Undiscovered

Undiscovered

www.wnycstudios.org/shows/undiscovered
A podcast about the left turns, missteps, and lucky breaks that make science happen.
Not Your Subject
Nov 13 • 30 min
In U.S. cancer research, the most promising clinical trials are done mostly on white patients, which means people of color—and especially African Americans—are underrepresented in research that might save their lives. In this episode, a young, black…
This Headline Might Kill You
Nov 6 • 27 min
In this Undiscovered Cares Report, Annie and Elah dig into a scary science headline to help Elah’s friend, David, figure out how scared he should be that his B12 vitamins will give him lung cancer. And we find out how—even with top-notch scientists,…
Party Lines
Oct 30 • 29 min
In 2016, a North Carolina legislator announced that his party would be redrawing the state’s congressional district map with a particular goal in mind: To elect “10 Republicans and three Democrats.” His reasoning for this? As he explained, he did “not…
The Long Loneliness
Oct 23 • 34 min
Americans haven’t always loved whales and dolphins. In the 1950s, the average American thought of whales as the floating raw materials for margarine, animal feed, and fertilizer—if they thought about whales at all. But twenty-five years later, things had…
Turtle v. Snake
Oct 16 • 34 min
Travis Thomas is a rookie turtle researcher in Florida. He was on the verge of publishing his first big paper and naming two new species of turtle when he found out he’d been scooped by a stranger in Australia: Raymond Hoser, a.k.a. the Snake Man. Raymond…
Guest Episode: The Infinite God
Oct 9 • 28 min
This week, Annie and Elah share an episode from one of their favorite podcasts, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Sum of All Parts. For years, Robert Schneider lived the indie rocker’s dream, producing landmark records and fronting his band, The…
Plants And Prejudice
Oct 2 • 30 min
Are non-native species all that bad, or are we just prejudiced against “the Other”? In the San Francisco Bay Area, one particular foreign species has been dividing environmentalists for years: the blue gum eucalyptus. Eucalyptus opponents say it’s a…
The Magic Machine
Sep 25 • 36 min
As a critical care doctor, Jessica Zitter has seen plenty of “Hail Mary” attempts to save dying patients go bad—attempts where doctors try interventions that don’t change the outcome, but do lead to more patient suffering. It’s left her distrustful of…
The Holdout
Sep 18 • 32 min
Since the 1980s, Gerta Keller, professor of paleontology and geology at Princeton, has been speaking out against an idea most of us take as scientific gospel: That a giant rock from space killed the dinosaurs. Nice story, she says—but it’s just not true.…
I, Robovie
Sep 11 • 33 min
A decade ago, psychologists introduced a group of kids to Robovie, a wide-eyed robot who could talk, play, and hug like a pro. And then, the researchers did something heartbreaking to Robovie! They wanted to see just how far kids’ empathy for a robot…
Undiscovered Is Back For Season 2
Sep 4 • 2 min
Annie and Elah are back with tales of dinosaurs, robots, and more!
Mouse’s Vineyard: Update!
Aug 23 • 35 min
It’s been two years since we followed MIT scientist Kevin Esvelt to Martha’s Vineyard. Has he created his Lyme-fighting super-mouse? We follow up.
Mouse’s Vineyard
Jun 27, 2017 • 29 min
Martha’s Vineyard has a Lyme disease problem. Now a scientist is coming to town with a possible fix: genetically engineered mice. An island associated with summer rest and relaxation is gaining a reputation for something else: Lyme disease. Martha’s…
Kurt Vonnegut and the Rainmakers
Jun 20, 2017 • 31 min
In the mid 1940s, no one would publish Kurt Vonnegut’s stories. But when he gets hired as a press writer at General Electric, the company’s fantastical science inspires some of his most iconic—and best-selling—novels. Every snowflake is unique—except they…
The Wastebook
Jun 13, 2017 • 31 min
After a senator calls her research a waste of taxpayer dollars, biologist Sheila Patek heads to Capitol Hill to prove what her science is worth. In December 2015, the fight over science funding got personal for biologist Sheila Patek. She discovered that…
Six Degrees
Jun 6, 2017 • 32 min
Are you just six handshakes away from every other person on Earth? Two mathematicians set out to prove we’re all connected. You have probably heard the phrase “six degrees of separation,” the idea that you’re connected to everyone else on Earth by a chain…
Sick and Tired
May 30, 2017 • 30 min
When researchers publish a new study on chronic fatigue syndrome, a group of patients cry foul—and decide to investigate for themselves. A landmark study on chronic fatigue syndrome sets off a multi-year battle between patients and scientists. On one…
Born This Gay
May 23, 2017 • 33 min
At the turn of the 20th century, a German doctor sets out to prove that homosexuality is rooted in biology—but his research has consequences he never intended. In pre-Nazi Germany, a doctor named Magnus Hirschfeld sets out to take down Paragraph 175, a…
The Meteorite Hunter
May 15, 2017 • 32 min
Deep in Antarctica, a rookie meteorite hunter helps collect a mystery rock. Could it be a little piece of Mars? In Antarctica, the wind can tear a tent to pieces. During some storms, the gusts are so powerful, you can’t leave the safety of your shelter.…
Boss Hua and the Black Box
May 9, 2017 • 37 min
A team of social scientists stumbles onto a cache of censored Chinese social media posts—and decides to find out what the Chinese government wants wiped from the internet. On China’s most influential microblogging platform, a wristwatch aficionado named…
Hi! We are Undiscovered.
May 2, 2017 • 2 min
We’re a podcast about the left turns, false starts, and lucky breaks that move science forward.