Radiolab

WNYC Studios

Radiolab is on a curiosity bender. We ask deep questions and use investigative journalism to get the answers. A given episode might whirl you through science, legal history, and into the home of someone halfway across the world. The show is known for innovative sound design, smashing information into music. It is hosted by Lulu Miller and Latif Nasser.

  • 47 minutes 52 seconds
    How to Save a Life

    We get it… the world feels too bleak and too big for you to make a difference. But there is one thing - one simple tangible thing - you can do to make all the difference in the world to someone, possibly even a loved one, at arguably the worst moment of their life.

    Statistics show that 1 out of every 5 people on earth will die of heart failure. Cardiac arrests can happen anywhere, anytime - in your bed, on the street, on your honeymoon. And every minute that passes after your heart stops beating, your chances of surviving drop dramatically. For all the strides modern medicine has made in treating heart conditions, the ambulance still doesn’t always make it in time. The only person who can keep you alive during those crucial first few minutes is a stranger, a neighbor, your partner, anyone nearby willing to perform CPR. Yet most of us don’t do anything.

    Join Radiolab host Latif Nasser, ER doctor and Radiolab contributor Avir Mitra, and TikTok stars Dr. and Lady Glaucomflecken, as we discover the fascinating science of cardiac arrest, hear a true and harrowing story of a near-death experience, and hunt down the best place to die (hint… it’s not a hospital). Plus, with the help of the American Red Cross and the Bee Gees, you, yes you, will learn how to do hands-only CPR!

    Special thanks to Will and Kristin Flannery of course..Check out the Glaucomflekens own podcast “Knock Knock, Hi!” (KKH Pod), the Greene Space here at WNYC’s home in NYC… first of all Jennifer Sendrow, who really made it happened and helped us make it work at basically every stage of the process .. and the rest of the Greene Space crew: Carlos Cruz Figueroa, Chase Culpon, Ricardo Fernández, Jessica Lowery, Skye Pallo Ross, Eric Weber, Ryan Andrew Wilde, and Andrew Yanchyshyn.

    Also, thank you to the Red Cross for helping us make this happen and providing the CPR dummies, and all the people we had there doing the training: Ashley London, Jeanette Nicosia, Charlene Yung, Jacob Stebel, Tye Morales, Anna Stacy.  Aditya Shekhar.

    We have some exciting news! In the “Zoozve” episode, Radiolab named its first-ever quasi-moon, and now it's your turn! Radiolab has teamed up with The International Astronomical Union to launch a global naming contest for one of Earth’s quasi-moons. This is your chance to make your mark on the heavens. Submit your name ideas now through September, or vote on your favorites starting in November: https://radiolab.org/moon

    EPISODE CREDITS: 
    Reported by - Avir Mitra
    with mixing help from - Jeremy Bloom
    And Fact-checking by - Natalie Middleton

    CITATIONS:

    Please put any supporting materials you think our audience would find interesting or useful below in the appropriate broad categories.

    Videos:
    Check out the whole show in its full glory at the website for WNYC’s Greene Space: https://www.thegreenespace.org/

    Will Flannery’s Youtube channel, Dr. Glaucomflecken: https://www.youtube.com/@DGlaucomflecken

    Music:
    The perfect playlist for a CPR Emergency

    Classes:
    If you’d like to sign up to learn CPR, and get certified, the Red Cross provides classes all across the country and online, just go to https://www.redcross.org/take-a-class, to learn more

    Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)!

    Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.

    Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected].

    Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

    12 July 2024, 2:00 pm
  • 23 minutes 58 seconds
    Happy Birthday, Good Dr. Sacks

    First aired back in 2013, we originally released this episode to celebrate the 80th birthday of one of our favorite human beings, Oliver Sacks. To celebrate, his good friend, and our former co-host Rober Krulwich, asks the good doctor to look back, and explain how thousands of worms and a motorbike accident led to a brilliant writing career.

    We have some exciting news! In the “Zoozve” episode, Radiolab named its first-ever quasi-moon, and now it's your turn! Radiolab has teamed up with The International Astronomical Union to launch a global naming contest for one of Earth’s quasi-moons. This is your chance to make your mark on the heavens. Submit your name ideas now through September, or vote on your favorites starting in November: https://radiolab.org/moon.

    Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)!

    Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.

    Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected].


    Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

    5 July 2024, 2:00 pm
  • 53 minutes 49 seconds
    The Alford Plea

    In 1995, a tragic fire in Pittsburgh set off a decades-long investigation that sent Greg Brown Jr. to prison. But, after a series of remarkable twists, Brown found himself contemplating a path to freedom that involved a paradoxical plea deal—one that peels back the curtain on the criminal justice system and reveals it doesn’t work the way we think it does. 

    Special thanks to John Lentini, Amanda Gillooly, Fred Buckner, Debbie Steinmeyer, Marissa Bluestine, Jason Hazlewood, Meredith Kennedy, Kristen Vermilya, Joshua Ceballos and Lauren Cooperman.

    We have some exciting news! In the “Zoozve” episode, Radiolab named its first-ever quasi-moon, and now it's your turn! Radiolab has teamed up with The International Astronomical Union to launch a global naming contest for one of Earth’s quasi-moons. This is your chance to make your mark on the heavens. Submit your name ideas now through September, or vote on your favorites starting in November: https://radiolab.org/moon

    EPISODE CREDITS:

    Reported by - Peter Smith and Matt Kielty 
    Produced by - Matt Kielty 
    Original music and sound design contributed by - contributed by Matt Kielty
    with mixing help from - Arianne Wack
    Fact-checking by - Emily Krieger
    and Edited by  - Becca Bressler

    EPISODE CITATIONS:

    Magazine Articles -
    More work by Peter Andrey Smith (https://zpr.io/wXfYn5GMM7dN) for Undark Magazine 
    The Sniff Test (https://zpr.io/xkDzHsrrpFeR) for Science by Peter Andrey Smith

    Books -
    "Why the Innocent Plead Guilty and the Guilty Go Free" (https://zpr.io/wF8KtSFKTmwi), by Judge Jed S Rakoff
    “Smoke but No Fire” (https://zpr.io/C3NceBFmhJk4) by Jessica S. Henry
    “Punishment Without Trial” (https://zpr.io/AbqT5u5eqSy5) by Carissa Byrne Hessick 

    ** The transcript of Greg Brown Jr.’s plea from 2022 has yet to be made public. 

    Signup for the Radiolab Newsletter!! It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)!

    Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.

    Follow our show on Instagram, X (formerly Twitter) and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected].

    Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

    28 June 2024, 2:00 pm
  • 44 minutes 18 seconds
    Birdie in the Cage

    People have been doing the square dance since before the Declaration of Independence. But does that mean it should be THE American folk dance? That question took us on a journey from Appalachian front porches, to dance classes across our nation, to the halls of Congress, and finally a Kansas City convention center. And along the way, we uncovered a secret history of square dancing that made us see how much of our national identity we could stuff into that square, and what it means for a dance to be of the people, by the people, and for the people.

    Special thanks to Jim Mayo, Claude Fowler, Paul Gifford, Jim Maczko, Jim Davis, Paul Moore, Jack Pladdys, Mary Jane Wegener, Kinsey Brooke and Connie Keener.

    We have some exciting news! In this “Zoozve” episode, Radiolab named its first-ever quasi-moon, and now it's your turn! Radiolab has teamed up with The International Astronomical Union to launch a global naming contest for one of Earth’s quasi-moons. This is your chance to make your mark on the heavens. Submit your name ideas now through September, or vote on your favorites starting in November: https://radiolab.org/moon


    Subscribe to our newsletter!! It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)!

    Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.

    Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected].

    Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

    21 June 2024, 2:00 pm
  • 34 minutes 43 seconds
    Aphantasia

    Close your eyes and imagine a red apple. What do you see? Turns out there’s a whole spectrum of answers to that question and Producer Sindhu Gnanasambandan is on one far end. In this episode, she explores what it means to see – and not see – in your mind.

    Special thanks to Kim Nederveen Pieterse, Nathan Peereboom, Lizzie Peabody, Kristin Lin, Jo Eidman, Mark Nakhla, Andrew Leland, Brian Radcliffe, Adam Zeman, John Green, Craig Venter, Dustin Grinnell, and Soraya Shockley.

    We have some exciting news! In this “Zoozve” episode, Radiolab named its first-ever quasi-moon, and now it's your turn! Radiolab has teamed up with The International Astronomical Union to launch a global naming contest for one of Earth’s quasi-moons. This is your chance to make your mark on the heavens. Submit your name ideas now through September, or vote on your favorites starting in November: https://radiolab.org/moon

    EPISODE CREDITS: 

    Reported by - Sindhu Gnanasambandan
    Produced by - Sindhu Gnanasambandan
    with help from - Annie McEwen
    Original music and sound design contributed by - Dylan Keefe
    with mixing help from - Jeremy Bloom and Arianne Wack
    Fact-checking by - Natalie Middleton
    and Edited by - Pat Walters


    Sign up for our newsletter!! It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)!

    Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.

    Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected].

    Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

    14 June 2024, 2:00 pm
  • 21 minutes 54 seconds
    Argentine Invasion

    From a suburban sidewalk in southern California, Jad and Robert witness the carnage of a gruesome turf war. Though the tiny warriors doing battle clock in at just a fraction of an inch, they have evolved a surprising, successful, and rather unsettling strategy of ironclad loyalty, absolute intolerance, and brutal violence.

    David Holway, an ecologist and evolutionary biologist from UC San Diego, takes us to a driveway in Escondido, California where a grisly battle rages. In this quiet suburban spot, two groups of ants are putting on a chilling display of dismemberment and death. According to David, this battle line marks the edge of an enormous super-colony of Argentine ants. Think of that anthill in your backyard, and stretch it out across five continents.

    Argentine ants are not good neighbors. When they meet ants from another colony, any other colony, they fight to the death, and tear the other ants to pieces. While other kinds of ants sometimes take slaves or even have sex with ants from different colonies, the Argentine ants don’t fool around. If you’re not part of the colony, you’re dead.

    According to evolutionary biologist Neil Tsutsui and ecologist Mark Moffett, the flood plains of northern Argentina offer a clue as to how these ants came to dominate the planet. Because of the frequent flooding, the homeland of Linepithema humile is basically a bootcamp for badass ants. One day, a couple ants from one of these families of Argentine ants made their way onto a boat and landed in New Orleans in the late 1800s. Over the last century, these Argentine ants wreaked havoc across the southern U.S. and a significant chunk of coastal California.

    In fact, Melissa Thomas, an Australian entomologist, reveals that these Argentine ants are even more well-heeled than we expected - they've made to every continent except Antarctica. No matter how many thousands of miles separate individual ants, when researchers place two of them together - whether they're plucked from Australia, Japan, Hawaii ... even Easter Island - they recognize each other as belonging to the same super-colony.

    But the really mind-blowing thing about these little guys is the surprising success of their us-versus-them death-dealing. Jad and Robert wrestle with what to make of this ant regime, whether it will last, and what, if anything, it might mean for other warlike organisms with global ambitions.

    We have some exciting news! In this “Zoozve” episode, Radiolab named its first-ever quasi-moon, and now it's your turn! Radiolab has teamed up with The International Astronomical Union to launch a global naming contest for one of Earth’s quasi-moons. This is your chance to make your mark on the heavens. Submit your name ideas now through September, or vote on your favorites starting in November: https://radiolab.org/moon

    Sign up for our newsletter. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)!

    Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.

    Follow our show on 

    Instagram, Twitter, and, Facebook

     @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected].

    Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

    31 May 2024, 2:00 pm
  • 37 minutes 38 seconds
    Mixtapes to the Moon

    They promised to change you. They ended up changing all of us.

     

    On July 20, 1969 humanity watched as Neil Armstrong stepped foot on the moon. It was the dazzling culmination of a decade of teamwork, a collective global experience unlike anything before or since, a singular moment in which every human being was invited to feel part of something larger than themself. There was however, one man who was left out.   

    This week on Radiolab we explore what it means to be together and - of course - the cassette tapes that changed it. 

    Special thanks to WBUR and the team at City Space for having us and recording this event, all the other folks and venues that hosted us on tour, Sarah Rose Leonard and Lance Gardner at KQED for developing this show with us and Alex Overington for musically bringing it to life. 

    EPISODE CREDITS:
    Reported by - Simon Adler
    Produced by - Simon Adler
    Original music and sound design contributed by - Alex Overington
    Fact-checking by - Emily Krieger
    and Edited by  - Soren Wheeler

    EPISODE CITATIONS:

    Videos - 

    Check out Zack Taylor’s beautiful documentary CASSETTE: A Documentary Mixtape (https://vimeo.com/127216590)

    Mall videos referenced in the episode - https://youtu.be/bPrZOk1DgGY?si=l8dE8_GUxHznuqHL

    Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)!

    Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.

    Follow our show on Instagram, X (Twitter) and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected].

    Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

    24 May 2024, 2:00 pm
  • 57 minutes 24 seconds
    Lucy

    Chimps. Bonobos. Humans. We're all great apes, but that doesn’t mean we’re one happy family.

    This episode, a mashup of content stretching all the way back to 2010, asks the question, is cross-species co-habitation an utterly stupid idea? Or might it be our one last hope as more and more humans fill up the planet? A chimp named Lucy teaches us the ups and downs of growing up human, and a visit to The Great Ape Trust in Des Moines, Iowa highlights some of the basics of bonobo culture (be careful, they bite).

    EPISODE CITATIONS -

    Photos:

    Photo of Lucy and Janis hugging.  (https://zpr.io/U7qRdYDqxbGj)

    Videos:

    Lucy throughout the years (https://vimeo.com/9377513)

    Slideshow produced by Sharon Shattuck.

    Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)!

    Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.

    Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected].

    Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

    17 May 2024, 2:23 pm
  • 48 minutes 26 seconds
    Selected Shorts

    A selection of short flights of fact and fancy performed live on stage.

    Usually we tell true stories at this show, but earlier this spring we were invited to guest host a live show called Selected Shorts, a New York City institution that presents short fiction performed on stage by great actors (you’ll often find Tony, Emmy and Oscars winners on their stage). We treated the evening a bit like a Radiolab episode, selecting a theme, and choosing several stories related to that theme. The stories we picked were all about “flight” in one way or another, and came from great writers like Brian Doyle, Miranda July, Don Shea and Margaret Atwood. As we traveled from the flight of a hummingbird, to an airplane seat beside a celebrity, to the mind of a bat, we found these stories pushing us past the edge of what we thought we could know, in the way that all truly great writing does.

    Special thanks to Abubakr Ali, Becca Blackwell, Molly Bernard, Zach Grenier, Drew Richardson, Jennifer Brennan and the whole team at Selected Shorts and Symphony Space.

    EPISODE CREDITS: 

    Produced by - Maria Paz Gutierrez
    Fact-checking by - Natalie Middleton
    and Edited by  - Pat Walters

    Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)!

    Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.

    Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected].


    Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

    10 May 2024, 2:00 pm
  • 57 minutes 38 seconds
    Memory and Forgetting

    Remembering is a tricky, unstable business. This hour: a look behind the curtain of how memories are made...and forgotten.

     

     

    The act of recalling in our minds something that happened in the past is an unstable and profoundly unreliable process--it’s easy come, easy go as we learn how true memories can be obliterated, and false ones added. Then, Oliver Sacks joins us to tell the story of an amnesiac whose love for his wife and music transcend his 7-second memory.

    Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)!

    Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.

    Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected].

    Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

    26 April 2024, 2:00 pm
  • 59 minutes 9 seconds
    Small Potatoes

    An ode to the small, the banal, the overlooked things that make up the fabric of our lives.

    Most of our stories are about the big stuff: Important or dramatic events, big ideas that transform the world around us or inspire conflict and struggle and change. But most of our lives, day by day or hour by hour, are made up of … not that stuff. Most of our lives are what we sometimes dismissively call “small potatoes.” This week on Radiolab, Heather Radke challenges to focus on the small, the overlook, the everyday … and find out what happens when you take a good hard look at the things we all usually overlook.

    Special thanks to Moeko Fujii, Kelley Conway, Robin Kelley, Jason Isaacs, and Andrew Semans

    EPISODE CREDITS: 

    Reported by - Heather Radke, Rachael Cusick, and Matt Kielty
    with help from - Erica Heilman
    Produced by - Annie McEwen and Matt Kielty
    Original music and sound design contributed by - Annie McEwen, Matt Kielty, and Jeremy Bloom
    Fact-checking by - Emily Krieger and Diane Kelly
    and Edited by  - Alex Neason

    EPISODE CITATIONS:

    Audio -
    Check out Ian Chillag’s podcast, Everything is Alive, from Radiotopia.

    Museums -
    Learn more about The Museum of Everyday Life, located in Glover, Vermont, here.

    Newsletter - 
    Heather Radke has a newsletter all about small potatoes. It’s called Petite Patate and you can subscribe at HeatherRadke.substack.com.

    Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)!

    Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.

    Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected].

    Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

    19 April 2024, 2:00 pm
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