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Science podcasts

April 29, 2007

I take a commuter train nearly every day from home to my office at school. I find this time perfect for catching up on the latest science news via podcasts. Below are science-related podcasts that I subscribe to. If you know of any others, please let me know…i’m always looking for something new.

I’m including the link to the website for these podcasts but, if you use an iPod, you can also easily find them through the iTunes directory. These are all free.

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Nature Podcast: This is one of the longer ones at about 25-30 minutes and is published once a week. This podcast sums up 3 or 4 of the prominent articles that are reported in the weekly journal Nature. The format is typically a phone interview with one or more of the authors of a study in that week’s issue. This is the most technical of all the podcasts listed here.

Science Friday: This is one of my personal favorites. Science Friday is part of NPR‘s Talk of the Nation programming and hosted by Ira Flatow. If you listen to this on the radio is an hour long and typically broken into 2-4 segment covering different topics. The podcast edition is delivered so that each segment is a separate episode, which is nice so you don’t have to listen to the entire hour to hear the topic you are really interested in. Sometimes a segment can be over 30 minutes and others will be only 10 minutes. It is very non-technical and Flatow does a great job of keeping the guests from using too much jargon. Lately, they’ve had a lot of climate science and/or policy topics that are pretty good.

Science Times is hosted by David Corcoran of the New York Times. It is published once a week and summarizes the main articles that were highlighted in the newspaper that week. This is a nice one to add to the mix because they tend to not focus on the same story that all the other media outlets picked up (usually from Nature or Science). It is typically 15-20 minutes in length.

Science Talk is the podcast associated with the magazine Scientific American. I’ve only started listening to this one recently, but so far so good. There is a little overlap with the others but sometimes that is nice because you get a slightly different perspective or style of reporting. It is similar in length to the others (20-25 minutes) and published about once a week.

PopSci Podcast is hosted by Jonathan Coulton and is the less serious one thrown on this list. It is associated with Popular Science magazine, which I don’t read, and is essentially a nerdy comedy podcast sprinkled with some information. It is short (<10 minutes) and consists of an intro and summary by Coulton (who is stationed on the moon) and a phone interview with a researcher usually on something offbeat. For example, they once had a guy who studied how fruit flies fight and another story about how San Francisco wants to try and collect dog poo and turn it into energy. The problem is there hasn’t been a new episode in a couple months, so i’m not sure what’s up with it.

If you know of other podcasts that are similar to these, please leave a comment and link.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Maxine permalink
    April 30, 2007 2:56 am

    Thanks for including us in your review. I’ve linked to your post at the Nature author blog, Nautilus, at:
    http://blogs.nature.com/nautilus/2007/04/scientific_podcast_review_1.html

    PS you have your blog settings so that people can comment only if they have a google/blogger account. If you change them, then anyone will be able to comment.

  2. Brian permalink
    April 30, 2007 8:20 am

    Thanks Maxine…yeah, i had commenting completely open and got some spam…i’ve opened it up again, we’ll see what happens this time.

    thanks for the Nautilus link…looks like an interesting site

  3. May 8, 2008 10:29 pm

    Take a look at USGS CoreCast. It is in iTunes, as well as at http://www.usgs.gov/corecast/

  4. May 9, 2008 12:26 pm

    Kevin … thanks … I found their podcast a few months after writing this post and it is now in my ever-growing list. Now, I need to find time to listen to them all.

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