Radiolab
Radiolab

A two-time Peabody Award-winner, Radiolab is an investigation told through sounds and stories, and centered around one big idea. In the Radiolab world, information sounds like music and science and culture collide. Hosted by Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich, the show is designed for listeners who demand skepticism, but appreciate wonder. WNYC Studios is the producer of other leading podcasts including Freakonomics Radio, Death, Sex & Money, On the Media and many more.

Airs on:
SUN 12am-1am, SAT 2pm-3pm
33 min

Dispatch 6: Strange Times

Covid has disrupted the most basic routines of our days and nights. But in the middle of a conversation about how to fight the virus, we find a place impervious to the stalled plans and frenetic demands of the outside world. It’s a very different kind of front line, where urgent work means moving slow, and time is marked out in tiny pre-planned steps. Then, on a walk through the woods, we consider how the tempo of our lives affects our minds and discover how the beats of biology shape our bodies. This episode was produced with help from Molly Webster and Tracie Hunte. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.
24 min

Speedy Beet

There are few musical moments more well-worn than the first four notes of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. But in this short, we find out that Beethoven might have made a last-ditch effort to keep his music from ever feeling familiar, to keep pushing his listeners to a kind of psychological limit. Big thanks to the folks at Brooklyn Philharmonic: Conductor Alan Pierson, Deborah Buck and Suzy Perelman on violin, Arash Amini on cello, and Ah Ling Neu on viola. And check out The First Four Notes, Matthew Guerrieri's book on Beethoven's Fifth. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.
33 min

Octomom

In 2007, Bruce Robison’s robot submarine stumbled across an octopus settling in to brood her eggs. It seemed like a small moment. But as he went back to visit her, month after month, what began as a simple act of motherhood became a heroic feat that has never been equaled by any known species on Earth.  This episode was reported and produced by Annie McEwen.  Special thanks to Kim Fulton-Bennett and Rob Sherlock at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. And thanks to the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra for the use of their piece, “Concerto for Bassoon & Chamber Orchestra: II. Beautiful.”  Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.   If you need more ocean in your life, check out the incredible Monterey Bay Aquarium live cams (especially the jellies!): www.montereybayaquarium.org/animals/live-cams  Here’s a pic of Octomom sitting on her eggs, Nov. 1, 2007.   (© 2007 MBARI)
27 min

Why Fish Don't Exist

Our old friend Lulu Miller — former Radiolab producer, co-creator of Invisibilia — has been obsessed by the chaos that rules the universe since long before it showed up as a global pandemic, and a few weeks ago, she published a book about it. It’s called Why Fish Don’t Exist. It’s part scientific adventure story, part philosophical manifesto, part chest-ripped-open memoir. Jad called her up to talk about how an obscure 19th century ichthyologist with a checkered past helped her find meaning in the world, and what she means when she says fish aren’t real. You can buy Lulu's book Why Fish Don’t Exist here. This episode was produced by Pat Walters.  Special thanks to Pan•American. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.
29 min

David and Dominique

David Gebel and Dominique Crisden have a couple of things in common: they both live in New York, they’re both gay, and they’re both HIV-positive. But David is in his 60s, and has been living with the disease since moving to New York in the ‘80s. Dominique, on the other hand, is only in his early 30s. From our friends at WNYC's “Nancy”, this episode features a very special conversation between David and Dominique about the similarities and differences in their experiences living with HIV. Special thanks to Krishna Stone at Gay Men's Health Crisis, an HIV/AIDS prevention, care, and advocacy organization in New York.  This episode was produced by Tobin Low, Kathy Tu and Matt Collette. Music in this episode by Jeremy Bloom and Alex Overington. Theme by Alexander Overington. Note: A version of this episode first ran on May 7, 2017. Support our work. Become a Nancy member today at Nancypodcast.org/donate.
33 min

Dispatch 5: Don't Stop Believin'

Covid-19 has put emergency room doctors on the frontlines treating an illness that is still perplexing and unknown. Jad tracks one ER doctor in NYC as the doctor puzzles through clues, doing research of his own, trying desperately to save patients' lives.  This episode was produced by Jad Abumrad and Suzie Lechtenberg. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.
41 min

Atomic Artifacts

Back in the 1950s, facing the threat of nuclear annihilation, federal officials sat down and pondered what American life would actually look like after an atomic attack. They faced a slew of practical questions like: Who would count the dead and where would they build the refugee camps? But they faced a more spiritual question as well. If Washington DC were hit, every object in the the National Archives would be eviscerated in a moment. Terrified by this reality, they set out to save some of America’s most precious stuff.  Today, we look back at the items our Cold War era planners sought to save and we ask the question: In the year 2020, what objects would we preserve now?  This episode was reported and produced by Simon Adler with editing from Pat Walters and reporting assistance from Tad Davis.  Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.
1 hr 6 min

The Cataclysm Sentence

One day in 1961, the famous physicist Richard Feynman stepped in front of a Caltech lecture hall and posed this question to a group of undergraduate students: “If, in some cataclysm, all of scientific knowledge were to be destroyed, and only one sentence was passed on to the next generation of creatures, what statement would contain the most information in the fewest words?” Now, Feynman had an answer to his own question - a good one. But his question got the entire team at Radiolab wondering, what did his sentence leave out? So we posed Feynman’s cataclysm question to some of our favorite writers, artists, historians, futurists - all kinds of great thinkers. We asked them, “What’s the one sentence you would want to pass on to the next generation that would contain the most information in the fewest words?” What came back was an explosive collage of what it means to be alive right here and now, and what we want to say before we go. Featuring: Richard Feynman, physicist (The Pleasure of Finding Things Out) Caitlin Doughty, mortician (Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs) Esperanza Spalding, musician (12 Little Spells) Cord Jefferson, writer (Watchmen) Merrill Garbus, musician (I Can Feel You Creep Into My Private Life) Jenny Odell, writer (How to do Nothing) Maria Popova, writer (Brainpickings) Alison Gopnik, developmental psychologist (The Gardener and the Carpenter) Rebecca Sugar, animator (Steven Universe) Nicholson Baker, writer (Substitute) James Gleick, writer (Time Travel) Lady Pink, artist (too many amazing works to pick just one) Jenny Hollwell, writer (Everything Lovely, Effortless, Safe) Jaron Lanier, futurist (Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now) Missy Mazzoli, composer (Proving Up) This episode was produced by Matt Kielty and Rachael Cusick, with help from Jeremy Bloom, Zakiya Gibbons, and the entire Radiolab staff.    Special Thanks to: Ella Frances Sanders, and her book, "Eating the Sun", for inspiring this whole episode. Caltech for letting us use original audio of The Feynman Lectures on Physics. The entirety of the lectures are available to read for free online at www.feynmanlectures.caltech.edu.   All the musicians who helped make the Primordial Chord, including: Siavash Kamkar, from Iran  Koosha Pashangpour, from Iran Curtis MacDonald, from Canada Meade Bernard, from US Barnaby Rea, from UK Liav Kerbel, from Belgium Sam Crittenden, from US Saskia Lankhoorn, from Netherlands Bryan Harris, from US Amelia Watkins, from Canada Claire James, from US Ilario Morciano, from Italy Matthias Kowalczyk, from Germany Solmaz Badri, from Iran   All the wonderful people we interviewed for sentences but weren’t able to fit in this episode, including: Daniel Abrahm, Julia Alvarez, Aimee Bender, Sandra Cisneros, Stanley Chen, Lewis Dartnell, Ann Druyan, Rose Eveleth, Ty Frank, Julia Galef, Ross Gay, Gary Green, Cesar Harada, Dolores Huerta, Robin Hunicke, Brittany Kamai, Priya Krishna, Ken Liu, Carmen Maria Machado, James Martin, Judith Matloff, Ryan McMahon, Hasan Minhaj, Lorrie Moore, Priya Natarajan, Larry Owens, Sunni Patterson, Amy Pearl, Alison Roman, Domee Shi, Will Shortz, Sam Stein, Sohaib Sultan, Kara Swisher, Jill Tarter, Olive Watkins, Reggie Watts, Deborah Waxman, Alex Wellerstein, Caveh Zahedi.