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.

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

Ukraine: The Handoff

2/3/2023
We continue the story of a covert smuggling operation to bring abortion pills into Ukraine, shortly after the Russian invasion. In this episode, reporters Katz Laszlo and Gregory Warner go to Ukraine, landing on a fall night during a citywide blackout, to pick up the trail of the pills and find out about the doctors and patients who needed them. But as they follow the pills around the country, what they learn changes their understanding of how we talk about these pills, and how we talk about...

Duration:00:32:24

Birthstory

1/27/2023
You know the drill — all it takes is one sperm, one egg, and blammo — you’ve got yourself a baby. Right? Well, in this 2015 episode, conception takes on a new form — it’s the sperm and the egg, plus: two wombs, four countries, and money. Lots of money. This is the story of an Israeli couple, two men, who go to another continent to get themselves a baby — three, in fact — by hiring surrogates to carry the children for them. As we follow them on their journey, an earth-shaking revelation...

Duration:01:03:44

Ukraine: Under the Counter

1/20/2023
In the weeks following the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, a young doctor in Germany sees that abortion pills are urgently needed in Ukraine. And she wants to help. But getting the drugs into the country means going through Poland, which has some of the strictest abortion laws in Europe. So, she gets creative. What unfolds is a high-stakes, covert-operation run by a group of strangers. With everyone deciding: who to trust? In collaboration with NPR’s Rough Translation...

Duration:00:42:50

Games

1/13/2023
In this episode, first aired in 2011, we talk about the meaning of a good game — whether it's a pro football playoff, or a family showdown on the kitchen table. And how some games can make you feel, at least for a little while, like your whole life hangs in the balance. This hour of Radiolab, Jad and Robert wonder why we get so invested in something so trivial. What is it about games that make them feel so pivotal? We hear how a recurring dream about football turned into a real-life lesson...

Duration:00:58:45

Universe In Verse

1/6/2023
For a special New Year’s treat, we take a tour through the history of the universe with the help of… poets. Our guide is Maria Popova, who writes the popular blog The Marginalian (formerly Brain Pickings), and the poetry is from her project, “The Universe in Verse” — an annual event where poets read poems about science, space, and the natural world. Special thanks to all of our poets, musicians, and performers: Marie Howe, Tracy K. Smith, Rebecca Elson, Joan As Police Woman, Patti Smith,...

Duration:00:33:29

New Normal

12/30/2022
This episode —first released in 2009 and then again in 2015, with an update — asks, what is “normal”? Maybe it exists, maybe not. We examine peace-loving baboons with Stanford neuroscientist Robert Sapolsky, talk to Stu Rasmussen, whose preferred pronouns were he/him (https://zpr.io/nUdsZawNmhwt), and his neighbors in Silverton, Oregon about how a town chooses its community over outsider opinions. And lastly, we speak with an evolutionary anthropologist, Duke University’s own Brian Hare, and...

Duration:01:10:13

The Flight Before Christmas

12/23/2022
At any given moment, nearly 500,000 people are crammed together in a metal tube, hurtling through the air. In this episode, we look at the strange human experiment that is flying together. Special thanks to Natalie Compton, Julia Longoria, Mike Arnot, and everyone at Gate Gourmet. EPISODE CREDITS: Reported by - Matt Kielty, Simon Adler and Rachael Cusick Produced by - Matt Kielty, Simon Adler and Rachael Cusick With Production help from - Sindhu Gnanasambandan Original music and sound...

Duration:00:45:56

Null and Void

12/16/2022
This episode, first aired in 2017, has Reporter Tracie Hunte and Editor Soren Wheeler exploring a hidden power in the U.S. Court System that is either the cornerstone of our democracy or a trapdoor to anarchy. Should a juror be able to ignore the law? From a Quaker prayer meeting in the streets of London to riots in the streets of Los Angeles, we trace the history of a quiet act of rebellion and struggle with how much power “We the People” should really have. Special thanks to Darryl K....

Duration:01:04:44

The Middle of Everything Ever

12/9/2022
After graduating from high school, without a clear plan for what to do next, Laura Andrews started asking herself a lot of questions. A spiral of big philosophical thoughts that led her to sit down and write to us with a question that was… oddly mathematical. What is the most average size thing, if you take into account everything in the universe. So, along with mathematician Steven Strogatz, we decided to see if we could sit down and, in a friendly throwdown of guesstimates and quick...

Duration:00:30:03

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...

Duration:01:09:13

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