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Radiolab

WNYC

Radiolab is on a curiosity bender. We ask deep questions and use investigative journalism to get the answers. A given episode might whirl you through science, legal history, and into the home of someone halfway across the world. The show is known for innovative sound design, smashing information into music. It is hosted by Lulu Miller and Latif Nasser.

Radiolab is on a curiosity bender. We ask deep questions and use investigative journalism to get the answers. A given episode might whirl you through science, legal history, and into the home of someone halfway across the world. The show is known for innovative sound design, smashing information into music. It is hosted by Lulu Miller and Latif Nasser.

Location:

New York, NY

Networks:

WNYC

Description:

Radiolab is on a curiosity bender. We ask deep questions and use investigative journalism to get the answers. A given episode might whirl you through science, legal history, and into the home of someone halfway across the world. The show is known for innovative sound design, smashing information into music. It is hosted by Lulu Miller and Latif Nasser.

Language:

English

Contact:

WNYC Radio 160 Varick St. New York, NY 10013 (646) 829-4000


Episodes

The Ashes on the Lawn

12/2/2022
A global pandemic. Thousands dying. A passive government. An afflicted group fueled by grief and anger. In this episode, first aired in 2020, Reporter Tracie Hunte wanted to understand this moment of pain and confusion. As she looked back three decades, she found a complicated answer to a simple question: when nothing seems to work, how do you make change? Special thanks to Dr. Anthony Fauci. Episode Credits: Reported by Tracie Hunt Produced by Matt Kielty Our newsletter comes out every...

Duration:00:56:38

More Perfect: The Political Thicket

11/25/2022
When U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren was asked at the end of his career, “What was the most important case of your tenure?”, there were a lot of answers he could have given. He had presided over some of the most important decisions in the court’s history — cases that dealt with segregation in schools, the right to an attorney, the right to remain silent, just to name a few. But his answer was a surprise: he said “Baker v. Carr,” a 1962 redistricting case. On this 2016 episode,...

Duration:00:48:11

What's Up Doc?

11/18/2022
Mel Blanc was known as “the man of 1,000 voices,” but, to hear his son tell it, the actual number was closer to 1,500. Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, Daffy Duck, Tweety, Barney Rubble, Woody Woodpecker, Sylvester, Foghorn Leghorn — all Mel. These characters made him one of the most beloved men in the United States. In this episode from 2012, Mel Blanc’s son Noel tells Producer Sean Cole how his father’s entire body would transform to bring life to these characters. But on a fateful day of 1961,...

Duration:00:24:21

Butt Stuff

11/11/2022
Why do we have a butt? Well, it’s not just for the convenience of a portable seat cushion. This week, we have a conversation with our Contributing Editor Heather Radke, who has spent the last several years going deep on one of our most noticeable surface features. She’s been working on a book called Butts, a Backstory and in this episode, she tells us about a fascinating history she uncovered that takes us from a eugenicist’s attempt in the late 1930s to concretize the most average human, to...

Duration:00:37:12

Guts

11/4/2022
This hour, we dive into the messy mystery in the middle of us. What's going on down there? And what can the rumblings deep in our bellies tell us about ourselves? We join author Mary Roach and reach inside a live cow's stomach. Talk with writer Frederick Kaufman about our first peek into the wonderful world of human digestion that came about thanks to a hunting accident. And explore with show regular, science writer, and fellow water drinker, Carl Zimmer, about the trillions of microscopic...

Duration:00:54:41

The Weather Report

10/28/2022
Meteorologists are as common as the clouds these days. Rolling onto the airwaves at morning, noon and night they tell us what to wear and where to plan our picnics. They’re local celebrities with an outsized influence. But in the 1940s, there was really only one of them: Irving P. Krick. He was suave and dapper, with the charm of a sunbeam and the boldness of a thunderclap. He was a salesman who turned the weather into a product. Today, listen to the story of Krick and his descendants, a...

Duration:00:52:23

Black Box

10/21/2022
In this episode, first aired in 2014, we examine three very different kinds of black boxes — spaces where we know what’s going in, we know what’s coming out, but can’t see what happens in that in-between space. From the darkest parts of metamorphosis to a sixty-year-old secret among magicians, and the nature of consciousness itself, we shine some light on three questions. But for each, we contend with an answerless space, leaving just enough room for the mystery and magic… always wondering...

No-Touch Abortion

10/14/2022
When the Dobbs decision went down, ER doctor Avir Mitra started to prepare for the worst — botched, at-home abortions that would land pregnant people in the emergency room. To prepare himself and his colleagues for the patients they might see, and to think through how best to treat them, Avir asked Laura MacIsaac, one of New York City’s leading gynecologists and abortion experts, to come talk to his ER department. But what Dr. MacIsaac had to say in her lecture wasn’t what Avir expected: she...

Duration:00:26:01

The Theater of David Byrne's Mind

10/7/2022
It all started when the rockstar David Byrne did a Freaky-Friday-like body-swap with a Barbie Doll. That’s what inspired him — along with his collaborator Mala Gaonkar — to transform a 15,000 square-foot warehouse in Denver, Colorado into a brainy funhouse known as the Theater of the Mind. This episode, co-Host Latif Nasser moderates a live conversation between Byrne and Neuroscientist Thalia Wheatley at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. The trio talk about how we don’t see what we...

Duration:00:43:06

Playing God

9/30/2022
When people are dying and you can only save some, how do you choose? Maybe you save the youngest. Or the sickest. Maybe you even just put all the names in a hat and pick at random. Would your answer change if a sick person was right in front of you? In this episode, first aired back in 2016, we follow New York Times reporter Sheri Fink as she searches for the answer. In a warzone, a hurricane, a church basement, and an earthquake, the question remains the same. What happens, what should...

Duration:00:59:21

Terrestrials: The Mastermind

9/23/2022
Lulu Miller, intrepid host and fearless mother of two, went off on her own and put together a little something for kids. All kids: hers, yours, and the one still living inside us all. Radiolab for Kids Presents: Terrestrials And it’s spellbinding. So much so, that we wanted to put this audio goodness in front of as many ears as possible. Which is why we’re running the first episode of that series here for you today. It’s called The Mastermind. In it, Sy Montgomery, an author and...

Duration:00:33:12

Quicksaaaand!

9/16/2022
For many of us, quicksand was once a real fear — it held a vise grip on our imaginations, from childish sandbox games to grown-up anxieties about venturing into unknown lands. But these days, quicksand can't even scare an 8-year-old. In this short, we try to find out why. Then-Producer Soren Wheeler introduces us to Dan Engber, writer and columnist for Slate, now with The Atlantic. Dan became obsessed with quicksand after happening upon a strange fact: kids are no longer afraid of it. In...

Duration:00:19:48

40,000 Recipes for Murder

9/9/2022
Two scientists realize that the very same AI technology they have developed to discover medicines for rare diseases can also discover the most potent chemical weapons known to humankind. Inadvertently opening the Pandora’s Box of WMDs. What should they do now? Special thanks to, Xander Davies, Timnit Gebru, Jessica Fjeld, Bert Gambini and Charlotte Hsu Episode Credits: Reported by Latif Nasser Produced by Matt Kielty Original music and sound design contributed by Matt Kielty Mixing...

Duration:00:33:07

Rodney v. Death

9/2/2022
In the fall of 2004, Jeanna Giese checked into the Children's Hospital of Wisconsin with a set of puzzling symptoms... and her condition was deteriorating fast. By the time Dr. Rodney Willoughby saw her, he only knew one thing for sure: if Jeanna's disturbing breakdown turned out to be rabies, she was doomed to die. What happened next seemed like a medical impossibility. In this episode, originally aired in 2013, Producer Tim Howard tells Jeanna's story and talks to authors Monica Murphy...

Duration:00:34:57

Gigaverse

8/26/2022
A pizzeria owner in Kansas realizes that DoorDash is hijacking his pizzas. A Lyft driver conquers the streets of San Francisco until he unwittingly puts his family in danger. A Shipt shopper in Denton, Texas tries to crack the code of the delivery app that is slashing his pay. This week, Host Latif Nasser, Producer Becca Bressler, and Philosophy Professor Barry Lam dive into the ins and outs of a new and growing part of our world: the gig economy. Special thanks to, Julie Wernau, Drew...

Duration:00:52:03

9-Volt Nirvana

8/19/2022
Learn a new language faster than ever! Leave doubt in the dust! Be a better sniper! Could you do all that and more with just a zap to the noggin? Maybe. Back in the early 2010s, Sally Adee, then an editor at New Scientist Magazine, went to a DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) conference and heard about a way to speed up learning with something called trans-cranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). A couple of years later, Sally found herself wielding an M4 assault rifle to...

Duration:00:28:10

Infinities

8/12/2022
In August 2018, Boen Wang was at a work retreat for a new job. Surrounded by mosquitoes and swampland in a tiny campsite in West Virginia, Boen’s mind underwent a sudden, dramatic transformation that would have profound consequences—for his work, his colleagues, and himself. Special thanks to Grace Gilbert for voice acting and episode art, and to Professors Erin Anderson and Maggie Jones for editorial support. Episode credits: Reported and produced by Boen Wang Original Music provided by...

Duration:00:43:35

Escape

8/5/2022
This episode originally aired in 2012. An all-star lineup of producers — Pat Walters, Lynn Levy, and Sean Cole — bring you stories about traps, getaways, perpetual cycles, and staggering breakthroughs. We kick things off with a true escape artist — a man who’s broken out of jail more times than anyone alive. Why does he keep running... and will he ever stop? Next, the ingeniously simple question that led Isaac Newton to an enormous intellectual breakthrough: why doesn’t the moon fall out...

The Humpback and the Killer

7/29/2022
Killer whales — orcas — eat all sorts of animals, including humpback calves. But one day, biologists saw a group of humpback whales trying to stop some killer whales from eating… a seal. And then it happened again. And again. It turns out, all across the oceans, humpback whales are swimming around stopping killer whales from hunting all kinds of animals — from seals to gray whales to sunfish. And of course while many scientists explain this behavior as the result of blind instincts that are...

Duration:00:38:21

You v. You

7/22/2022
This episode, originally aired more than a decade ago, attempts to answer one question: how do you win against your worst impulses? Zelda Gamson tried for decades to stop smoking, but the part of her that wanted to quit couldn’t beat the part of her that refused to let go. Adam Davidson, a co-founder of the NPR podcast Planet Money, talked to one of the greatest negotiators of all time, Nobel Prize-winning Economist Thomas Schelling, whose tactical skills saw him through high-stakes...

Duration:00:26:41