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Apr 19 • 64 min
In 1903 the US Supreme Court refused to say that Isabel González was a citizen of the United States. Then again, they said, she wasn’t a exactly an immigrant either. And they said that the US territory of Puerto Rico, Isabel’s home, was “foreign to the…
For Whom the Cowbell Tolls
Mar 29 • 57 min
When Nancy Holten was 8 years old her mom put her in a moving van. She fell asleep, woke up in Switzerland, and she’s been there ever since. Nancy is big into animal rights, crystals, and various forms of natural and holistic healing. She’s also a viral…
Mar 21 • 51 min
This week Jad and Radiolab alum Tim Howard revisit a favorite episode from 2012. Because moments of total, world-shaking bliss are not easy to come by. Maybe that’s what makes them feel so life-altering when they strike. And so worth chasing. This hour:…
Asking for Another Friend
Mar 7 • 78 min
Part 2: Last year, we ran a pair of episodes that explored the greatest mysteries in our listeners’ lives - the big ones, little ones, and the ones in between. This year, we’re back on the hunt, tracking down answers to the big little questions swirling…
Asking for a Friend
Feb 28 • 67 min
Last year, we ran a pair of episodes that explored the greatest mysteries in our listeners’ lives - the big ones, little ones, and the ones in between. This year, we’re back on the hunt, tracking down answers to the big little questions swirling around…
Feb 21 • 62 min
Our lives are filled with loops that hurt us, heal us, make us laugh, and, sometimes, leave us wanting more. This hour, Radiolab revisits the strange things that emerge when something happens, then happens again, and again, and again, and again, and…
The Beauty Puzzle
Feb 8 • 42 min
When a female animal is checking out her prospects, natural selection would dictate that she pay attention to how healthy, or strong, or fit he is. But when it comes to finding a mate, some animals seem to be engaged in a very different game. What if a…
More Perfect: Sex Appeal
Jan 22 • 53 min
With Ruth Bader Ginsburg in the news and on the big screen recently, we decided to play the More Perfect show about her from back in November of 2017. This is the story of how Ginsburg, as a young lawyer at the ACLU, convinced an all-male Supreme Court to…
The Punchline
Jan 16 • 52 min
John Scott was the professional hockey player that every fan loved to hate. A tough guy. A brawler. A goon. But when an impish pundit named Puck Daddy called on fans to vote for Scott to play alongside the world’s greatest players in the NHL All-Star…
BONUS: Radiolab Scavenger Hunt
Dec 28, 2018 • 18 min
The question we get more than any other here at Radiolab is “Where do all those stories come from?” Today, for the first time ever, we divulge our secret recipe for story-finding. Veteran Radiolab story scout Latif Nasser takes our newest producer Rachael…
A Clockwork Miracle
Dec 27, 2018 • 21 min
As legend goes, in 1562, King Philip II needed a miracle. So he commissioned one from a highly-skilled clockmaker. In this short, a king’s deal with God leads to an intricate mechanical creation, and Jad heads to the Smithsonian to investigate. When the…
Dec 21, 2018 • 58 min
How do you fix a word that’s broken? A word we need when we bump into someone on the street, or break someone’s heart. In our increasingly disconnected secular world, “sorry” has been stretched and twisted, and in some cases weaponized. But it’s also one…
UnErased: Smid
Nov 27, 2018 • 49 min
Today on Radiolab, we’re playing the fourth and final episode of a series Jad worked on called UnErased: The history of conversion therapy in America. Imagine… You’re openly gay. Then, you become the leader of the largest ex-gay organization and, under…
UnErased: Dr. Davison and the Gay Cure
Nov 21, 2018 • 41 min
Today on Radiolab, we’re playing part of a series that Jad worked on called UnErased: The history of conversion therapy in America. The episode we’re playing today, the third in the series, is one of the rarest stories of all: a man who publicly…
Tweak the Vote
Nov 5, 2018 • 66 min
Democracy is on the ropes. In the United States and abroad, citizens of democracies are feeling increasingly alienated, disaffected, and powerless. Some are even asking themselves a question that feels almost too dangerous to say out loud: is democracy…
War of the Worlds
Oct 30, 2018 • 58 min
It’s been 80 years to the day since Orson Welles’ infamous radio drama “The War of the Worlds” echoed far and wide over the airwaves. So we want to bring you back to our very first live hour, where we take a deep dive into what was one of the most…
In the No Part 3
Oct 25, 2018 • 27 min
In the final episode of our “In The No” series, we sat down with several different groups of college-age women to talk about their sexual experiences. And we found that despite colleges now being steeped in conversations about consent, there was another…
In the No Part 2
Oct 19, 2018 • 39 min
In the year since accusations of sexual assault were first brought against Harvey Weinstein, our news has been flooded with stories of sexual misconduct, indicting very visible figures in our public life. Most of these cases have involved unequivocal…
In the No Part 1
Oct 11, 2018 • 55 min
In 2017, radio-maker Kaitlin Prest released a mini-series called “No” about her personal struggle to understand and communicate about sexual consent. That show, which dives into the experience, moment by moment, of navigating sexual intimacy, struck a…
Breaking Bad News Bears
Sep 28, 2018 • 61 min
Today, a challenge: bear with us. We decided to shake things up at the show so we threw our staff a curveball, Walter Matthau-style. In two weeks time we told our producers to pitch, report, and produce stories about breaking news….or bears. What emerged…
Infective Heredity
Sep 20, 2018 • 27 min
Today, a fast moving, sidestepping, gene-swapping free-for-all that would’ve made Darwin’s head spin. David Quammen tells us about a shocking way that life can evolve - infective heredity. To figure it all out we go back to the earliest versions of life,…
27: The Most Perfect Album
Sep 19, 2018 • 19 min
More Perfect is back with something totally new and exciting. They just dropped an ALBUM. 27: The Most Perfect Album is like a Constitutional mix-tape, a Schoolhouse Rock for the 21st century. The album features original tracks by artists like Dolly…
Baby Blue Blood Drive
Aug 29, 2018 • 58 min
Horseshoe crabs are not much to look at. But beneath their unassuming catcher’s-mitt shell, they harbor a half-billion-year-old secret: a superpower that helped them outlive the dinosaurs and survive all the Earth’s mass extinctions. And what is that…
Post No Evil
Aug 17, 2018 • 68 min
Back in 2008 Facebook began writing a document. It was a constitution of sorts, laying out what could and what couldn’t be posted on the site. Back then, the rules were simple, outlawing nudity and gore. Today, they’re anything but. How do you define hate…
The Bad Show
Jul 27, 2018 • 69 min
With all of the black-and-white moralizing in our world today, we decided to bring back an old show about the little bit of bad that’s in all of us…and the little bit of really, really bad that’s in some of us. Cruelty, violence, badness… in this episode…
Gonads: Sex Ed
Jul 27, 2018 • 48 min
In this episode, an edited down version of a Radiolab Presents: Gonads Live show, host Molly Webster brings together a cast of storytellers, educators, artists, and comedians to grapple with sex ed in unexpected and thoughtful ways. “Sex Ed” is an edited…
Gonads: Dana
Jul 22, 2018 • 27 min
When Dana Zzyym applied for their first passport back in 2014, they were handed a pretty straightforward application. Name, place of birth, photo ID — the usual. But one question on the application stopped Dana in their tracks: male or female? Dana,…
Gonads: Dutee
Jul 22, 2018 • 35 min
In 2014, India’s Dutee Chand was a rising female track and field star, crushing national records. But then, that summer, something unexpected happened: she failed a gender test. And was banned from the sport. Before she knew it, Dutee was thrown into the…
Gonads: X & Y
Jun 30, 2018 • 39 min
A lot of us understand biological sex with a pretty fateful underpinning: if you’re born with XX chromosomes, you’re female; if you’re born with XY chromosomes, you’re male. But it turns out, our relationship to the opposite sex is more complicated than…
Gonads: Fronads
Jun 23, 2018 • 36 min
At 28 years old, Annie Dauer was living a full life. She had a job she loved as a highschool PE teacher, a big family who lived nearby, and a serious boyfriend. Then, cancer struck. Annie would come to find out she had Stage 4 non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. It…
Gonads: The Primordial Journey
Jun 15, 2018 • 33 min
At two weeks old, the human embryo has only just begun its months-long journey to become a baby. The embryo is tiny, still invisible to the naked eye. But inside it, an epic struggle plays out, as a nomadic band of cells marches toward a mysterious…
Jun 7, 2018 • 59 min
We originally posted this episode in 2015, and it inspired producer Molly Webster to take a deep dive into the wild and mysterious world of human reproduction. Starting next week, she’ll be taking over the Radiolab podcast feed for a month to present a…
Poison Control
Jun 1, 2018 • 35 min
When reporter Brenna Farrell was a new mom, her son gave her and her husband a scare — prompting them to call Poison Control. For Brenna, the experience was so odd, and oddly comforting, that she decided to dive into the birth story of this invisible…
Unraveling Bolero
May 22, 2018 • 27 min
This week, we’re throwing it back to an old favorite: a story about obsession, creativity, and a strange symmetry between a biologist and a composer that revolves around one famously repetitive piece of music. Anne Adams was a brilliant biologist. But…
More or Less Human
May 17, 2018 • 61 min
Seven years ago chatbots - those robotic texting machines - were a mere curiosity. They were noticeably robotic and at their most malicious seemed only capable of scamming men looking for love online. Today, the chatbot landscape is wildly different. From…
Dark Side of the Earth
Apr 26, 2018 • 27 min
Astronauts at the International Space Station can make one request to talk to an earthling of their choice. For some reason, Astronaut Mark Vande Hei chose us. A couple weeks ago, we were able to video chat with Mark and peer over his shoulder through the…
Border Trilogy Part 3: What Remains
Apr 20, 2018 • 35 min
Border Trilogy While scouring the Sonoran Desert for objects left behind by migrants crossing into the United States, anthropologist Jason De León happened upon something he didn’t expect to get left behind: a human arm, stripped of flesh. This macabre…
Border Trilogy Part 2: Hold the Line
Apr 6, 2018 • 49 min
Border Trilogy While scouring the Sonoran Desert for objects left behind by migrants crossing into the United States, anthropologist Jason De León happened upon something he didn’t expect to get left behind: a human arm, stripped of flesh. This macabre…
Border Trilogy Part 1: Hole in the Fence
Mar 23, 2018 • 48 min
Border Trilogy While scouring the Sonoran Desert for objects left behind by migrants crossing into the United States, anthropologist Jason De León happened upon something he didn’t expect to get left behind: a human arm, stripped of flesh. This macabre…
Rippin’ the Rainbow an Even Newer One
Mar 15, 2018 • 33 min
One of our most popular episodes of all time was our Colors episode, where we introduced you to a sea creature that could see a rainbow far beyond what humans can experience. Peacock mantis shrimps are as extraordinary as they are strange and boast what…
Radiolab Presents: More Perfect - The Gun Show
Feb 23, 2018 • 69 min
The shooting in Parkland, Florida on February 14, 2018, reignited an increasingly familiar debate about guns in this country. Today, we’re re-releasing a More Perfect episode that aired just after the Las Vegas shooting last year that attempts to make…
The Curious Case of the Russian Flash Mob at the West Palm Beach Cheesecake Factory
Feb 20, 2018
We don’t do breaking news. But when Robert Mueller released his indictment a few days ago, alleging that 13 Russian nationals colluded to disrupt the 2016 elections, we had a lot of questions. Who are these Russian individuals sowing discord? And who are…
Smarty Plants
Feb 13, 2018 • 34 min
Do you really need a brain to sense the world around you? To remember? Or even learn? Well, it depends on who you ask. Jad and Robert, they are split on this one. Today, Robert drags Jad along on a parade for the surprising feats of brainless plants.…
Ghosts of Football Past
Feb 3, 2018 • 36 min
In anticipation of Super Bowl LII (Go Eagles), we’re revisiting an old episode about the surprising history of how the game came to be. It’s the end of the 19th century — the Civil War is over, and the frontier is dead. And young college men are anxious.…
Radiolab Presents: More Perfect - One Nation, Under Money
Jan 31, 2018 • 55 min
An unassuming string of 16 words tucked into the Constitution grants Congress extensive power to make laws that impact the entire nation. The Commerce Clause has allowed Congress to intervene in all kinds of situations — from penalizing one man for…
The Voice in Your Head - A Tribute to Joe Frank
Jan 23, 2018
How do you pay proper tribute to a legend that many people haven’t heard of? We began asking ourselves this question last week when the visionary radio producer Joe Frank passed away, after a long struggle with colon cancer. Joe Frank was the radio…
How to Be a Hero
Jan 9, 2018 • 28 min
What are people thinking when they risk their lives for someone else? Are they making complicated calculations of risk or diving in without a second thought? Is heroism an act of sympathy or empathy? A few years ago, we spoke with Walter F. Rutkowski…
Inside Radiolab (Video)
Dec 29, 2017
Take a stroll through where Radiolab is made and meet some of the people who have created your favorite episodes. Help make another year of curiosity possible.
Bigger Little Questions
Dec 22, 2017 • 55 min
We’re back with Part 2! When we dumped out our bucket of questions, there was a lot of spillover. Like, A LOT of spillover. So today, we’re chasing down answers to some bigger, little questions. This episode was reported and produced by Annie McEwen,…
Big Little Questions
Dec 20, 2017 • 46 min
Here at the show, we get a lot of questions. Like, A LOT of questions. Tiny questions, big questions, short questions, long questions. Weird questions. Poop questions. We get them all. And over the years, as more and more of these questions arrived in our…
Super Cool
Dec 5, 2017 • 25 min
When we started reporting a fantastic, surreal story about one very cold night, more than 70 years ago, in northern Russia, we had no idea we’d end up thinking about cosmology. Or dropping toy horses in test tubes of water. Or talking about bacteria. Or…
Radiolab Presents: More Perfect - Mr. Graham and the Reasonable Man
Nov 30, 2017 • 68 min
This story comes from the second season of Radiolab’s spin-off podcast, More Perfect. To hear more, subscribe here. On a fall afternoon in 1984, Dethorne Graham ran into a convenience store for a bottle of orange juice. Minutes later he was unconscious,…
Nov 23, 2017 • 36 min
Back in 1995, Claude Steele published a study that showed that negative stereotypes could have a detrimental effect on students’ academic performance. But the big surprise was that he could make that effect disappear with just a few simple changes in…
Match Made in Marrow
Nov 9, 2017 • 60 min
You never know what might happen when you sign up to donate bone marrow. You might save a life… or you might be magically transported across a cultural chasm and find yourself starring in a modern adaptation of the greatest story ever told. One day,…
Oliver Sacks: A Journey From Where to Where
Oct 27, 2017 • 37 min
There’s nothing quite like the sound of someone thinking out loud, struggling to find words and ideas to match what’s in their head. Today, we are allowed to dip into the unfiltered thoughts of Oliver Sacks, one of our heroes, in the last months of his…
Father K
Oct 12, 2017 • 71 min
Today, while the divisions between different groups in this country feel more and more insurmountable, we zero in on a particular neighborhood to see if one man can draw people together in a potentially history-making election. Khader El-Yateem is a…
Radiolab Presents: More Perfect - American Pendulum I
Oct 2, 2017 • 51 min
This story comes from the second season of Radiolab’s spin-off podcast, More Perfect. To hear more, subscribe here. What happens when the Supreme Court, the highest court in the land, seems to get it wrong? Korematsu v. United States is a case that’s been…
Driverless Dilemma
Sep 26, 2017 • 40 min
Most of us would sacrifice one person to save five. It’s a pretty straightforward bit of moral math. But if we have to actually kill that person ourselves, the math gets fuzzy. That’s the lesson of the classic Trolley Problem, a moral puzzle that fried…
Oliver Sipple
Sep 21, 2017 • 62 min
One morning, Oliver Sipple went out for a walk. A couple hours later, to his own surprise, he saved the life of the President of the United States. But in the days that followed, Sipple’s split-second act of heroism turned into a rationale for making his…
Radiolab Presents: Anna in Somalia
Sep 12, 2017 • 34 min
This week, we are presenting a story from NPR foreign correspondent Gregory Warner and his new globe-trotting podcast Rough Translation. Mohammed was having the best six months of his life - working a job he loved, making mixtapes for his sweetheart -…
Where the Sun Don’t Shine
Aug 23, 2017 • 32 min
Today we take a quick look up at a hole in the sky and follow an old story as it travels beyond the reach of the sun.
Breaking News
Jul 27, 2017 • 48 min
Today, two new technological tricks that together could invade our most deeply held beliefs and rewrite the rules of credibility. Also, we release something terrible into the world. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at
The Ceremony
Jul 14, 2017 • 46 min
Today, paranoia sets in: we head to The Ceremony, the top-secret, three-day launch of a new currency, wizards and math included. Halfway through, something strange happens. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at
Revising the Fault Line
Jun 27, 2017 • 47 min
A new tussle over an old story, and some long-held beliefs, with neurologist and author Robert Sapolsky. Four years ago, we did a story about a man with a starling obsession that made us question our ideas of responsibility and justice. We thought we’d…
The Gondolier
Jun 15, 2017 • 54 min
What happens when doing what you want to do means giving up who you really are? We travel to Venice, Italy with reporters Kristen Clark and David Conrad, where they meet gondolier Alex Hai. On the winding canals in the hidden parts of Venice, we learn…
The Radio Lab
May 25, 2017 • 39 min
15 years ago the very first episode of Radiolab, fittingly called “Firsts,” hit the airwaves. It was a 3-hour long collection of documentaries and musings produced by a solitary sleep-deprived producer named Jad Abumrad. Things have changed a bit since…
Null and Void
May 12, 2017 • 50 min
Today, a hidden power that is either the cornerstone of our democracy or a trapdoor to anarchy. Should a juror be able to ignore the law? From a Quaker prayer meeting in the streets of London, to riots in the streets of LA, we trace the history of a quiet…
Funky Hand Jive
Apr 26, 2017 • 28 min
Back when Robert was kid, he had a chance encounter with then President John F. Kennedy. The interaction began with a hello and ended with a handshake. And like many of us who have touched greatness, 14 year old Robert was left wondering if maybe some of…
Radiolab Extra: Henrietta Lacks
Apr 18, 2017 • 35 min
With all the recent talk about HBO’s upcoming film, we decided it would be good time to re-run our story of one woman’s medically miraculous cancer cells, and how Henrietta Lacks changed modern science and, eventually, her family’s understanding of…
Apr 7, 2017 • 55 min
President Richard Nixon once boasted that at any moment he could pick up a telephone and - in 20 minutes - kill 60 million people. Such is the power of the US President over the nation’s nuclear arsenal. But what if you were the military officer on the…
Shots Fired: Part 2
Mar 24, 2017 • 26 min
A couple years ago, Ben Montgomery, reporter at the Tampa Bay Times, started emailing every police station in Florida. He was asking for any documents created - from 2009 to 2014 - when an officer discharged his weapon in the line of duty. He ended up…
Shots Fired: Part 1
Mar 17, 2017 • 55 min
A couple years ago, Ben Montgomery, reporter at the Tampa Bay Times, started emailing every police station in Florida. He was asking for any documents created - from 2009 to 2014 - when an officer discharged his weapon in the line of duty. He ended up…
Update: CRISPR
Feb 24, 2017 • 49 min
It’s been almost two years since we learned about CRISPR, a ninja-assassin-meets-DNA-editing-tool that has been billed as one of the most powerful, and potentially controversial, technologies ever discovered by scientists. In this episode, we catch up on…
Radiolab Presents: Ponzi Supernova
Feb 10, 2017 • 38 min
We thought we knew the story of Bernie Madoff. How he masterminded the biggest Ponzi scheme in history, leaving behind scores of distraught investors and a $65 billion black hole. But we had never heard the story from Madoff himself. This week, reporter…
Stranger in Paradise
Jan 27, 2017 • 43 min
Back in 1911, a box with a dead raccoon in it showed up in Washington D.C., at the office of Gerrit S. Miller. After pulling it out and inspecting it, he realized this raccoon was from the Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe, and unlike anything he’d ever…
Radiolab Presents: On the Media: Busted, America’s Poverty Myths
Jan 18, 2017 • 33 min
We love to share great radio, even if we didn’t make it. Today, On the Media’s Brooke Gladstone tells Jad and Robert about a mammoth project they launched to take a critical look at the tales we tell ourselves when we talk about poverty. In a 5-part…
Lose Lose
Dec 30, 2016 • 25 min
No matter what sport you play, the object of the game is to win. And that’s hard enough to do. But we found a match where four top athletes had to do the opposite in one of the most high profile matches of their careers. Thanks to a quirk in the…
It’s Not Us, It’s You
Dec 16, 2016 • 59 min
It’s the end of the year, and the entire Radiolab team is starting to take stock and come up for air. We’re excited about how much ground we’ve covered - stories about college debaters and figure skaters, meat allergies and salmon-eating trees, deathwatch…
Bringing Gamma Back
Dec 8, 2016 • 24 min
Today, a startling new discovery: prodding the brain with light, a group of scientists got an unexpected surprise — they were able to turn back on a part of the brain that had been shut down by Alzheimer’s disease. This new science is not a cure, and is…
Radiolab Presents: More Perfect - Object Anyway
Nov 22, 2016 • 49 min
At the trial of James Batson in 1982, the prosecution eliminated all the black jurors from the jury pool. Batson objected, setting off a complicated discussion about jury selection that would make its way all the way up to the Supreme Court. On this…
One Vote
Nov 7, 2016 • 48 min
Come election season, it’s easy to get cynical. Why cast a ballot if your single measly vote can’t possibly change anything? In our first-ever election special, we set off to find a single vote that made a difference. We venture from the biggest election…
Alpha Gal
Oct 27, 2016 • 34 min
Tuck your napkin under your chin. We’re about to serve up a tale of love, loss, and lamb chops. For as long as she can remember, Amy Pearl has loved meat in all its glorious cuts and marbled flavors. And then one day, for seemingly no reason, her body…
Seneca, Nebraska
Oct 12, 2016 • 29 min
Back in 2014 the town of Seneca, Nebraska was deeply divided. How divided? They were so fed up with each other that some citizens began circulating a petition that proposed a radical solution. If a majority wanted to they’d self-destruct, end the town and…
The Primitive Streak
Sep 23, 2016 • 29 min
Last May, two research groups announced a breakthrough: they each grew human embryos, in the lab, longer than ever before. In doing so, they witnessed a period of human development no one had ever seen. But in the process, they crashed up against…
Update: Eye In the Sky
Sep 12, 2016 • 36 min
An update on Ross McNutt and his superpower — he can zoom in on everyday life, then rewind and fast-forward to solve crimes in a shutter-flash. But should he? In 2004, when casualties in Iraq were rising due to roadside bombs, Ross McNutt and his team…
The Girl Who Doesn’t Exist
Aug 29, 2016 • 33 min
In today’s episode, we meet a young woman from Texas, born and raised, who can’t prove that she exists. Alecia Faith Pennington was born at home, homeschooled, and never visited a dentist or a hospital. By both chance and design she is completely…
Playing God
Aug 21, 2016 • 61 min
When people are dying and you can only save some, how do you choose? Maybe you save the youngest. Or the sickest. Maybe you even just put all the names in a hat and pick at random. Would your answer change if a sick person was standing right in front of…
From Tree to Shining Tree
Jul 30, 2016 • 32 min
A forest can feel like a place of great stillness and quiet. But if you dig a little deeper, there’s a hidden world beneath your feet as busy and complicated as a city at rush hour. In this story, a dog introduces us to a strange creature that burrows…
David and the Wire
Jul 12, 2016 • 31 min
David Weinberg was stuck. He had been kicked out of college, was cleaning toilets by day, delivering pizzas by night and spending his weekends in jail. Then one night he heard a story on the radio and got it in his head that maybe he too could make a…
Radiolab Presents: More Perfect - The Imperfect Plaintiffs
Jun 28, 2016 • 65 min
On this episode, we visit Edward Blum, a 64-year-old “legal entrepreneur” and former stockbroker who has become something of a Supreme Court matchmaker. He’s had remarkable success, with 6 cases heard before the Supreme Court, including that of Abigail…
Radiolab Presents: More Perfect - The Political Thicket
Jun 10, 2016 • 43 min
The question of how much power the Supreme Court should possess has divided justices over time. But the issue was perhaps never more hotly debated than in Baker v. Carr. On this episode of More Perfect, we talk about the case that pushed one Supreme Court…
The Buried Bodies Case
Jun 3, 2016 • 47 min
In 1973, a massive manhunt in New York’s Adirondack Mountains ended when police captured a man named Robert Garrow. And that’s when this story really gets started. This episode we consider a string of barbaric crimes by a hated man, and the attorney who,…
Coming Soon: More Perfect
May 24, 2016 • 1 min
How does an elite group of nine people shape everything from marriage and money, to safety and sex for an entire nation? From the producers of Radiolab, More Perfect dives into the rarefied world of the Supreme Court to explain how cases deliberated…
Bigger Than Bacon
May 9, 2016 • 37 min
Today’s story is a mystery, shockingly hot, and vanishingly tiny. It starts with a sound, rising like a mist from the marsh, around a dock in South Carolina. But where it goes next - from submarines to superheroes (and yes, Keanu Reeves!); from the…
On the Edge
Apr 21, 2016 • 42 min
At the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, Japan, one athlete pulled a move that, so far as we know, no one else had ever done in all of human history. Surya Bonaly was not your typical figure skater. She was black. She was athletic. And she didn’t seem to care…
Apr 6, 2016 • 30 min
There’s a black hole in the middle of the history of life: how did we go from tiny bags of chemicals to the vast menagerie of creatures we see around us? Today, we explore one of the most underrated mysteries of all time, and present one possible answer…
Update: 23 Weeks 6 Days
Mar 23, 2016 • 62 min
An update on Juniper French, a tiny baby, born at 23 Weeks and 6 days — roughly halfway to full term. And a whole universe of medical and moral questions. Technology has had a profound effect on how we get pregnant, give birth, and think about life and…
Mar 11, 2016 • 57 min
Unclasp your briefcase. It’s time for a showdown. In competitive debate future presidents, supreme court justices, and titans of industry pummel each other with logic and rhetoric. But a couple years ago Ryan Wash, a queer, Black, first-generation college…
Feb 24, 2016 • 37 min
In the U.S., paparazzi are pretty much synonymous with invasion of privacy. But today we travel to a place where the prying press create something more like a prison break. K-pop is a global juggernaut - with billions in sales and millions of fans hanging…
Hard Knock Life
Feb 12, 2016 • 19 min
This Valentine’s Day, a mysterious tap tap tapping leads us into a world of sex, death, and head-banging. Biologist Dave Goulson introduces us to the lonely yearnings of an especially pathetic beetle and snatches a sound back from the hands of the devil…
I Don’t Have To Answer That
Jan 29, 2016 • 34 min
Roosevelt, Kennedy, Eisenhower … they all got a pass. But today we peer back at the moment when poking into the private lives of political figures became standard practice. In 1987, Gary Hart was a young charismatic Democrat, poised to win his party’s…
The Cathedral
Dec 28, 2015 • 31 min
Ryan and Amy Green were facing the unfaceable: their youngest son, Joel was diagnosed with terminal cancer after his first birthday. Producer Sruthi Pinnamaneni tells the story of how Ryan and Amy stumble onto an unlikely way of processing their…
The Fix
Dec 18, 2015 • 40 min
This episode we take a sober look at the throbbing, aching, craving desire states that return people (again and again) to the object of their addiction … and the pills that just might set them free. Reporter Amy O’Leary was fed up with her ex-boyfriend’s…
Staph Retreat
Nov 2, 2015 • 29 min
What happens when you combine an axe-wielding microbiologist and a disease-obsessed historian? A strange brew that’s hard to resist, even for a modern day microbe. In the war on devilish microbes, our weapons are starting to fail us. The antibiotics we…
Update: New Normal?
Oct 19, 2015 • 68 min
An update: Peacenik baboons, a man in a dress and cuddly tame foxes. Stories of adaptation, and reframing ideas about normalcy. 3 stories where choice challenges destiny.
Smile My Ass
Oct 6, 2015 • 34 min
As Candid Camera succeeded, it started to change the way we thought not only of reality television, but also of reality itself.
Sep 21, 2015 • 37 min
It would seem that hackers today can do just about anything they want - from turning on the cellphone in your pocket to holding your life’s work hostage. Cyber criminals today have more sophisticated tools, have learned to work collaboratively around the…
The Rhino Hunter
Sep 7, 2015 • 50 min
Back in 2014, Corey Knowlton paid $350,000 for a hunting trip to Namibia to shoot and kill an endangered species. He’s a professional hunter, who guides hunts all around the world, so going to Africa would be nothing new. The target on the other hand…
Remembering Oliver Sacks
Aug 30, 2015 • 25 min
In memory of one of our dear friends, a re-release of our last conversation with Dr. Oliver Sacks.
Aug 23, 2015 • 73 min
Scientists took about 300 years to lay out the Periodic Table into neat rows and columns. In one hour, we’re going to mess it all up. This episode, we enlist journalists, poets, musicians, and even a physicist to help us tell stories of matter that…
From the Archives: Oliver Sacks’ Table of Elements
Aug 6, 2015 • 16 min
As we’re busy working on our next episode, with stories inspired by the Periodic Table of Elements, we thought we’d bring you one of its chief inspirations. As a young boy, neurologist, author and Radiolab favorite Oliver Sacks pored over the pages of the…
Jul 30, 2015 • 43 min
The definition of life is in flux, complexity is overrated, and humans are shrinking. Viruses are supposed to be sleek, pared-down, dead-eyed machines. But when one microbiologist stumbled upon a GIANT virus, hundreds of times bigger than any seen before,…
Gray’s Donation
Jul 16, 2015 • 25 min
A donation leads Sarah and Ross Gray to places we rarely get a chance to see. In this surprising journey, they gain a view of science that is redemptive, fussy facts that are tender, and parts of a loved one that add up to something unexpected. Before he…
Mau Mau
Jul 3, 2015 • 43 min
This is the story of a few documents that tumbled out of the secret archives of the biggest empire the world has ever known, offering a glimpse of histories waiting to be rewritten.
Eye in the Sky
Jun 18, 2015 • 28 min
Ross McNutt has a superpower — he can zoom in on everyday life, then rewind and fast-forward to solve crimes in a shutter-flash. But should he? In 2004, when casualties in Iraq were rising due to roadside bombs, Ross McNutt and his team came up with an…
Antibodies Part 1: CRISPR
Jun 6, 2015 • 30 min
Hidden inside some of the world’s smallest organisms is one of the most powerful tools scientists have ever stumbled across. It’s a defense system that has existed in bacteria for millions of years and it may some day let us change the course of human…
Nazi Summer Camp
May 22, 2015 • 30 min
Reporter Karen Duffin and her father were talking one day when, just as an aside, he mentioned the Nazi prisoners of war that worked on his Idaho farm when he was a kid. Karen was shocked … and then immediately obsessed. So she spoke with historians, dug…
Radiolab Live: Tell-Tale Hearts featuring Oliver Sacks
May 12, 2015 • 58 min
A few days ago Radiolab performed a live show and this episode we’re bringing you a few of the highlights. They were stories of what motivates us, our drives, our loves and losses. Producer Molly Webster tells us the story of life, near-death and what…
Sight Unseen
Apr 28, 2015 • 29 min
In December of 2009, photojournalist Lynsey Addario was embedded with a medevac team in Afghanistan. After days of waiting, one night they got the call - a marine was gravely wounded. What happened next happens all the time. But this time it was captured,…
The Living Room
Apr 9, 2015 • 28 min
We’re thrilled to present a piece from one of our favorite podcasts, Love + Radio (Nick van der Kolk and Brendan Baker). Producer Briana Breen brings us the story: Diane’s new neighbors across the way never shut their curtains, and that was the beginning…
VIDEO: Radiolab Presents: Radio Ambulante
Apr 2, 2015
Our story Los Frikis was a collaboration with Radio Ambulante, who produced a story of their own about two of the last surviving frikis, Yohandra and Gerson. They’ve also made a translated video of their Spanish-language piece and we’re thrilled to share…
Los Frikis
Mar 24, 2015 • 31 min
How a group of 80’s Cuban misfits found rock-and-roll and created a revolution within a revolution, going into exile without ever leaving home. In a collaboration with Radio Ambulante, reporter Luis Trelles bring us the story of punk rock’s arrival in…
Mar 10, 2015 • 35 min
During World War II, something happened that nobody ever talks about. This is a tale of mysterious balloons, cowboy sheriffs, and young children caught up in the winds of war. And silence, the terror of silence. Reporters Peter Lang-Stanton and Nick…
La Mancha Screwjob
Feb 24, 2015 • 51 min
All the world’s a stage. So we push through the fourth wall, pierce the spandex-ed heart of professional wrestling, and travel 400 years into the past to unmask our obsession with authenticity and our desire to walk the line between reality and fantasy.…
The Trust Engineers
Feb 9, 2015 • 30 min
When we talk online, things can go south fast. But they don’t have to. Today, we meet a group of social engineers who are convinced that tiny changes in wording can make the online world a kinder, gentler place. So long as we agree to be their lab rats.…
American Football
Jan 29, 2015 • 74 min
Today, we tackle football. It’s the most popular sport in the US, shining a sometimes harsh light on so much of what we have been, what we are, and what we hope to be. Savage, creative, brutal and balletic, whether you love it or loathe it … it’s a…
Radiolab Presents: Invisibilia
Jan 9, 2015 • 31 min
Producers’ Note: A correction has been made to this audio to reflect the wishes of the subject of this story, Paige Abendroth. NPR’s Invisibilia’s originally included Paige’s birth name in this piece due to a miscommunication between Invisibilia’s…
Dec 23, 2014 • 71 min
This episode, we make three earnest, possibly foolhardy, attempts to put a price on the priceless. We figure out the dollar value for an accidental death, another day of life, and the work of bats and bees as we try to keep our careful calculations from…
Buttons Not Buttons
Dec 12, 2014 • 26 min
Buttons are usually small and unimportant. But not always. Sometimes they are a portal to power, freedom, and destruction. Today we thread together tales of taking charge of the little things in life, of fortunes made and lost, and of the ease with which…
Outside Westgate
Nov 29, 2014 • 36 min
In the wake of public tragedy there is a space between the official narrative and the stories of the people who experienced it. Today, we crawl inside that space and question the role of journalists in helping us move on from a traumatic event. NPR’s East…
Patient Zero - Updated
Nov 13, 2014 • 68 min
The greatest mysteries have a shadowy figure at the center—someone who sets things in motion and holds the key to how the story unfolds—Patient Zero. This hour, Radiolab hunts for Patient Zeroes of all kinds and considers the course of an ongoing…
Oct 30, 2014 • 30 min
Dennis Conrow was stuck. After a brief stint at college, he’d passed most of his 20’s back home with his parents, sleeping in his childhood room. And just when he finally struck out on his own, fate intervened. He lost both his parents to cancer. So…
Oct 20, 2014 • 75 min
How close can words get you to the truth and feel and force of life? That’s the question poking at our ribs this hour, as we wonder how it is that the right words can have the wrong meanings, and why sometimes the best translations lead us to an…
John Luther Adams
Oct 3, 2014 • 25 min
What’s the soundtrack for the end of the world? We go looking for an answer. When Jad started to compose music for our live show Apocalyptical, he immediately thought of John Luther Adams. Adams’ symphony “Become Ocean,” rooted in the sounds of nature, is…
Sep 18, 2014 • 43 min
Ron and Cornelia Suskind had two healthy young sons, promising careers, and a brand new home when their youngest son Owen started to disappear. 3 months later a specialist sat Ron and Cornelia down and said the word that changed everything for them:…
In The Dust Of This Planet
Sep 8, 2014 • 41 min
Horror, fashion, and the end of the world … things get weird as we explore the undercurrents of thought that link nihilists, beard-stroking philosophers, Jay-Z, and True Detective. Today on Radiolab, a puzzle. Jad’s brother-in-law wrote a book called ‘In…
Aug 21, 2014 • 45 min
It’s hard to start a conversation with a stranger—especially when that stranger is, well, different. He doesn’t share your customs, celebrate your holidays, watch your TV shows, or even speak your language. Plus he has a blowhole. In this episode, we try…
Happy Birthday Bobby K
Aug 7, 2014 • 29 min
It’s Robert’s birthday! (Or it was, anyway, a couple days back.) So today we celebrate with some classic Krulwich radio and a backwards peek into the spirit and sensibility that, in many ways, drives our show. For his birthday surprise we all listened to…
For the Birds
Jul 24, 2014 • 14 min
Today, a lady with a bird in her backyard upends our whole sense of what we may have to give up to keep a wild creature wild.
Jul 17, 2014 • 62 min
Today, the strange story of a small group of islands that raise a big question: is it inevitable that even our most sacred natural landscapes will eventually get swallowed up by humans? And just how far are we willing to go to stop that from happening? We…
9-Volt Nirvana
Jun 26, 2014 • 24 min
Learn a new language faster than ever! Leave doubt in the dust! Be a better sniper! Could you do all that and more with just a zap to the noggin? Maybe. Sally Adee, an editor at New Scientist, was at a conference for DARPA - The Defense Advanced Research…
≤ kg
Jun 13, 2014 • 20 min
A plum-sized lump of metal takes us from the French Revolution to an underground bunker in Maryland as we try to weigh the way we weigh the world around us.
May 30, 2014 • 61 min
From a piece of the Wright brother’s plane to a child’s sugar egg, today: Things! Important things, little things, personal things, things you can hold and things that can take hold of you. This hour, we investigate the objects around us, their power to…
The Skull
May 15, 2014 • 20 min
Today, the story of one little thing that has radically changed what we know about humanity’s humble beginnings and the kinds of creatures that were out to get us way back when. Wits University Professor Lee Berger and Dr. Chris Stringer from London’s…
For the Love of Numbers
May 2, 2014 • 19 min
It’s hard to think of anything more rational, more logical and impersonal than a number. But what if we’re all, universally, also deeply attuned to how numbers … feel? Why 2 is warm, 7 is strong and 11 is downright mystical.
60 Words
Apr 18, 2014 • 55 min
This hour we pull apart one sentence, written in the hours after September 11th, 2001, that has led to the longest war in U.S. history. We examine how just 60 words of legal language have blurred the line between war and peace.
Straight Outta Chevy Chase
Apr 1, 2014 • 34 min
From boom bap to EDM, we look at the line between hip-hop and not, and meet a defender of the genre that makes you question… who’s in and who’s out.
Mar 25, 2014 • 21 min
They buzz. They bite. And they have killed more people than cancer, war, or heart disease. Here’s the question: If you could wipe mosquitoes off the face of the planet, would you?
What’s Left When You’re Right?
Feb 25, 2014 • 59 min
More often than not, a fight is just a fight… Someone wins, someone loses. But this hour, we have a series of face-offs that shine a light on the human condition, the benefit of coming at something from a different side, and the price of being right.…