Brains On! A podcast featuring science for kids and curious adults.
Brains On!

Brains On!

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A podcast featuring science for kids and curious adults.More from Brains On! »

Most Recent Episodes

Wanna see Mars' close approach? Just look up!

The Red Planet is putting on a show this July. It'll be closer to Earth than its been in 15 years and that means at night it'll appear bigger and brighter than average. In fact, you should be able to see it easily without a telescope! In this episode we'll tell you how to spot Mars plus, you'll hear the planet itself answer your questions. Plus a mystery sound and, in our Moment of Um, we'll explain why lava moves slowly even though it's a liquid. Brains On is sponsored today by Build-A-Bear Workshop (buildabear.com), Kind Snacks (KindSnacks.com/BRAINS), P.volve (Pvolve.com/brainson) and Plated (plated.com/reddem and promo code BRAINS). Find more episodes of Brains On at brainson.org

Smash Boom Best: Books vs Movies

Today, we're sharing another epic showdown from our brand new debate show, Smash Boom Best. Each episode, we pit our favorite things against each other, like bats versus owls! Or pizza versus tacos! And we ask you to decide who won.

How to cook for an alien

The aliens are coming to dinner! In this episode we wonder what food aliens might eat and talk to real scientists who've thought long and hard about this question. Plus, our friends at America's Test Kitchen show us how to whip up a delicious beef and broccoli dish. We'll lay out the cooking instructions step by step throughout the podcast so you can cook along. When the episode is over, you'll be ready to chow down. Find the recipe here: https://www.brainson.org/shows/2018/07/03/alien-cook-along And for more awesome recipes like this one head to americastestkitchen.com/kids This episode is sponsored by Plated (plated.com/redeem and offer code BRAINS).

Mix: The science cooking, pt. 4

Are you ready to mix it up? In this episode, we find out why oil and vinegar are like bickering siblings in the back seat of a car, what delicious food inspired the invention of the blender, and the most effective whisking technique (spoiler alert: it's probably not what you think). We also learn how the way we mix flour makes our baked goods either chewy or fluffy and we'll learn the best way to make brownies. Plus: our Moment of Um answers the question "Are bananas radioactive?" To make a donation to Brains On, head to brainson.org/donate

Chop: The science of cooking, pt. 3

Our knives are drawn and ready to mince and dice our way through the science of chopping. In this episode we'll find out what happens to that carrot you're chopping on a molecular level (spoiler alert: the knife never actually touches it!). We also visit a knifemaker's studio and talk to Splendid Table host Francis Lam to get his chopping tips. This is the third in a five part series on the science of cooking, made in collaboration with America's Test Kitchen Kids. For more recipes and information for young chefs, head to americastestkitchen.com/kids to sign up for their newsletter. And to to make a donation to Brains On, visit brainson.org/donate.

Chill: The science of cooking, pt. 2

From ice cubes to ice cream, cold things are a crucial part of cuisine. How do we use chill to our advantage? This is part two of our series on the science of cooking, a collaboration with the brilliant foodies at America's Test Kitchen Kids. This episode is (literally) super cool. We're figuring out how refrigerators work and why some of their parts are hot. We're traveling back in time to find out how selling ice became a very big business (for a while anyway). And we'll learn why ice cream makes people thirsty and how to make incredibly delicious paletas. Plus: Our Moment of Um tackles the question, "Why do mints make your mouth feel cold?" For more recipes and information for young chefs, head to americastestkitchen.com/kids to sign up for their newsletter. Brains On is sponsored today by Children's Cancer Research Fund (ccrf.org/brainson)

Heat: The science of cooking pt. 1

We've teamed up with America's Test Kitchen Kids to delve into the scrumptious science of cooking. You've sent in so many great cooking questions that we had to spread the answers over four episodes. This is our first installment: HEAT. What crazy chemical reactions does heat trigger in food? How do microwave ovens work — and why can't you put metal in them when they're lined with metal? We'll answer those questions, find out how feeding squirrels helped profoundly change how we prepare food and learn the recipe for a perfect grilled cheese sandwich. Plus: our Moment of Um tackles the question, "How does coffee keep you awake?" For more recipes and information for young chefs, head to americastestkitchen.com/kids to sign up for their newsletter. Brains On is sponsored today by Children's Cancer Research Fund (ccrf.org/brainson) and KiwiCo (kiwico.com/brainson).

Boogers and sun sneezes: Know your nose

In this encore mash-up episode, we revisit some fascinating facts that will help you get to know your nose. Why does the sun make some people sneeze? And where do boogers come from anyway? Plus: A brand new moment of um answers the question: "Why do sloths move so slow?"

The wonderful weirdness of water

Pour yourself a nice glass of water, and take a close look at it. Seems pretty boring, right? It's clear, doesn't have a taste or smell, and just sits there. It you were trying to come up with the most ordinary thing imaginable, water might be right up there with shoelaces or potato chips. But behind it's bland appearance, a wonderfully weird substance is hiding in plain sight. In this episode of Brains On, we explore some of the weird things water can do, like move against gravity! Or cut right through rock! We learn some of the reasons why water is so weird, and fill you in on how you can learn more about the water in your neighborhood. How is water weird? Let's start with a water oddity that's easy to see. Ice, the solid form of water - floats on it's liquid! Substances can exist in 3 forms or phases: gas, liquid, and solid. These phases are different because the atoms or molecules, what makes up all the stuff in the universe, are arranged differently. Gas molecules move around really quickly, and have lots of space between them. Liquid molecules are much closer together, but still moving and flexible. Solids are packed tight, the atoms right up next to each other. Almost everything gets denser as it moves from gas to liquid to solid. But not water! When water solidifies into ice, it becomes less dense and floats!

Smash Boom Best: Bats vs. Owls (new show alert!)

For the past few months, we've been working on a top secret project and we're so excited we finally get to share it with you! It's a new show called Smash Boom Best and it's nothing but debates. Sort of like the ones you've heard on Brains On, but with a few new twists. It's a little faster paced, a little sillier and we hope you'll think it's a lot of fun. Today: Wings out, eyes wide — we're swooping in on a battle between a perfect pair of creatures of the night. Which is cooler: Bats? Or owls? We're going to hear lots of facts and feelings from our debaters: Brandi Brown and Katie McVay. Who will be chosen the Smash Boom Best? Listen to hear what our judge decides and then head over to smashboom.org to share your opinion with us! And subscribe to Smash Boom Best wherever you get your podcasts to hear the rest of this season's debates. Team Owl or Team Bat? Click here to vote for who you think won the debate! Check out our past Brains On debates here: Dolphin vs. Octopuses Deep Sea vs. Outer Space Fire vs. Lasers Bridges vs. Tunnels

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