Starter episode: “Urban Rodentology”
The premise behind this decade-old show is simple: we all have science stories to tell, because simply to exist in the world means we are interacting with science all the time. The Story Collider is a nonprofit group founded by two physicists who wanted to expand personal stories that “spark emotional connections with science,” a mission summarized in their podcast. Most of the episodes present two stories that share a common thread about the human experience behind scientific experiments, interactions with animals, or how biological impulses shape our lives. Since November, the show has been telling “Stories of Covid-19” from different perspectives, such as the effects of the pandemic on different generations or how society is adapting to a new normal.
Starter episode: “Celebrating 10 years: Our favorite stories”
The title may sound hyperbolic, but in general it’s pretty accurate. In each episode of this iHeartRadio show, presenters Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick address a different scientific phenomenon, mystery, or dilemma that will expand your understanding of how the world works. “Deep in the back of your mind, you always felt that there was something strange about reality,” reads the show’s official teaser, which leads you to suspect that you spent an hour thinking about crazy conspiracy theories. But “Stuff to Blow Your Mind” is always evidence-based and thoroughly researched, regardless of whether it is about seemingly inconspicuous topics (tomatoes, squirrels, sinkholes), mythical figures like the Minotaur or the question of whether Santa Claus is a god.
Jan. 26, 2021, 8:18 ET
Starter Episode: “Psychedelics: The Manifested Mind, Part 1”
Crooked Media, known for left-wing political hits like “Pod Save America”, broadened its horizons a few years ago and debuted in September 2019 with “America Dissected” with the aim of “discussing pressing health issues in America”. Six months later, it was renamed America Dissected: Coronavirus for obvious reasons, and now devotes each weekly episode to a different aspect of the pandemic. The show is directed by Dr. Moderator is Abdul El-Sayed, a doctor and epidemiologist who became known as Detroit’s director of public health during the Flint water crisis. It offers both a ruthless analysis of the federal government’s Covid-19 failures and a more hopeful blueprint for how the country can move forward.
Starter Episode: “The Vaccine Episode”
If you like your science stories with a side of Sherlock Holmes-esque intrigue, this adorable BBC series is the place for you. In “The Curious Cases”, written by the “science people” Dr. Adam Rutherford and Dr. Hosted by Hannah Fry, the duo tackle listener-submitted scientific riddles many of which may have asked themselves (why do we find noises like a fork scratching? A plate that is so unbearable?) And others that you may never bother with thought (how many hamsters on wheels would it take to power London?). Regardless of the topic, the chemistry and ironic relationship of the moderators makes every episode a joy.
Starter episode: “The Mosquito Conundrum”
The sheer volume of misinformation surrounding the coronavirus has become such a danger that it has been dubbed “infodemia,” but it is also a symptom of a larger and more systemic anti-science movement. On this Gimlet Media show, journalist Wendy Zukerman pitches “fads, trends, and the opinionated crowd” against science – checking factual gaps and delivering the truth in a fun and authoritative style. Although many of the recent episodes are devoted to the myth-busting of Covid-19, Science Vs offers a lot of escape through other questions as well: Is there a scientific basis for astrology? Can laboratory-grown meat really replace the original? And did the CIA plant a virus in Cuba in the 1970s?