best science podcasts

Top 17 Science Podcasts

Did you know that more Americans are aware what a podcast is than who the Vice President is?

Well, this comes as no surprise given the fact that there are more than 550,000 podcast shows worldwide.

To date, there are almost 19 million episodes and counting. With more than half a million active podcast shows it can be difficult to choose which one to listen to.

Let’s start with knowing your field of interest.

Are you interested about science?

Here is the list of the Top 17 science podcasts you should check out.

1. StarTalk

startalk

StarTalk is a podcast that talks about science and popular culture.

The show is hosted by astrophysicist named Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Some of us view science topics as something too serious. Others even find themselves dozing off while watching science shows on TV.

But, this podcast is way too different. It’s too informative and too hilarious at the same time.

In fact, Rolling Stone in 2014 included StarTalk in their list of “The 20 Best Comedy Podcasts Right Now.”

Neil deGrasse Tyson loves to talk about sci-fi films and what these movies contain that don’t adhere to the principles of science facts.

One of the episodes features James Cameron whom he interviews about the films Avatar, Alien, Terminator and Titanic. The episode is titled “The Spirit of Exploration, with James Cameron”.

They discuss about Cameron’s enthusiasm for science and how he used this in his box-office hit movies. They also talk about Cameron’s journey down the Marianas Trench, the deepest point on the Earth’s oceans.

The show gets even more interesting and funnier with the inclusion of “Outer Space or Underwater” game.

This is when the host reveals some characteristics of a creature. Then his guests will determine if it’s a creature from underwater or outer space.

With StarTalk, you’d be learning and laughing at the same time!

What a great way to spend your leisure hours.

2. The Story Collider

These are podcasts of personal stories about science or anything with science woven into it. Check out The Story Collider if this is your thing.

Storytellers could be different people from different walks of life. Stories may be told by a doctor, book author, comedian, researcher or a poet.

These are not just ordinary tales of daily living.

The stories here in the Story Collider are full of heart. It could be funny, fascinating or poignant.

It doesn’t take a scientist to be able to relate to each episode. Even if you’re someone who hasn’t used a microscope or a test tube in your life, you’ll enjoy each episode.

No other podcast can connect to the inner sense of an individual better than the Story Collider does.

3. Science for the People

science for the people

Science for the People is a show that explores the link between history, public policy, science and popular culture.

The episodes in this radio show help people gain a better understanding of some of the events in daily life.

It provides information and explanation behind certain books and news. The show also involves critical analysis of some of the issues facing people today.

Science for the People has a lot to offer to its listening audience.

It will certainly satisfy their curiosity and fascination about anything here on earth.

In one episode Carl Zimmer shares some of the mysteries of heredity. The episode is titled, “She Has Her Mother’s Laugh: The Power, Perversions, and Potential of Heredity.”

The host, Bethany Brookshire used to be a real-life scientist. The way she asks questions makes the show even more interesting.

In this episode for instance, she crafts her questions in a way that greatly demystifies the complexity of the topic “genetics and heredity.”

Other hosts of the show include Rachelle Saunders and Desiree Schell.

4. Talk Nerdy

talk nerdy

Talk Nerdy was created and is hosted by award winning journalist Cara Santa Maria.

She shares her conversations with interesting people who also have a wealth of knowledge about interesting things.

Her weekly episodes would have various guests from different fields of science. Every episode is worth listening as it gives the audience a new glimpse on anything worth knowing.

Her guests may range from an environmental journalist, medical entomologist, a famous television host or a best-selling author.

If you haven’t listened to Cara from Talk Nerdy, try listening to at least one episode.

For a good start, listen to the one with Scientific American’s editor named Michael Lemonick.

Their conversation revolves around Michael’s book titled “The Perpetual Now: A story of amnesia, memory, and love.” It’s a story of a woman who suffered from encephalitis.

In this episode, Michael and Cara discusses about how amazing the human brain is. Together they discuss about people whose brain was damaged or injured for some reason, but upon recuperation left many brain experts in awe.

If that sounds interesting, tune in.

5. Invisibilia

invisibilia

The list of top science podcasts wouldn’t be complete without Invisibilia.

It’s hosted by Alix Spiegel and Hanna Rosin who are two awesome award-winning journalists.

If most of the shows talk about things that we see around us, Invisibilia is different.

This podcast helps us understand things that are unseen. You might have already guessed that from the title. Anyway, some of these include human assumptions, perceptions, emotions and beliefs.

Each information presented in the show is based on research.

In an episode titled “What was not Said”, for example, they talk about the importance of love.

Love should not only be proven through action. It should also be expressed verbally.

The story is so genuinely told with the voices of the real persons involved.

How do unseen things impact a person’s life? How do the words you say impact your loved ones?

How about those words that you didn’t say but should’ve been said out loud?

Better check out this podcast.

6. Hidden Brain

hidden brain

Can you talk about serious topics without the need to take yourself too seriously? The answer is a definite YES.

If you’d like to find out how, then check out Hidden Brain.

It’s a podcast where scientists talk about topics that interest them the most.

In addition, each episode has games to “lighten up” the serious atmosphere. Although very analytical in nature, the podcast never becomes boring.

The result would be podcast episodes that are truly engaging.

If you haven’t heard any of the episodes of Hidden Brain, “Watch Your Mouth” is one worth giving a listen.

This podcast episode talks about how the brain learns a certain language and explains how language influences the way we view the world.

With Hidden Brain, you’ll be able to get a good glimpse about the amazing complexities of the human mind.

Thanks to the show’s host, Shankar Vedantam.

7. Brains On!

brains on

Brains On! is hosted and co-produced by Molly Bloom.

What makes this science podcast different from others?

It presents scientific information in a more simplified manner.

The topics are presented and explained in a fun way, too.

Children, not just adults, will find this show very informative. Parents who are looking to spend quality time with their children should consider listening to this podcast with them.

This show not only satisfies every child or adult’s curiosity; it could also be a great way to develop kids’ love for science.

Not to mention the fact that it also helps improve their listening skills.

8. Science Friday

science friday

Science Friday, a science podcast talk show is hosted by award winning journalist Ira Flatow.

The show has been included in the list of most popular iTunes downloads. With more than one million listeners each week, no doubt this podcast deserves attention.

Check out the episode “Who Wrote That Beatles Song?”. In this episode, the guest is Mark Glickman, a statistics lecturer from Harvard University.

So what does the Beatles song have to do with a statistician? Mark used stylometry to determine whether it’s a John Lennon or a Paul McCartney song.

Stylometry is a form of statistical analysis. Mark got into it after learning that John Lennon claimed he was the one who wrote the song “In My Life”.

But, Paul McCartney did not agree with John’s statement.

What makes this episode so interesting? Can you imagine a statistician going over through the octaves and other musical notes?

He did all of this stuff just to figure out who really wrote which song.

Now, that makes one interesting podcast episode.

9. Radiolab

radiolab

How about listening to a podcast from an award-winning show hosted by two award-winning hosts?

Radiolab won a Peabody Awards for its contribution to the radio industry.

They were largely credited for their abilities to make science easily accessible to their audience.

The result will definitely be an award-winning experience as well for every listener.

The show’s hosts are Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich.

Abumrad used to be a writer and music composer before he started creating the show Radiolab. His co-host, Krulwich, is known for his special knack in explaining complicated science topics with much clarity and enthusiasm.

With Radiolab, you’ll gain a different way of looking at strange things.

Try listening to it and you’ll see.

10. Waking Up

waking up

Waking Up is hosted by philosopher and neuroscientist Sam Harris.

With the countless number of science podcasts flooding the internet, looking for the best can be pretty daunting.

But, Sam Harris’ Waking Up is not just a no-nonsense show. You can definitely rely on it for truthful information.

The show does not accept any advertising offers from any services or products. Sam believes that for his show to be devoid of biased information, it should not endorse any products or services.

This is one of the many philosophies that Sam Harris applies in his podcast show.

The episodes of this show will surely wake you up!

Try for example the episode titled “Freeing the Hostages.” The guest for this episode is Chris Voss, a hostage negotiator for FBI.

In this episode Chris shares some of his experiences with hostage negotiations.

He also shares some lessons about the art of negotiating and its importance in people’s lives.

11. Quirks and Quarks

quirks and quarks

Quirks and Quarks have been in the radio waves since October 8, 1975.

It started out as purely a science news program on CBC Radio One.

In 2005, the show became the first major show from Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to be available in podcast form.

Today the show is hosted by Bob McDonald who makes conversations with scientists from different parts of the world. The show focuses on topics about science, medicine, environment and technology.

If you’re in for some serious listening about any stuff related to science, this podcast show will be worth your time. What it lacks in humor and fun that are present in other podcast shows, it makes up for in substance.

When it comes to content and reliability of sources, this show is a champion.

12. The Titanium Physicists

the titanium physicists

The Titanium Physicists is a show anchored on the belief that anyone has the capability to understand physics.

So, topics like nuclear magnetic resonance, falling meteors and moonquakes can easily be understood.

Everything is thoroughly explained that even the non-physicist guest and listener can get a good grasp of each episode.

The show is hosted by Dr. Ben Tippett, a mathematician and theoretical physicist.

Do you want to know the difference between a glass and a crystal? What makes a glass, glassy? Or do you want to know more about what it’s like to be in Mars?

All about these and more can be heard on this podcast.

13. Living Planet

living planet

The show has garnered top awards for environmental programming.

It is a weekly 30-minute podcast about nature and any other stories concerning the environment.

Living Planet is a podcast that gives listeners a view on how the Earth that we live in and everything that we do impact each other.

Hosts Charlotta Lomas and Irene Quaile will take you anywhere around the world. They’ll update you with the most crucial things affecting the environment.

Every crucial information is relayed to the listeners in a very objective and truthful manner.

Unlike many podcasts, this show is not presented in a conversational manner.

But everything is relayed in a more formal, journalistic, and reporting-style format.

The show is devoid of any nonsense jokes and unnecessary ad libs.

All pure eye-opening information delivered in thirty minutes.

14. The Naked Scientists

the naked scientists

The Naked Scientists is a show broadcasted as part of BBC, located in East of England.

The program was founded by Chris Smith, a consultant virologist from Cambridge University.

The show talks about the latest in scientific breakthroughs by interviewing world’s top-notch scientists.

If you want to treat yourself for an hour of interesting science news, check out this podcast.

The show does not only appeal to science enthusiasts, but also to fans of the classy British accent – like me! That’s one of the reasons I got hooked, to be honest.

For starters, it would be great to listen to the episode “Music Science: from Mozart to Marketing”.

In this episode you’ll find out how listening to classical music can indeed help you become smarter.

15. Big Picture Science

big picture science

Big Picture Science not only airs episodes with the sole purpose of giving information.

The people behind Big Picture Science aim to convey why science knowledge matters to us in our everyday lives.

It addresses the “so what?” aspect of relaying recent updates in science.

All episodes are also geared at enabling their listeners to develop critical thinking. The show helps listeners sort out the difference between science and pseudoscience.

If you haven’t tried listening to it, try “Plan of a Hack” episode. It’s a story about the original hackers in a time when computers, smartphones and other digital information were non-existent or not yet fully available.

So what’s there to hack? Listen to this podcast episode and you’ll find out.

The show’s hosts are Seth Shostak  and Molly Bentley.

16. Gastropod

gastropod

Gastropod is a podcast that talks about everything food.

If it’s all about food, then why is the show called Gastropod?

Scientifically speaking, it refers to a class of molluscs, right?

Well, the name is derived from combining two words that are unrelated. But for the show’s sake, have become two related things.

The word “gastro” refers to Gastronomy which is the art of eating and cooking good food, and which also refers to the study of food and culture.

And obviously, the word “pod” is derived from, yes, you guessed it right- “podcast”.

So, if the name itself is enough to pique your curiosity, try listening to their episodes.

Gastropod hosts take their listeners to a journey of food and the hidden history behind it. With this podcast, you’ll never be able to look at food the same way again.

The founders of this show are Cynthia Graber and Nicola Twilley.

17. Science Vs.

science vs

Science Vs. is a podcast which is pretty much like an antidote to the daily barrage of information nowadays.

The increasing accessibility of information has made filtering through the facts and myths a truly challenging task.

Luckily, there is Science Vs. which is a podcast that does the work of delving into the facts. The result would be a show that lets audience easily differentiate truth from hearsay.

The hosts do a great job in presenting factual information in a very engaging manner. The host Wendy Zukerman guarantees that every minute spent on listening to her podcast is a time well-spent.

Check out the episode “Ghosts,” if you want to listen to something paranormal. Or if you’re curious about how our brains function when we fall in love, listen to “True Love.

See? All these interesting episodes are yours only at Science Vs.

Now that you’ve got your list of the top 17 science podcasts, prepare yourself to be on binge listening mode.

Follow me

Laura Baxendale

I am Laura, a mid-twenty-something woman with a mild obsession with listening to podcasts. When I don't have my headphones glued to my ears I enjoy running, fashion and spending time with my friends.

Oh! Almost forgot, I am also addicted to green tea and Harry Potter.
Laura Baxendale
Follow me

Latest posts by Laura Baxendale (see all)

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *