I’m getting behind on my podcast listening, but I just can’t bring myself to cut back on any of my favorite shows. They are all so awesome. Science is another subject I follow a lot of podcasts about, so here are the ones that have earned their place in my podcast feed.
Are We Alone – The weekly podcast from the SETI Institute. They sped much less time talking about aliens than you might imagine. Each episode has a theme, where they examine some aspect of life on Earth, often looking at human psychology, or culture, and how that may (or may not) give us insight into life elsewhere in the universe. There is usually a good dose oh humor mixed in.
NOVA Science Now – These are very short podcasts, usually between 1 and 6 min long. They are often teasers for NOVA shows, but I always take away an interesting tidbit of information.
Science Talk – The podcast from Scientific American. Need I say more? Well, I will. These are about 30 min long, and again sometimes act as teasers for articles in the magazine. Even so, they spend enough time on each topic to really do it justice, and I never feel like I need to run out and buy the magazine if I want to understand what they were talking about.
Skeptoid – More of a critical thinking podcast than a pure science one, but I’m still putting it into this category since the creator and host, Brian Dunning, applies the scientific method to his analysis of the topics he covers. These are generally under 15 min long, which is nice, but I’m amazed at the amount of research that mush have gone into them. He often covers topics about mythical monster sightings and UFOs and such. I’ve begun to skip those since I’m not all that interested. My favorites so far is his series on logical fallacies. Sometimes I hear an argument that sounds off to me but I can’t put my finger on why. Now I know why, and don’t get sucked into nonsense as easily.
TED talks – Only a subset of these could really be called science podcasts, they also cover topics about world affairs, culture, music, etc. I just listened to one today with young homeschool kid talking about sustainable farming practices. How cool is that? Apparently the video version is even better, but I’m usually doing something else while I listen to podcasts, so I stick to the audio. Even with just that, these are almost always powerful, moving speakers.
WNYC’s Radiolab – If I had to pick a favorite off this list, this is the one I’d pick. These are so well produced, so entertaining, I have trouble turning them off when I finish my workout or drive before the episode is finished. Just the other day I listened to “Lost and Found”. It was amazing, partly because I have a horrible sense of direction, and it made me feel a little better about that. There is a place in Australia I might need to visit. But the closing segment, which is not about someone physically lost, but more metaphorically lost, gave me goosebumps and I got misty eyes it was so wonderful. Here it is if you want to check it out:
60 Second Earth, 60 Second Mind, 60 Second Science -these are also all produced by Scientific American, and as the titles suggest, they are one minute podcasts about the environment, psychology, and science respectively. Always fun snip-its of information here. As I was linking to them just now, I see that there is also a 60 Second Health, and 60 Second Space. So I’m off to iTunes to get those!
If you have a favorite science podcast I didn’t mention, please tell me about it in the comment section. (I really shouldn’t ask you to do that as I don’t know where I’ll find the time to listen to any more than I already do, but I just can’t help myself.)