16 Best Science Podcasts of All Time (2019)
Everything around us is science. Our curiosity has led us to break a lot of barriers and chart unknown territories. Be it the study of universe, nature, even our own bodies, every question finds an answer in science. From microorganisms to galaxies, from the bottom of the ocean to the boundaries of a black hole, there is no bound on the topics that fall under this subject. In fact, every other subject—history, language, geography—is a distorted form of science.
If you work in the field of science, then I don’t really know what to say to you. You smart being must already know a lot of things. But, I guess, no one knows everything, so this article might benefit you after all. My primary focus is on those who have always struggled with it; who eventually told themselves that science is only for geniuses. Here’s to thinking again. If you still have the spark of wanting to know about how the universe functions, then the following are the best science podcasts that you should listen to:
16. StarTalk Radio (2009- present)
If you want to be genuinely educated about science, you need to listen to a legit scientist. Neil deGrasse Tyson is an astrophysicist and is the director of Hayden Planetarium. He also hosts shows like ‘Cosmos’ and has made cameos in shows like ‘The Big Bang Theory’. In this podcast, which also has a television version, he talks to fellow scientists and engages in conversations with celebrities to discuss the mysteries of the universe. Space tourism, Star Trek, football, time travel — they discuss everything that falls in the territory of science. You can listen to all episode of ‘StarTalk Radio’ here.
15. Main Engine Cut Off (2016- present)
Is any sci-fi story complete without space exploration? The endless universe out there has provided endless possibilities for humans to explore. And where are we with that? How close are we to commercial space flights? When will humans set foot on Mars? Who is most likely to be the founder of the USS Enterprise? (I know, Elon Musk!) ‘Main Engine Cut Off’ makes you inquire further and further. It airs a new episode every tenth day and shows you how close you are to being in the same world as your favourite sci-fi movie. You can listen to all episodes of the podcast here.
14. Probably Science (2012- present)
Honestly, most of us don’t really have any idea about the true nature of a lot of things. We do have basic knowledge, but we are not really scientists, so who cares what neutrinos are! But if these topics ever come up in a conversation, or someday you bump into your genius scientist classmate from fourth grade, how far will you fare? You don’t want to come off as an idiot, do you? Matt Kirshen and Andy Wood aren’t so science crazed themselves. Perhaps that’s what makes them so relatable. They ask all the wrong questions from all the right people. You can hear all about their crazy ideas in ‘Probably Science’. Listen to the podcast here.
13. Astronomy Cast (2006- present)
A lot of people believe that no substantial step has been taken in space science after the landing of man on the Moon. Some even believe that the Moon landing is a hoax. But that conspiracy theory is a topic for another article. If you think that you are missing out on all that the scientists have achieved in space science, then you should tune in to ‘Astronomy Cast’. This podcast focuses on updating its listeners about the latest happenings and the next big step in space science. Meanwhile, the hosts also talk about various topics, like planets and galaxies and everything else in the cosmos. You can listen to all the episodes here.
12. Gastropod (2015- present)
Remember when I said everything is science. Well, count food in too! Cooking might seem just another regular task to you, but the professionals know how much science and precision goes behind a new dish. ‘Gastropod’ is hosted by Cynthia Graber and Nicola Twilley, and in every episode, they explore the story behind your favourite food and what part of science is applied in order to prepare it. Experts from farms and labs and even archaeological sites are called to discuss various topics. Cheese, cocktails, mushrooms, you name it; they’ve got it. If you are a foodie, then this is a bonus. You can listen to all episodes of this podcast here.
11. Costing the Earth (2010- present)
There is no such thing as a free lunch. Everything comes at a price, even development. As we cut the trees around us, as we increase the use of plastic, as we increase the carbon emission, our Earth has to pay the price. The environment is deteriorating; clean water and air are becoming scarcer by the day, and pollution is the enemy now. Is the reward worth the price we have to pay? In this podcast by BBC, you will find out exactly how much we have to lose. Whether or not we have a future with space tech and artificial intelligence, we do have one where water and air are the priciest things. You can listen to all episodes of ‘Costing the Earth’ here.
10. The Naked Scientists Podcast (2005- present)
You might not have been a science maniac but your kid is! Or perhaps you are the maniac kid whose parents aren’t so keen about science. No matter what, we have a great podcast for you. In this show, the hosts discover the latest developments in science. It features interviews with accomplished scientists who have made some great strides in their fields. And for the best part, it engages the scientist inside you. It gives you a road map for your own experiment and tells you exactly how to test it out on your own. What could be better than that? You can listen to all the episodes of this podcast here.
9. Undiscovered (2017- present)
If you have read the stories of scientific inventions and discoveries, you must have realised that there is a pattern. Scientists experiment for years and years, controlling and calibrating their devices and surroundings, and then one day, something goes wrong and a new discovery is made. Science is as much about chance as it is about hard work and knowledge. Sometimes, it takes time for us to truly understand what we have found. ‘Undiscovered’ has collected all such mistakes and mishaps for you. The hosts ponder upon what these things could mean and if we have another major discovery amongst all this mess. You can listen to all its episodes here.
8. The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe (2005- present)
This is a weekly podcast that covers all the important discussions that the current scientific society is engaged in. You are updated on the latest developments and what they mean for the future. Moreover, you also get to engage your brain by being exposed to some astounding information. Your concepts are tested when some common misconceptions are cleared up. And the conspiracy theories you have read about so much also find a resolution here. ‘The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe’ is essentially everything you need to know about. You can either pick up with the latest episode, or dig up the first episode and start from there. It’ll be a long journey but it will be the most interesting one you have ever had. You can find all the episodes of the podcast here.
7. Bad Science (2018- present)
If your only source of scientific knowledge is sci-fi movies, then mate, you might have some very different concepts about how it actually works. Personally, I absolutely love good science fiction. But they do distort science a lot towards fiction. ‘Bad Science’ is the podcast that helps you clear up any doubts you might have about the scientific principles shown in the films. ‘Interstellar’, ‘Star Wars’, ‘Back to the Future’, ‘Honey I Shrunk the Kids’, all the classics are discussed here, and it might be a bit disappointing about how far behind we are; but the discussions are great fun. You can listen to all episodes of this podcast here.
6. Flash Forward (2015- present)
If you love ‘Black Mirror’, then ‘Flash Forward’ is the podcast you should listen to. Necessity is the mother of invention, and our increasing dependence on technology has increased our needs exponentially. Where will this quest of making everything easy for us take humanity? What will the future look like? How will this impact modern civilization? Artificial wombs, no-sleep drugs, immortality, night vision, embedding sensors, changing currencies, all the stuff that we think we want and what would be its ethical implications — get an idea of all of that in this podcast. You can listen to all its episodes here.
5. Sawbones: A Marital Tour of Misguided Medicine (2013- present)
If nothing, then you should at least keep yourself updated about the latest developments in medical science. Why is it so important? Well, scientists are genius people but they can also get crazy sometimes. Also, there are others who don’t really know anything but think that they do and then they do some crazy stuff. There are some horrific ways in which we have tried to find solutions to medical problems. All that gross and weird stuff is discussed here. You can listen to all episodes of ‘Sawbones’ here.
4. BirdNote (2019- present)
With your days surrounded by electronic gadgets, the noise of vehicles, speakers, television sets, radios blaring everywhere, the air tainted with smoke, it is obvious you need an escape. You want to spend some time in the lap of nature, disconnected from the world, no pinging of the notifications on your phone, no calls, nothing. BUT you can’t have that vacation right now, because of work and other things! There is always something holding you back. How do you get that peace of mind then? I can’t promise you the exact thing, but ‘BirdNote’ is a worthy replacement. With resonant sound and informative narration, this one is sure to calm your nerves. You can listen to the podcast here.
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3. The Titanium Physicists Podcast (2011- present)
Were you scratching your head in confusion while your friends were being awed by ‘Interstellar’? Do you like ‘Star Trek’ but don’t quite understand what warping means? Are sci-fi stories a big turn off for you because you don’t really understand them? Well, science isn’t really that difficult. You don’t need to be super smart to understand its concepts. If you have any doubts about this, then listen to ‘The Titanium Physicists Podcast’. The host of this show, Dr Ben Tippett, believes that you can understand things like quantum physics, black holes and whatnot very easily. You will learn all about it in this podcast. Listen to all its episodes here.
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2. Ologies (2017- present)
The best way to learn something new is by asking questions. Unless you engage your curiosity, you won’t move forward. ‘Ologies’ is your one-stop for everything science. Do you want to know about volcanoes or do you often ponder upon death and why it exists? Do you have questions about anxiety or would you rather study the structure of a tree? What is the true measure of beauty and when will you be able to own a plot of land in Mars? This podcast covers all this and more with a host who presents this exhaustive information in a fun way. You can listen to all episodes of ‘Ologies’ here.
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1. Two Scientists Walk into a Bar (2016- present)
‘Two Scientists Walk into a Bar’ is fun but it is not really a joke. In fact, it has some very relevant topics at its core. Its host is Jane Grogan, a scientist who leads research in immunobiology. From cancer to brain degeneration, biomarkers to mortality, she explores all these topics and brings you some unique and often astounding cases that have baffled the scientists in the past and prodded them to branch out the research of human anatomy. If you don’t have much knowledge of biology, it’s alright. The explanations are pretty easy and the information is interesting. You can listen to all the episodes of this podcast here.
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