show episodes
 
Science for the People is a long-format interview podcast that explores the connections between science, popular culture, history, and public policy, to help listeners understand the evidence and arguments behind what's in the news and on the shelves. Our hosts sit down with science researchers, writers, authors, journalists, and experts to discuss science from the past, the science that affects our lives today, and how science might change our future.
 
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show series
 
How does someone's life change when they get or discover a chronic medical condition? What is it like to have a long-term relationship with the modern healthcare system? How do we define medical necessity in a profession where knowledge is highly specialized while also balancing a patient's autonomy and quality of life? What are the impacts of crea…
 
There are lots of things about the natural world many people like to avoid, or even pretend don't exist. Like the mites that are the same size and shape as the pores on our faces, or how likely it is that your dog will eat you when you die. Luckily, some people don't want to avoid those topics, and this week we're here with one of them. Host Bethan…
 
We can definitely agree there is a lot about our current food systems that isn't sustainable. But what's harder to agree on is what we need to do to fix it for the better, while still ensuring everyone on the planet has enough to eat. Everyone has an opinion about what food we should eat and what food we shouldn't, what food systems are harmful and…
 
For humans and creatures of all sorts, play goes beyond having fun. Cognitive scientist Junyi Chu shares about the motives behind play, from showing off one's fitness to practicing skills, and she shares about her research studying children, play and cognition. Game designer Holly Gramazio comes at play from the perspective of an artist. She talks …
 
2020 is over, and honestly? Good riddance. But before we go, let's take a look back. Because 2020 was tough, but it was also a year that science played a bigger role in people's lives than ever before. Hosts Bethany Brookshire and Rachelle Saunders talk with Tina Saey, Deja Perkins, and Carolyn Gramling about three big science stories that definite…
 
It's the holidays and it's 2020. For many of us, it's the first time we won't be able to be together, doing the traditional things we always do. It seems like it might be okay, I mean, people are always telling us to make our own traditions. So why does it hurt so much? Why does the loss of our rituals leave us so adrift? And why, with all the pres…
 
Once again we've brought back Joanne Manaster and John Dupuis to reflect on their 2020 reading lists, and to highlight their favourite reads. So grab a coffee, tea, hot cocoa, or other cosy beverage of your choice, pull up our companion blog post with the full book list with links, and settle in for our annual episode that is sure to add new books …
 
We're still in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic, and one of the things many of us are hoping for every day is more good news about a vaccine. What does the Coronavirus vaccine effort look like? How does that compare to the usual way vaccines are pursued and developed? How many are in process, what stage are they at, what approach do they take,…
 
Just a quick message abour our somewhat erratic programming schedule of late. For a variety of reasons, our team needs to slow down a bit to give ourselves time and energy to focus on other things going on in our lives and this crazy year, so we'll be going to a monthly schedule for a while to give us here at Science for the People some room to bre…
 
When you think of science communication, you might think of TED talks or museum talks or video talks, or... people giving lectures. It's a lot of people talking. But there's more to sci comm than that. This week host Bethany Brookshire talks to three people who have looked at science communication in places you might not expect it. We'll speak with…
 
Do you like tea? If you, like many of us, do, then you probably have an idea (or perhaps very strong opinions) of what a "good cup of tea" tastes like. But what does "quality tea" really mean? This week host Rachelle Saunders speaks with Sarah Besky, Associate Professor in the IRL School at Cornell and author of the book "Tasting Qualities: The Pas…
 
This episode is about penises. That was your content warning. Penises. Where they came from. Why they're useful. And the many, many wild things that animals do with them. Come for the world's oldest penis, stay for the creature that ejaculates 80 percent of its bodyweight. Host Bethany Brookshire talks with Emily Willingham about her new book, "Pha…
 
We live in a material world. Each piece of that stuff has a story behind it – from the inconspicuous glass and steel that fashions our built environments to the transistors in the tech that siphons up all our attention. In this week's conversation, host Carolyn Wilke speaks with scientist and science writer Ainissa Ramirez, author of "The Alchemy o…
 
We don't really notice street addresses, but they're integral to how modern society works. They've become integral to our identity in ways we don't really notice... until we don't have one. But where did street addresses come from? Who decides what names or words can be addresses? And how does a government's approach to addresses impact its people?…
 
This week, host Marion Kilgour discusses the effects of climate change on Arctic sea ice, and the Inuit communities that rely on the ice for wood, food, and roads. SmartICE is a social enterprise developing a near real-time sea-ice monitoring and information sharing system that blends Inuit traditional knowledge with state-of-the-art technology. Re…
 
Anyone who's seen pop culture depictions of poker might think statistics and math is the only way to get ahead. But no, there's psychology too. Author Maria Konnikova took her Ph.D. in psychology to the poker table, and turned out to be good. So good, she went pro in poker, and learned all about her own biases on the way. We're talking about her ne…
 
This week we dig into the grammar, idiosyncracies, and patterns of mondern writing the internet has made not just possible, but necessary: the writing you and I do all the time via email, text and Tweet. Join host Rachelle Saunders and guest Gretchen McCulloch, blogger, Wired columnist, podcaster, and author of the book "Because Internet: Understan…
 
This week we're busting the human gut wide open with Dr. Alessio Fasano from the Center for Celiac Research and Treatment at Massachusetts General Hospital. Join host Anika Hazra for our discussion separating fact from fiction on the controversial topic of leaky gut syndrome. We cover everything from what causes a leaky gut to interpreting the resu…
 
We're all spending a bit more time indoors this summer than we probably figured. But did you ever stop to think about why the places we live and work as designed the way they are? And how they could be designed better? We're talking with Emily Anthes about her new book "The Great Indoors: The Surprising Science of how Buildings Shape our Behavior, …
 
Around the end of the second world war, a set of tiny miniature dioramas depicting a variety of deaths were created to help teach investigators how to approach a crime scene. You may have heard of the Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death and their maker, Frances Glessner Lee... but you probably didn't know how Lee became interested in forensics, t…
 
Yes, bumble bees are important pollinators. But they're also fascinating, cute and colorful. This week's episode can trace its origins to a flowery Sierra Nevada meadow where host Carolyn Wilke reported on guest Michelle Duennes' project of catching bumble bees to study their health. Three years and hundreds of bees later, we check in on the projec…
 
We're taking a step back from our scheduled episode this week to ensure the important discussions around Black Lives Matter continue to stay in focus. Black voices are leading conversations about deep-rooted racism they have experienced and witnessed. These conversations aren't hard to find. We've included a few resources below to get you started i…
 
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