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Radiolab

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A two-time Peabody Award-winner, Radiolab is an investigation told through sounds and stories, and centered around one big idea. In the Radiolab world, information sounds like music and science and culture collide. Hosted by Jad Abumrad and Robert Kr...Show More
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Breaking News

48:46 | Jul 28th, 2017

Today, two new technological tricks that together could invade our most deeply held beliefs and rewrite the rules of credibility. Also, we release something terrible into the world. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.
The Ceremony

46:59 | Jul 14th, 2017

Today, paranoia sets in: we head to The Ceremony, the top-secret, three-day launch of a new currency, wizards and math included. Halfway through, something strange happens.   Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.
Where the Sun Don't Shine

32:27 | Aug 23rd, 2017

Today we take a quick look up at a hole in the sky and follow an old story as it travels beyond the reach of the sun.
Update: CRISPR

49:37 | Feb 24th, 2017

It's been almost two years since we learned about CRISPR, a ninja-assassin-meets-DNA-editing-tool that has been billed as one of the most powerful, and potentially controversial, technologies ever discovered by scientists. In this episode, we catch u...Show More
The Curious Case of the Russian Flash Mob at the West Palm Beach Cheesecake Factory

0:00 | Feb 20th, 2018

We don’t do breaking news. But when Robert Mueller released his indictment a few days ago, alleging that 13 Russian nationals colluded to disrupt the 2016 elections, we had a lot of questions. Who are these Russian individuals sowing discord? And who...Show More
Oliver Sipple

1:02:11 | Sep 22nd, 2017

One morning, Oliver Sipple went out for a walk. A couple hours later, to his own surprise, he saved the life of the President of the United States. But in the days that followed, Sipple’s split-second act of heroism turned into a rationale for making...Show More
Border Trilogy Part 1: Hole in the Fence

48:32 | Mar 23rd, 2018

Border Trilogy While scouring the Sonoran Desert for objects left behind by migrants crossing into the United States, anthropologist Jason De León happened upon something he didn't expect to get left behind: a human arm, stripped of flesh. This macab...Show More
Americanish

1:04:15 | Apr 19th

In 1903 the US Supreme Court refused to say that Isabel González was a citizen of the United States. Then again, they said, she wasn’t a exactly an immigrant either. And they said that the US territory of Puerto Rico, Isabel’s home, was “foreign to t...Show More
Bigger Little Questions

55:51 | Dec 22nd, 2017

We're back with Part 2! When we dumped out our bucket of questions, there was a lot of spillover. Like, A LOT of spillover. So today, we’re chasing down answers to some bigger, little questions.   This episode was reported and produced by Annie McEwe...Show More
Border Trilogy Part 2: Hold the Line

49:34 | Apr 6th, 2018

Border Trilogy  While scouring the Sonoran Desert for objects left behind by migrants crossing into the United States, anthropologist Jason De León happened upon something he didn't expect to get left behind: a human arm, stripped of flesh. This maca...Show More
Super Cool

25:24 | Dec 5th, 2017

When we started reporting a fantastic, surreal story about one very cold night, more than 70 years ago, in northern Russia, we had no idea we'd end up thinking about cosmology. Or dropping toy horses in test tubes of water. Or talking about bacteria....Show More
Radiolab Presents: More Perfect - Mr. Graham and the Reasonable Man

1:08:15 | Nov 30th, 2017

This story comes from the second season of Radiolab's spin-off podcast, More Perfect. To hear more, subscribe here. On a fall afternoon in 1984, Dethorne Graham ran into a convenience store for a bottle of orange juice. Minutes later he was unconscio...Show More
Truth Warriors

22:53 | Aug 3rd, 2017

After last week's episode exploring the future of fakery scared the living daylights out of us, we decided to search for a bit of hope. What we found... A few folks, warriors really, ready to defend the truth with all they've got.
G: The World's Smartest Animal

48:37 | Jul 30th

This episode begins with a rant. This rant, in particular, comes from Dan Engber - a science writer who loves animals but despises animal intelligence research. Dan told us that so much of the way we study animals involves tests that we think show a ...Show More
G: Unfit

49:58 | Jul 17th

When a law student named Mark Bold came across a Supreme Court decision from the 1920s that allowed for the forced sterilization of people deemed “unfit,” he was shocked to discover that it had never been overturned. His law professors told him the c...Show More
G: the Miseducation of Larry P

1:04:01 | Jun 7th

Are some ideas so dangerous we shouldn’t even talk about them? That question brought Radiolab’s senior editor, Pat Walters, to a subject that at first he thought was long gone: the measuring of human intelligence with IQ tests. Turns out, the tests a...Show More
Bit Flip

56:07 | May 8th

Back in 2003 Belgium was holding a national election. One of their first where the votes would be cast and counted on computers. Thousands of hours of preparation went into making it unhackable. And when the day of the vote came, everything seemed to...Show More
In the No Part 1

55:45 | Oct 11th, 2018

In 2017, radio-maker Kaitlin Prest released a mini-series called "No" about her personal struggle to understand and communicate about sexual consent. That show, which dives into the experience, moment by moment, of navigating sexual intimacy, struck ...Show More
Unraveling Bolero

27:09 | May 22nd, 2018

This week, we're throwing it back to an old favorite: a story about obsession, creativity, and a strange symmetry between a biologist and a composer that revolves around one famously repetitive piece of music. Anne Adams was a brilliant biologist. Bu...Show More
Null and Void

50:46 | May 12th, 2017

Today, a hidden power 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 LA, we trace the history of ...Show More
The Cathedral

31:24 | Dec 28th, 2015

Ryan and Amy Green were facing the unfaceable: their youngest son, Joel was diagnosed with terminal cancer after his first birthday. Producer Sruthi Pinnamaneni tells the story of how Ryan and Amy stumble onto an unlikely way of processing their expe...Show More
Nazi Summer Camp

30:00 | May 22nd, 2015

Reporter Karen Duffin and her father were talking one day when, just as an aside, he mentioned the Nazi prisoners of war that worked on his Idaho farm when he was a kid. Karen was shocked ... and then immediately obsessed. So she spoke with historian...Show More
The Living Room

28:18 | Apr 9th, 2015

We're thrilled to present a piece from one of our favorite podcasts, Love + Radio (Nick van der Kolk and Brendan Baker).  Producer Briana Breen brings us the story: Diane’s new neighbors across the way never shut their curtains, and that was the begi...Show More
G: Unnatural Selection

34:07 | Jul 26th

This past fall, a scientist named Steve Hsu made headlines with a provocative announcement. He would start selling a genetic intelligence test to couples doing IVF: a sophisticated prediction tool, built on big data and machine learning, designed to ...Show More
Dinopocalypse Redux

45:15 | May 3rd

Using high-powered ballistics experiments, fancy computer algorithms, and good old-fashioned ancient geology, scientists have woven together a theory about the extinction of the dinosaurs that is so precise, so hot, so instantaneous, as to seem unima...Show More
A Clockwork Miracle

21:12 | Dec 27th, 2018

As legend goes, in 1562, King Philip II needed a miracle. So he commissioned one from a highly-skilled clockmaker. In this short, a king's deal with God leads to an intricate mechanical creation, and Jad heads to the Smithsonian to investigate.  When...Show More
Baby Blue Blood Drive

58:39 | Aug 29th, 2018

Horseshoe crabs are not much to look at.  But beneath their unassuming catcher’s-mitt shell, they harbor a half-billion-year-old secret: a superpower that helped them outlive the dinosaurs and survive all the Earth’s mass extinctions.  And what is th...Show More
The Bad Show

1:09:15 | Jul 28th, 2018

With all of the black-and-white moralizing in our world today, we decided to bring back an old show about the little bit of bad that's in all of us...and the little bit of really, really bad that's in some of us.   Cruelty, violence, badness... in th...Show More
Gonads: The Primordial Journey

33:34 | Jun 15th, 2018

At two weeks old, the human embryo has only just begun its months-long journey to become a baby. The embryo is tiny, still invisible to the naked eye. But inside it, an epic struggle plays out, as a nomadic band of cells marches toward a mysterious d...Show More
Dark Side of the Earth

27:37 | Apr 26th, 2018

Astronauts at the International Space Station can make one request to talk to an earthling of their choice. For some reason, Astronaut Mark Vande Hei chose us. A couple weeks ago, we were able to video chat with Mark and peer over his shoulder throug...Show More
Border Trilogy Part 3: What Remains

35:38 | Apr 20th, 2018

Border Trilogy While scouring the Sonoran Desert for objects left behind by migrants crossing into the United States, anthropologist Jason De León happened upon something he didn't expect to get left behind: a human arm, stripped of flesh. This macab...Show More
Smarty Plants

34:54 | Feb 14th, 2018

Do you really need a brain to sense the world around you? To remember? Or even learn? Well, it depends on who you ask. Jad and Robert, they are split on this one. Today, Robert drags Jad along on a parade for the surprising feats of brainless plants....Show More
Ghosts of Football Past

36:40 | Feb 4th, 2018

In anticipation of Super Bowl LII (Go Eagles), we're revisiting an old episode about the surprising history of how the game came to be. It's the end of the 19th century -- the Civil War is over, and the frontier is dead. And young college men are anx...Show More
The Voice in Your Head - A Tribute to Joe Frank

0:00 | Jan 23rd, 2018

How do you pay proper tribute to a legend that many people haven’t heard of? We began asking ourselves this question last week when the visionary radio producer Joe Frank passed away, after a long struggle with colon cancer.  Joe Frank was the radio ...Show More
Match Made in Marrow

1:00:53 | Nov 10th, 2017

You never know what might happen when you sign up to donate bone marrow. You might save a life… or you might be magically transported across a cultural chasm and find yourself starring in a modern adaptation of the greatest story ever told. One day, ...Show More
Oliver Sacks: A Journey From Where to Where

37:20 | Oct 27th, 2017

There’s nothing quite like the sound of someone thinking out loud, struggling to find words and ideas to match what’s in their head. Today, we are allowed to dip into the unfiltered thoughts of Oliver Sacks, one of our heroes, in the last months of h...Show More
Radiolab Presents: Anna in Somalia

34:41 | Sep 12th, 2017

This week, we are presenting a story from NPR foreign correspondent Gregory Warner and his new globe-trotting podcast Rough Translation. Mohammed was having the best six months of his life - working a job he loved, making mixtapes for his sweetheart ...Show More
Revising the Fault Line

47:30 | Jun 27th, 2017

A new tussle over an old story, and some long-held beliefs, with neurologist and author Robert Sapolsky. Four years ago, we did a story about a man with a starling obsession that made us question our ideas of responsibility and justice. We thought we...Show More
Nukes

55:40 | Apr 7th, 2017

President Richard Nixon once boasted that at any moment he could pick up a telephone and - in 20 minutes - kill 60 million people.  Such is the power of the US President over the nation’s nuclear arsenal.  But what if you were the military officer on...Show More
Shots Fired: Part 2

26:54 | Mar 24th, 2017

A couple years ago, Ben Montgomery, reporter at the Tampa Bay Times, started emailing every police station in Florida. He was asking for any documents created - from 2009 to 2014 - when an officer discharged his weapon in the line of duty. He ended u...Show More
Shots Fired: Part 1

55:34 | Mar 17th, 2017

A couple years ago, Ben Montgomery, reporter at the Tampa Bay Times, started emailing every police station in Florida. He was asking for any documents created - from 2009 to 2014 - when an officer discharged his weapon in the line of duty. He ended u...Show More
Alpha Gal

34:02 | Oct 27th, 2016

Tuck your napkin under your chin.  We’re about to serve up a tale of love, loss, and lamb chops.  For as long as she can remember, Amy Pearl has loved meat in all its glorious cuts and marbled flavors. And then one day, for seemingly no reason, her b...Show More
Playing God

1:01:29 | Aug 22nd, 2016

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 standing right in front...Show More
From Tree to Shining Tree

32:04 | Jul 30th, 2016

A forest can feel like a place of great stillness and quiet. But if you dig a little deeper, there’s a hidden world beneath your feet as busy and complicated as a city at rush hour. In this story, a dog introduces us to a strange creature that burrow...Show More
The Buried Bodies Case

47:58 | Jun 3rd, 2016

In 1973, a massive manhunt in New York's Adirondack Mountains ended when police captured a man named Robert Garrow.  And that’s when this story really gets started.   This episode we consider a string of barbaric crimes by a hated man, and the attorn...Show More
On the Edge

42:59 | Apr 22nd, 2016

At the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, Japan, one athlete pulled a move that, so far as we know, no one else had ever done in all of human history. Surya Bonaly was not your typical figure skater.  She was black. She was athletic. And she didn’t seem to car...Show More
Update: 23 Weeks 6 Days

1:02:57 | Mar 23rd, 2016

An update on Juniper French, a tiny baby, born at 23 Weeks and 6 days -- roughly halfway to full term. And a whole universe of medical and moral questions. Technology has had a profound effect on how we get pregnant, give birth, and think about life ...Show More
Debatable

57:38 | Mar 11th, 2016

Unclasp your briefcase. It’s time for a showdown. In competitive debate future presidents, supreme court justices, and titans of industry pummel each other with logic and rhetoric.  But a couple years ago Ryan Wash, a queer, Black, first-generation c...Show More
The Fix

40:32 | Dec 18th, 2015

This episode we take a sober look at the throbbing, aching, craving desire states that return people (again and again) to the object of their addiction … and the pills that just might set them free. Reporter Amy O’Leary was fed up with her ex-boyfri...Show More
Birthstory

58:46 | Nov 22nd, 2015

You know the drill - all it takes is one sperm, one egg, and blammo - you got yourself a baby. Right? Well, in this episode, conception takes on a new form - it’s the sperm and the egg, plus: two wombs, four countries, and money. Lots of money.  At f...Show More
Update: New Normal?

1:08:59 | Oct 19th, 2015

An update: Peacenik baboons, a man in a dress and cuddly tame foxes. Stories of adaptation, and reframing ideas about normalcy. 3 stories where choice challenges destiny.
The Rhino Hunter

50:17 | Sep 7th, 2015

Back in 2014, Corey Knowlton paid $350,000 for a hunting trip to Namibia to shoot and kill an endangered species.  He’s a professional hunter, who guides hunts all around the world, so going to Africa would be nothing new.  The target on the other ha...Show More
Eye in the Sky

28:31 | Jun 18th, 2015

Ross McNutt has a superpower — he can zoom in on everyday life, then rewind and fast-forward to solve crimes in a shutter-flash. But should he? In 2004, when casualties in Iraq were rising due to roadside bombs, Ross McNutt and his team came up with ...Show More
More Perfect: Cruel and Unusual

58:04 | Aug 9th

On the inaugural episode of More Perfect, we explore three little words embedded in the 8th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution: “cruel and unusual.” America has long wrestled with this concept in the context of our strongest punishment, the death pen...Show More
G: Relative Genius

1:05:40 | Jun 28th

Albert Einstein asked that when he died, his body be cremated and his ashes be scattered in a secret location. He didn’t want his grave, or his body, becoming a shrine to his genius. When he passed away in the early morning hours of April, 18, 1955, ...Show More
G: Problem Space

42:06 | Jun 14th

In the first episode of G, Radiolab’s miniseries on intelligence, we went back to the 1970s to meet a group of Black parents who put the IQ test on trial. The lawsuit, Larry P v Riles, ended with a ban on IQ tests for all Black students in the state ...Show More
Neither Confirm Nor Deny

27:31 | Jun 4th

How a sunken nuclear submarine, a crazy billionaire, and a mechanical claw gave birth to a phrase that has hounded journalists and lawyers for 40 years and embodies the tension between the public’s desire for transparency and the government’s need to...Show More
The Good Samaritan

1:10:59 | May 24th

On a Tuesday afternoon back in the summer of 2017, Scotty Hatton and Scottie Wightman both made a decision to help someone in need. They both paid a price for their actions that day, which have led to a legal, moral, and scientific puzzle about how w...Show More
Fu-Go

35:30 | Apr 25th

This week we’re going back to a favorite episode from 2015. During World War II, something happened that nobody ever talks about. This is a tale of mysterious balloons, cowboy sheriffs, and young children caught up in the winds of war. And silence, t...Show More
For Whom the Cowbell Tolls

57:13 | Mar 29th

When Nancy Holten was 8 years old her mom put her in a moving van. She fell asleep, woke up in Switzerland, and she's been there ever since. Nancy is big into animal rights, crystals, and various forms of natural and holistic healing. She’s also a vi...Show More
Bliss

51:42 | Mar 21st

This week Jad and Radiolab alum Tim Howard revisit a favorite episode from 2012. Because moments of total, world-shaking bliss are not easy to come by. Maybe that's what makes them feel so life-altering when they strike. And so worth chasing. This ho...Show More
Asking for Another Friend

1:18:20 | Mar 8th

Part 2: Last year, we ran a pair of episodes that explored the greatest mysteries in our listeners’ lives - the big ones, little ones, and the ones in between. This year, we’re back on the hunt, tracking down answers to the big little questions swirl...Show More
Asking for a Friend

1:07:06 | Mar 1st

Last year, we ran a pair of episodes that explored the greatest mysteries in our listeners’ lives - the big ones, little ones, and the ones in between. This year, we’re back on the hunt, tracking down answers to the big little questions swirling arou...Show More
Loops

1:02:05 | Feb 22nd

Our lives are filled with loops that hurt us, heal us, make us laugh, and, sometimes, leave us wanting more. This hour, Radiolab revisits the strange things that emerge when something happens, then happens again, and again, and again, and again, and ...Show More
The Beauty Puzzle

42:54 | Feb 8th

When a female animal is checking out her prospects, natural selection would dictate that she pay attention to how healthy, or strong, or fit he is. But when it comes to finding a mate, some animals seem to be engaged in a very different game. What if...Show More
More Perfect: Sex Appeal

53:49 | Jan 23rd

With Ruth Bader Ginsburg in the news and on the big screen recently, we decided to play the More Perfect show about her from back in November of 2017. This is the story of how Ginsburg, as a young lawyer at the ACLU, convinced an all-male Supreme Cou...Show More
The Punchline

52:05 | Jan 16th

John Scott was the professional hockey player that every fan loved to hate.  A tough guy. A brawler. A goon. But when an impish pundit named Puck Daddy called on fans to vote for Scott to play alongside the world’s greatest players in the NHL All-Sta...Show More
BONUS: Radiolab Scavenger Hunt

18:16 | Dec 28th, 2018

The question we get more than any other here at Radiolab is “Where do all those stories come from?”  Today, for the first time ever, we divulge our secret recipe for story-finding.  Veteran Radiolab story scout Latif Nasser takes our newest producer ...Show More
Apologetical

58:29 | Dec 21st, 2018

How do you fix a word that’s broken? A word we need when we bump into someone on the street, or break someone’s heart. In our increasingly disconnected secular world, “sorry” has been stretched and twisted, and in some cases weaponized. But it’s also...Show More
UnErased: Smid

49:40 | Nov 28th, 2018

Today on Radiolab, we're playing the fourth and final episode of a series Jad worked on called UnErased: The history of conversion therapy in America. Imagine... You’re openly gay. Then, you become the leader of the largest ex-gay organization and, u...Show More
UnErased: Dr. Davison and the Gay Cure

41:20 | Nov 22nd, 2018

Today on Radiolab, we're playing part of a series that Jad worked on called UnErased: The history of conversion therapy in America. The episode we're playing today, the third in the series, is one of the rarest stories of all: a man who publicly expe...Show More
Tweak the Vote

1:06:43 | Nov 5th, 2018

Democracy is on the ropes.  In the United States and abroad, citizens of democracies are feeling increasingly alienated, disaffected, and powerless.  Some are even asking themselves a question that feels almost too dangerous to say out loud: is democ...Show More
War of the Worlds

58:07 | Oct 30th, 2018

It's been 80 years to the day since Orson Welles' infamous radio drama "The War of the Worlds" echoed far and wide over the airwaves. So we want to bring you back to our very first live hour, where we take a deep dive into what was one of the most co...Show More
In the No Part 3

27:18 | Oct 26th, 2018

In the final episode of our “In The No” series, we sat down with several different groups of college-age women to talk about their sexual experiences. And we found that despite colleges now being steeped in conversations about consent, there was anot...Show More
In the No Part 2

39:00 | Oct 19th, 2018

In the year since accusations of sexual assault were first brought against Harvey Weinstein, our news has been flooded with stories of sexual misconduct, indicting very visible figures in our public life. Most of these cases have involved unequivocal...Show More
Breaking Bad News Bears

1:01:57 | Sep 28th, 2018

Today, a challenge: bear with us. We decided to shake things up at the show so we threw our staff a curveball, Walter Matthau-style. In two weeks time we told our producers to pitch, report, and produce stories about breaking news….or bears. What eme...Show More
Infective Heredity

27:27 | Sep 21st, 2018

Today, a fast moving, sidestepping, gene-swapping free-for-all that would’ve made Darwin’s head spin. David Quammen tells us about a shocking way that life can evolve - infective heredity. To figure it all out we go back to the earliest versions of l...Show More
27: The Most Perfect Album

19:20 | Sep 19th, 2018

More Perfect is back with something totally new and exciting. They just dropped an ALBUM. 27: The Most Perfect Album is like a Constitutional mix-tape, a Schoolhouse Rock for the 21st century. The album features original tracks by artists like Dolly ...Show More
Post No Evil

1:08:32 | Aug 17th, 2018

Back in 2008 Facebook began writing a document. It was a constitution of sorts, laying out what could and what couldn’t be posted on the site. Back then, the rules were simple, outlawing nudity and gore. Today, they’re anything but.  How do you defin...Show More
Gonads: Sex Ed

48:11 | Jul 27th, 2018

In this episode, an edited down version of a Radiolab Presents: Gonads Live show, host Molly Webster brings together a cast of storytellers, educators, artists, and comedians to grapple with sex ed in unexpected and thoughtful ways.  "Sex Ed" is an e...Show More
Gonads: Dana

27:38 | Jul 22nd, 2018

When Dana Zzyym applied for their first passport back in 2014, they were handed a pretty straightforward application. Name, place of birth, photo ID -- the usual. But one question on the application stopped Dana in their tracks: male or female? Dana,...Show More
Gonads: Dutee

35:21 | Jul 22nd, 2018

In 2014, India’s Dutee Chand was a rising female track and field star, crushing national records. But then, that summer, something unexpected happened: she failed a gender test. And was banned from the sport. Before she knew it, Dutee was thrown into...Show More
Gonads: X & Y

39:02 | Jun 30th, 2018

A lot of us understand biological sex with a pretty fateful underpinning: if you’re born with XX chromosomes, you’re female; if you’re born with XY chromosomes, you’re male. But it turns out, our relationship to the opposite sex is more complicated t...Show More
Gonads: Fronads

36:47 | Jun 23rd, 2018

At 28 years old, Annie Dauer was living a full life. She had a job she loved as a highschool PE teacher, a big family who lived nearby, and a serious boyfriend. Then, cancer struck. Annie would come to find out she had Stage 4 non-Hodgkin's lymphoma....Show More
Birthstory

59:55 | Jun 8th, 2018

We originally posted this episode in 2015, and it inspired producer Molly Webster to take a deep dive into the wild and mysterious world of human reproduction. Starting next week, she’ll be taking over the Radiolab podcast feed for a month to present...Show More
Poison Control

35:50 | Jun 1st, 2018

When reporter Brenna Farrell was a new mom, her son gave her and her husband a scare -- prompting them to call Poison Control. For Brenna, the experience was so odd, and oddly comforting, that she decided to dive into the birth story of this invisibl...Show More
More or Less Human

1:01:00 | May 18th, 2018

Seven years ago chatbots - those robotic texting machines - were a mere curiosity. They were noticeably robotic and at their most malicious seemed only capable of scamming men looking for love online. Today, the chatbot landscape is wildly different....Show More
Rippin’ the Rainbow an Even Newer One

33:02 | Mar 15th, 2018

One of our most popular episodes of all time was our Colors episode, where we introduced you to a sea creature that could see a rainbow far beyond what humans can experience. Peacock mantis shrimps are as extraordinary as they are strange and boast w...Show More
Radiolab Presents: More Perfect - The Gun Show

1:09:05 | Feb 23rd, 2018

The shooting in Parkland, Florida on February 14, 2018, reignited an increasingly familiar debate about guns in this country. Today, we’re re-releasing a More Perfect episode that aired just after the Las Vegas shooting last year that attempts to mak...Show More
Radiolab Presents: More Perfect - One Nation, Under Money

55:04 | Jan 31st, 2018

An unassuming string of 16 words tucked into the Constitution grants Congress extensive power to make laws that impact the entire nation. The Commerce Clause has allowed Congress to intervene in all kinds of situations — from penalizing one man for g...Show More
How to Be a Hero

28:38 | Jan 9th, 2018

What are people thinking when they risk their lives for someone else? Are they making complicated calculations of risk or diving in without a second thought? Is heroism an act of sympathy or empathy?   A few years ago, we spoke with Walter F. Rutkows...Show More
Inside Radiolab (Video)

0:00 | Dec 29th, 2017

Take a stroll through where Radiolab is made and meet some of the people who have created your favorite episodes. Help make another year of curiosity possible. Radiolab.org/support
Big Little Questions

46:07 | Dec 20th, 2017

Here at the show, we get a lot of questions. Like, A LOT of questions. Tiny questions, big questions, short questions, long questions. Weird questions. Poop questions. We get them all. And over the years, as more and more of these questions arrived i...Show More
Stereothreat

36:46 | Nov 23rd, 2017

Back in 1995, Claude Steele published a study that showed that negative stereotypes could have a detrimental effect on students' academic performance. But the big surprise was that he could make that effect disappear with just a few simple changes in...Show More
Father K

1:11:06 | Oct 13th, 2017

Today, while the divisions between different groups in this country feel more and more insurmountable, we zero in on a particular neighborhood to see if one man can draw people together in a potentially history-making election.  Khader El-Yateem is a...Show More
Radiolab Presents: More Perfect - American Pendulum I

51:54 | Oct 2nd, 2017

This story comes from the second season of Radiolab's spin-off podcast, More Perfect. To hear more, subscribe here. What happens when the Supreme Court, the highest court in the land, seems to get it wrong? Korematsu v. United States is a case that’s...Show More
Driverless Dilemma

40:01 | Sep 26th, 2017

Most of us would sacrifice one person to save five. It’s a pretty straightforward bit of moral math. But if we have to actually kill that person ourselves, the math gets fuzzy. That’s the lesson of the classic Trolley Problem, a moral puzzle that fri...Show More
The Gondolier

54:35 | Jun 15th, 2017

What happens when doing what you want to do means giving up who you really are?  We travel to Venice, Italy with reporters Kristen Clark and David Conrad, where they meet gondolier Alex Hai. On the winding canals in the hidden parts of Venice, we lea...Show More
The Radio Lab

39:55 | May 26th, 2017

15 years ago the very first episode of Radiolab, fittingly called "Firsts," hit the airwaves. It was a 3-hour long collection of documentaries and musings produced by a solitary sleep-deprived producer named Jad Abumrad. Things have changed a bit sin...Show More
Funky Hand Jive

28:04 | Apr 26th, 2017

Back when Robert was kid, he had a chance encounter with then President John F. Kennedy. The interaction began with a hello and ended with a handshake. And like many of us who have touched greatness, 14 year old Robert was left wondering if maybe som...Show More
Radiolab Extra: Henrietta Lacks

35:13 | Apr 19th, 2017

With all the recent talk about HBO's upcoming film, we decided it would be good time to re-run our story of one woman's medically miraculous cancer cells, and how Henrietta Lacks changed modern science and, eventually, her family's understanding of i...Show More
Radiolab Presents: Ponzi Supernova

38:00 | Feb 10th, 2017

We thought we knew the story of Bernie Madoff.  How he masterminded the biggest Ponzi scheme in history, leaving behind scores of distraught investors and a $65 billion black hole.  But we had never heard the story from Madoff himself. This week, rep...Show More
Stranger in Paradise

43:36 | Jan 27th, 2017

Back in 1911, a box with a dead raccoon in it showed up in Washington D.C., at the office of Gerrit S. Miller. After pulling it out and inspecting it, he realized this raccoon was from the Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe, and unlike anything he’d eve...Show More
Radiolab Presents: On the Media: Busted, America's Poverty Myths

33:25 | Jan 18th, 2017

We love to share great radio, even if we didn’t make it. Today, On the Media’s Brooke Gladstone tells Jad and Robert about a mammoth project they launched to take a critical look at the tales we tell ourselves when we talk about poverty. In a 5-part ...Show More
Lose Lose

25:18 | Dec 30th, 2016

No matter what sport you play, the object of the game is to win. And that’s hard enough to do. But we found a match where four top athletes had to do the opposite in one of the most high profile matches of their careers. Thanks to a quirk in the tour...Show More
It's Not Us, It's You

59:18 | Dec 16th, 2016

It’s the end of the year, and the entire Radiolab team is starting to take stock and come up for air. We're excited about how much ground we've covered - stories about college debaters and figure skaters, meat allergies and salmon-eating trees, death...Show More
Bringing Gamma Back

24:47 | Dec 8th, 2016

Today, a startling new discovery: prodding the brain with light, a group of scientists got an unexpected surprise -- they were able to turn back on a part of the brain that had been shut down by Alzheimer’s disease. This new science is not a cure, an...Show More
Radiolab Presents: More Perfect - Object Anyway

49:53 | Nov 22nd, 2016

At the trial of James Batson in 1982, the prosecution eliminated all the black jurors from the jury pool. Batson objected, setting off a complicated discussion about jury selection that would make its way all the way up to the Supreme Court. On this ...Show More
One Vote

48:31 | Nov 7th, 2016

Come election season, it's easy to get cynical. Why cast a ballot if your single measly vote can't possibly change anything? In our first-ever election special, we set off to find a single vote that made a difference. We venture from the biggest elec...Show More
Seneca, Nebraska

29:37 | Oct 12th, 2016

Back in 2014 the town of Seneca, Nebraska was deeply divided. How divided? They were so fed up with each other that some citizens began circulating a petition that proposed a radical solution. If a majority wanted to they'd self-destruct, end the tow...Show More
The Primitive Streak

29:42 | Sep 23rd, 2016

Last May, two research groups announced a breakthrough: they each grew human embryos, in the lab, longer than ever before. In doing so, they witnessed a period of human development no one had ever seen. But in the process, they crashed up against som...Show More
Update: Eye In the Sky

36:30 | Sep 13th, 2016

An update on Ross McNutt and his superpower — he can zoom in on everyday life, then rewind and fast-forward to solve crimes in a shutter-flash. But should he? In 2004, when casualties in Iraq were rising due to roadside bombs, Ross McNutt and his tea...Show More
The Girl Who Doesn't Exist

33:44 | Aug 29th, 2016

In today’s episode, we meet a young woman from Texas, born and raised, who can’t prove that she exists. Alecia Faith Pennington was born at home, homeschooled, and never visited a dentist or a hospital. By both chance and design she is completely inv...Show More
David and the Wire

31:18 | Jul 12th, 2016

David Weinberg was stuck. He had been kicked out of college, was cleaning toilets by day, delivering pizzas by night and spending his weekends in jail. Then one night he heard a story on the radio and got it in his head that maybe he too could make a...Show More
Radiolab Presents: More Perfect - The Imperfect Plaintiffs

1:05:06 | Jun 28th, 2016

On this episode, we visit Edward Blum, a 64-year-old “legal entrepreneur” and former stockbroker who has become something of a Supreme Court matchmaker. He’s had remarkable success, with 6 cases heard before the Supreme Court, including that of Abiga...Show More
Radiolab Presents: More Perfect - The Political Thicket

43:58 | Jun 10th, 2016

The question of how much power the Supreme Court should possess has divided justices over time. But the issue was perhaps never more hotly debated than in Baker v. Carr. On this episode of More Perfect, we talk about the case that pushed one Supreme ...Show More
Coming Soon: More Perfect

01:02 | May 24th, 2016

How does an elite group of nine people shape everything from marriage and money, to safety and sex for an entire nation? From the producers of Radiolab, More Perfect dives into the rarefied world of the Supreme Court to explain how cases deliberated ...Show More
Bigger Than Bacon

37:05 | May 10th, 2016

Today's story is a mystery, shockingly hot, and vanishingly tiny. It starts with a sound, rising like a mist from the marsh, around a dock in South Carolina. But where it goes next - from submarines to superheroes (and yes, Keanu Reeves!); from the ...Show More
Cellmates

30:06 | Apr 6th, 2016

There’s a black hole in the middle of the history of life: how did we go from tiny bags of chemicals to the vast menagerie of creatures we see around us?  Today, we explore one of the most underrated mysteries of all time, and present one possible an...Show More
K-poparazzi

37:23 | Feb 24th, 2016

In the U.S., paparazzi are pretty much synonymous with invasion of privacy. But today we travel to a place where the prying press create something more like a prison break.  K-pop is a global juggernaut - with billions in sales and millions of fans h...Show More
Hard Knock Life

19:16 | Feb 12th, 2016

This Valentine's Day, a mysterious tap tap tapping leads us into a world of sex, death, and head-banging. Biologist Dave Goulson introduces us to the lonely yearnings of an especially pathetic beetle and snatches a sound back from the hands of the d...Show More
I Don't Have To Answer That

34:38 | Jan 30th, 2016

Roosevelt, Kennedy, Eisenhower … they all got a pass. But today we peer back at the moment when poking into the private lives of political figures became standard practice. In 1987, Gary Hart was a young charismatic Democrat, poised to win his party’...Show More
The Cold War

28:55 | Nov 30th, 2015

Editor's Note: In our podcast, The Cold War, we failed to correctly credit David Wolman and Julian Smith, who wrote and reported the article on which it was based. At the time we published this podcast, we had not properly determined the extent of th...Show More
Staph Retreat

29:50 | Nov 3rd, 2015

What happens when you combine an axe-wielding microbiologist and a disease-obsessed historian? A strange brew that's hard to resist, even for a modern day microbe. In the war on devilish microbes, our weapons are starting to fail us.  The antibiotics...Show More
Smile My Ass

34:49 | Oct 6th, 2015

As Candid Camera succeeded, it started to change the way we thought not only of reality television, but also of reality itself.
Darkode

37:47 | Sep 22nd, 2015

It would seem that hackers today can do just about anything they want - from turning on the cellphone in your pocket to holding your life's work hostage. Cyber criminals today have more sophisticated tools, have learned to work collaboratively around...Show More
Remembering Oliver Sacks

25:50 | Aug 30th, 2015

In memory of one of our dear friends, a re-release of our last conversation with Dr. Oliver Sacks.
Elements

1:13:23 | Aug 23rd, 2015

Scientists took about 300 years to lay out the Periodic Table into neat rows and columns. In one hour, we’re going to mess it all up.  This episode, we enlist journalists, poets, musicians, and even a physicist to help us tell stories of matter that ...Show More
From the Archives: Oliver Sacks' Table of Elements

16:00 | Aug 6th, 2015

As we're busy working on our next episode, with stories inspired by the Periodic Table of Elements, we thought we'd bring you one of its chief inspirations.  As a young boy, neurologist, author and Radiolab favorite Oliver Sacks pored over the pages ...Show More
Shrink

43:18 | Jul 31st, 2015

The definition of life is in flux, complexity is overrated, and humans are shrinking. Viruses are supposed to be sleek, pared-down, dead-eyed machines. But when one microbiologist stumbled upon a GIANT virus, hundreds of times bigger than any seen be...Show More
Gray's Donation

25:18 | Jul 16th, 2015

A donation leads Sarah and Ross Gray to places we rarely get a chance to see. In this surprising journey, they gain a view of science that is redemptive, fussy facts that are tender, and parts of a loved one that add up to something unexpected. Befor...Show More
Mau Mau

43:25 | Jul 3rd, 2015

This is the story of a few documents that tumbled out of the secret archives of the biggest empire the world has ever known, offering a glimpse of histories waiting to be rewritten.
Antibodies Part 1: CRISPR

30:45 | Jun 6th, 2015

Hidden inside some of the world’s smallest organisms is one of the most powerful tools scientists have ever stumbled across. It's a defense system that has existed in bacteria for millions of years and it may some day let us change the course of huma...Show More
Radiolab Live: Tell-Tale Hearts featuring Oliver Sacks

58:10 | May 12th, 2015

A few days ago Radiolab performed a live show and this episode we're bringing you a few of the highlights. They were stories of what motivates us, our drives, our loves and losses. Producer Molly Webster tells us the story of life, near-death and wha...Show More
Sight Unseen

29:12 | Apr 28th, 2015

In December of 2009, photojournalist Lynsey Addario was embedded with a medevac team in Afghanistan. After days of waiting, one night they got the call - a marine was gravely wounded. What happened next happens all the time. But this time it was capt...Show More
VIDEO: Radiolab Presents: Radio Ambulante

0:00 | Apr 2nd, 2015

Our story Los Frikis was a collaboration with Radio Ambulante, who produced a story of their own about two of the last surviving frikis, Yohandra and Gerson. They've also made a translated video of their Spanish-language piece and we're thrilled to s...Show More
Los Frikis

31:37 | Mar 24th, 2015

How a group of 80’s Cuban misfits found rock-and-roll and created a revolution within a revolution, going into exile without ever leaving home. In a collaboration with Radio Ambulante, reporter Luis Trelles bring us the story of punk rock’s arrival i...Show More
La Mancha Screwjob

51:37 | Feb 24th, 2015

All the world’s a stage. So we push through the fourth wall, pierce the spandex-ed heart of professional wrestling, and travel 400 years into the past to unmask our obsession with authenticity and our desire to walk the line between reality and fanta...Show More
The Trust Engineers

30:36 | Feb 10th, 2015

When we talk online, things can go south fast. But they don’t have to. Today, we meet a group of social engineers who are convinced that tiny changes in wording can make the online world a kinder, gentler place. So long as we agree to be their lab ra...Show More
American Football

1:14:00 | Jan 29th, 2015

Today, we tackle football. It’s the most popular sport in the US, shining a sometimes harsh light on so much of what we have been, what we are, and what we hope to be. Savage, creative, brutal and balletic, whether you love it or loathe it … it’s a t...Show More
Radiolab Presents: Invisibilia

31:32 | Jan 9th, 2015

Producers' Note: A correction has been made to this audio to reflect the wishes of the subject of this story, Paige Abendroth. NPR's Invisibilia's originally included Paige's birth name in this piece due to a miscommunication between Invisibilia's re...Show More
Worth

1:11:32 | Dec 23rd, 2014

This episode, we make three earnest, possibly foolhardy, attempts to put a price on the priceless. We figure out the dollar value for an accidental death, another day of life, and the work of bats and bees as we try to keep our careful calculations f...Show More
Buttons Not Buttons

26:09 | Dec 12th, 2014

Buttons are usually small and unimportant. But not always. Sometimes they are a portal to power, freedom, and destruction. Today we thread together tales of taking charge of the little things in life, of fortunes made and lost, and of the ease with w...Show More
Outside Westgate

36:25 | Nov 29th, 2014

In the wake of public tragedy there is a space between the official narrative and the stories of the people who experienced it. Today, we crawl inside that space and question the role of journalists in helping us move on from a traumatic event.  NPR'...Show More
Patient Zero - Updated

1:08:06 | Nov 13th, 2014

The greatest mysteries have a shadowy figure at the center—someone who sets things in motion and holds the key to how the story unfolds—Patient Zero. This hour, Radiolab hunts for Patient Zeroes of all kinds and considers the course of an ongoing out...Show More
Haunted

30:12 | Oct 30th, 2014

Dennis Conrow was stuck. After a brief stint at college, he’d passed most of his 20’s back home with his parents, sleeping in his childhood room. And just when he finally struck out on his own, fate intervened. He lost both his parents to cancer. So ...Show More
Translation

1:15:11 | Oct 20th, 2014

How close can words get you to the truth and feel and force of life? That's the question poking at our ribs this hour, as we wonder how it is that the right words can have the wrong meanings, and why sometimes the best translations lead us to an unde...Show More
John Luther Adams

25:10 | Oct 3rd, 2014

What's the soundtrack for the end of the world? We go looking for an answer. When Jad started to compose music for our live show Apocalyptical, he immediately thought of John Luther Adams. Adams' symphony “Become Ocean,” rooted in the sounds of natur...Show More
Juicervose

43:39 | Sep 18th, 2014

Ron and Cornelia Suskind had two healthy young sons, promising careers, and a brand new home when their youngest son Owen started to disappear.  3 months later a specialist sat Ron and Cornelia down and said the word that changed everything for them:...Show More
In The Dust Of This Planet

41:34 | Sep 8th, 2014

Horror, fashion, and the end of the world … things get weird as we explore the undercurrents of thought that link nihilists, beard-stroking philosophers, Jay-Z, and True Detective. Today on Radiolab, a puzzle. Jad’s brother-in-law wrote a book called...Show More
Hello

45:48 | Aug 21st, 2014

It's hard to start a conversation with a stranger—especially when that stranger is, well, different. He doesn't share your customs, celebrate your holidays, watch your TV shows, or even speak your language. Plus he has a blowhole. In this episode, we...Show More
Happy Birthday Bobby K

29:30 | Aug 7th, 2014

It’s Robert’s birthday! (Or it was, anyway, a couple days back.) So today we celebrate with some classic Krulwich radio and a backwards peek into the spirit and sensibility that, in many ways, drives our show. For his birthday surprise we all listene...Show More
For the Birds

14:30 | Jul 24th, 2014

Today, a lady with a bird in her backyard upends our whole sense of what we may have to give up to keep a wild creature wild.
Galapagos

1:02:51 | Jul 17th, 2014

Today, the strange story of a small group of islands that raise a big question: is it inevitable that even our most sacred natural landscapes will eventually get swallowed up by humans? And just how far are we willing to go to stop that from happenin...Show More
9-Volt Nirvana

24:27 | Jun 26th, 2014

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. Sally Adee, an editor at New Scientist, was at a conference for DARPA - The Defense Advanced Rese...Show More
≤ kg

20:34 | Jun 13th, 2014

A plum-sized lump of metal takes us from the French Revolution to an underground bunker in Maryland as we try to weigh the way we weigh the world around us.
Things

1:01:18 | May 30th, 2014

From a piece of the Wright brother's plane to a child’s sugar egg, today: Things! Important things, little things, personal things, things you can hold and things that can take hold of you. This hour, we investigate the objects around us, their power...Show More
The Skull

20:12 | May 15th, 2014

Today, the story of one little thing that has radically changed what we know about humanity’s humble beginnings and the kinds of creatures that were out to get us way back when. Wits University Professor Lee Berger and Dr. Chris Stringer from London...Show More
For the Love of Numbers

19:37 | May 2nd, 2014

It’s hard to think of anything more rational, more logical and impersonal than a number. But what if we’re all, universally, also deeply attuned to how numbers … feel? Why 2 is warm, 7 is strong and 11 is downright mystical.
60 Words

55:54 | Apr 18th, 2014

This hour we pull apart one sentence, written in the hours after September 11th, 2001, that has led to the longest war in U.S. history. We examine how just 60 words of legal language have blurred the line between war and peace.
Straight Outta Chevy Chase

34:36 | Apr 1st, 2014

From boom bap to EDM, we look at the line between hip-hop and not, and meet a defender of the genre that makes you question... who's in and who's out.
KILL 'EM ALL

21:28 | Mar 25th, 2014

They buzz. They bite. And they have killed more people than cancer, war, or heart disease. Here’s the question: If you could wipe mosquitoes off the face of the planet, would you?
What's Left When You're Right?

59:39 | Feb 25th, 2014

More often than not, a fight is just a fight... Someone wins, someone loses. But this hour, we have a series of face-offs that shine a light on the human condition, the benefit of coming at something from a different side, and the price of being righ...Show More