Radiolab 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.
Radiolab

Radiolab

From WNYC Radio

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.

Most Recent Episodes

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 and Brian Radcliffe. 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 radiolab@wnyc.org. 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.

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 radiolab@wnyc.org. 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.

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 radiolab@wnyc.org. 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.

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 radiolab@wnyc.org. 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.

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 radiolab@wnyc.org. 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.

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 radiolab@wnyc.org. 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.

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 radiolab@wnyc.org. 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.

The Distance of the Moon

In an episode we last featured on our Radiolab for Kids Feed back in 2020, and in honor of its blocking out the Sun for a bit of us for a bit last week, in this episode, we're gonna talk more about the moon. According to one theory, (psst listen to The Moon Itself if you want to know more) the moon formed when a Mars-sized chunk of rock collided with Earth, the moon coalesced out of the debris from that impact. And it was MUCH closer to Earth than it is today. This idea is taken to its fanciful limit in Italo Calvino's story "The Distance of the Moon" (from his collection Cosmicomics, translated by William Weaver). Read by Liev Schreiber, the story is narrated by a character with the impossible-to-pronounce name Qfwfq, and tells of a strange crew who jump between Earth and moon, and sometimes hover in the nether reaches of gravity between the two. This reading was part of a live event hosted by Radiolab and Selected Shorts, and it originally aired on WNYC's and PRI's SELECTED SHORTS, hosted by BD Wong and paired with a Ray Bradbury classic, "All Summer in a Day," read by musical theater star Michael Cerveris. 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 radiolab@wnyc.org. 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.

The Moon Itself

There's a total solar eclipse coming. On Monday, April 8, for a large swath of North America, the sun will disappear, in the middle of the day. Everywhere you look, people are talking about it. What will it feel like when the sun goes away? What will the blocked-out sun look like? But all this talk of the sun got us thinking: wait, what about the moon? The only reason this whole solar eclipse thing is happening is because the moon is stepping in front of the sun. So in today's episode, we stop treating the moon like a bit player in this epic cosmic event, and place it centerstage. We get to know the moon, itself — from birth, to middle age, to ... death. This episode was reported by Molly Webster, Pat Walters, Becca Bressler, Alan Goffinski, Maria Paz Guttierez, Sarah Qari, Simon Adler and Alex Neason, and produced by Matt Kielty, Becca Bressler, Pat Walters, Maria Paz Guttierrez, Alan Goffinski and Simon Adler. It was edited by Becca Bressler and Pat Walters. Fact-checked by Diane Kelly and Natalie A Middleton. Original Music and sound design by Matt Kielty, Jeremy Bloom, and Simon Adler. Mixing help from Arianne Wack. Special thanks to Rebecca Boyle, Patrick Leverone and Daryl Pitts at the Maine Gem and Mineral Museum in Bethel Maine, Renee Weber, Paul M. Sutter, Matt Siegler, Sarah Noble, and Chucky P. EPISODE CREDITS: Reported by - Molly Webster, Pat Walters, Becca Bressler, Alan Goffinski, Maria Paz Guttierez, Sarah Qari, Simon Adler and Alex Neason Produced by -Matt Kielty, Becca Bressler, Pat Walters, Maria Paz Guttierrez, Alan Goffinski and Simon Adler Original music and sound design contributed by - Matt Kielty, Jeremy Bloom and Simon Adler with mixing help from - Arianne Wack Fact-checking by - Natalie Middleton and Diane Kelley and Edited by - Pat Walters and Becca Bressler EPISODE CITATIONS: Books - Rebecca Boyle's book, Our Moon: How the Earth's Celestial Companion Transformed the Planet, Guided Evolution and Made Us Who We Are. PEOPLE IN NORTH AMERICA, HERE'S HOW TO RECYCLE YOUR USED ECLIPSE GLASSES (https://zpr.io/D6wB7dA4Sb3m) *unless you want to hold onto them till the next one on August 23rd, 2044 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 radiolab@wnyc.org. 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.

Short Cuts: Drawn Onward

As a treat for the first palindrome date of the calendar year 2024, 4/2/24, (for those who use U.S. formatting of dates anyway), we are releasing a special audio palindrome. A piece that plays the same forward and backward. It's called "Drawn Onward" and it comes from the producers Alan Goffinski and Sarita Bhatt. It originally aired on the wonderful BBC show Short Cuts which curates fresh, experimental, adventurous audio journeys. Special thanks to Alan Goffinski, Sarita Bhatt, Josie Long, Eleanor McDowall, BBC Short Cuts EPISODE CREDITS: Reported by - Alan Goffinski, Sarita Bhatt Produced by - Axel Kacoutié with help from - Alan Goffinski, Sarita Bhatt Original music and sound design contributed by - Alan Goffinski Mixed by - Axel Kacoutié EPISODE CITATIONS: Articles - BBC Short Cuts full episode: Meeting Myself Coming Back 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 radiolab@wnyc.org. 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.