Nerdette Podcast A safe space for nerding out about all the things you're watching, reading, listening to and encountering in real life. Hosts Tricia Bobeda and Greta Johnsen talk to people about their obsessions: from science to science fiction, great lady nerds of history to Beyoncé. Because what the world needs now is not another superhero, but for the glasses-clad alter ego to make you a podcast.
Nerdette Podcast

Nerdette Podcast

From WBEZ Chicago

A safe space for nerding out about all the things you're watching, reading, listening to and encountering in real life. Hosts Tricia Bobeda and Greta Johnsen talk to people about their obsessions: from science to science fiction, great lady nerds of history to Beyoncé. Because what the world needs now is not another superhero, but for the glasses-clad alter ego to make you a podcast.

Most Recent Episodes

Tripping Hard For Science

What's it like to give people hallucinogenic drugs and study what happens? How might these drugs be used for therapy? And what causes people to take drugs in the first place? That's what we asked Harriet de Wit, who runs the University of Chicago's Human Behavioral Pharmacology Laboratory, where she administers drugs like LSD, ecstacy and psilocybin to volunteers in an effort to learn more about the human nervous system. "The whole world of researchers is feeling very cautious," de Wit tells us, "cautiously optimistic — that if the drugs are used under controlled circumstances, they might have some potential benefits." Let's get funky.

'Booksmart' Reminds Us That Your Person Doesn't Have To Be Your Romantic Soulmate

Greta gives 'Booksmart' four out of four Gretas, a new rating system we've devised specifically for this wonderful new movie. Why's it so good? Well, it's smart, funny, a little raunchy, and it embraces so many gorgeous, gut-wrenching elements of what it means to be a smart, funny teenage girl. This week on Nerdette, we talk with the wonderful Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein (the stars of the film) about the movie's themes: Friendship, growing older, sexuality, feminism, and dealing with high expectations. Bottom line: GO SEE IT.

'Booksmart' Reminds Us That Your Person Doesn't Have To Be Your Romantic Soulmate

Bill Nye Wants You To Think Critically And Take Care Of Your Moon Rocks

Bill Nye says that when he was in high school, the big skill that students had to learn was how to find information. "But the challenge now is to sort out the information that may not be true." Greta talks to Bill from the stage at The Collider's Climate City Expo in Asheville, N.C. Their conversation focuses on climate change, Bill's new Netflix series (called "Bill Nye Saves the World") and combatting dubious scientific claims with critical thinking and an abundance of evidence. And also: Fake tree octopi, bow ties and moon rocks.

Lizzo Is About To Sing, Rap And Flute Her Way Into Your Heart

Lizzo recently landed on the Billboard 200 chart for the first time with her new album 'Cuz I Love You,' making now the perfect time to revisit her 2016 conversation with Nerdette's Greta Johnsen. Lizzo and Greta talk about what inspired her 2016 EP 'Coconut Oil' and how Lizzo became Lizzo. And your homework after listening to this episode is, of course, to play 'Cuz I Love You' on repeat, forever? P.S. Get in on our lovely new tote bags! One's for Nerdette and one's for Nerdette Recaps Game of Thrones with Peter Sagal. Find them here: https://www.wbez.org/nerdalert

De-Extinction: How, Why, And What If?

Scientists around the world are trying to figure out how to mitigate the potentially disastrous impacts of climate change. Among the innovative ideas? De-extinction. "De-extinction is a scientific movement that's aiming to recreate close versions of extinct species," said Britt Wray, the author of Rise of the Necrofauna: The Science, Ethics, and Risks of De-Extinction. Wray says the idea is to create close facsimiles of "keystone species," or animals that had a profound impact on their ecosystems. As you can imagine, de-extinction brings up a lot of questions, including: How on earth do you replicate an ancient zebra-horse? What happens when countries can create patents for lab-grown animals? And why would we want woolly mammoths to roam the arctic again? Wray tackles all those questions, and more, on the latest episode of Nerdette. Click the "play" button to listen to the entire conversation, which was produced and adapted for the web by Justin Bull.

Kids + Science = AWESOME

Sahana Srinivasan is the host of the Netflix kids' science show Brainchild, a series that's all about exploring interesting questions about the world in which we live. On Nerdette, Sahana talks about what makes her show different from the kids' science shows of the '90s, why it's so important for kids to see a woman of color talk about science and what she's going to do after she graduates from college.

Shrill AF With Lindy West

Oh hey it's Lindy West! Lindy's the the executive producer of Shrill, a new Hulu series starring SNL's Aidy Bryant that's based on Lindy's 2016 novel of the same name. And we talk with Lindy about a few of the delightful scenes from the series (including an epic pool party), why Lindy left Twitter, and her forthcoming new book called The Witches Are Coming. She also tells us about how her new Hulu series subverts a common TV trope. "Usually what we get are weight loss narratives and makeover narratives. And these sort of sad sack stories about either people trying to lose weight and succeeding or trying to lose weight and failing and being sad," Lindy says."The whole idea is that there are other ways to live and that you deserve a life that is bigger than that — and that has a scope beyond your body and what it weighs." Lindy West y'all!

Wash Your F-ing Hands

At WBEZ (and maybe at your office too?) it seems like a lot of folks get sick at almost exactly the same time. But why?! Simple: People in our office are sick because sick people are in our office. "I think that is probably the single biggest thing that we could do to reduce the incidence of a lot of diseases," says Sarah Cobey, an evolutionary microbiologist from the University of Chicago. "Just self-quarantine." On this episode of Nerdette, Sarah takes a walk through our open office and guesses why people might be ill — and what we can do to stop the colds from spreading. She also talks about sneezes, vaccines and all the real heroes out there: people with good hygiene. Wash your hands, people! Sheesh!

Podcats In Space

Yep. Podcats. Not a typo. This week we take a journey back to 1994, just after an astronomer named Heidi Hammel — as well as the entire scientific community at large — learned that a fragmented comet named Shoemaker-Levy 9 was going to crash into Jupiter at a speed of more than 130,000 miles per hour. "We have witnessed other impacts," Heidi tells us. "What was really special about the Jupiter one was we had warning that it was going to happen." This moment was huge for Heidi, who was just a young astronomer from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology at the time. She was asked to lead the team that would analyze photos of the impacts taken by the still-relatively-new Hubble Space Telescope. Oh yeah, in this podcast episode Heidi also compares planets to cats and herself to a veterinarian so PODCATS!

Winter Watches!

Winter is still here! (At least in the nation's midsection.) And that means you're looking for stuff to do when you're stuck inside. And who better to recommend some good nerdy activities than Nerdette co-creator Tricia Bobeda?!? She did just that on WBEZ's Morning Shift last month and we're bringing it to you now because we love you. So please enjoy this binge-watchers guide to navigating the winter cold, featuring excellent TV, movie and book recommendations. Bonus: This interview was conducted by Morning Shift host (and former all-star Nerdette guest host) Jenn White. Need more Jenn White in your life? Subscribe to her daily local news podcast, Morning Shift Podcast. (And check out Making Oprah and Making Obama if you haven't already.) Extra Bonus: Use this as a reminder to re-subscribe to Nerdette Recaps Game of Thrones with Peter Sagal which is returning to your ears in two short months.

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