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Radio aficionados and science geeks will already be familiar with the concept of the podcast. For the rest, a podcast is a digital file (normally, an audio recording) available for downloading from a website or a media player. Podcasts are usually free and are often presented as part of a thematic series. Below, we are listing our ten picks for some of the most interesting, quirky and original science podcasts out there:
- The Star Talk Radio podcast, hosted by the famous astrophysicist and cosmologist Neil deGrasse is based on the original StarTalk Radio show. Focusing on astronomy and physics topics and (more generally) on life in the universe, it helps building bridges between pop culture and science with a bit of a humorous touch. Besides, comedians and celebrities regularly join deGrasse as co-hosts and special guests.
- On the same topic, the incredibly popular Slacker Astronomy podcast features news about (of course) astronomy. In the words of the creators: “We try to be irreverent and humorous and occasionally we get the facts straight”.
- Have you ever heard the line “everyone has an opinion, but then there’s science”? Australian science journalist Wendy Zukerman and host of the Science Vs. podcast lives by it. Each episode takes on a different trendy topic and explains the science facts behind it, the lack of them or quoting her, “that somewhere in between”. The first season included topics on medical marijuana, the female brain or the paleo diet, while the second one has just started digging on gun control and organic food. What are you waiting to check it out?
- 60-Second Science is a podcast by the Scientific American Team that brings a light on recent developments in science in only 60 seconds. All the busy bee’s out there will surely appreciate the format.
- Quirks & Quarks is the podcast based on the Canadian radio show of the same name, that has been running for almost 40 years. Every week, the program presents the scope on the latest news related to the world of physics and natural sciences . Besides, the show includes a number of different segments, such as interviews with scientists, documentaries or even a “Question Show” episode, during which scientists answer questions submitted by the audience.
- BBC’s Radio 4 The Infinite Monkey Cage has been called witty, hilarious, irreverent, unapologetic and infinitely entertaining. Hosted by comedian Robin Ince and physicist Brian Cox, each show focuses on a different general science related topic and they usually invite other scientists, comedians and celebrities as guest stars.
- Science Friday (or SciFri) is the “source for entertaining and educational stories about science, technology, and other cool stuff” and it will get you up to date on a bunch of recent scientific developments. Active for more than 20 years, it will provide the curious minds with lots of food for thought!
- Biology, chemistry, physics and maths: The Guardian Science Weekly covers it all. The podcast creators will bring informative sections, debates and interviews from the scientific and technological world to your home.
- Radiolab is the very popular New York’s radio station “WNYC” radio program on scientific and philosophical matters. In most episodes, the hosting couple covers three different stories with a similar background theme. Designed as an hour long episode, it has become popular by its uniquely-edited style, specially in regard to its musical approach.
- The Naked scientists was created and edited by the Cambridge University consultant virologist Dr Chris Smith. The show includes a digest of science news, features on-location reports and interviews, and invites guest scientists to answer questions from a live audience. It even includes an additional segment entitles “Kitchen Science” that encourages the audience (at home) to try and do a science experiment.
How many of these podcasts did you already know? Don’t forget to share your comments below!