0552:5616

There’s a total solar eclipse coming. On Monday, April 8, for a large swath of North America, the sun will disappear, in the middle of the day. Everywhere you look, people are talking about it. What will it feel like when the sun goes away? What will the blocked-out sun look like? But all this talk of the sun got us thinking: wait, what about the moon? The only reason this whole solar eclipse thing is happening is because the moon is stepping in front of the sun. So in today’s episode, we stop treating the moon like a bit player in this epic cosmic event, and place it centerstage. We get to know the moon, itself — from birth, to middle age, to … death.This episode was reported by Molly Webster, Pat Walters, Becca Bressler, Alan Goffinski, Maria Paz Guttierez, Sarah Qari, Simon Adler and Alex Neason, and produced by Matt Kielty, Becca Bressler, Pat Walters, Maria Paz Guttierrez, Alan Goffinski and Simon Adler. It was edited by Becca Bressler and Pat Walters. Fact-checked by Diane Kelly and Natalie A Middleton. Original Music and sound design by Matt Kielty, Jeremy Bloom, and Simon Adler. Mixing help from Arianne Wack.Special thanks to Rebecca Boyle, Patrick Leverone and Daryl Pitts at the Maine Gem and Mineral Museum in Bethel Maine, Renee Weber, Paul M. Sutter, Matt Siegler, Sarah Noble, and Chucky P.EPISODE CREDITS: Reported by - Molly Webster, Pat Walters, Becca Bressler, Alan Goffinski, Maria Paz Guttierez, Sarah Qari, Simon Adler and Alex NeasonProduced by -Matt Kielty, Becca Bressler, Pat Walters, Maria Paz Guttierrez, Alan Goffinski and Simon AdlerOriginal music and sound design contributed by - Matt Kielty, Jeremy Bloom and Simon Adlerwith mixing help from  - Arianne WackFact-checking by - Natalie Middleton and Diane Kelleyand Edited by  - Pat Walters and Becca BresslerEPISODE CITATIONS:Books - Rebecca Boyle’s book, Our Moon: How the Earth’s Celestial Companion Transformed the Planet, Guided Evolution and Made Us Who We Are.PEOPLE IN NORTH AMERICA, HERE'S HOW TO RECYCLE YOUR USED ECLIPSE GLASSES (https://zpr.io/D6wB7dA4Sb3m)*unless you want to hold onto them till the next one on August 23rd, 2044Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)!Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing radiolab@wnyc.org.Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
Short Cuts: Drawn Onward

Short Cuts: Drawn Onward

2024-04-0215:036

As a treat for the first palindrome date of the calendar year 2024, 4/2/24, (for those who use U.S. formatting of dates anyway), we are releasing a special audio palindrome. A piece that plays the same forward and backward. It’s called “Drawn Onward” and it comes from the producers Alan Goffinski and Sarita Bhatt. It originally aired on the wonderful BBC show Short Cuts which curates fresh, experimental, adventurous audio journeys. Special thanks to Alan Goffinski, Sarita Bhatt, Josie Long, Eleanor McDowall, BBC Short CutsEPISODE CREDITS: Reported by - Alan Goffinski, Sarita BhattProduced by - Axel Kacoutiéwith help from - Alan Goffinski, Sarita BhattOriginal music and sound design contributed by - Alan GoffinskiMixed by - Axel KacoutiéEPISODE CITATIONS:Articles - BBC Short Cuts full episode: Meeting Myself Coming BackOur newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)!Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing radiolab@wnyc.org.Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
Finding Emilie

Finding Emilie

2024-03-2241:3220

This is a segment we first aired back in 2011. In it, we hear a story of a very different kind of lost and found. Alan Lundgard, a college art student, fell in love with a fellow art student, Emilie Gossiaux. Nine months after Alan and Emilie made it official, Emilie's mom, Susan Gossiaux, received a terrible phone call from Alan. Together, Susan and Alan tell Jad and Robert about the devastating fork in the road that left Emilie lost in a netherworld, and how Alan found her again.Then, at the end of the episode, and a full decade later, we catch up with Emilie and talk about her art, her heart, a dog named London, and the movie The Fifth Element. EPISODE CITATIONS -Exhibitions: Emilie L. Gossiaux - Other-Worlding (https://queensmuseum.org/exhibition/other-worlding/) at the Queen’s County Museum, through April, 7th, 2024.  Video: A video of Emilie Gossiaux painting with the BrainPort (https://youtu.be/1xYi9oZMVWI?si=kDBtRlVE62g9AI0V) Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)!Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing radiolab@wnyc.org.Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
On today’s show, we’re excited to share an episode from our friends at the podcast Throughline. Sometimes, the most dangerous and powerful thing a person can do is to stand up not against their enemies, but against their friends. As the United States heads into what will likely be another bitter and divided election year, there will be more and more pressure to stand with our in-groups rather than our consciences.So the Throughline team decided to tell some of the stories of people who have stood up to that kind of pressure. Some are names we know; others we likely never will. What those people did, what it cost them, and why they did it anyway.Check out the full version of “Dare to Dissent” here: https://www.npr.org/2023/11/30/1198908264/dare-to-dissent EPISODE CITATIONS:Books -Defying Hitler: the White Rose Pamphlet (https://zpr.io/wAXJuTzqFBvw), by Alexandra Lloyd, fellow by special election in German at the University of Oxford.King: A Life (https://zpr.io/iGAEggJJnFNE), by Johnathan Eig. Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)!Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing radiolab@wnyc.org.Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
Staph Retreat

Staph Retreat

2024-03-0833:4323

What happens when you combine an axe-wielding microbiologist and a disease-obsessed historian? A strange brew that's hard to resist, even for a modern day microbe.In the war on devilish microbes, our weapons are starting to fail us.  The antibiotics we once wielded like miraculous flaming swords seem more like lukewarm butter knives.But today we follow an odd couple to a storied land of elves and dragons. There, they uncover a 1000-year-old secret that makes us reconsider our most basic assumptions about human progress and wonder: What if the only way forward is backward?Reported by Latif Nasser. Produced by Matt Kielty and Soren Wheeler.Special thanks to Steve Diggle, Professor Roberta Frank, Alexandra Reider and Justin Park (our Old English readers), Gene Murrow from Gotham Early Music Scene, Marcia Young for her performance on the medieval harp and Collin Monro of Tadcaster and the rest of the Barony of Iron Bog.Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)!Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing radiolab@wnyc.org.Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
Hold On

Hold On

2024-03-0150:0225

Two years ago, the United States did something amazing. In response to the mental health crisis the federal government launched 988 - a nationwide, easy to remember phone number that anyone can call anytime and talk to a counselor. It was 911 but for mental health and they hoped that it would save lives. However, if you call 988 today the first thing you hear isn’t a sympathetic counselor. What you hear is hold music.Today, the story of the highest stakes hold music in the universe, the three men who created suicide prevention and the two women trying to fix it. Special thanks to Dr. Matt Wray, Sherbert Willows, Dani Bennett & Monica Johnson, Shari Sinwelski & the folks at Didi Hirsch, David Green, Jay Kennedy S. Carey & JagJaguwar Records,  and George Colt for sharing his cassette taped interviews of Ed Schneidman with us.EPISODE CREDITS: Reported by - Simon AdlerProduced by - Simon AdlerFact-checking by - Natalie Middletonand Edited by  - Pat WaltersOur newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)!Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing radiolab@wnyc.org.Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
This episode begins with a rant. This rant, in particular, comes from Dan Engber - a science writer who loves animals but despises animal intelligence research. Dan told us that so much of the way we study animals involves tests that we think show a human is smart ... not the animals we intend to study. Dan’s rant got us thinking: What is the smartest animal in the world? And if we threw out our human intelligence rubric, is there a fair way to figure it out?Obviously, there is. And it’s a live game show, judged by Jad, Robert … and a dog.The last episode of G, our series on intelligence, was recorded as a live show back in May 2019 at the Greene Space in New York City and now we’re sharing that game show with you, again. Two science writers, Dan Engber and Laurel Braitman, and two comedians, Tracy Clayton and Jordan Mendoza, compete against one another to find the world’s smartest animal. They treated us to a series of funny, delightful stories about unexpectedly smart animals and helped us shift the way we think about intelligence across all the animals - including us.Special thanks to Bill Berloni and Macy (the dog) and everyone at The Greene Space.EPISODE CITATIONS:Podcasts:If you want to listen to more of the RADIOLAB G SERIES, CLICK HERE (https://radiolab.org/series/radiolab-presents-g). Videos:Check out the video of our live event here! (https://fb.watch/qczu3n1ooA/) Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)!Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing radiolab@wnyc.org.Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
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Comments (1467)

Jay Kray

most boring Radio Lab ever?

Jul 7th
Reply

Matthew Richardson

The online betting universe is constantly changing, and new online casinos tend to appear suddenly. Obviously, you want a smooth and fair game. You also need better graphics. And yes, you don’t need any problems with deposits and withdrawals. And to be on the safer side, you will need a casino that follows the rules, regulations and laws of your country.

Jul 5th
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Alex Hardwick

this is the notion of qualia, how different people perceive their sense in different, unique ways that can't be replicated by anyone else. I see aphantasia as a miscommunication between people about what visualizing actually means, and a lot of them could come to an agreement on what they see. I've heard 30% of people don't have an internal monologue, and that explains NPC behavior for people with IQ lower than 100

Jun 14th
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StrayCactus

Wow. What an incredible experience it would be, to be an astronaut...

Jun 2nd
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john mcdermond

sooooo booooooring

May 12th
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eastman

🪹🪺🐦

Apr 24th
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Stephen Pan

Sorry, I stopped listening 2 minutes into the toothpaste tube story. I enjoyed the barn of everyday items story but please do not do this again.

Apr 22nd
Reply (1)

Michael McCarthy

Self-indulgent to the point of insufferability.

Apr 20th
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JayBlu1418

I also came here to say really, no mention at all of WTF happened to Alan??

Apr 18th
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Tibor G. Balogh (KG6AFF)

Zacharia Sitchin archelogical researcher and linguist translated sumer clay tablets depicting ten planets in solar system including later discovered and named Pluto wrote a book in which clay tablets information for moon origins is still best explanation ... -tibor

Apr 16th
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Gail

Miss-chee-vee-us? Really? Have you ever tried sounding out the word mischievous? Did you notice that there is no "i" or "e" between the "v" and the "o"? Hence is pronounced "miss-chi-vous"?

Apr 14th
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گردونه Gardooneh

Congratulations guys! I was soooo happy for you when I heard the news back in February. There could after all be a fun side to science, and that is indeed a breath of fresh air!

Apr 14th
Reply

Joe A. Finley II

This clown Doris M. could've shortened her long "analysis" by saying she just hates brown people and DGAF if they rot away in the desert.

Apr 12th
Reply

Samuel Hemmerlein

what about Allen? I ceryainly hope there is more follow up. i almost want to be done with Radiolab if this is the story in its entirety. There must be more

Apr 1st
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Bea Kiddo

It’s unfortunate that you can get burned by doing the right thing.

Mar 25th
Reply (1)

Jason Salvo

What..... what the fuck happened to Alan?!? This guy is wholly devoted to Emilie before and after the accident, figures out a way to communicate with her, saves her from either being harvested for organs or put in a nursing home, and then revisiting the story 10 years later, he's not mentioned -at all-??? Seriously wtf

Mar 25th
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Ryles

There's a bit of facts here, in the first act, that are being danced around. Albeit the intentions were more than appropriate and needed but there were some drastic mistakes that weren't even remotely discussed. It's hard to argue in its favor when you listen to it without blinders on. Took me a few tries

Mar 17th
Reply

Aldo Ojeda

Repeated episodes should said "Repeat" or something to differentiate them.

Mar 14th
Reply

Duy Vo

radiolab is has many great episodes and this one is one of the best episodes!

Mar 12th
Reply

chrisL879

The music made by the man from Wisconsin would be perfect for someone at wits end, or being crushed with anxiety.

Mar 3rd
Reply
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