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Science podcasts

September 17, 2007

This post is a re-run from several months ago.

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.


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.


6 Comments leave one →
  1. magma permalink
    September 17, 2007 9:24 pm

    Here in Australia Ockham’s Razor and the Science Show are on Radio National but also podcasted… they’re good.

  2. September 19, 2007 7:40 am

    I did a similar post a month or two back. Check it out for some more science related podcasts and a few others.

    I do like the Nature podcast, thanks for pointing that one out.

  3. September 20, 2007 3:03 pm

    Science (AAAS Journal) has podcasts:

    So does the USGS:

  4. September 22, 2007 1:40 pm

    If you don’t mind a little blatant self-promotion, please allow me to put forth my own podcast for your consideration — Sorting Out Science:

    Also, if you go to my “Links” page, I’ve got links to some other podcasts that I think are good — some science-related, others not.


  5. September 24, 2007 3:06 pm

    thanks for the suggestions of other science podcasts….Sam, no worries…you can self-promote here if you like!

  6. Jess permalink
    March 6, 2008 11:46 pm

    I love the RadioLab podcasts: they take a general topic such as “sleep” or “death” and explore it from several different angles in a way that relies heavily on radio play techniques. It’s fascinating and entertaining.

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