Science Talk

Science Talk

www.scientificamerican.com/podcast/science-talk
Join host Steve Mirsky each week as he explores the latest developments in science and technology through interviews with leading scientists and journalists


Lithium-Ion Battery Creators Win Chemistry Nobel Prize
Oct 9 • 15 min
John B. Goodenough, M. Stanley Whittingham and Akira Yoshino share the 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry “for the development of lithium-ion batteries” that have led to portable electronic devices that are rechargeable virtually anywhere on the planet.
How Cells Sense Oxygen Levels: Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
Oct 7 • 22 min
William Kaelin, Jr., Peter Ratcliffe and Gregg Semenza share the 2019 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine “for their discoveries of how cells sense and adapt to oxygen availability.” New therapies for cancer and conditions such as anemia are in the…
Talking Health and Energy at U.N. Climate Action Summit
Oct 2 • 24 min
Scientific American senior editor Jen Schwartz talks with WHO officials Maria Neira and Agnès Soucat about climate and health and with Rachel Kyte, special representative to the U.N. secretary-general for, and CEO of, Sustainable Energy for All.
Kicking Climate Change: Wins for Health, the Economy and Security
Sep 27 • 21 min
Former EPA administrator Gina McCarthy talks with Scientific American ’s Andrea Thompson about the widespread benefits of taking action against climate change.
The Mathematical Language of Nature
Sep 24 • 34 min
Physics historian Graham Farmelo talks about his latest book, The Universe Speaks in Numbers: How Modern Math Reveals Nature’s Deepest Secrets.
Jacks-of-All-Trades Make the Grade
Aug 10 • 39 min
Journalist and author David Epstein talks about his new book Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World .
It’s Melting: Science on Ice
Jul 21 • 24 min
Glaciologist Elizabeth Case of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University’s Earth Institute takes us out near Juneau, Alaska, to study and live on the shifting ice.
Joseph Lange’s Campaign against HIV
Jul 17 • 48 min
Seema Yasmin, director of research and education at the Stanford Health Communication Initiative, talks about her book The Impatient Dr. Lange: One Man’s Fight to End the Global HIV Epidemic. Lange was killed five years ago today when flight MH17 was shot…
Bone Up on What’s Inside You
Jun 25 • 44 min
Author and self-described fossil fanatic Brian Switek talks about his new book Skeleton Keys: The Secret Life of Bone.
Solving Our Plastic Problem
Jun 19 • 35 min
At Scientific American ‘s third Science on the Hill event, experts from academia and the private sector met at the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill to talk with Scientific American editor-in-chief Mariette DiChristina about solutions to our…
Secrets of the Universe Revealed!
May 23 • 36 min
Cornell University applied mathematics professor Steven Strogatz talks about his new book Infinite Powers: How Calculus Reveals the Secrets of the Universe.
How the Black Hole Said Cheese
Apr 29 • 21 min
Scientific American ‘s chief features editor Seth Fletcher talks about his book Einstein’s Shadow, an account of the long effort to image a black hole that recently came to fruition.
A Tree and Its People in a Warming Landscape
Apr 22 • 35 min
Conservation scientist Lauren Oakes discusses her book about Alaska ecology and sociology, In Search of the Canary Tree: The Story of a Scientist, a Cypress, and a Changing World.
Science Couple Phages Out Superbug
Mar 13 • 34 min
Medical researcher Steffanie Strathdee needed to save the life of her husband, researcher Tom Patterson, when he contracted one of the world’s worst infections. She turned to phage therapy: using a virus to kill the bacteria.
Vaccine Rejection: Truth and Consequences
Feb 20 • 24 min
Kent State epidemiologist Tara Smith talks about vaccines, recent preventable measles outbreaks and her 2017 journal article on vaccine rejection.
On the Origin of Darwin
Feb 12 • 15 min
On this 210th anniversary of Darwin’s birth we hear evolution writer and historian Richard Milner perform a brief monologue as Charles Darwin, and former Scientific American editor in chief John Rennie and Darwin’s great-great-grandson Matthew Chapman…
Warming Arctic on Thin Ice
Jan 31 • 16 min
Scientific American collections editor Andrea Gawrylewski talks to managing editor Curtis Brainard about how warming in the Arctic affects us all. And glaciologist Elizabeth Case takes us out near Juneau to study and live on the shifting ice.
Fake Whiskeys and Octo-Ecstasy
Jan 14 • 28 min
Scientific American assistant news editor, Tanya Lewis, and collections editor, Andrea Gawrylewski, take a deeper look at two short articles from the Advances news section of the December issue, on counterfeit whiskeys and the effect of real ecstasy…on…
Ultima Thule and the Apes of Earth
Jan 3 • 7 min
As the New Horizons mission approached Ultima Thule, Rowan University paleontologist Kenneth Lacovara put our close-up study of the Kuiper Belt object into a deep-time perspective.
Meet the Real Ravenmaster
Dec 18, 2018 • 38 min
Christopher Skaife talks about his new book The Ravenmaster: My Life with the Ravens at the Tower of London, in front of a live audience at Caveat, “the speakeasy bar for intelligent nightlife" in Lower Manhattan.
The Crusade against Dangerous Food, Part 2
Nov 22, 2018 • 21 min
Pulitzer Priz​e–winning journalist Deborah Blum talks about her book The Poison Squad: One Chemist’s Single-Minded Crusade for Food Safety at the Turn of the 20th Century, Part 2.
The Crusade against Dangerous Food, Part 1
Nov 21, 2018 • 30 min
Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Deborah Blum talks about her book The Poison Squad: One Chemist’s Single-Minded Crusade for Food Safety at the Turn of the 20th Century, Part 1.
Bones and Stones: Cemetery Geology
Oct 31, 2018 • 32 min
A tour of Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, N.Y., focuses on the geology of the landscape and the mausoleums.
Tinder for Cheetahs; and an Unusual Blindness
Oct 17, 2018 • 25 min
Scientific American assistant news editor, Tanya Lewis, and collections editor, Andrea Gawrylewski, host a new podcast that takes a deeper look at short articles from the Advances news section of the magazine.
Better Living through Evolution: Nobel Prize in Chemistry
Oct 3, 2018 • 14 min
Frances Arnold, George Smith and Gregory Winter shared the 2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for using evolutionary principles to create highly efficient enzymes and antibodies, with numerous practical applications.
Laser Advances That Changed Our Lives: Nobel Prize in Physics
Oct 2, 2018 • 29 min
Arthur Ashkin, Gérard Mourou and Donna Strickland shared the Nobel Prize for finding ways to control and enhance laser light, leading to numerous common applications.
Unleashing Immunity against Cancer: Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
Oct 1, 2018 • 20 min
James P. Allison and and Tasuku Honjo shared the Nobel Prize for their discovery of inhibition of negative immune regulation, the basis of new drugs against cancer.
Where There’s a Wills There’s a Way to Explain the Home Run Rise
Sep 30, 2018 • 30 min
Astrophysicist and sports data scientist Meredith Wills talks about why a subtle change in Major League baseballs may be behind the jump in home runs after 2014.
More People, but Less Hardship?
Sep 25, 2018 • 26 min
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation CEO Sue Desmond-Hellmann talks about the just-issued Goalkeepers Report, tracking progress against poverty and disease even as the population keeps rising.
Here’s Looking at Humanity, Kid
Sep 5, 2018 • 24 min
Senior Editor Gary Stix talks about the September special issue of Scientific American , devoted to the science of being human. And Brown University evolutionary biologist Ken Miller discusses human chromosome 2 and what it tells us about us.
Life at the Improv: The Power of Imagination
Aug 16, 2018 • 40 min
Stephen Asma, professor of philosophy at Columbia College Chicago, talks about his two latest books, The Evolution of Imagination and Why We Need Religion .
Out with the Bad Science
Aug 2, 2018 • 37 min
NPR science journalist Richard Harris talks about his book, Rigor Mortis: How Sloppy Science Creates Worthless Cures, Crushes Hope and Wastes Billions .
AI, Robotics and Your Health
Jun 18, 2018 • 31 min
At the second Science on the Hill event, AI, Robotics and Your Health, experts from academia and the private sector talked with Scientific American Editor in Chief Mariette DiChristina about the future of AI and robotics in medicine.
Dinosaurs: From Humble Beginnings to Global Dominance
May 23, 2018 • 35 min
Edinburgh University paleontologist Steve Brusatte talks about his May 2018 Scientific American article, "The Unlikely Triumph of the Dinosaurs," and his new book, The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs: A New History of a Lost World .
Humans Evolved but Are Still Special
Apr 30, 2018 • 40 min
Brown University biologist and author Ken Miller talks about his new book The Human Instinct: How We Evolved to Have Reason, Consciousness and Free Will .
A Brain Deprived of Memory
Mar 30, 2018 • 29 min
Michael Lemonick, opinion editor at Scientific American , talks about his most recent book, The Perpetual Now: A Story of Amnesia, Memory and Love , about Lonni Sue Johnson, who suffered a specific kind of brain damage that robbed her of much of her…
Blockchain beyond Bitcoin: The Energy Sector
Feb 28, 2018 • 11 min
Freelance science journalist Kevin Begos reports from the U.S. Power and Renewable Summit in Austin, Texas, on the use of blockchain technology to make more efficient energy markets and distribution.
Enrico Fermi: The Last Man Who Knew Everything
Feb 19, 2018 • 39 min
David N. Schwartz talks about his latest book, The Last Man Who Knew Everything: The Life and Times of Enrico Fermi, Father of the Nuclear Age .
A Future for American Energy
Jan 29, 2018 • 39 min
At the first Science Meets Congress event, Energy Solutions for a Sustainable Future, energy and innovation experts from academia, government and the private sector talked with Scientific American Editor in Chief Mariette DiChristina about American’s…
The Skinny on Fat
Dec 11, 2017 • 38 min
Biochemist Sylvia Tara talks about her book The Secret Life of Fat: The Science behind the Body’s Least-Understood Organ and What It Means for You .
Your Brain Is So Easily Fooled
Nov 27, 2017 • 32 min
Journalist Erik Vance talks about his first book, Suggestible You: The Curious Science of Your Brain’s Ability to Deceive, Transform and Heal .
Come On and Zoom (through the Universe)
Nov 11, 2017 • 29 min
Caleb Scharf, director of Columbia University’s Astrobiology Center talks about his latest book, The Zoomable Universe: An Epic Tour through Cosmic Scale, from Almost Everything to Almost Nothing, and the OSIRIS-REx space mission.
Monsters: Not Just for Halloween
Oct 25, 2017 • 38 min
Stephen Asma, professor of philosophy at Columbia College Chicago and author of On Monsters: An Unnatural History of Our Worst Fears, talks about our enduring fascination with monsters.
Maryn McKenna’s Big Chicken, Part 2
Oct 18, 2017 • 19 min
Award-winning journalist Maryn McKenna talks about her latest book, Big Chicken: The Incredible Story of How Antibiotics Created Modern Agriculture and Changed the Way the World Eats . (Part 2 of 2)
Maryn McKenna’s Big Chicken, Part 1
Oct 18, 2017 • 30 min
Award-winning journalist Maryn McKenna talks about her latest book, Big Chicken: The Incredible Story of How Antibiotics Created Modern Agriculture and Changed the Way the World Eats . (Part 1 of 2)
Nobel Prize Explainer: Catching Proteins in the Act
Oct 4, 2017 • 10 min
The 2017 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded jointly to Jacques Dubochet, Joachim Frank and Richard Henderson for developing cryo-electron microscopy that can determine high-resolution structures of biomolecules in solution.
Nobel Prize Explainer: Gravitational Waves and the LIGO Detector
Oct 3, 2017 • 17 min
The Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded today to Rainer Weiss, Barry Barish and Kip Thorne for their contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves.
Nobel Prize Explainer: Circadian Rhythm’s Oscillatory Control Mechanism
Oct 2, 2017 • 16 min
The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded today to Jeffrey Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael Young for discoveries of molecular mechanisms controlling circadian rhythms.
Does Evolution Repeat Itself?
Sep 27, 2017 • 43 min
Jonathan Losos, biology professor at Harvard and curator of herpetology at the university’s Museum of Comparative Zoology, talks about his latest book, Improbable Destinies: Fate, Chance and the Future of Evolution .
The Great American Eclipse
Aug 8, 2017 • 38 min
In advance of the big solar eclipse on August 21, author and journalist David Baron talks about his new book American Eclipse: A Nation’s Epic Race to Catch the Shadow of the Moon and Win the Glory of the World .
Curiouser and Curiouser
Aug 1, 2017 • 25 min
Astrophysicist and author Mario Livio ventures deep into the human mind in his new book, Why? What Makes Us Curious .
The Shark That Conquered the Whorl
Jul 21, 2017 • 39 min
Journalist and author Susan Ewing talks about her new book Resurrecting the Shark: A Scientific Obsession and the Mavericks Who Solved the Mystery of a 270-Million-Year-Old Fossil . (And we’ll discuss how Helicoprion is not technically a shark, but it’s…
Undersea National Monument Could Be Left High and Dry
Jul 11, 2017 • 23 min
Scott Kraus, vice president and senior science advisor at the Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life at the New England Aquarium in Boston, talks about the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument, created last year and already under threat.
Wacky Florida’s Weird Science
Jun 19, 2017 • 31 min
Journalist Craig Pittman of the Tampa Bay Times talks about his book, Oh, Florida! How America’s Weirdest State Influences the Rest of the Country .
The Gestation Equation: Testing Babies’ Genes
Jun 1, 2017 • 38 min
Journalist Bonnie Rochman talks about her new Scientific American /Farrar, Straus and Giroux book, The Gene Machine: How Genetic Technologies Are Changing the Way We Have Kids—and the Kids We Have .
5G Wiz: What’s on the Horizon for Mobile
May 30, 2017 • 17 min
Verizon’s director of network planning, Sanyogita Shamsunder, talks with Scientific American ‘s Larry Greenemeier about the coming 5G and EM-spectrum-based communications in general.
Take the Tube: Underground as a Way of Life
May 3, 2017 • 30 min
Emory University paleontologist, geologist and ichnologist Anthony J. Martin talks about his new book, The Evolution Underground: Burrows, Bunkers and the Marvelous Subterranean World beneath Our Feet .
Killer Cats Bash Biodiversity
Apr 24, 2017 • 23 min
Conservation biologist Peter Marra talks with journalist Rene Ebersole about the threat of outdoor cats to wild animals and to human health. Marra is the co-author, with writer Chris Santella, of the book Cat Wars: The Devastating Consequences of a Cuddly…
Dogging It: Turning Wild Foxes into Man’s Second-Best Friend
Apr 18, 2017 • 32 min
Evolutionary biologist and science historian Lee Dugatkin talks about the legendary six-decade Siberian experiment in fox domestication run by Lyudmila Trut, his co-author of a new book and Scientific American article about the research.
What’s Driving the Self-Driving Cars Rush
Mar 28, 2017 • 11 min
Scientific American technology editor Larry Greenemeier talks with Ken Washington, vice president of Research and Advanced Engineering at Ford, about self-driving cars.
Biology’s Lessons for Business
Mar 21, 2017 • 20 min
Martin K. Reeves and Simon Levin talk about their Scientific American essay "Building a Resilient Business Inspired by Biology."
Churchill’s Extraterrestrials
Feb 15, 2017 • 11 min
Astrophysicist and author Mario Livio writes in the journal Nature and talks to Scientific American about the recently rediscovered essay by Winston Churchill that analyzed with impressive scientific accuracy the conditions under which extraterrestrial…
Rapid-Response Vaccines for Epidemic Outbreaks
Jan 30, 2017 • 13 min
Trevor Mundel, president of global health at the Gates Foundation, talks to Scientific American editor-in-chief Mariette DiChristina about the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the efforts to create vaccine platforms for rapid…
Exit Interview: Presidential Science Advisor John Holdren
Jan 19, 2017 • 32 min
Scientific American executive editor Fred Guterl talks with Pres. Obama’s science advisor, John Holdren , about climate science, space travel, the issue of reproducibility in science, the brain initiative and more .
We’re Taking You to Bellevue
Jan 17, 2017 • 37 min
Pulitzer Prize–winning N.Y.U. historian David Oshinsky, director of the Division of Medical Humanities at the N.Y.U. Langone Medical Center, talks about his latest book, Bellevue: Three Centuries of Medicine and Mayhem at America’s Most Storied Hospital .
Best Science Books of 2016
Dec 31, 2016 • 13 min
Barbara Kiser, books and arts editor at Nature , talks about her favorite science books of 2016, especially three works about the little-known history of women mathematicians.
Getting Robots to Say No
Dec 21, 2016 • 18 min
Gordon Briggs, a postdoc at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, talks about the article he and Matthias Scheutz, director of the Human Robot Interaction Laboratory at Tufts University, wrote in the January Scientific American titled "The Case for Robot…
How Myths Evolve over Time and Migrations
Nov 15, 2016 • 14 min
Julien d’Huy, of the Pantheon–Sorbonne University in Paris, talks about the use of evolutionary theory and computer modeling in the comparative analysis of myths and folktales, the subject of his article in the December 2016 Scientific American .
Attack On the Internet: Weak-Link Nanny Cams
Oct 26, 2016 • 18 min
Paul Rosenzweig, former deputy assistant secretary for policy in the Department of Homeland Security and founder of Red Branch Consulting, PLLC, talks about the October 21 attack on internet service in the U.S. that left millions without connectivity for…
Flint’s Water and Environmental Justice
Oct 17, 2016 • 18 min
The University of Michigan’s Paul Mohai, a leading researcher of issues related to environmental justice, talked about the Flint water crisis at a workshop sponsored by the Institute for Journalism and Natural Resources, attended by Scientific American…
Chemistry Nobel Prize: Machines Too Small to See
Oct 5, 2016 • 20 min
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded today to Jean-Pierre Sauvage, Sir James Fraser Stoddart and Bernard L. Feringa for the design and synthesis of molecular machines.
Physics Nobel Prize: Buns, Bagels and Pretzels Help Explain Exotic Matter
Oct 4, 2016 • 18 min
The Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded today to David J. Thouless, F. Duncan Haldane and J. Michael Kosterlitz for theoretical discoveries of topological phase transitions and topological phases of matter.
Nobel Prize Explainer: Autophagy
Oct 3, 2016 • 8 min
The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded today to Yoshinori Ohsumi of Japan for his discoveries concerning autophagy. Following the announcement, journalist Lotta Fredholm spoke to Juleen Zierath, chair of the Nobel Committee for Physiology…
They Do What?!: The Wide Wild World of Animal Sex
Sep 26, 2016 • 28 min
Carin Bondar talks about her new book Wild Sex, which covers the strange, surreal and sometimes scary sex lives of our animal cousins.
Big Bang of Body Types: Sports Science at the Olympics and beyond
Aug 16, 2016 • 34 min
David Epstein talks about his 2013 bestseller The Sports Gene: Inside the Science of Extraordinary Athletic Performance and his recent Scientific American article "Magic Blood and Carbon-Fiber Legs at the Brave New Olympics."
Grand Canyon Rapids Ride for Evolution Education
Aug 15, 2016 • 33 min
Each summer, the National Center for Science Education organizes a boat trip down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon to bring visitors face to wall-face with striking examples of geologic and evolutionary processes.
The Science of Soldiering: Mary Roach’s Grunt
Aug 4, 2016 • 36 min
Best-selling science writer Mary Roach talks about her latest book, Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War.
Electric Eels versus Horses: Shocking but True
Jun 27, 2016 • 14 min
Kenneth Catania of Vanderbilt University talks to Cynthia Graber about electric eel research that led him to accept 19th-century naturalist Alexander von Humboldt’s account of electric eels attacking horses.
Tiger, Tiger, Being Tracked
Jun 16, 2016 • 24 min
Wildlife Conservation Society researcher Ullas Karanth talks about his July, 2016, Scientific American article on state-of-the-art techniques for tracking tigers and estimating their populations and habitat health.
Gravitational Wave Scientists Astounded—by Your Interest
Jun 14, 2016 • 6 min
Caltech’s Kip Thorne and Ronald Drever and MIT’s Rainer Weiss were the founders of the LIGO experiment that detected gravitational waves. They were just awarded the Kavli Prize in Astrophysics and two of them spoke with Scientific American ‘s Clara…
Sean M. Carroll Looks at The Big Picture
May 12, 2016 • 30 min
Caltech theoretical physicist Sean M. Carroll talks about his new book The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself . (Dutton, 2016)
The Bowling Ball That Invaded Earth
May 5, 2016 • 34 min
Former Scientific American editor Mark Alpert talks about his latest science fiction thriller, The Orion Plan, featuring the method whereby aliens most likely really would colonize our planet.
Different Minds: The Wide World of Animal Smarts
Apr 29, 2016 • 36 min
Primatologist Frans de Waal discusses his latest book, Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? (Norton, 2016).
The Perfect Bet: Taking the Gambling out of Gambling
Apr 14, 2016 • 34 min
Mathematician and author Adam Kucharski talks about his new book The Perfect Bet: How Science and Math Are Taking the Luck Out of Gambling (Basic Books, 2016).
Gorilla’s Hum Is a Do-Not-Disturb Sign
Feb 29, 2016 • 4 min
If a socially prominent gorilla is in the midst of a meal, it may hum or sing to tell others nearby that it’s busy at the moment and will get back to you later.
Bill Gates Wants a Miracle
Feb 25, 2016 • 35 min
Scientific American ‘s energy and environment editor, David Biello, met with Bill Gates on February 22 to discuss tackling carbon emissions while at the same time making necessary energy available to ever more of the globe’s growing population.
From AI to Zika: AAAS Conference Highlights
Feb 16, 2016 • 17 min
Scientific American editors Mark Fischetti, Dina Maron and Seth Fletcher talk about the info they picked up at the just-concluded annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington, D.C. Subjects covered include…
Gravitational Waves Found: Kip Thorne Explains
Feb 11, 2016 • 15 min
Scientific American ‘s Josh Fischman talks with renowned astrophysicist and general relativity expert Kip Thorne about the discovery of gravitational waves by the LIGO Project, co-founded by Thorne.
The Big Gath Dig: Goliath’s Hometown
Feb 10, 2016 • 29 min
Freelance journalist Kevin Begos talks with archaeologist Aren Maeir, from Bar Ilan University in Israel, at his dig site in Gath, thought to be Goliath’s hometown and a major city of the Philistine civilization.
Roman Sanitation Didn’t Stop Roaming Parasites
Jan 12, 2016 • 7 min
The University of Cambridge’s Piers Mitchell, author of the 2015 book Sanitation, Latrines and Intestinal Parasites in Past Populations, talks about the counterintuitive findings in his recent paper in the journal Parasitology titled "Human parasites in…
Evolution Still on Trial 10 Years after Dover
Dec 20, 2015 • 31 min
Evolutionary biologist Nicholas Matzke talks about the Kitzmiller v. Dover evolution trial on the 10th anniversary of the decision. He advised the plaintiffs while working for the National Center for Science Education. He also discusses the continuing…
Lifting the Visor on Virtual Reality
Dec 15, 2015 • 14 min
Ken Perlin, a New York University computer science professor and virtual reality pioneer, talks with Scientific American tech editor Larry Greenemeier about the state of virtual reality , its history and where it’s heading
The Epic History of the Horse
Dec 10, 2015 • 32 min
Science journalist and equestrian Wendy Williams talks about her new book The Horse: The Epic History of Our Noble Companion
Math Can Equal Fun
Nov 20, 2015 • 30 min
Harvey Mudd College math professor Arthur Benjamin talks about his new book The Magic of Math: Solving for x and Figuring Out Why
Teaching Machines to Learn on Their Own
Nov 10, 2015 • 6 min
Stephen Hoover, CEO of Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center, talks with Scientific American tech editor Larry Greenemeier about the revolution underway in machine learning, in which the machine eventually programs itself
Chemistry Nobel: Keeping DNA in Good Repair
Oct 7, 2015 • 19 min
The 2015 Nobel Prize in Chemistry goes to Tomas Lindahl, Paul Modrich and Aziz Sancar for discoveries of the mechanisms by which cells maintain the integrity of their DNA sequences
Physics Nobel: Neutrinos Do Have Mass
Oct 6, 2015 • 35 min
The 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics goes to Takaaki Kajita and Arthur B. McDonald for the discovery of neutrino oscillations, which shows that neutrinos have mass
Medicine Nobel: Sifting Nature for Antiparasite Drugs
Oct 5, 2015 • 19 min
The 2015 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine goes to William C. Campbell and Satoshi Ōmura for their discoveries of a medication against roundworm parasites and to Youyou Tu for her discoveries concerning a novel therapy against malaria. Some 3.4…
The Hunt for the Fat Gene
Sep 16, 2015 • 32 min
Medical researcher Richard Johnson, of the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, talks about his October Scientific American article "The Fat Gene," co-authored by anthropologist Peter Andrews of University College London and the Natural History…
The Errors of Albert
Sep 2, 2015 • 20 min
Physicist and cosmologist Lawrence Krauss, director of the Origins Project at Arizona State University, talks about his article "What Einstein Got Wrong," in Scientific American ’s September issue, devoted to the 100th anniversary of Einstein’s…
Public Health Hero Jimmy Carter; SA Turns 170
Aug 31, 2015 • 15 min
Jimmy Carter talks about his public health efforts to eradicate guinea worm and improve global mental health and women’s health. Plus, magazine collector Steven Lomazow brings part of his collection to the Scientific American 170th birthday party
Olympics Loser Boston Wins Big Economically
Aug 6, 2015 • 35 min
Smith College sports economist Andrew Zimbalist talks about why the Olympics is almost always a big financial hardship for the host city, a subject he treats at length in his book Circus Maximus: The Economic Gamble behind Hosting the Olympics and the…
Betting Lots of Quatloos on the Search for Alien Civilizations, Part 2
Jul 21, 2015 • 35 min
Stephen Hawking and entrepreneur and former physicist Yuri Milner announce a $100-million, 10-year initiative to look for signs of intelligent life in the cosmos
Betting Lots of Quatloos on the Search for Alien Civilizations, Part 1
Jul 20, 2015 • 34 min
Stephen Hawking and entrepreneur and former physicist Yuri Milner announce a $100-million, 10-year initiative to look for signs of intelligent life in the cosmos
Pluto Mission Finally Calls Home
Jul 15, 2015 • 4 min
At 8:52 P.M. Eastern time, July 14, 2015, an all’s-well signal from the New Horizons spacecraft finished its 4.5-hour, three-billion-mile trip from near Pluto through the solar system to alert mission control on Earth that it was in working order and had…
Pluto, Ready for Your Close-Up!
Jul 14, 2015 • 25 min
At just before 7:50 A.M. today, July 14, 2015, the New Horizons spacecraft made its closest approach to Pluto. After a 9.5-year, three-billion-mile voyage, the ship got within about 7,750 miles from the surface
Restore Research to Preserve the American Dream
Jun 23, 2015 • 30 min
Norman Augustine, former CEO of Lockheed Martin and former undersecretary of the Army talks about the report he co-chaired for the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, "Restoring the Foundation: The Vital Role of Research in Preserving the American Dream"
Migratory Birds: What a Long-Range Trip It’s Been
Jun 18, 2015 • 21 min
Ornithologist Eduardo Inigo-Elias, senior research associate with the conservation science program at the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, talks about the challenges of studying migratory birds and how improved relations between the U.S. and Cuba will…
Take a Bite out of the Math of Math
Jun 2, 2015 • 20 min
Mathematician Eugenia Cheng, tenured in the School of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Sheffield in the U.K. and currently Scientist in Residence at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago talks about her new book How to Bake Pi: An…
Animals Don’t Use Facebook but They Have Social Networks, Too
May 16, 2015 • 28 min
Lee Dugatkin, evolutionary biologist and behavioral ecologist at the University of Louisville, talks about his article in the June Scientific American called "The Networked Animal," about how social networks in disparate animals species affect the lives…
Mississippi Mound Builders Meet the 33rd Legion
May 6, 2015 • 22 min
Astronomer Alan Smale spends his days at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center exploring celestial objects, but he’s also the author of Clash of Eagles, an alternate-history novel in which a Roman Legion invades North America
The Ebola Outbreak: Past, Present and Future
Mar 26, 2015 • 11 min
Scientific American ’s Dina Maron talks with Keiji Fukuda, assistant director general for health security at the World Health Organization, about the current Ebola outbreak, the threat of sexual transmission and the hope for a vaccine. They were both at…
Humans and the Amazon: A 13,000-Year Coexistence
Mar 20, 2015 • 17 min
University of Exeter archaeologist José Iriarte talks to freelance journalist Cynthia Graber about his efforts to understand human activity in and influence on the Amazon region for the last 13 millennia
The Placement Excitation: Scientific American on The Big Bang Theory
Mar 12, 2015 • 17 min
In conjunction with this magazine’s inclusion on the March 12 episode of The Big Bang Theory , here’s an edited version of a talk by the sitcom’s science advisor, U.C.L.A. physicist David Saltzberg, about his role and the show’s reach
Science Goes to the Movies: A New TV Program
Feb 20, 2015 • 8 min
Heather Berlin, assistant professor of psychiatry and of neuroscience at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, is the co-host of the new CUNY TV program Science Goes to the Movies
Every Life Has Equal Value, Part 2: Gates Foundation CEO Dr. Susan Desmond-Hellmann
Jan 30, 2015 • 20 min
Gates Foundation CEO Dr. Susan Desmond-Hellmann and Scientific American Editor in Chief Mariette DiChristina talk about the foundation set forth in its recently released annual letter. Part 2 of 2
Every Life Has Equal Value, Part 1: Gates Foundation CEO Dr. Susan Desmond-Hellmann
Jan 30, 2015 • 32 min
Gates Foundation CEO Dr. Susan Desmond-Hellmann and Scientific American Editor in-Chief Mariette DiChristina talk about the foundation set forth in its recently released annual letter. Part 1 of 2
Best of Thanksgiving, Part 2: Let’s Talk Stuffing—Your Face!
Nov 27, 2014 • 12 min
Cornell University’s Brian Wansink talks about eating behavior and how mindless eating has us consuming way more calories than we suspect
Best of Thanksgiving, Part 1: Let’s Talk Turkey!
Nov 27, 2014 • 8 min
Turkey scientist Rich Buchholz of the University of Mississippi talks about the turkey on your plate and his own turkey research
Doctors Without Borders Fight on Ebola’s Front Lines
Nov 14, 2014 • 20 min
Scientific American health and medicine correspondent Dina Fine Maron talks with Armand Sprecher of Doctors Without Borders, who has fought Ebola in Guinea and Liberia. And Steve talks Ebola with Stanford’s David Relman, chair of the Forum on Microbial…
Ebola Expert Update
Nov 5, 2014 • 24 min
Scientific American health and medicine correspondent Dina Fine Maron talks about Ebola with tropical medicine and infectious disease expert Daniel Bausch of Tulane University at the annual meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Let’s Get Small: A Panel on Nanoscience
Oct 15, 2014 • 32 min
Scientific American senior editor Josh Fischman joins nanoscience researchers Shana Kelly, Yamuna Krishnan, Benjamin Bratton, along with moderator Bridget Kendall from the BBC World Service program The Forum
Building a Better Microscope: 2014 Nobel Prize in Chemistry
Oct 8, 2014 • 22 min
The 2014 Nobel Prize in Chemistry is awarded to Eric Betzig, Stefan W. Hell and William E. Moerner for the development of super-resolved fluorescence microscopy. The winning work is explained by chemistry Nobel Committee members Sven Lidin and Måns…
Blue Light Special: 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics
Oct 7, 2014 • 12 min
The 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics goes to Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano and Shuji Nakamura for the invention of efficient blue light–emitting diodes, which has enabled bright and energy-saving white light sources. The winning work is explained by physics…
The Map in Your Mind: 2014 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
Oct 6, 2014 • 18 min
The 2014 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine goes to John O’Keefe, May-Britt Moser and Edvard I. Moser for their discoveries of cells that constitute a positioning system in the brain—an inner GPS. The winning work is explained by Karolinska Institute…
Kodiak Update: Scientific American Alaska Cruise, Part 4
Sep 2, 2014 • 24 min
Scientific American Bright Horizons Cruise 22 is in port in Kodiak, Alaska, on September 2nd. We talk about our last few stops and hear from passenger and Manhattan Project veteran Margaret Asprey
The Juneau Tour: Scientific American Alaska Cruise, Part 3
Aug 31, 2014 • 14 min
Scientific American Bright Horizons Cruise 22 arrives in Anchorage, Alaska, on August 31st, which allows us to post audio from a fascinating taxi trip through Juneau on August 28th.
Juneau Where I Am: Scientific American Alaska Cruise, Part 2
Aug 28, 2014 • 12 min
Scientific American Bright Horizons Cruise 22 arrives in Juneau, Alaska
Catch Me If You Ketchikan: Scientific American Alaska Cruise, Part 1
Aug 26, 2014 • 8 min
Scientific American Bright Horizons Cruise 22 arrives in Ketchikan, Alaska.
Shakespeare and Science, Part 2
Aug 19, 2014 • 44 min
Dan Falk discusses his latest book, The Science of Shakespeare: A New Look at the Playwright’s Universe
Shakespeare and Science, Part 1
Aug 19, 2014 • 32 min
Dan Falk discusses his latest book, The Science of Shakespeare: A New Look at the Playwright’s Universe
Furious New Science Fiction from Mark Alpert
Aug 3, 2014 • 24 min
Scientific American editor–turned-sci-fi-writer Mark Alpert, author of Final Theory and Extinction , talks about his latest book, The Furies
Under the Dome: Scientific American Editor in Chief Talks to the Senate
Jul 22, 2014 • 15 min
Scientific American Editor in Chief Mariette DiChristina testifies before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation about the value of scientific research and development. Also testifying is Vint Cerf , one of the fathers of the…
Wild Sex: Beyond the Birds and the Bees
Jul 15, 2014 • 30 min
Joy Reidenberg , comparative anatomist at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, talks about her new PBS series Sex in the Wild , about the sex lives of elephants, orangutans, kangaroos and dolphins. The series debuts July 16, 2014
What’s So Funny?: The Science of Humor
Jul 7, 2014 • 32 min
Cognitive neuroscientist Scott Weems talks about his book HA!: The Science of When We Laugh and Why
Hunting the Wild Neutrino
May 23, 2014 • 21 min
Astrophysicist Ray Jayawardhana , of the University of Toronto, talks about his new book Neutrino Hunters: The Thrilling Chase for a Ghostly Particle to Unlock the Secrets of the Universe
Sometimes the Hoofprints Are from Zebras
May 1, 2014 • 32 min
David J. Hand , emeritus professor of mathematics at Imperial College London, talks about his new book The Improbability Principle: Why Coincidences, Miracles and Rare Events Happen Every Day
The First Nuclear Arms Race: Churchill’s Bomb, Part 2
Apr 24, 2014 • 22 min
Graham Farmelo is the award-winning author of the Dirac biography The Strangest Man . His latest book is Churchill’s Bomb: How the United States Overtook Britain in the First Nuclear Arms Race
The First Nuclear Arms Race: Churchill’s Bomb, Part 1
Apr 24, 2014 • 28 min
Graham Farmelo is the award-winning author of the Dirac biography The Strangest Man . His latest book is Churchill’s Bomb: How the United States Overtook Britain in the First Nuclear Arms Race
Take Me Out to the Run Expectancy Matrix Analysis
Mar 18, 2014 • 37 min
Smith College economics professor Andrew Zimbalist talks about his latest book, The Sabermetric Revolution: Assessing the Growth of Analytics in Baseball (co-authored with Benjamin Baumer), at the Bergino Baseball Clubhouse, with proprietor Jay Goldberg
Found in Space, Part 2
Feb 27, 2014 • 20 min
Journalist Lee Billings Talks about his book Five Billion Years of Solitude: The Search For Life Among the Stars , Part 2 of 2
Found in Space, Part 1
Feb 26, 2014 • 20 min
Journalist Lee Billings Talks about his book Five Billion Years of Solitude: The Search For Life Among the Stars , Part 1 of 2
From Gadgets to Galaxies: Conference Reports
Feb 10, 2014 • 20 min
Scientific American technology editor Seth Fletcher talks about the recent Consumer Electronics Show and astronomy editor Clara Moskowitz discusses last month’s American Astronomical Society conference
Fighting Cancer with Physics
Jan 27, 2014 • 26 min
Rakesh K. Jain, director of the Edwin L. Steele Laboratory for Tumor Biology in the radiation oncology department of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, talks about his article in the February issue of Scientific American about…
The Man Who Wasn’t Darwin: Alfred Russel Wallace on the Centenary of His Death
Nov 7, 2013 • 26 min
Alfred Russel Wallace biographer Peter Raby of the University of Cambridge talks about the great naturalist and co-creator of the theory of evolution by natural selection on the 100th anniversary of Wallace’s death
Perv-View: Jesse Bering’s New Book PERV
Oct 29, 2013 • 39 min
Psychologist Jesse Bering talks about his latest book PERV: The Sexual Deviant in All of Us .
The 2013 Nobel Prize in Chemistry: Karplus, Levitt and Warshel
Oct 9, 2013 • 19 min
The 2013 Nobel Prize in Chemistry goes to Martin Karplus, Michael Levitt and Arieh Warshel for applying both quantum and classical physics to develop computer models of chemical systems that show details of chemical reactions
The 2013 Nobel Prize in Physics: Englert and Higgs
Oct 8, 2013 • 23 min
The 2013 Nobel Prize in Physics goes to François Englert and Peter Higgs for the theory of how particles acquire mass, requiring the existence of the Higgs Boson, experimentally confirmed to exist in 2012
The 2013 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine: Rothman, Schekman and Südhof
Oct 7, 2013 • 18 min
The 2013 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine goes to James E. Rothman, Randy W. Schekman and Thomas C. Südhof for their discoveries of machinery regulating vesicle traffic, a major transport system in our cells
Alan Alda Communicates Science
Sep 30, 2013 • 33 min
At the Learning in the Digital Age summit at Google’s New York City offices, Scientific American editor in chief Mariette DiChristina talked with Alan Alda about communicating science to the general public.
Ira Flatow and the Teachable Moment
Sep 20, 2013 • 18 min
At the Learning in the Digital Age summit at Google’s New York City offices, Scientific American Editor in Chief Mariette DiChristina talked with Science Friday host Ira Flatow about the “teachable moment in science and culture”
Adam Rutherford’s Creation Science (The Real Kind) Part 2
Aug 29, 2013 • 24 min
Science journalist, author and Nature editor Adam Rutherford talks about new book Creation: How Science Is Reinventing Life Itself , which looks at the science of the origin of life and at the emerging science of synthetic biology.
Kids JUMP for Math [John Mighton’s Junior Undiscovered Math Prodigies]
Aug 8, 2013 • 30 min
Mathematician John Mighton talks with Scientific American MIND editor Ingrid Wickelgren about getting math-shy kids interested, via JUMP: Junior Undiscovered Math Prodigies
Adam Rutherford’s Creation Science (the Real Kind), Part 1
Jul 31, 2013 • 32 min
Science journalist, author and Nature editor Adam Rutherford talks about new book Creation: How Science Is Reinventing Life Itself, which looks at the science of the origin of life and at the emerging science of synthetic biology
Nobel Laureate Harry Kroto: The Threatened Enlightenment
Jul 25, 2013 • 17 min
Nobel laureate Harry Kroto, who shared the 1996 chemistry prize, talks with Scientific American Executive Editor Fred Guterl at the recent Lindau Nobel Laureates meeting, about the role of science in society
Penis Enlightenment: Bering Straight Talk
Jun 27, 2013 • 34 min
Jesse Bering discusses his 2012 book Why Is the Penis Shaped Like That? (And Other Reflections on Being Human)
Close Shave for Bill Nye the Science Guy
Jun 18, 2013 • 15 min
Bill Nye the Science Guy ponders Superman’s tonsorial travails, and science education
Is There a Doctor in the Spaceship?
Apr 30, 2013 • 13 min
NASA astronaut and medical doctor Michael Barratt spoke to schoolkids at the Family Science Days event at this year’s meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Boston
Mary Roach Cruises the Alimentary Canal
Apr 16, 2013 • 30 min
Mary Roach talks about her new book Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal, which traces what she calls “the whole food chute”
Start Talking: Synthetic Biology and Conservation Biology Meet, Part 2
Apr 3, 2013 • 13 min
Conservation biologist Kent Redford talks about the issues facing the intersection of synthetic biology and conservation biology and a conference that starts April 9th called “How will synthetic biology and conservation shape the future of nature?”
Start Talking: Synthetic Biology and Conservation Biology Meet, Part 1
Apr 2, 2013 • 24 min
Conservation biologist Kent Redford talks about the issues facing the intersection of synthetic biology and conservation biology and a conference that starts April 9th called “How will synthetic biology and conservation shape the future of nature?”
Imagine All the People Turning Blue and Green
Mar 29, 2013 • 15 min
Science writer Dennis Meredith talks about his new science fiction book The Rainbow Virus, in which a bioterror plot turns people all the colors of the rainbow
Biotech’s Brave New Beasts, Part 2
Mar 27, 2013 • 16 min
Journalist and author Emily Anthes talks about her new book, Frankenstein’s Cat: Cuddling Up to Biotech’s Brave New Beasts
Biotech’s Brave New Beasts, Part 1
Mar 26, 2013 • 20 min
Journalist and author Emily Anthes talks about her new book, Frankenstein’s Cat: Cuddling Up to Biotech’s Brave New Beasts
CSI: 19th-Century France and the Birth of Forensic Science
Mar 15, 2013 • 31 min
Reporter and storyteller Steven Berkowitz talks to science journalist and author Douglas Starr about his book The Killer of Little Shepherds: A True Crime Story and the Birth of Forensic Science
John Rennie Hacks the Planet
Feb 28, 2013 • 21 min
Former Scientific American editor in chief John Rennie talks about his new six-episode Weather Channel TV Show, Hacking the Planet, which debuts February 28
Inside Isaac: A Discussion of Newton, Part 2
Feb 25, 2013 • 20 min
A panel of physicists, science historians and playwright Lucas Hnath discuss Newton following a performance of Hnath’s play about Newton, called Isaac’s Eye, at the Ensemble Studio Theater in New York City on February 20th. The play runs through March 10,…
Inside Isaac: A Discussion of Newton, Part 1
Feb 24, 2013 • 28 min
A panel of physicists, science historians and playwright Lucas Hnath discuss Newton following a performance of Hnath’s play about Newton, called Isaac’s Eye, at the Ensemble Studio Theater in New York City on February 20th. The play runs through March 10,…
Extinction: New Sci-Fi from Mark Alpert
Feb 14, 2013 • 23 min
Mark Alpert is a former editor at Scientific American who has gone on to become a best-selling science fiction writer. We talk about his latest book, Extinction , an apocalyptic tale hinging on brain-machine interfaces.
Science and Tech in President Obama’s SOTU
Feb 13, 2013 • 13 min
In his 2013 State of the Union address, Pres. Obama talked about climate change, energy and manufacturing technology innovation, and STEM education—that is, science, technology, engineering and math
Michael C. Hall Analyzes His Dexter’s Mind, Part 2
Jan 24, 2013 • 27 min
Actor Michael C. Hall , TV's Dexter , talks with psychologist Kevin Dutton , author of The Wisdom of Psychopaths , at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York City
Michael C. Hall Analyzes His Dexter’s Mind, Part 1
Jan 23, 2013 • 36 min
Actor Michael C. Hall , TV's Dexter , talks with psychologist Kevin Dutton , author of The Wisdom of Psychopaths , at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York City
Psychopathy’s Bright Side: Kevin Dutton on the Benefits of Being a Bit Psychopathic, Part 2
Dec 29, 2012 • 15 min
Kevin Dutton is a psychologist at the University of Oxford. He talks about his latest book, The W isdom of Psychopaths : What Saints, Spies, and Serial Killers Can Teach Us about Success
Psychopathy’s Bright Side: Kevin Dutton on the Benefits of Being a Bit Psychopathic, Part 1
Dec 28, 2012 • 26 min
Kevin Dutton is a psychologist at the University of Oxford. He talks about his latest book, The W isdom of Psychopaths : What Saints, Spies, and Serial Killers Can Teach Us about Success
Creativity’s Dark Side: Dan Ariely on Creativity, Rationalization and Dishonesty
Dec 25, 2012 • 31 min
Dan Ariely is professor of behavioral economics at Duke University. He talks about the subject of his most recent book, The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone—Especially Ourselves . Also see: Unveiling the Real Evil Genius
Darwin in Space: How Multigenerational Missions Could Shape Human Evolution
Dec 18, 2012 • 15 min
Portland State University anthropologist Cameron Smith talks with Scientific American ‘s John Matson about how multigenerational space exploration missions and colonization might change the human genome and thus shape human evolution
David Quammen: The Spillover of Animal Infections to Humans
Nov 18, 2012 • 32 min
David Quammen talks about his latest book, Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic . From his Web site : "The next big and murderous human pandemic, the one that kills us in millions, will be caused by a new disease—new to humans, anyway.…
Scientific American after Sandy
Oct 31, 2012 • 6 min
Scientific American Editor in Chief Mariette DiChristina brings us up to date on the state of our New York City-based operation after Sandy. Recorded October 31 at 2:30 P.M Eastern time
The 2012 Nobel Prize in Chemistry
Oct 10, 2012 • 19 min
The 2012 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded jointly to Robert J. Lefkowitz and Brian Kobilka for studies of G-protein-coupled receptors, which are the portals by which information about the environment reaches the interior of cells and leads to their…
The 2012 Nobel Prize in Physics
Oct 9, 2012 • 2 min
The 2012 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded jointly to Serge Haroche and David J. Wineland for experimental methods that enable measuring and manipulation of individual quantum systems
The 2012 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
Oct 8, 2012 • 10 min
The 2012 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded jointly to John B. Gurdon and Shinya Yamanaka for the discovery that mature cells can be reprogrammed to become pluripotent
The Climate of Climate Science
Sep 28, 2012 • 25 min
James McCarthy , Alexander Agassiz professor of biological oceanography at Harvard, talks about climate science and testifying before Congress, and the collaborations between climate scientists and the national security community as well as with…
The Flynn Effect: Modernity Made Us Smarter
Aug 20, 2012 • 33 min
James Flynn studies intelligence at the University of Otago in New Zealand. And he features prominently in an article called “Can We Keep Getting Smarter?” in the September issue of Scientific American magazine. Back on July 10, Flynn visited the SA…
What’s Next for Curiosity on Mars
Aug 7, 2012 • 9 min
Scientific American contributor David Appell talks with Mars Science Lab Project leader John Grotzinger, professor of geology at Caltech, about the plans for the rover on the Martian surface
Curiosity Lands on Mars
Aug 6, 2012 • 27 min
Less than an hour after NASA received confirmation that the Curiosity rover was safely on the Martian surface , some principal members of the mission briefed the press. This is an edited presentation of that briefing, which started at about 11:20 P.M,…
Plants Know Stuff
Jun 29, 2012 • 32 min
Daniel Chamovitz , director of the Manna Center for Plant Biosciences at Tel Aviv University, talks about his new book What a Plant Knows .
Super-Earths: Bigger, and Maybe Better
Jun 21, 2012 • 37 min
Dimitar Sasselov, professor of astronomy at Harvard University and the founder and director of the Harvard Origins of Life Initiative, talks about his new book The Life of Super-Earths: How the Hunt for Alien Worlds and Artificial Cells Will Revolutionize…
The Transit of Venus, Part 2
May 31, 2012 • 12 min
Mark Anderson, author of the book The Day The World Discovered the Sun , talks about the transit of Venus coming up on June 5th or 6th in different parts of the world and how it will be of use to astronomers searching for exoplanets
The Transit of Venus, Part 1
May 30, 2012 • 27 min
With a transit of Venus coming up on June 5th or 6th in different parts of the world, Mark Anderson, author of the book The Day The World Discovered the Sun, talks about the great efforts to track the transits of Venus in the 1760s and the science they…
Virus Victors: People Who Control HIV
May 29, 2012 • 38 min
Bruce Walker, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and director of the Ragon Institute of Massachusetts General Hospital, M.I.T. and Harvard, talks about his article in the July issue of Scientific American magazine called "Controlling HIV,"…
The Football Concussion Crisis
May 15, 2012 • 31 min
NFL Hall of Famer Harry Carson joins former NBC anchor Stone Phillips and pathologist Bennet Omalu for a discussion of chronic traumatic encephalopathy among football players. Recorded May 12th at the Ensemblestudiotheatre.org, site of the new play…
Killer Chimps and Funny Feet: Report from the AAPA Conference
Apr 27, 2012 • 13 min
Scientific American editor Kate Wong talks about the recent conference of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists in Portland, Ore., where subjects included killer chimps, unprecedented fossil sharing among researchers and divergent hominid…
Getting Guinea Worm Gone: Report from the AHCJ Conference
Apr 26, 2012 • 16 min
Scientific American editor Christine Gorman talks about the recent conference of the Association of Health Care Journalists, including Jimmy Carter’s efforts against guinea worm and trachoma, and Rosalynn Carter’s mental health initiatives
Food Poisoning’s Lasting Legacy
Apr 4, 2012 • 20 min
Scientific American Science of Health columnist Maryn McKenna talks about the new understanding that food poisoning can have long-lasting negative health effects
Fukushima Anniversary: We Listen Back
Mar 11, 2012 • 10 min
Scientific American editor David Biello takes us through newly released audio from the first week of the nuclear meltdown crisis at Fukushima Daiichi
AAAS Report: Fracking, Whale Rights, Higgs Evidence and Twitter Truthiness
Mar 7, 2012 • 15 min
Scientific American editors Mark Fischetti and Michael Moyer discuss some of the sessions they attended at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Subjects covered include fracking, cetacean rights, the Higgs boson…
If You’re Happy, How You Know It
Feb 22, 2012 • 8 min
Social scientist Roly Russell, of the Sandhill Institute in British Columbia, talked with Scientific American ‘s Mark Fischetti at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science about potentially better measures than GDP of…
The Coming Entanglement: Bill Joy and Danny Hillis
Feb 15, 2012 • 36 min
Digital innovators Bill Joy, co-founder of Sun Microsystems, and Danny Hillis, co-founder of the Long Now Foundation, talk with Scientific American Executive Editor Fred Guterl about the technological “Entanglement” and the attempts to build the other,…
More with Maryn: McKenna on Antibiotic Resistance
Feb 2, 2012 • 28 min
In part 2 of our conversation with journalist and author Maryn McKenna, she talks about antibiotic resistance in agriculture and human health, MRSA, and offers a brief coda on the subject of fecal transplants
Fecal Transplants: The Straight Poop
Jan 31, 2012 • 19 min
Journalist and author Maryn McKenna talks about fecal transplants, which have proved to be exceptionally effective at restoring a healthy intestinal microbiome and curing C. diff infections, yet remain in regulatory limbo
State of the Union: Research, Technology and Energy
Jan 25, 2012 • 7 min
About six minutes of President Obama’s State of the Union address dealt with research, technology and energy
A Second Science Front: Evolution Champions Rise to Climate Science Defense
Jan 16, 2012 • 17 min
Eugenie Scott, executive director of the National Center for Science Education, long the nation’s leading defender of evolution education, discusses the NCSE’s new initiative to help climate science education
Anna Deavere Smith: Let Me Down Easy
Jan 14, 2012 • 35 min
Actor, playwright and journalist Anna Deavere Smith talks about the health care crisis and her play about people dealing with illness, health and the health care system, Let Me Down Easy
Man from Mars: Health and Nutrition Research at Mars, Inc., and Beyond
Jan 5, 2012 • 30 min
Hagen Schroeter, the director of fundamental health and nutrition research at Mars, Inc., talks about research on bio-active food compounds and the search for why a healthful diet is good for you
The YouTube SpaceLab Competition
Dec 12, 2011 • 3 min
If you’re 14 to 18 years old, you still have until December 14th to prepare a two-minute video of a suggestion for an experiment to be performed at the International Space Station and upload it to youtube.com/spacelab. Winners will see their experiment…
Large Hadron Collider Backgrounder
Dec 11, 2011 • 21 min
Thomas LeCompte of Argonne National Lab was the physics coordinator for the ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider. He talks about the instrument and its future, as we await the December 13th announcement as to whether the LHC has found the Higgs…
Out of Our Depth: Sea Level on the Rise
Dec 8, 2011 • 9 min
Ocean and climate scientist Eelco Rohling talks with Scientific American senior editor Mark Fischetti about updated calculations of sea-level rise as a function of climate change
Brian Greene Talks Faster-Than-Light Neutrinos
Nov 23, 2011 • 5 min
Physicist Brian Greene, host of the NOVA series The Fabric of the Cosmos, addresses the question of faster-than-light neutrinos at a Q&A session after the debut of the PBS series
The Mind’s Hidden Switches
Nov 22, 2011 • 28 min
Eric J. Nestler, director of the Friedman Brain Institute at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City, talks about his article in the December issue of Scientific American magazine on epigenetics and human behavior, called “Hidden Switches in the…
The Discovery of Quasicrystals: The 2011 Nobel Prize in Chemistry
Oct 5, 2011 • 18 min
Listen to the announcement of the 2011 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, to Daniel Shechtman of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. Then hear comments from the president of the American Chemical Society, Nancy Jackson, of Sandia National Laboratories
An Accelerating Universe: The 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics
Oct 4, 2011 • 22 min
Listen to the announcement of the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics, to Saul Perlmutter, Brian Schmidt and Adam Riess, from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. Following the formal announcement comes an explanation of the research, which tracked type Ia…
Cancer Vaccines
Sep 30, 2011 • 24 min
Eric von Hofe, cancer researcher and president of the biotech company Antigen Express talks about his article in the October issue of Scientific American called "A New Ally against Cancer," about cancer vaccines
Science Legend Christian de Duve
Sep 9, 2011 • 21 min
Christian de Duve, 1974 Nobel laureate for physiology or medicine, talks about going from a cell biologist to a theorist on evolution and the origin of life
Carl Zimmer on Rats, Cats, Viruses and Tattoos
Aug 26, 2011 • 16 min
In part 2 of our interview, award-winning author Carl Zimmer talks about his latest books, and a new study that shows how Toxoplasma influences the behavior of rats—and maybe of us
Carl Zimmer on Evolution in the Big City
Aug 24, 2011 • 23 min
The annual Scientific American September single-topic issue is all about cities. And award-winning author Carl Zimmer recently penned a piece on evolution research in the urban environment for The New York Times . In part 1 of this interview, he talks…
The City That Became Safe: What New York Teaches about Urban Crime and Its Control
Aug 9, 2011 • 27 min
U.C. Berkeley School of Law professor Franklin Zimring talks about his article, “How New York Beat Crime,” in the August issue of Scientific American
Nobel Laureate Avram Hershko: The Orchestra in the Cell
Jul 27, 2011 • 25 min
Nobel laureate Avram Hershko, who determined cellular mechanisms for breaking down proteins, talks about his research in a conversation recorded at the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting in Lindau, Germany. And Scientific American Editor in Chief Mariette…
Nobel Laureate Peter Agre: From Aquaporins to Lutefisk
Jul 20, 2011 • 34 min
Peter Agre, 2003 Chemistry Nobel laureate for his work on aquaporins, the proteins that allow water into and out of cells, talks about his research, his upbringing and why he almost ran for the Senate, in a conversation recorded at the Lindau Nobel…
Let’s Make a Probabilistic Deal: A Fresh Look at the Monty Hall Problem
Jun 25, 2011 • 13 min
Scientific American math and physics editor Davide Castelvecchi revisits the Monty Hall problem, so you can know whether you’re better off holding on to your original pick or switching when new information presents itself
How Physics Limits Intelligence
Jun 17, 2011 • 26 min
Award-winning author Douglas Fox talks about his cover story in the July issue of Scientific American on The Limits of Intelligence, placed there by the laws of physics
Dying for Science: The 100th Anniversary of the Doomed Scott Antarctic Expedition
May 26, 2011 • 22 min
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Edward Larson talks about his article “Greater Glory” in the June issue of Scientific American on the forgotten science of the doomed Scott expedition a hundred years ago
Skirting Steak: The Case for Artificial Meat
May 17, 2011 • 20 min
Journalist Jeffrey Bartholet talks about his June Scientific American magazine article on the attempts to grow meat in the lab, and Editor in Chief Mariette DiChristina talks about the cover piece in the May issue on radical energy solutions
Astronaut Love: An Interview with Spacewalker Stanley Love
Apr 28, 2011 • 15 min
On the eve of the launch of the penultimate space shuttle mission, STS-134, Scientific American astronomy editor George Musser talks to veteran astronaut Stanley Love about being in space and the future of spaceflight
Editors’ Roundtable: Science Conference Reports
Apr 21, 2011 • 35 min
Scientific American editors Christine Gorman, Robin Lloyd, Michael Moyer and Kate Wong talk about their recent trips to different science conferences: the meetings of the Association for Health Care Journalists, the Paleoanthropology Society, the American…
Can It Be Bad to Be Too Clean?: The Hygiene Hypothesis
Apr 6, 2011 • 25 min
Johns Hopkins School of Medicine researcher Kathleen Barnes talks about the hygiene hypothesis, which raises the possibility that our modern sterile environment may contribute to conditions such as asthma and eczema
Self-Aware Robots?
Mar 2, 2011 • 14 min
Journalist Charles Choi talks about work being done to make robots self-aware. Plus, we test your knowledge about some recent science in the news
The Cornucopia Conference: Roundtable on the AAAS Meeting
Feb 24, 2011 • 33 min
Podcast host Steve Mirsky talks with Scientific American magazine Editor in Chief Mariette DiChristina, news editor Anna Kuchment, feature editor Mark Fischetti and online news editor Robin Lloyd about various sessions at the recently completed annual…
The Spirit of Innovation: From High School to the Moon
Feb 17, 2011 • 19 min
Nancy Conrad, chair of the Conrad Foundation, talks about the Spirit of Innovation competition for high school students, and about her late husband, Pete Conrad, the third man to walk on the moon
What’s New with Science News
Feb 16, 2011 • 32 min
Former Scientific American editor in chief and current Gleaming Retort blogger John Rennie, blogger and Scientific American blogs network director Bora Zivkovic, and Scientific American online news editor Robin Lloyd talk about the future of science news
Jefferson’s Moose: Thomas’s Fauna Fight against European Naturalists
Jan 26, 2011 • 27 min
Biologist and author Lee Dugatkin talks about his article “Jefferson’s Moose” in the February issue of Scientific American, the story of Jefferson’s battle against the European theory of American biological degeneracy. Plus, we’ll test your knowledge of…
What Is the Watson Jeopardy-Playing Supercomputer, Alex?
Jan 14, 2011 • 20 min
Scientific American editor Michael Moyer talks about the sneak preview he caught of IBM’s Watson Jeopardy! -playing computer. And ScientificAmerican.com ‘s Larry Greenemeier spoke with Ford’s Brad Probert about the new all-electric Focus at the Consumer…
Vinod Khosla: Searching for the Radical Solution
Dec 23, 2010 • 24 min
Clean technology investor Vinod Khosla, co-founder of Sun Microsystems, talks with Scientific American editor Mark Fischetti about the energy payoffs to be had by reinventing mainstream technologies
How You Gonna Keep Flu Down on the Farm?: Pig Farms and Public Health
Dec 22, 2010 • 17 min
Journalist Helen Branswell discusses her January Scientific American article, “Flu Factories,” about the attempts to monitor new strains of flu that can originate on pig farms and the difficulties of balancing economic and public health constituencies
Anna Deavere Smith: Let Me Down Easy
Dec 20, 2010 • 33 min
Actor, playwright and journalist Anna Deavere Smith talks about the health care crisis and her play about people dealing with illness, health and the health care system, Let Me Down Easy
The Spewings of Titan (and More from the AGU Meeting)
Dec 16, 2010 • 16 min
Scientific American editor Davide Castelvecchi joins us from San Francisco to talk about some of the highlights of the meeting of the American Geophysical Union, including volcanoes on Titan, x-rays from lightning, the biota of the Sulawesi Sea, and the…
Let’s Talk Stuffing—Your Face
Nov 25, 2010 • 12 min
Cornell University’s Brian Wansink talks about eating behavior and how mindless eating has us consuming way more calories than we suspect
Let’s Talk Turkey!
Nov 24, 2010 • 8 min
Turkey scientist Rich Buchholz talks about the turkey on your plate and his own turkey research
Why Do Women Live Longer Than Men?
Nov 19, 2010 • 24 min
Scientific American Editor in Chief Mariette DiChristina and podcast host Steve Mirsky talk about longevity differences in the sexes, the importance of music education, the pros and cons of the Kindle, and other content from the November issue. Plus, we…
Physics Nobel Laureate Steven Weinberg
Nov 15, 2010 • 16 min
Nobel physicist Steven Weinberg spoke to an audience of science journalists, and then to podcast host Steve Mirsky
Photograph 51: Rosalind Franklin and the Race For The Double Helix of DNA (Part 2 of 2)
Nov 5, 2010 • 37 min
Photograph 51 is a new play about Rosalind Franklin, Watson and Crick, and the race to determine the structure of DNA, at the Ensemble Studio Theatre in New York City, running through November 21st. A panel discussion about the play on November 2nd…
Photograph 51: Rosalind Franklin and the Race for the Double Helix of DNA, Part 1 of 2
Nov 3, 2010 • 41 min
Photograph 51 is a new play about Rosalind Franklin, Watson and Crick, and the race to determine the structure of DNA, at the Ensemble Studio Theatre in New York City, running through November 21st. This November 2nd, a panel discussion about the play and…
The Quest for the Giant Pumpkin
Oct 29, 2010 • 21 min
Susan Warren, author of the book Backyard Giants, talks about “the passionate, heartbreaking and glorious quest to grow the biggest pumpkin ever.” Plus, we’ll test your knowledge about some recent science in the news
Not Your Grandfather’s Scientific American
Oct 20, 2010 • 24 min
Scientific American Editor in Chief Mariette DiChristina talks about the new look and new outlook of Scientific American magazine and of ScientificAmerican.com Plus, we discuss the results of a poll of the readers of Scientific American and Nature
The Harlem Science Renaissance
Oct 15, 2010 • 28 min
Molecular geneticist Sat Bhattacharya talks about his creation, the Harlem Children Society, which gets underprivileged kids involved in scientific research. And 13-year-olds Mitchell Haverty and Angus Fung talk about their research on algae as…
Totally Bogus: The Science Talk Quiz
Oct 8, 2010 • 2 min
In this special stand-alone edition, see if you know which of four science news stories is Totally Bogus.
Exactly When Is a Person Dead?
Sep 23, 2010 • 23 min
Award-winning science journalist Robin Marantz Henig and podcast host Steve Mirsky discuss Robin’s article in the September issue about organ donation and definitions of death. Plus, we test your knowledge about some recent science in the news. Web sites…
Could Time End?
Sep 22, 2010 • 35 min
Scientific American staff editor George Musser joins podcast host Steve Mirsky to discuss his article in the September issue about the possibility of time itself coming to an end
The End: Death, Endings and Things That Should End
Sep 14, 2010 • 35 min
Editor in Chief Mariette DiChristina and issue editor Michael Moyer talk with podcast host Steve Mirsky about the September single-topic issue of Scientific American —endings in science. Plus, we test your knowledge of some recent science in the news
Cooking for Geeks: Jeff Potter on Experimenting in the Kitchen
Sep 3, 2010 • 24 min
Jeff Potter, author of Cooking for Geeks: Real Science, Great Hacks and Good Food, talks with daily podcast correspondent Cynthia Graber, and podcast host Steve Mirsky tests your knowledge of some recent science in the news. Web sites related to content…
Mary Roach Is Packing for Mars, Part 2
Aug 21, 2010 • 17 min
Podcast host Steve Mirsky talks with author Mary Roach about her new book “Packing For Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void.” Part 2 of 2. (Part 1 is at…
Mary Roach Is Packing for Mars, Part 1
Aug 20, 2010 • 31 min
Podcast host Steve Mirsky recently attended a talk by author Mary Roach about her new book Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void . In part 1 of this two-part episode, we’ll hear that talk. Web sites related to content of this podcast…
When Humans Almost Died Out; Earthy Exoplanets; And Scientific American’s 165th Birthday
Aug 12, 2010 • 31 min
Podcast host Steve Mirsky talks with human evolution expert Kate Wong about the small group of humans who survived tough times beginning about 195,000 years ago and gave rise to all of us, a story told in the cover article of the August issue of…
Arguing with Non-Skeptics, Part 2 of 2
Jul 28, 2010 • 19 min
A panel discussion on arguing with non-skeptics at the recent Northeast Conference on Science and Skepticism in New York City featured James Randi, George Hrab, D. J. Grothe and podcast host Steve Mirsky. Julia Galef moderated. Part 2 of 2. Web sites…
Arguing with Non-Skeptics, Part 1 of 2
Jul 27, 2010 • 32 min
A panel discussion on arguing with non-skeptics at the recent Northeast Conference on Science and Skepticism in New York City featured James Randi, George Hrab, D. J. Grothe and podcast host Steve Mirsky. Julia Galef moderated. Part 1 of 2. Web sites…
Whiz Kids: Intel Science Talent Search Documentary
Jul 19, 2010 • 33 min
The new documentary film Whiz Kids follows three high school student-scientists as they attempt to get their projects accepted into the prestigious Intel Science Talent Search. Scientific American podcast host Steve Mirsky talks with the film’s writer and…
Will Your Plug-In Car Actually Be Coal-Powered? And Other July Stories
Jul 8, 2010 • 27 min
Scientific American Editor in Chief Mariette DiChristina and staff editor Michael Moyer join podcast host Steve Mirsky to talk about articles in the July issue, including: “The Dirty Truth about Plug-In Hybrids”; “How Babies Think”; and “Birds That Lived…
Paul Dirac: “The Strangest Man” of Science, Part 2
Jun 25, 2010 • 23 min
Award-winning writer and physicist Graham Farmelo talks with podcast host Steve Mirsky about The Strangest Man, Farmelo’s biography of Nobel Prize-winning theoretical physicist Paul Dirac. Part 2 of 2. Web sites related to this episode include…
“The Strangest Man” of Science, Part 1
Jun 24, 2010 • 34 min
Award-winning writer and physicist Graham Farmelo talks with podcast host Steve Mirsky about The Strangest Man, Farmelo’s biography of Nobel Prize-winning theoretical physicist Paul Dirac. Part 1 of 2. Web sites related to this episode include…
Physics Now and Then: From Neutrinos to Galileo
Jun 15, 2010 • 25 min
Theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss, director of the Origins Initiative at Arizona State University, talks with podcast host Steve Mirsky about neutrinos and gravity waves. And Cynthia Graber talks with Paolo Galluzzi, director of the newly reopened…
The Big Dozen: 12 Events That Will Change Everything
Jun 2, 2010 • 26 min
Scientific American magazine Editor in Chief Mariette DiChristina and news editor Philip Yam join podcast host Steve Mirsky to talk about the cover story of the June issue of the magazine, “12 Events That Will Change Everything”. How things like the first…
Remembering Martin Gardner, with Douglas Hofstadter
May 24, 2010 • 27 min
Martin Gardner died May 22nd at 95. He wrote the Mathematical Games column for Scientific American magazine for 25 years and published more than 70 books. Podcast host Steve Mirsky talks with Gardner’s friend Douglas Hofstadter, Pulitzer Prize-winning…
More from MacMania: Kindle v. iPad, Mac v. PC and App Development
May 19, 2010 • 35 min
MacWorld editorial director Jason Snell and app developer Peter Watling talk with podcast host Steve Mirsky about the iPad, computer culture and apps, aboard a cruise ship in the Atlantic during MacMania, produced by insightcruises.com
David Pogue on Tech, Twitter and Transgenic Goats
May 10, 2010 • 27 min
The ubiquitous David Pogue, author of the Missing Manual series and tech columnist for The New York Times, talks with podcast host Steve Mirsky aboard a cruise ship in the Atlantic during MacMania, produced by insightcruises.com. Plus, we’ll test your…
Your Inner Healers: Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells and More
May 1, 2010 • 29 min
Scientific American Editor in Chief Mariette DiChristina talks with podcast host Steve Mirsky about the contents of the May issue, including articles on induced pluripotent stem cells, high-speed and maglev trains, and blindsight. Plus, we’ll test your…
Bill McKibben’s Eaarth, Part 2
Apr 22, 2010 • 27 min
Writer and activist Bill McKibben talks to Scientific American ‘s Mark Fischetti about his new book Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet . Part 2 of 2. Edited and produced by podcast host Steve Mirsky
Bill McKibben’s Eaarth, Part 1
Apr 21, 2010 • 37 min
Writer and activist Bill McKibben talks to Scientific American ‘s Mark Fischetti about his new book Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet Part 1 of 2. Edited and produced by podcast host Steve Mirsky
Invisible Ink and More: The Science of Spying in the Revolutionary War
Apr 20, 2010 • 24 min
John Nagy, author of Invisible Ink: Spycraft of the American Revolution, discusses the codes, ciphers, chemistry and psychology of spying in the American Revolution, in a talk recorded by podcast host Steve Mirsky at the historic Fraunces Tavern in New…
The Science of Staying in Love; and Scientists as Communicators—and Heroes
Apr 7, 2010 • 23 min
Scientific American Editor in Chief Mariette DiChristina and psychology researcher Robert Epstein, a contributing editor to Scientific American MIND magazine, talk about falling in love and staying that way. And science communicator Dennis Meredith…
From Eternity to Here: Sean M. Carroll’s Quest to Understand Time
Mar 30, 2010 • 31 min
Sean M. Carroll, theoretical physicist at the California Institute of Technology talks with podcast host Steve Mirsky about his new book From Eternity to Here: The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time . Plus, we test your knowledge of some recent science…
Are We Pushing Earth’s Environmental Tipping Points?
Mar 19, 2010 • 24 min
Jon Foley, director of the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment, talks with podcast host Steve Mirsky about his article in the April issue of Scientific American, “Boundaries for a Healthy Planet”. Plus, we’ll test your knowledge about…
The Science Talk Quiz: “Totally Bogus”
Mar 18, 2010 • 2 min
Here are four science stories, but only three are true. See if you know which story is TOTALLY BOGUS
Where’s My Fusion Reactor?
Mar 17, 2010 • 36 min
Scientific American staff editor Michael Moyer talks about his article “Fusion’s False Dawn” in the March issue, and Editor in Chief Mariette DiChristina discusses the rest of the issue. Web sites related to this episode include www.sciamdigital.com;…
Algae, Art and Attitudes: A Roundtable about the AAAS Conference
Feb 27, 2010 • 29 min
Scientific American staffers Mark Fischetti and Robin Lloyd talk with podcast host Steve Mirsky about sessions they attended—including those about algae for energy, dissecting the astronomy in art, and attitudes about climate change—at the recent meeting…
The Poisoner’s Handbook: The Sinister Side of Chemistry
Feb 25, 2010 • 31 min
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Deborah Blum talks about her new work, The Poisoner’s Handbook, a look at how easy it used to be to kill someone with poison and the researchers who made poisoning much harder to get away with. Plus, we’ll test your…
Ice, Ice, Baby: The Physics of Curling
Feb 18, 2010 • 27 min
Mark Shegelski of the University of Northern British Columbia talks with podcast host Steve Mirsky about the physics of curling, currently taking its turn on the world stage at the Vancouver Olympics. (Shegelski is also the author of the new sci-fi…
Whaddaya Do with a Dead Whale?
Feb 10, 2010 • 25 min
Scientific American magazine Editor in Chief Mariette DiChristina talks with podcast host Steve Mirsky about some of the articles in the February issue, including one on the ecosystems that arise around the carcasses of whales that die and fall to the…
Cleopatra’s Alexandria Treasures
Jan 31, 2010 • 28 min
Renowned archaeologist Franck Goddio talks with podcast host Steve Mirsky about his efforts to recover artifacts from the ancient cities of Alexandria, Heracleion and Canopus, with special attention to discoveries related to Cleopatra and her reign. The…
The Science Talk Quiz: “Totally Bogus”
Jan 25, 2010 • 3 min
Here are four science stories, but only three are true. See if you know which story is TOTALLY BOGUS
Creating Darwin’s Biopic; and Consumer Electronics
Jan 23, 2010 • 21 min
Science Talk correspondent John Pavlus talks with Jon Amiel, director of the new Darwin biography movie Creation, and with Randal Keynes, Darwin’s great-great-grandson and one of the film’s scriptwriters. Then we’ll hear from a few of the exhibitors who…
The Science Talk Quiz: “Totally Bogus”
Jan 18, 2010 • 3 min
Here are four science stories, but only three are true. See if you know which story is TOTALLY BOGUS.
Mining for Online Game Gold and Other Amazing Stories
Jan 15, 2010 • 23 min
Scientific American magazine Editor in Chief Mariette DiChristina talks about the January issue, including articles on the chances of conditions conducive to life elsewhere in the multiverse and the growing practice of virtual gold farming, in which…
Alan Alda’s Human Spark, Part 2
Jan 8, 2010 • 22 min
Alan Alda, host of the new PBS science series The Human Spark, talks to podcast host Steve Mirsky about his experiences as a fictional physican, a real patient and an amateur scientist. Web sites related to this episode include www.pbs.org/humanspark
Alan Alda’s Human Spark
Jan 7, 2010 • 35 min
Alan Alda, star of stage, screen and science, talks with podcast host Steve Mirsky about his new PBS science series The Human Spark as well as his strong interest in science and long association with Scientific American
The Science Talk Quiz: “Totally Bogus”
Dec 29, 2009 • 3 min
Here are four science stories, but only three are true. See if you know which story is TOTALLY BOGUS.
Christmas Season Science
Dec 23, 2009 • 15 min
Scientific American daily podcast contributor Karen Hopkin talks about a few recent studies related to the science of the Christmas season
Bonus Bogus Brainteaser
Dec 20, 2009 • 3 min
The Totally Bogus Quiz for this week
Copenhagen and Everywhere Else
Dec 18, 2009 • 36 min
ScientificAmerican.com ‘s David Biello is in Copenhagen at the climate conference, and he’ll tell us what’s going on there. And the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Steven Sanderson discusses his Foreign Affairs article, “Where the Wild Things Were,”…
World Changing Ideas: December’s Scientific American
Dec 11, 2009 • 26 min
Scientific American magazine Editor in Chief Mariette DiChristina and editor Michael Moyer talk about the “World Changing Ideas” feature as well as other contents of the December issue. Plus, we’ll test your knowledge about some recent science in the news
Bogus Brainteaser
Dec 4, 2009 • 3 min
The Totally Bogus Quiz for this week
John Rennie’s 7 Answers to Climate Contrarian Nonsense
Dec 3, 2009 • 39 min
On the eve of the United Nations Global Warming Conference in Copenhagen and in the wake of the hacked climate researchers’ e-mails, former Scientific American Editor in Chief John Rennie discusses his ScientificAmerican.com article “7 Answers to Climate…
Darwin’s Influence on Modern Thought
Nov 24, 2009 • 14 min
On the 150th anniversary of the publication of Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species, we review Darwin’s influence on the the modern world, as analyzed by Ernst Mayr, one of the 20th century’s most prolific evolutionary theorists. We review Mayr’s July 2000…
Tree Ring Science and Tomorrow’s Water
Nov 18, 2009 • 24 min
Tree ring expert Kevin Anchukaitis, of the tree ring lab at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, part of Columbia University’s Earth Institute, talks about the information available in tree rings. And Colin Chartres, the director general of the…
Human Evolution II: Recent Evolution; and “Becoming Human” NOVA Preview
Nov 3, 2009 • 34 min
Anthropologist John Hawks of the University of Wisconsin - Madison talks about recent human evolution, especially of our ability to digest lactose. And producer Graham Townsley discusses his three-part PBS NOVA premiering on November 3rd called “Becoming…
Human Evolution: Lucy and Neandertals
Oct 23, 2009 • 35 min
Anthropologist Chris Stringer of the Natural History Museum in London talks about Neandertals. And Scientific American ‘s Kate Wong, co-author with Donald Johanson of Lucy’s Legacy, talks about the discovery and impact of the famous Lucy fossil. Plus, we…
Brain Enhancement: October Issue of Scientific American
Oct 14, 2009 • 25 min
In this episode Editor in Chief Mariette DiChristina discusses the contents of the October issue of Scientific American, including articles on brain enhancement, lost cities of the Amazon and a century-old plan to make subway rides more entertaining
New Nobel Laureate Jack Szostak and Surrogates Film Director Jonathan Mostow
Oct 5, 2009 • 22 min
Jack Szostak, who just shared the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, talks about his latest research on the origin of life. And Scientific American editor George Musser talks to Jonathan Mostow, director of the new Bruce Willis sci-fi thriller…
Clean Energy Contest; and Counting Crickets and Katydids
Sep 28, 2009 • 27 min
Scientific American podcast correspondent Cynthia Graber talks about the M.I.T. Clean Energy Prize Competition. And we take part in the recent Cricket Crawl, an effort to take a census of crickets and katydids in the New York metropolitan area. Plus,…
Where There Was Smoke, There’s Science
Sep 8, 2009 • 22 min
Wake Forest University School of Medicine neuroscientist Dwayne Godwin talks about the the Winston-Salem area’s adoption of biomedical research as well as meetings with Congress about science funding and his comic strip contributions to Scientific…
Origins of Everything: The September Scientific American Magazine
Aug 31, 2009 • 26 min
Scientific American Editor in Chief Mariette DiChristina discusses the September special single-topic issue of Scientific American magazine, which covers origins, from the universe to the horse stirrup. Plus, we’ll test your knowledge of some recent…
Colony Collapse and Ruptured Ribosomes; Minding Darwin’s Beeswax
Aug 25, 2009 • 17 min
John Williams, the beekeeper at Down House in England, talks about Darwin’s bees. And May Berenbaum, entomologist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, talks about the latest publication related to colony collapse disorder and ribosome damage…
To Bee or Not to Bee
Aug 21, 2009 • 23 min
In part 2 of our bee podcast, we talk with May Berenbaum, entomologist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and inspiration for the X Files fictional entomologist Bambi Berenbaum, about bees, other insects and how life history analysis can…
Bee Afraid, Bee Very Afraid
Aug 14, 2009 • 22 min
May Berenbaum, entomologist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and inspiration for the X Files fictional entomologist Bambi Berenbaum, talks about colony collapse disorder and disappearing bees as well as the importance of honeybees in…
Swimming In Spacetime and Other Stories
Aug 1, 2009 • 30 min
Scientific American Editor in Chief Mariette DiChristina and staff editor Kate Wong talk about the contents of the August issue, including articles on some of the odd consequences of general relativity, life as a Neandertal, and the latest research on…
Nuts, Bolts, Photons and Electrons of Solar Energy
Jul 23, 2009 • 28 min
Jeff Wolfe, the CEO and co-founder of groSolar, talks about solar energy’s present and future. Plus, we’ll test your knowledge of some recent science in the news. Web sites related to this episode include www.grosolar.com
Movie Magic (Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs), Part 3
Jul 14, 2009 • 29 min
In this series of episodes, we talk to many of the scientists at Blue Sky Studios, which created the Ice Age series of animated features, including the recently released Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs . In episode 3, we hear from co-director Mike…
Movie Magic (Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs), Part 2
Jul 11, 2009 • 20 min
In this series of episodes, we talk to many of the scientists at Blue Sky Studios, which created the Ice Age series of animated features, including the recently released Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs . In episode 2, we hear from the research and…
Movie Magic (Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs), Part 1
Jul 11, 2009 • 21 min
In this series of episodes, we talk to many of the scientists at Blue Sky Studios, which created the Ice Age series of animated features, including the recently released Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs . In episode 1, we hear from company founders Carl…
Atul Gawande Redux
Jul 1, 2009 • 29 min
While Steve’s at the conference of the World Federation of Science Journalists in London, we look ahead to some of the programming coming your way in the coming weeks, and we replay our 2007 interview with surgeon Atul Gawande, whose recent research in…
Hello Moon, Good-Bye Rennie
Jun 26, 2009 • 29 min
We look at the contents of the July issue of Scientific American magazine, the last under outgoing Editor in Chief John Rennie, including an article by moon explorer Harrison Schmitt, a piece on the fight against superbugs, a report on the potential of…
Panamania!: A Visit to the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
Jun 17, 2009 • 27 min
We take a walking tour of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute on Barro Colorado Island in Panama, with the STRI’s Beth King and Harilaos Lessios. Plus, we’ll test your knowledge of some recent science in the news. Web Sites related to this episode…
The Truth about Cats and Dogs
May 29, 2009 • 27 min
Scientific American magazine Editor in Chief John Rennie talks about the contents of the June issue, including articles on the evolution of cats and the physiology of sled dogs. Plus, we’ll test your knowledge of some recent science in the news
High Achievement High Schoolers
May 19, 2009 • 28 min
High school scientists Sruti Swaminathan, Maia ten Brink, Alyssa Bailey, Moyukh Chatterjee and Fedja Kadribasic, all winners of state competitions sponsored by the American Junior Academy of Sciences, talk about their research. Plus, we’ll test your…
Beauty Is Truth (and Science)
May 11, 2009 • 20 min
Procter & Gamble scientists Greg Hillebrand and Jay Tiesman talk about scientific research related to beauty products and cosmetics. Plus, we’ll test your knowledge of some recent science in the news. Web sites related to this episode include…
People, Pan Troglodytes (Chimps) and Pigs
May 1, 2009 • 29 min
Scientific American editor Christine Soares discusses the swine flu situation and Editor in Chief John Rennie talks about the May issue—topics include the specific genetic differences between humans and chimps, side-channel hacking, food shortages, and…
Sherwin Nuland’s Tales from the Bedside
Apr 23, 2009 • 29 min
Surgeon and author Sherwin Nuland talks about his new book The Soul of Medicine: Tales from the Bedside, a Chaucerian take on doctors and their relationships with patients and each other. Plus, we’ll test your knowledge of some recent science in the news
Life Goes on within You and without You: Health and the Environment
Apr 17, 2009 • 27 min
In this episode, we’ll hear parts of three talks from the recent symposium, Exploring the Dynamic Relationship Between Health and the Environment, organized by the American Museum of Natural History’s Center for Biodiversity and Conservation. Speakers…
Why People Believe What They Do
Apr 10, 2009 • 25 min
University of California, Berkeley, psychologist Tania Lombrozo talks about why people believe what they do, especially regarding evolution or creationism. Author Steve Miller discusses his new book The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Science of Everything…
From Dark Energy to Lone Star Lunacy
Apr 2, 2009 • 28 min
Scientific American magazine Editor in Chief John Rennie talks about articles in the April issue, covering dark energy, bee colony collapse and post-traumatic stress. And Eugenie Scott, executive director of the National Center for Science Education,…
What Shape Is Your Galaxy?
Mar 26, 2009 • 23 min
Yale astrophysicist Kevin Schawinski talks about Galaxy Zoo, a distributed computing project in which laypeople can help researchers characterize galaxies. And we tour Kroon Hall, the new green home of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental…
In Search of Time
Mar 19, 2009 • 33 min
Journalist and writer Dan Falk talks about his new book In Search of Time, about the cultural, physical and psychological aspects of the mysterious ticking clocks all around us. Plus, we’ll test your knowledge of some recent science in the news. Web sites…
Phrasing a Coyne: Jerry Coyne on Why Evolution Is True
Mar 13, 2009 • 20 min
During a Scientific American cruise in the Caribbean, University of Chicago evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne talks about his new book Why Evolution Is True . And we hear a brief example of what it’s like to attend science lectures at sea. Plus, we’ll…
From Spooky Action to Tiny Radios
Mar 4, 2009 • 27 min
Scientific American Editor in Chief John Rennie talks about the contents of the March issue of the magazine, including articles on quantum entanglement, nano radios, fresh brain cells and more. Plus, we’ll test your knowledge of some recent science in the…
Remarkable Creatures (and Getting Them Fixed)
Feb 25, 2009 • 22 min
University of Wisconsin evolutionary biologist Sean Carroll talks about his new book, Remarkable Creatures, which chronicles the derring-do of some of natural history’s brightest stars. And FoundAnimals.org ‘s Katy Palfrey discusses the Michelson Prize,…
Stars of Cosmology, Part 2
Feb 19, 2009 • 33 min
In part 2 of this podcast, cosmologists Alan Guth from M.I.T., Arizona State University’s Lawrence Krauss, John Carlstrom from the University of Chicago, and Fermilab’s Scott Dodelson take reporters’ questions at the annual meeting of the American…
Stars of Cosmology, Part 1
Feb 18, 2009 • 17 min
In part 1 of this podcast, cosmologists Alan Guth from M.I.T., Arizona State University’s Lawrence Krauss, John Carlstrom from the University of Chicago, and Fermilab’s Scott Dodelson discuss the state of cosmology—and the universe’s possible dismal…
Darwin Day Special, Part 3: Origins of Paleontology and the Impact of Religion on the Development of Evolutionary Theory
Feb 13, 2009 • 28 min
In part 3 of this special Darwin Day podcast, the Reverend Thomas Goodhue, executive director of the Long Island Council of Churches and author of the book Curious Bones: Mary Anning and the Birth of Paleontology, talks about Anning and how religion…
Darwin Day Special, Part 2: Evolutionary Psychology and Religion
Feb 12, 2009 • 22 min
In part 2 of this special Darwin Day podcast, Hofstra University religion professor John Teehan discusses the study of religion from an evolutionary psychology perspective
Darwin Day Special: Bicentennial of the Birth of Charles Darwin
Feb 11, 2009 • 35 min
In part 1 of this special Darwin Day podcast, celebrating the 200th anniversary of the birth of Darwin on February 12th, Richard Milner performs part of his one-man show about Darwin; Scientific American Editor in Chief John Rennie and Darwin descendant…
The Naked Singularity Meets Social Media
Feb 4, 2009 • 31 min
Scientific American Editor in Chief John Rennie talks about the content of the February issue, including naked singularities and the greenhouse hamburger. N.Y.U. journalism professor Jay Rosen discusses social media. Plus, we’ll test your knowledge about…
CO2 Rising: Follow the Bouncing Carbon Atom
Jan 28, 2009 • 33 min
Scientist and author Tyler Volk talks about his new book CO 2 Rising: The World’s Greatest Environmental Challenge . Plus, we’ll test your knowledge about some recent science in the news. Web sites related to this episode include…
Darwin: Ghostbuster, Muse and Magistrate
Jan 22, 2009 • 26 min
Darwin historian Richard Milner shares some of the lesser known aspects of Darwin’s life. And Scientific American columnist Michael Shermer talks about the stock market, religion and other belief systems. Plus, we’ll test your knowledge about some recent…
From Astronomy to Zune
Jan 14, 2009 • 33 min
Scientific American astronomy expert George Musser discusses the recent meeting of the American Astronomical Society and SciAm.com ‘s Larry Greenemeier reports on the Consumer Electronics Show. Plus, we’ll test your knowledge about some recent science in…
The Evolution of Evolution
Jan 7, 2009 • 21 min
Scientific American Editor in Chief John Rennie discusses the special January issue of the magazine, which focuses on evolution—2009 being the 200th anniversary of the birth of Darwin and the 150th anniversary of the publication of The Origin of Species .…
The Manhattan Project and the Met
Dec 31, 2008 • 46 min
The Metropolitan Opera’s production of the new opera Doctor Atomic aired on PBS on December 29th. We’ll hear from Manhattan Project veterans Roy Glauber (Nobel laureate), Murray Peshkin, Leonard Jossem, Al Bartlett, Hans Courant, Harold Agnew, Benjamin…
Christmas at the Moon; and Instant Egghead Guide: The Mind
Dec 24, 2008 • 29 min
Scientific American editor Michael Battaglia discusses the online In-Depth-Report on Apollo 8, which orbited the moon 40 years ago this week. And author Emily Anthes talks about her new book, Instant Egghead Guide: The Mind . Plus, we’ll test your…
From Carbon to the Cretaceous: Report from the American Geophysical Union Meeting
Dec 19, 2008 • 24 min
Scientific American editor Davide Castelvecchi reports from the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) in San Francisco. Subjects include the extinction of the dinosaurs and the Orbiting Carbon Observatory. And CNET Senior Associate Editor…
Klaatu’s Back and He’s Not Happy
Dec 10, 2008 • 23 min
Scott Derrickson, director of the new version of The Day the Earth Stood Still, talks about his take on the iconic sci-fi movie. And Nobel laureate Richard Roberts discusses the importance of open-access science publishing. Plus, we’ll test your knowledge…
The Science of Pain
Dec 3, 2008 • 31 min
Stanford University pain expert Sean Mackey talks about the modern take on pain, how to treat it, why treatment is so important, and the relationship between pain and empathy. Plus, we’ll test your knowledge about some recent science in the news. Web…
Viruses against Disease; Going Batty for Bats
Nov 26, 2008 • 24 min
Scientific American editor in chief, John Rennie, talks about the contents of the December issue, including bat evolution and how magicians are helping neuroscience. And Boro Dropulic of Lentigen talks about converting viruses into disease fighters. Plus,…
Approval of Seals: Wildlife Docs and Their Exotic Patients
Nov 19, 2008 • 27 min
Some veterinarians treat animals much more exotic than the family pet. Jeffrey Boehm, executive director of the Marine Mammal Center, talks about the challenges of caring for sick sea mammals. And Alisa “Harley” Newton, a pathologist with the Wildlife…
Kayaking Antarctica with Jon Bowermaster
Nov 12, 2008 • 27 min
How a warming climate leads to freezing penguins, with journalist and author Jon Bowermaster, who has kayaked the world’s seas, most recently in Antarctica. And Cynthia Graber takes us on a tour with a new M.I.T. underwater autonomous vehicle. Plus, we’ll…
The Day After: Science in the Obama Administration
Nov 5, 2008 • 22 min
Stanford University biologist Sharon Long, a science advisor to the Barack Obama campaign, talks about science in the upcoming administration. Plus, we’ll test your knowledge of some recent science in the news. Web sites related to this episode include…
Cemetery Science: The Geology of Mausoleums
Oct 30, 2008 • 37 min
For Halloween, we take a tour of Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, N.Y., with geologist Sidney Horenstein and Woodlawn expert Susan Olsen, concentrating on the geology of the rock used in the memorials. Plus, we’ll test your knowledge of some recent science…
Today’s Alternative Energy; and November Issue Topics, Including Computer-Brain Interfaces and DNA Computing
Oct 22, 2008 • 28 min
Scientific American magazine editor in chief, John Rennie, talks about the November issue’s contents, including computer-brain interfaces, DNA computing, the ongoing attempts to find an HIV vaccine and getting closer to the Star Trek tricorder with…
More Than Pickles and Ice Cream: The Link Between Diet and Fertility
Oct 15, 2008 • 20 min
Harvard School of Public Health epidemiologist Walter Willett talks to SciAm correspondent Cynthia Graber about his latest book, The Fertility Diet as well as about the links between nutrition and health generally. Plus, we’ll test your knowledge of some…
Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about E. Coli, Part 2
Oct 9, 2008 • 21 min
Carl Zimmer continues his discussion of E. coli, the bacteria that are the subject of his new book Microcosm: E. Coli and the New Science of Life . Plus, we’ll test your knowledge about the Nobel Prizes awarded this week. Web sites mentioned in this…
Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about E. Coli, Part 1
Oct 8, 2008 • 26 min
Author and journalist Carl Zimmer talks about E. coli, the bacteria that are the subject of his new book Microcosm: E. Coli and the New Science of Life . Web sites mentioned in this episode include www.carlzimmer.com
Searching for Intelligence
Oct 1, 2008 • 28 min
Author and journalist Carl Zimmer talks about the search for the physiological and biological basis of intelligence, the subject of his article in the October issue of Scientific American magazine. And Editor in Chief John Rennie discusses other articles…
Earth 3.0
Sep 24, 2008 • 28 min
Scientific American editor Mark Fischetti talks about Earth 3.0, a new SciAm publication concerning energy, sustainability and the environment. And ScientificAmerican.com writer Larry Greenemeier discusses the interface between nanotech and biology. Plus,…
The Large Hadron Collider Goes to Work
Sep 11, 2008 • 30 min
Nobel Prize-winning physicist Frank Wilczek and Scientific American editor George Musser talk about the Large Hadron Collider, the most powerful particle accelerator ever built, which went online this week. Plus, we’ll test your knowledge about some…
Tom Friedman’s New Book—Hot, Flat, and Crowded
Sep 9, 2008 • 29 min
Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times columnist Tom Friedman discusses his new book, Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution—And How It Can Renew America . Plus, we’ll test your knowledge about some recent science in the news. Web sites…
Who’s Watching You: The Future of Privacy
Sep 3, 2008 • 28 min
Scientific American editor in chief, John Rennie, discusses the future of privacy and security, the subject of the September single-topic issue of Scientific American magazine. Plus, we’ll test your knowledge of some recent science in the news. Web sites…
Return of a Killer: Tuberculosis in Russia
Aug 27, 2008 • 29 min
Veteran journalist Merrill Goozner, director of the Integrity in Science project at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, discusses his series of articles for SciAm.com on the rise of tuberculosis in Russia. Plus, we’ll test your knowledge of…
What’s the Buzz: A Conversation with Buzz Aldrin
Aug 20, 2008 • 20 min
Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon, talks about solar energy, buses between the planets, the Constellation program, his time on the moon and his new animated movie, Fly Me to the Moon . Plus, we’ll test your knowledge of some recent science…
Superdove!: The Straight Poop on Pigeons
Aug 13, 2008 • 20 min
Courtney Humphries talks about her new book, Superdove: How the Pigeon Took Manhattan…And the World . Plus, we’ll test your knowledge of some recent science in the news. Web sites mentioned in this episode include www.birds.cornell.edu/pigeonwatch;…
Inside SciAm: The August Issue
Aug 8, 2008 • 14 min
In this special edition of Science Talk, Scientific American editor in chief, John Rennie, talks to Steve about the August issue of the magazine, which features articles on migraine, solar superstorms and self-cleaning materials
Inside China: Science, Technology, Energy and the Environment
Aug 6, 2008 • 28 min
Former Washington Post Beijing bureau chief, Philip Pan, author of Out of Mao’s Shadow: The Struggle for the Soul of a New China, discusses the science, technology, environment and culture of China with Scientific American ‘s David Biello, who recently…
Outsmarting Bombers; and A Warless Future?
Jul 30, 2008 • 27 min
IEEE Spectrum editor in chief, Glenn Zorpette, talks about high-tech attempts to battle improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in Iraq as well as the state of reconstruction of Iraq’s electricity grid. And journalist John Horgan talks about the possibility…
Visit to the Fair: Inside a Tech Expo
Jul 23, 2008 • 18 min
In this episode we feature five interviews conducted at the Digital Experience! computer and electronics expo that took place in New York City in June. Plus, we’ll test your knowledge of some recent science in the news. Web sites related to this episode…
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to String Theory
Jul 16, 2008 • 29 min
George Musser talks about his new book, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to String Theory . Plus, we’ll test your knowledge of some recent science in the news
The Long and Winding Road: DNA Evidence for Human Migration; Plus July Issue Highlights
Jul 7, 2008 • 30 min
Gary Stix discusses his July Scientific American cover article on DNA evidence for the history of human migration. And editor in chief, John Rennie, talks about the neuroscience of dance, the quantum cosmos and Rubik’s Cubes. Plus, we’ll test your…
Gott Ya: Astrophysicist J. Richard Gott on Time Travel and Presidential Polling
Jun 25, 2008 • 22 min
Princeton astrophysicist J. Richard Gott discusses some of the realities and speculations of time travel (one human holds the record for time travel—1/48 of a second) as well as how best to evaluate presidential election polling data. Plus, we’ll test…
One Singular Sensation: Will We Upload Our Brains, and Other Questions Related to “The Coming Singularity”
Jun 18, 2008 • 22 min
Glenn Zorpette, executive editor of IEEE Spectrum magazine, and journalist John Horgan discuss various ideas related to what some call “the coming singularity,” a point where computers will allegedly attain consciousness and superintelligence. Or not.…
The Happening: A Conversation with Director M. Night Shyamalan
Jun 12, 2008 • 23 min
M. Night Shyamalan’s new film, The Happening, involves an environmental backlash, the limits of reason and the beauty of math. SciAm editor George Musser discusses the film with the director. Plus, we’ll test your knowledge of some recent science in the…
Fact and Fiction: James Randi’s “Amaz!ng Meeting” and Mark Alpert’s Physics Novel, Final Theory
Jun 4, 2008 • 24 min
James Randi, famous debunker of frauds, talks about the “Amaz!ng Meeting” coming up in Las Vegas, and SciAm editor Mark Alpert discusses his new physics novel, Final Theory . Plus, we’ll test your knowledge of some recent science in the news. Web sites…
The Feral Biologist: A Talk with George Schaller; A Look in the June SciAm
May 28, 2008 • 26 min
The Wildlife Conservation Society’s George Schaller talks about his new book, “A Naturalist and Other Beasts,” which covers his 50 years of documenting important large animal species in the field. And Scientific American editor in chief, John Rennie,…
Little Brains, Big Brains: Latest Flores Hobbit News and the Intel Science Fair
May 21, 2008 • 22 min
Kate Wong brings us up to date on the ongoing research into fossils of the tiny human, called the Hobbit, found on the island of Flores. And Ivan Oransky reports from the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. Plus, Nobel laureate Gerald…
China Quake Update; Fictional Scientists; What’s New at SciAm.com
May 14, 2008 • 23 min
David Biello reports from China on the aftermath of the major earthquake that struck this week. Mark Alpert talks about the portrayal of scientists in fiction. And new online managing editor Ivan Oransky discusses what’s up on the Web site. Plus, we’ll…
Evolution Enclaves: Darwin the Botanist and Origins of Life Research
May 7, 2008 • 29 min
David Kohn, curator of the Darwin’s Garden exhibit at the New York Botanical Garden, discusses Darwin’s botanical studies. And Harvard Medical School’s Jack Szostak talks about research into the origins of life. Plus we’ll test your knowledge of some…
Plasma Physics: From Black Holes to Radio Reception
Apr 30, 2008 • 21 min
Plasma plays a big role from the ionosphere to black holes. Stanford physicist Roger Blandford explains plasma and its connection to black holes in a conversation with Scientific American ‘s JR Minkel. Plus, we’ll test your knowledge of some recent…
Can Science Save the Banana?
Apr 23, 2008 • 24 min
The banana is the world’s most important fruit. But it’s under threat from a disease spreading around the world. We’ll hear from Dan Koeppel, author of the book “Banana: The Fate of the Fruit That Changed the World.” And we’ll visit a Guatemala banana…
On The Shoulders of Giants: John Wheeler and Salome Waelsch
Apr 16, 2008 • 26 min
Physicist John Wheeler and geneticist Salome Waelsch both had incredibly long and fruitful careers, providing numerous fundamental insights in their respective fields. We’ll hear from Kenneth Ford, former director of the American Institute of Physics,…
Expelled Explained
Apr 9, 2008 • 28 min
A new movie, Expelled, claims that intelligent design is good science that is being censored by adherents to evolution, which is nothing but Darwinian dogma. Scientific American’s editor-in-chief, John Rennie, and podcast host Steve Mirsky discuss the…
A Scientists’ Bill of Rights?
Apr 2, 2008 • 28 min
Francesca Grifo from the Union of Concerned Scientists talks about the need for legislation to protect federal scientists. We’ll also hear from the UCS’s Kurt Gottfried and Anthony Robbins, who spoke at a press conference in Boston in February. And…
Baseball Science
Mar 26, 2008 • 23 min
Dan Gordon, editor of the new book “Your Brain On Cubs” from the Dana Foundation, talks about the neuroscience of baseball players and their fans. And statistician Shane Jensen of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School discusses attempts to get a…
For the Birds: A look at birds, habitat conservation and environmental economics
Mar 19, 2008 • 25 min
Ornithologist and conservation biologist Jeffrey Wells talks about birds and their roles as markers for environmental health. He also discusses the Boreal Forest, the Boreal Birdsong Initiative, the eBird research project (that you can assist) and his new…
Science and America’s Future
Mar 12, 2008 • 28 min
Argonne National Laboratory director Robert Rosner talks about the role of science in keeping America an economic leader. Plus, we’ll test your knowledge of some recent science in the news. Web sites mentioned on this episode include www.anl.gov
A Mars Rovers Once-Over
Mar 5, 2008 • 18 min
We look at the state of the rovers currently on Mars, the big accidental discovery by the Spirit rover, and the next-generation device slated to join them in 2010, the Mars Science Laboratory Rover. Interviews with Cornell’s Melissa Rice, the payload…
Arachnophilia! And War…What Was It Good for (in Human Evolution)?
Feb 27, 2008 • 23 min
Spider expert Greta Binford, from Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon, and her student MG Weber talk about the fascinating world of spiders. And economist Samuel Bowles, from the Santa Fe Institute, discusses the co-evolution of war and altruism.…
Science, Science Everywhere: AAAS Conference Highlights
Feb 22, 2008 • 23 min
In this episode, we’ll hear about the annual conference of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), which took place last week in Boston. Nobel Laureate and AAAS President David Baltimore talks about the ongoing challenges of HIV…
Fat Chance: Do Dietary Guidelines Actually Contribute to Obesity?
Feb 13, 2008 • 26 min
In this episode Albert Einstein College of Medicine public health researcher Paul Marantz questions whether dietary guidelines are counterproductive, and talks about the philosophy of recommendations based on population studies. We’ll hear a Valentine’s…
You Say Potato, I Say Cassava: Language, Culture and Perception
Feb 6, 2008 • 23 min
In this episode, University of California, Berkeley, linguist Alice Gaby talks about the relationships among language, culture, cognition and perception. Plus we’ll test your knowledge of some recent science in the news. Websites mentioned on this episode…
Knock, Knock, Hal’s There: Teaching Computers Humor; and the 50th Anniversary of America’s First Satellite
Jan 30, 2008 • 25 min
In this episode, University of Cincinnati researchers Lawrence Mazlack and Julia Taylor discuss their efforts to improve human-computer communications by teaching computers about contextual humor. And Carl Raggio, formerly of the Jet Propulsion…
What’s The Matter?: Cold Dark Matter and the Milky Way’s Missing Satellites
Jan 23, 2008 • 26 min
In this episode, Scientific American editor George Musser talks with Caltech Astronomer Josh Simon about dark matter, and about the efforts to try to locate the so-called missing satellites of the Milky Way—small galaxies that have yet to be found in the…
Mindful Motion: Miguel Nicolelis and Mind-Powered Robots; and Creating Science Cities in Brazil and Beyond
Jan 16, 2008 • 22 min
In this episode, Scientific American editor Christine Soares talks with Duke University neuroengineer Miguel Nicolelis about his groundbreaking work in controlling robot movement using only thoughts, as well as efforts to create science cities in Brazil…
Whose Phone Is It, Anyway: Did Bell Steal The Invention?
Jan 9, 2008 • 23 min
In this episode, journalist and author Seth Shulman talks about his new book, The Telephone Gambit, in which he produces compelling evidence that Alexander Graham Bell plagiarized a key element of the telephone. Plus we’ll test your knowledge of some…
Pay Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain: Sci Am’s History of Debunking
Jan 2, 2008 • 22 min
In this episode, Scientific American editor-in-chief John Rennie talks about the magazine’s history of involvement with efforts to debunk medical quakery and paranormal fakery, which included a fistfight between a Sci Am editor and Harry Houdini. And…
What’s In A Latin Name: The Legacy of Linnaeus
Dec 26, 2007 • 26 min
In this episode, Harvard naturalist and Pulitzer Prize-winning author EO Wilson talks about Linnaeus and the continuing effort to classify life on earth. From a talk given at the New York Botanical Garden on November 8th. Websites mentioned on this…
Here Comes the Sun—A Grand Plan for Solar Energy; and Sci Am’s New Body
Dec 19, 2007 • 25 min
In this episode, Scientific American editor Mark Fischetti talks about an audacious new plan, featured in the January issue of Scientific American, for turning the US into a solar-powered country. And editor-in-chief John Rennie talks about a new Sci Am…
Are There (Microbial) Aliens On Earth?
Dec 12, 2007 • 26 min
In this episode, theoretical physicist, cosmologist and astrobiologist Paul Davies ponders the question of whether life originated more than once on earth, and how to find examples of a second origin if it did. Plus we’ll test your knowledge of some…
Three Whiz Kids, Two Winning Projects And A Nobel Laureate
Dec 5, 2007 • 25 min
In this episode, Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology solo winner Isha Himani Jain and team titlist Janelle Schlossberger (who shared the win with Amanda Marinoff) discuss their projects. And lead judge Joseph Taylor, winner of the Nobel…
Neuroscience and the Law
Nov 28, 2007 • 23 min
In this episode, neuroscientist Michael Gazzaniga talks about neuroscience’s impact on legal practice, and The Law and Neuroscience Project, a new MacArthur Foundation effort, which he directs, to delineate the issues surrounding neuroscience and the law.…
The Science of Cheese; and Scientific American’s New Community
Nov 21, 2007 • 26 min
In this episode, University of Wisconsin-Madison cheese researcher Carol Chen explains the physics, chemistry and biology of cheese. And Scientific American’s Christie Nicholson talks about our new web community. Plus we’ll test your knowledge of some…
Need For New Nukes?; and News From Neuroscience
Nov 14, 2007 • 26 min
In this episode, Scientific American’s David Biello discusses his article on nuclear weaponry in the November issue of the magazine. And Scientific American Mind’s Karen Schrock talks about some of the highlights of the Neuroscience 2007 conference that…
The Ethics of Climate Change; and NOVA Does Dover
Nov 7, 2007 • 28 min
In this episode, University of Wisconsin-Madison public health expert Jonathan Patz talks about the ethical issues raised by climate change—who’s causing it and who suffers most from it. Also, writer and producer Joseph McMaster talks about the upcoming…
Quest for the Giant Pumpkin
Oct 31, 2007 • 22 min
In this episode, journalist Susan Warren, author of the new book Backyard Giants, talks about the art and science involved in the Quixotic quest to grow the world’s biggest pumpkins. Plus we’ll test your knowledge of some recent science in the news.…
Good Germs, Bad Germs
Oct 24, 2007 • 25 min
In this episode, journalist Jessica Snyder Sachs, author of the new book Good Germs, Bad Germs: Health and Survival in a Bacterial World, talks about the complex relationships between you and the numerous single-celled critters that live on and in you.…
Chickens and Pigs and Yeast, Oh My!: The Public Health Threat of Animal Diseases; and Gene Duplication in Evolution
Oct 17, 2007 • 26 min
In this episode, Scientific American news editor Phil Yam discusses how veterinarians, physicians and multinational food companies need to work together in the global fight against animal-borne infectious diseases; and University of Wisconsin evolutionary…
When Worlds Collide: The Ig Nobel and Nobel Prizes
Oct 10, 2007 • 24 min
In this episode, Ig Nobel Prize maven Marc Abrahams discusses this year’s crop of “winners.” And we’ll review the recipients of the 2007 real Nobel Prizes in science. Plus we’ll test your knowledge of some recent science in the news. Websites mentioned on…
The Final Frontier: Our Future in Space
Oct 3, 2007 • 23 min
In this episode, Scientific American editors George Musser and Steven Ashley discuss the special section of the October issue devoted to the future of space exploration. Plus we’ll test your knowledge of some recent science in the news.
Who Do You Think You Are: Chatting With Bots, and the Sexuality Spectrum
Sep 26, 2007 • 29 min
In this episode, pyschologist Robert Epstein talks about his articles in the upcoming issue of Scientific American Mind, on being fooled by a chatterbot—a computer program designed to make you think you’re communicating with a human—and on the spectrum of…
What’s In A Rose: Ethnobotany and the Search for Useful Plants
Sep 19, 2007 • 23 min
In this episode, ethnobotanist Nat Bletter talks about his field and his recent article about the new plant family Simulacraceae—the phony plants. Plus we’ll test your knowledge of some recent science in the news. Websites related to this episode include…
Can Fat Be Fit?
Sep 12, 2007 • 23 min
In this episode, award-winning journalist Paul Raeburn talks about his article in the September issue of Scientific American, called “Can Fat Be Fit?” as well as another piece he wrote as a sidebar to a feature, about losing weight and keeping it off.…
Putting Food on the Table: What to Eat
Sep 5, 2007 • 23 min
In this episode New York University’s Marion Nestle talks about her article in the September issue of Scientific American, called “Eating Made Simple.” Plus, we’ll test your knowledge of some recent science in the news. Web sites related to this episode…
Another Look at The World Without Us; and What’s New At Scientific American
Aug 29, 2007 • 21 min
In this episode, journalist Alan Weisman continues his discussion (started on the June 27th podcast) about his bestselling book “The World Without Us,” a massive thought experiment about the aftermath of humanity’s sudden disappearance. And Scientific…
The World Is Fat: Obesity Now Outweighs Hunger WorldWide
Aug 22, 2007 • 21 min
In this episode University of North Carolina Chapel Hill nutrition epidemiologist Barry Popkin discusses the growing problem of obesity, even in developing countries that only recently faced hunger as their primary diet challenge. Popkin is the author of…
Is Your Food Contaminated; New Orleans Now; And the Science of Dogs
Aug 15, 2007 • 22 min
In this episode Scientific American editor Mark Fischetti talks about the challenges of keeping the food supply safe and about the state of New Orleans hurricane preparedness. And journalist Jackie Mow discusses her new TV show about the science of dogs.…
Better Brains: The Revolution in Brain Science
Aug 8, 2007 • 28 min
In this episode Scientific American correspondent Christie Nicholson talks to journalist Sharon Begley about the changing landscape of brain science. Begley is the author of the book “Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain.” Plus we’ll test your knowledge of…
Is Privacy Dead? Technological Approaches to the Technological Threat
Aug 1, 2007 • 24 min
In this episode Carnegie Mellon University computer scientist Latanya Sweeney talks about the changes in privacy due to data collection and approaches to protect privacy in the future, with Scientific American contributor Chip Walter. Plus we’ll test your…
Saddle Up That Stegosaurus—A Visit to the Creation Museum
Jul 25, 2007 • 27 min
In this episode Columbia College Chicago’s Stephen Asma discusses the new antievolution Creation Museum in Petersburg, Ky., as well as his books on natural history museums and monsters, both mythological and teratological. Plus, we’ll test your knowledge…
Space For Both?—Human Vs. Robotic Space Missions
Jul 18, 2007 • 24 min
In this episode Cornell University astronomer Jim Bell talks about future space missions and why people need to be part of them. Bell is the leader of the team operating the color cameras on the Mars rovers, and the author of the book Postcards From Mars…
Systems Biology: The Future of Biomedical Science?
Jul 11, 2007 • 19 min
In this episode eminent biologist Leroy Hood, founder of the Institute for Systems Biology, talks about systems biology, an approach to understanding complex biological systems in their entirety, with major implications for the future of medicine. Plus…
Benjamin Franklin the Scientist
Jul 4, 2007 • 18 min
In this Fourth of July episode, historian Joyce Chaplin discusses Benjamin Franklin the scientist, and how his science paved the way for his future career as a diplomat and elder statesman of the Revolution. She is the author of the book “The First…
The World Without Us: Suppose Humans Just Vanished—Then What?
Jun 27, 2007 • 26 min
In this episode, journalist Alan Weisman, Laureate Associate Professor in Journalism and Latin American Studies at the University of Arizona, discusses his new book “The World Without Us,” a massive thought experiment about the aftermath of humanity’s…
Why We Eat, Eat and Eat Some More; and Remembering Mr. Wizard
Jun 20, 2007 • 23 min
In this episode, Brian Wansink, eating behaviorist and director of the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab, talks about “Mindless Eating” habits; and Doug Lane, who was once a youngster on the Mr. Wizard TV series, remembers his time with the late Don…
Jared Diamond on the State of the World Environment
Jun 13, 2007 • 22 min
In this episode, biologist, ecologist and Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Jared Diamond discusses the environmental state of the world and the relationship between the environment and economics and politics in remarks at a recent benefit for the…
Mark Twain: Fossil Hunter and Science Writer
Jun 6, 2007 • 28 min
In this episode, Mark Twain scholar Michael Pratt from Elmira College talks about Twain’s paleontological activities and his general interest in science and technology. And host Steve Mirsky reads from a Twain essay rebutting some anthropocentric views of…
How Cargo Containers Shrank the World and Transformed Trade; and Smart Skylights
May 30, 2007 • 22 min
In this episode, Maritime History Professor Arthur Donovan talks about cargo containerization and how it transformed world markets. And architect Paul Topogna discusses skylights that change shape for more effective heating, cooling and UV control. Plus…
Lying in Weight: The Hidden Epidemic of Eating Disorders in Adult Women (And A Few Men)
May 23, 2007 • 23 min
In this episode, molecular biologist and journalist Trisha Gura discusses her new book, Lying In Weight, about eating disorders in adult, even elderly, women, as well as a small percentage of men. Plus we’ll test your knowledge of some recent science in…
The Encyclopedia of Life; and the End of John Horgan’s Pessimism
May 16, 2007 • 28 min
In this episode, Pulitzer Prize-winning scientist and writer E.O. Wilson talks to award-winning journalist John Horgan about the Encyclopedia of Life project and finding common ground between science and religion. And Horgan, the Director of the Center…
Beer Science; And A Cancer Research Report
May 9, 2007 • 26 min
In this episode, University of California, Davis, professor Charles Bamforth talks about beer science. And journalist Kevin Begos discusses the centennial meeting of the American Association For Cancer Research. Plus we’ll test your knowedge of some…
Small Matters: Microbes In Us And The Environment
May 2, 2007 • 24 min
In this episode, Stanford’s David Relman talks about the microbial life that lives on and in humans. Princeton’s Andrew Dobson discusses the importance of parasites to an ecosystem. And former National Science Foundation director Rita Colwell mentions a…
Peer Review of Peer Review; and the Franklin Institute Awards
Apr 25, 2007 • 24 min
In this episode, Scientific American editor-in-chief John Rennie discusses peer review of scientific literature, the subject of a panel he recently served on at the World Conference of Science Journalists. He also talks about some out-of-the-box thinking…
Atul Gawande, Author of Better: A Surgeon’s Notes on Performance
Apr 18, 2007 • 28 min
In this episode, surgeon, writer and MacArthur grantee Atul Gawandee talks about his new book Better, which focuses on performance as a science. Plus we’ll test your knowledge about recent science in the news. Website mentioned on this episode include…
Catching Corrupted Photos; and Big Bird Brains
Apr 11, 2007 • 24 min
In this episode, animal behavior expert Bernd Heinrich discusses his article in the April issue of Scientific American on animal intelligence, and Adobe Systems scientists David Story and Martin Newell talk about methods in development to enable…
Baseball Science
Apr 4, 2007 • 25 min
In this episode, former big league pitcher Dr. Dave Baldwin talks about his run-in with Ted Williams, his life in science, the physics of the gyroball versus the slider, and how he finally made it to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Plus we’ll test your…
Alcoholism and Genetics; and Why Aren’t the Pioneer Spacecraft Where They Should Be?
Mar 28, 2007 • 26 min
In this episode, psychiatric geneticist Laura Jean Bierut talks about her article in the April Scientific American about the influence of genes on alcoholism. And Scientific American editor George Musser discusses the March 26th Isaac Asimov Memorial…
Naturally Speaking: Finding Nature’s Treasure Trove with the Global Ocean Sampling Expedition; and Natural Products Chemistry
Mar 21, 2007 • 23 min
In this episode, the J. Craig Venter Institute’s senior computational biologist Douglas Rusch talks about the Global Ocean Sampling Expedition’s genomic treasure hunt and the first batch of research results that just came out. We’ll also talk about an…
Made To Stick: Crafting Memorable Messages; and Cycling For Days On A Gallon Of Gas
Mar 14, 2007 • 23 min
In this episode, Stanford University’s Chip Heath talks about his book Made To Stick, which discusses the secrets behind crafting messages and ideas that capture the imagination; and Nick Goddard discusses the experiment he did to find out how far he…
Leave It To Beaver (To Return To New York City); and AccesScience ‘07, Communicating Science To Everyone
Mar 7, 2007 • 22 min
In this episode, the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Stephen Sautner and John Delaney talk about the appearance of a beaver in New York City for the first time in 200 years and journalist and author Alan Weisman talks about our reaction to the event and…
Who Speaks For Science?
Feb 28, 2007 • 23 min
In this episode, Scientific American contributing editor Wayt Gibbs talks about a session at the recent meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science devoted to the question of scientific authority: who has it, how they got it and…
No Laughing Matter: Mo Rocca On Humor Theory; Report From the AAAS Conference
Feb 21, 2007 • 27 min
In this episode, TV essayist and radio host Mo Rocca talks about the science of comedy and vice versa; and journalist Corinna Wu reports on the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Plus we’ll test your knowledge about…
My Unfunny Valentine: The Truth About Online Dating; and The Myelin Repair Foundation—A New Model For Outcome-Oriented Biomedical Research
Feb 14, 2007 • 27 min
In this episode, Scientific American Mind contributing editor Robert Epstein talks about the pitfalls and potential of online dating. And Myelin Repair Foundation founder Scott Johnson talks about how the foundation is accelerating the search for multiple…
The Heat IS On: International Global Warming Consensus; and Academy Award Winning Audio Science
Feb 7, 2007 • 27 min
In this episode, SciAm.com associate editor David Biello discusses the report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released last week in Paris; Academy Award Winner and Dolby Laboratories Senior VP Ioan Allen talks about the cyan dye audio…
TV Of Tomorrow; Battle Of The Science Journals; US Budget Crunch Threatens National Lab
Jan 31, 2007 • 24 min
In this episode, journalist Michael Antonoff, author of the article Digital TV At Last? in the February issue of Scientific American, talks about the upcoming switch to all digital television broadcasting, scheduled to take place February 17, 2009;…
Good News About Coffee And Amazing Skeptic Conference
Jan 24, 2007 • 22 min
In this episode, food ingredient expert Roger A. Clemens discusses research suggesting that coffee drinking has numerous beneficial health effects. Scientific American editor-in-chief John Rennie talks about pseudoscience and paranormal debunker The…
Better Ways To Cut A Cake and To Pick A Champion
Jan 17, 2007 • 23 min
In this episode, mathematician Michael Jones talks about improved methodologies for cake cutting. (It involves the equitability of the division, not the sharpness of the knife.) Los Alamos National Laboratory theoretician Eli Ben-Naim talks about relative…
The Inevitability Of Cancer’s Commonality; and High School Math Whiz
Jan 10, 2007 • 22 min
In this episode, author and journalist Carl Zimmer talks about his Scientific American article Evolved For Cancer?, which looks at how natural selection has led to what appears to be an inevitable tendency for human beings to develop the disease. Dmitry…
Tears And Other Traits That Make Us Human; What Color Is Your Placebo Parachute
Jan 3, 2007 • 22 min
In this episode, journalist Chip Walter, author of Thumbs, Toes and Tears, takes us on a tour of the physical traits that are unique to humans, with special attention to crying, the subject of his article in the current issue of Scientific American MIND.…
Rampaging Robots and Killer Komodos
Dec 27, 2006 • 26 min
In this episode, robotics writer Daniel Wilson talks about his book How To Survive A Robot Uprising: Tips On Defending Yourself Against The Coming Rebellion. Naturalist Kurt Auffenberg from the University of Florida talks about wrangling Komodo Dragons.…
Radioactive Spy Dust and the Litvinenko Case; Ode To Grad Students
Dec 20, 2006 • 16 min
In this episode, Michigan State University historian of science Kristie Macrakis discusses the use of radioactive isotopes in the cloak and dagger world of cold war espionage, and what it tells us about the polonium poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko.…
Nobel Laureate Harold Varmus and Rocky the Flying Mesozoic Mammal
Dec 13, 2006 • 27 min
In this episode, Nobel Prize winner Harold Varmus talks about the challenges facing the U.S. in science and technology competitiveness and some possible plans of action, related to the Brookings Institution’s Hamilton Project. And the American Museum of…
Singing New Songs: Urban Birds Vocalize Differently; Insurance Industry Worries About Warming
Dec 6, 2006 • 20 min
In this episode, Leiden University bird song expert Hans Slabbekorrn notes the changes in bird vocalizations when they move from the forest to the city. And we wrap up our series on Scientific American magazine’s “SA 50” citations with Ivo Menzinger,…
Tomorrow’s Newspapers and Next Week’s Cars
Nov 29, 2006 • 19 min
In this episode, MIT Communications Forum Director David Thorburn discusses the future of newspapers and news in light of new technology. Scientific American editor Steve Ashley talks about the magazine’s “SA 50” picks in the areas of automobile and fuel…
Tiny Technology and Talking Turkey
Nov 22, 2006 • 20 min
In this episode, Scientific American’s “SA 50” research leader of the year, MIT’s Angela Belcher, discusses her work using viruses and other organisms to help create nanoelectronics. Animal behaviorist and turkey expert Richard Buchholz brings us up to…
Looking Into the Future At The World Science Forum; Poetry And Science with Nobel Laureate Roald Hoffmann
Nov 15, 2006 • 17 min
In this episode, Scientific American editor-in-chief John Rennie talks about the World Science Forum, held in New York City last week. Forum speaker Mike Roco, nanotechnology advisor to the National Science Foundation, shares some thoughts about our tiny…
Hide and Seen: Gestures and Facial Expressions Help Communication; Government Attempts to Keep Science Information Hidden
Nov 8, 2006 • 22 min
In this episode, Scientific American Mind executive editor Mariette Dichristina talks about a special section of the magazine devoted to the roles of gestures and facial expressions in communications. A panel discussion of government secrecy at the annual…
Shocking Research: Electroshock Therapy and Stem Cells
Nov 1, 2006 • 19 min
In this episode, journalist Larry Tye talks about his new book, SHOCK, written with electroshock patient Kitty Dukakis, wife of former governor and presidential candidate Michael Dukakis. Following Tye, Charles Welch, director of the Massachusetts General…
The Making of the Fittest: A Conversation with Evolutionary Biologist Sean Carroll
Oct 25, 2006 • 20 min
In this episode, evolutionary biologist Sean Carroll talks about his new book, “The Making of the Fittest: DNA and the Ultimate Forensic Record of Evolution.” Even without fossils or comparative anatomy, vast amounts of evidence for evolution and its…
Test Tube Babies; Old Time Radio; What’s In A Name
Oct 18, 2006 • 19 min
In this episode, journalist Robin Marantz Henig discusses a TV program airing on October 23 based in part on Pandora’s Baby, the title of her book and Scientific American article about the early days of In Vitro Fertilization. JJ Mirsky talks about the…
Virus-State Electronics; Baseball Oddsmaking; Star Trek Memorabilia Auction
Oct 11, 2006 • 20 min
In this episode, journalist Philip Ross discusses his article in the October Scientific American, called “Viral Nanoelectronics,” about wires, batteries and microchips constructed out of viruses. New Jersey Institute of Technology mathematics professor…
Judging Science: Making Judges Scientifically Literate; Eating Like An Animal; Listener Mail
Oct 4, 2006 • 20 min
Court cases increasingly deal with complex science and technical issues. And the last time some judges were in a science classroom was before Watson and Crick published the structure of DNA (or at least before the beginning of the Human Genome Project).…
Six Big Science Debates; Missions to Map Planets; Breaking Down Barriers: Women in Science
Sep 27, 2006 • 20 min
Last week, the National Academy of Sciences and other institutions released a report titled Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering. Maria Zuber, head of the department of Earth, Atmospheric and…
Human Evolution Fossil Find and Oil Company Conservation Comments
Sep 20, 2006 • 20 min
A major paleoanthropological fossil find was announced on September 20th. Donald Johanson is the director of the Institute of Human Origins and professor of human origins at Arizona State University, and is the discoverer of the famous Lucy fossil more…
Nuclear Energy’s Future, the Mouse-Cheese Relationship
Sep 13, 2006 • 20 min
In this episode, MIT physicist Ernest Moniz discusses the future of nuclear energy and the article he co-authored in the September issue of Scientific American called The Nuclear Option. David Holmes of Manchester Metropolitan University talks about the…
Dark Matter; New Daily Scientific American Podcast, 60-Second Science; Steve Irwin, the “Crocodile Hunter”
Sep 6, 2006 • 23 min
In this episode, MIT astrophysicist Paul Schechter offers some perspective on recent research about the universe’s mysterious “dark matter.” Journalist Karen Hopkin and host Steve Mirsky talk about the new daily Scientific American podcast, called…
The Teen Brain; Flipping Magnetic Poles; What’s Pluto?
Aug 30, 2006 • 19 min
In this episode, journalist Leslie Sabbagh discusses the teen brain, the subject of her cover story in the August/September issue of Scientific American Mind. Geologist Kip Hodges, the director of the Arizona State University School of Earth and Space…
Scientific American Magazine single topic issue—Energy’s Future: Beyond Carbon; and Well-Read Doctors.
Aug 23, 2006 • 20 min
In this episode, Scientific American editor-in-chief John Rennie talks about the September, single-topic issue of the magazine, the focus of which is Energy’s Future: Beyond Carbon. He also explains the Emmy Award in his home. And University of East…
Is the Universe Bigger and Older; and the Status of Pluto.
Aug 16, 2006 • 20 min
In this episode, Scientific American editor George Musser explains recent research that could mean that the entire universe is 15 percent bigger and about two billion years older than previously thought. Plus, Pluto expert and MIT professor Richard…
EPA Pesticide Controversy and Impact Astronomy
Aug 9, 2006 • 20 min
In this episode, journalist Paul Raeburn talks about how the Environmental Protection Agency has been taking a long time, decades in fact, to figure out how to handle some potentially dangerous chemicals. And astronomer and geologist Peter Schultz talks…
The Expert Mind and the Interplanetary Bicycle Ride
Aug 2, 2006 • 19 min
In this episode, Phil Ross talks about what scientists have learned is necessary to achieve expertise in virtually any field. Ross’s article on the subject, The Expert Mind, is in the August issue of Scientific American. And Sheldon Schafer, who sports…
The Mountain/Climate Relation and Patient Safety
Jul 26, 2006 • 19 min
In this episode, geologist Kip Hodges discusses how climate and mountain evolution influence each other in the Himalayas, the subject of his article in the August issue of Scientific American. And former astronaut Dr. James Bagian, currently the director…
Space Shuttle and Fingerprints
Jul 19, 2006 • 20 min
In this episode, former astronaut Dr. James Bagian, currently the director of the Department of Veterans Affairs National Center for Patient Safety, talks about being in space and safety issues related to the shuttle. And Max Houck, director of the…
CSI Reality and Coke/Pepsi Espionage
Jul 12, 2006 • 22 min
In this episode, Max Houck, director of the Forensic Science Initiative at West Virginia University and author of the July Scientific American article “CSI: Reality,” talks about the effect the CSI shows have had in the real world and about real crime…
Ice Cream Science
Jul 5, 2006 • 22 min
In this episode, we go to the research and development facility of Ben and Jerry’s in Vermont, to talk about the science of ice cream. We’ll talk to Derek Spors, ice cream scientician (a.k.a. “senior product developer-food technology”) and Eric Fredette,…
Bering Sea, radiation, historic tortoise.
Jun 28, 2006 • 22 min
In this episode, science writer Karen de Seve shares her adventures in the Bering Sea; journalist Dr. John Miller talks about a radiation health conference; and taxonomist and paleontologist Scott Thomson discusses the late Harriet the tortoise. Plus…
Pulitzer Prize-winning naturalist Edward O. Wilson
Jun 21, 2006 • 23 min
In this episode, the special guest is renowned biologist and author Edward O. Wilson. First we’ll hear clips from a talk he gave last week at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, in conjunction with the publication of his new book,…
Evolution Update
Jun 14, 2006 • 22 min
In this episode, freelance reporter Beth Baldwin talks about some of the goings-on at the recent annual meeting of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution, entitled “Genomes, Evolution, and Bioinformatics.” And Kate Wong, Scientific American’s…
A Walk in the Park: Central Park and the Spring Bird Migration.
Jun 7, 2006 • 21 min
In this episode, Liz Johnson and Felicity Arengo from the American Museum of Natural History take Scientific American podcast host Steve Mirsky for a walk in the park—Central Park—to talk about the spring bird migration and the role that Central Park and…
Future of the Internet: Net Neutrality, the Semantic Web, plus some comments on science by the mayor of New York.
May 31, 2006 • 24 min
In this episode, Jeff Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, talks about legislation that will decide the future of “network neutrality.” Net neutrality means that transmission rates to and from all websites are the same, rather…
In Search of Memory: An Interview with Nobel Laureate Eric Kandel
May 24, 2006 • 27 min
In this episode, the guest is Eric Kandel, recipient of the 2000 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine. Kandel discusses his research, his personal background and their intersection. He talks about what kinds of scientific investigation he finds most…
Inside the Tevatron; the Human-Computer Interface; DNA Computing.
May 17, 2006 • 31 min
In this episode, Scientific American editor Mark Alpert talks about his trip inside the Tevatron, the world’s most powerful particle accelerator, at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, and the future of the Tevatron, specifically for neutrino…
The Environment: birds; strategic conservation; big cats.
May 10, 2006 • 27 min
In this episode, Cambridge conservation scientist Andrew Balmford discusses the state of the world’s birds; the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s Rex Johnson talks about a new, strategic approach to conservation (both men were presenters at the recent…
Nobel Laureate Frank Wilczek and Betsy Devine.
May 3, 2006 • 31 min
In this episode, Nobel Prize winning physicist Frank Wilczek talks about his new book, Fantastic Realities, as well as his research and the current and future state of physics. His wife, Betsy Devine, talks about taking the phone call from Stockholm…
Early Universe, Benjamin Franklin Science, Evolution Education.
Apr 26, 2006 • 29 min
In this episode, physicist William Zajc talks about how the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider at the Brookhaven National Laboratory is giving scientists a glimpse into what the universe was like in its first microseconds of existence; historian Joyce…
Hybrid Cars, Drosophila Maggots, the Tribal Mind.
Apr 19, 2006 • 25 min
In this episode, physicist and energy consultant Joseph Romm talks about the next generation of hybrid cars and his Scientific American article on that subject; biologist Matthew Cobb discusses a recently concluded science conference devoted to fruit fly…
Animal intelligence, Mars Rovers, Alcohol and Cardiovascular Health.
Apr 12, 2006 • 25 min
In this episode, the conclusion of a two-part interview with anthropologist Carel Van Schaik about intelligence in animals; astronomer Steven Squyres talks about the current state of the Mars Rovers Spirit and Opportunity; and cardiologist Arthur Klatsky…
Animal intelligence, Einstein, Szilard and the bomb, sustainable development.
Apr 5, 2006 • 24 min
In this episode, the first of a two-part interview with anthropologist Carel Van Schaik about the role of culture in boosting intelligence in animals; historian and writer William Lanouette discusses an upcoming History Channel program about the roles of…
Attacking antibiotic resistance; William Shockley biography; flu data policy.
Mar 29, 2006 • 22 min
In this episode, Scientific American writer Gary Stix talks about the ingenious way researcher Floyd Romesberg is attacking the problem of antibiotic resistance; award-winning journalist Joel Shurkin discusses his new biography of controversial physics…
Combat stress, Intel high school science competition, GLOBE At Night astronomy project
Mar 22, 2006 • 21 min
In this episode, clinical psychologist and U.S. Army Captain Bret Moore discusses combat stress in Iraq and his article on combat stress in the February/March issue of Scientific American Mind; Intel Science Talent Search winner Shannon Babb talks about…
Flores hobbit update, chemistry in art, environmental impostors.
Mar 15, 2006 • 21 min
In this episode, Scientific American.com editorial director Kate Wong talks about the anthropology community’s latest take on the remains of tiny humans from Flores; chemist Jennifer Mass discusses how she uses her science background artistically; and…
Genetics of longevity, diaper-free movement, possible plane problems from personal electronics
Mar 8, 2006 • 20 min
In this episode, biologist Lenny Guarente talks about his Scientific American article on the genetics of aging; anthropologist Meredith Small discusses the “diaper-free movement”; and computer engineer M. Granger Morgan talks about the possible dangers to…
Cosmic ray threat, sasquatch DNA, geochemist cook
Mar 1, 2006 • 22 min
In this episode, astrophysicist Eugene Parker talks about his Scientific American article on the threat that cosmic rays pose to astronauts; geneticist Dave Coltman discusses testing the DNA of an alleged sasquatch; and geochemist Don Siegel discusses how…
Computer security, curling, AAAS meeting
Feb 22, 2006 • 25 min
In this episode, Scientific American senior writer Wayt Gibbs talks about what he learned at a major computer security conference, the RSA Conference 2006; physicist Mark Shegelski reveals some of the science secrets about the Olympic sport of curling;…
Avian flu, marijuana policy, new tyrannosaur
Feb 15, 2006 • 20 min
In this episode, Scientific American staff editor Christine Soares talks about avian flu; Bruce Mirken discusses marijuana policy in the U.S. and England; and paleontologist Gregory Erickson describes the newfound long-lost cousin of T. rex. Also: test…
Evolution, stem cells and the National Inventors Hall of Fame
Feb 8, 2006 • 16 min
In this episode, Scientific American editor-in-chief John Rennie reflects on the Korean stem cell debacle; the National Inventors Hall of Fame announces this year’s inductees; and evolution defender Eugenie Scott discusses the importance of the decision…