best science podcasts

Top 17 Science Podcasts

Do you know that more Americans are aware what a podcast means 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 us 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 his podcasts featured James Cameron whom he interviewed about the films Avatar, Alien, Terminator and Titanic. The episode was titled “The Spirit of Exploration, with James Cameron”.

They discussed about Cameron’s enthusiasm for science and how he used this in his box-office hit movies. They also talked 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 in it, check out The Story Collider.

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 does not take a scientist to be able to relate to each episode. Even if you’re someone who hasn’t experienced using a microscope or test tube, you will enjoy each episode.

No other podcasts 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 podcasts featured 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 the 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 shared some of the mysteries of heredity. The episode was titled, “She Has Her Mother’s Laugh: The Power, Perversions, and Potential of Heredity”.

The host named Bethany Brookshire used to be a real-life scientist. But, the way she asked questions indeed made the show even more interesting.

She crafted 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 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 different guests from different interesting 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 one of her podcasts.

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

Their conversation revolved 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 discussed about how amazing the human brain is. Together they discussed about people whose brain was damaged or injured for some reason.

However, after recuperation the consequences left many brain experts in awe.

If you’re the kind of person who loves to learn more about the brain, this episode will surely get you hooked.

5. Invisibilia

invisibilia

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

It is hosted by Alix Spiegel and Hanna Rosin which are two 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. Some of these include human assumptions, perceptions, emotions and beliefs.

Each information presented in the show was based on research.

In an episode titled “What Was Not Said”, the audience was made to understand about the importance of love.

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

The story was so genuinely told with the voice 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 did not say but should be 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 the Hidden Brain.

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

In addition, each episode will have 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 episode worth trying. It talks about how the brain learns a certain language.

This podcast episode helps us understand 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 brain.

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 these podcasts.

This show not only satisfies every child or adult’s curiosity.

Listening to each podcast episode can also be one good way of developing 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 was 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 be able to determine whether it’s a John Lennon or a Paul McCartney song.

Stylometry is a form of statistical analysis. He used stylometry 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 these stuff just to figure out who really wrote which song.

Now, that makes one awesome 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 Robert Krulwich is known for his special knack in explaining complicated science topics with much clarity and enthusiasm.

With Radiolab, you will 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 shared 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. Although it lacks the humor and fun atmosphere that are present in other podcast shows.

But, 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-physics 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 any other 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 Dr. 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. Of course, everything is presented with that British accent.

Listening to the show can be so beneficial not just to science enthusiasts. But, for those wanting to learn the British accent as well.

Do you want to be a scientist who speaks British flawlessly? Listen to the Naked Scientist and dream on!

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

In this episode you will 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 aims 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 are not yet present.

Plus, smartphones and other digital information are also not yet present or fully available.

So, what is 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 about 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.

Gastronomy also refers to the study of food and culture.

On the other hand, the word “pod” is derived from, yes, you guessed it right- the word “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 podcasts 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 podcasts 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.

Laura Baxendale
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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
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