Top podcasts for science lovers
Podcasting is the latest trend. What is a podcast you ask? A podcast is like a radio show that you can download and listen to whenever you want. What makes a podcast different from a normal audio file hosted online is that you can subscribe so it will automatically download to your computer whenever a new episode of a particular show is released. It’s usually free and you can unsubscribe at any time.
You don’t need an iPod to listen to a podcast. All you need is a computer connected to the Internet that can play audio files. If you have a portable MP3 player such as an iPod you can download the podcast file from your computer to your MP3 player so you can listen to the podcast when you are on the train, walking the dog or sitting in the garden.
Below is a list of some science podcast web sites to get you started:
- The Wild Classroom: The Wild Classroom presents video podcasts that can also be downloaded for classroom use. Scientists and graduate students from around the world contribute to the podcasts. The site also offers lesson plans and useful links.
- This Week in Science: This weekly podcast provides an overview of news and happenings in science from that week. Podcasts are available by download through iTunes or through streaming. TWIS also promotes a book of the month and shares science videos.
- The Sounds of Science: The National Academies Press presents this podcast, which are 10-minute biweekly episodes that focus on the work that the academy is doing. Issues cover science, engineering, and medicine, and key findings and recommendations are presented.
- The World Science: The BBC, PRI and WGBH offer these podcasts with “global perspectives for an American audience.” The weekly podcasts discuss scientific news, and subscription is available through iTunes, RSS, or email. Some recent podcasts discussed biofuels, lead recycling, and gene therapy.
- Brain Science Podcast: Dr. Campbell, an experienced emergency physician, hosts this podcast about discoveries in neuroscience. Podcasts aim to reach a general audience, and Dr. Campbell “believes that understanding how the brain works gives us insight into what makes us human.” Some recent podcasts cover pop psychology myths, glial cells, and alzheimer’s disease.
- The Naked Scientists: Here you’ll find science radio and naked science podcasts. Some recent podcasts include “Where does phlegm come from?”,”Cosmic Climate Change”, and “AIDS to conquering HIV”. You can subscribe to or download podcasts, and receive a transcript of them. In addition to the podcasts, the site also offers articles, experiments, kitchen science, and much more.
- Science Update: You can choose from a weekly or a daily update and can subscribe via iTunes or other podcasters or e-mail. The weekly edition premiers each Friday and is about five to 10 minutes, while the daily update is a one-minute morsel of science. Podcasts cover the latest discoveries in science, technology and medicine.
- Slacker Astronomy: Podcasts discuss all topics related to astronomy, and interviews with researchers in the field are often featured. Podcasts can be streamed or downloaded. The site also includes a blog and cool Slacker Astronomy merchandise.
- Microbe World: Microbe World offers a number of podcast channels, including This Week in Virology, The Podcast for Microbe Lovers, Mundos de los Microbios, Meet the Scientist, and This Week in Parasitism. Each has different subscription options and parameters, but they all offer a fascinating look into different aspects of the world of microbes.
- Global Challenges / Chemistry Solutions: The American Chemistry Society presents this podcast, which attempts to identify the foremost pressing sustainability challenges, and explore the solutions emerging from chemistry. Podcasts are available by subscription from iTunes and RSS. Listeners can also download complete transcripts.
- The Groks Sciencie Show: This weekly show is broadcast on radio stations throughout the country and is available as a podcast. The shows cover recent events in science and technology and discuss how they impact daily life. Each show also includes an interview with a leading scientist, researcher or industrialist.
- Lab Out Loud: Two high-school teachers produce this blog, which focuses on science for the classroom. Each week, the hosts discuss science news and science education, and they interview leading researchers and experts in the field. There is also a companion blog.
- Skepticality: Sometimes science has to find truth by determining what isn’t true. This podcast takes a critical look at pseudoscience such as the paranormal, UFO reports, astronomy and more. Complete show archives are available since the show’s inception. There is also a forum, extensive show notes, and more.
- A Moment of Science: These daily two-minute vignettes are available as audio and video podcasts that answer questions such as – What do bicycles, footballs, and space shuttles have in common? Can you really learn while you are asleep? Why do some birds hop and others walk? Users can listen to, download, or subscribe to the podcasts, and archives are available back to 2003.
- Science Snaps: This partnership project trained a number of Scottish scientists to produce science podcasts, which are available here. The hope is to give scientists a place to talk about the work they are doing that has not yet made it into the mainstream media or news outlets. Podcasts are available by subscription.
- The Merseyside Skeptics Society: These podcasts take a look at scientific issues with a skeptical eye. Some recent discussions consider evolution denial, magnetic feet, the Man in the Moon, and much more. Episodes can be streamed or downloaded.
- Futures in Biotech: This podcast explores issues and developments in biotechnology through discussions with leading scientists and researchers. Shows are available on YouTube, as well as iTunes. The site also hosts past shows, transcripts, and a show wiki.
- Astronomy Cast: The planets, space exploration, constellation, space history, and more are explored in this weekly podcast. An extensive archive of shows is available, and users can browse shows by topic. Podcasts are available to stream or download.