Radiolab

Sunday 7 p.m.
Jad Abumrad & Robert Krulwich
Robert Krulwich

Radiolab is an experiential investigation that explores themes and ideas through a patchwork of people, sounds, and stories. In each episode, Radiolab experiments with sound and style allowing science to fuse with culture, and information to sound like music.

Hosted by Jad Abumrad with co-host Robert Krulwich, Radiolab is designed for listeners who demand skepticism but appreciate wonder; who are curious about the world, but also want to be moved and surprised.

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50e742e9e1c8e204c0dccad1|50e742a4e1c8e204c0dcca8a

Audio Archive

  • Thursday, July 17, 2014 3:58pm

    Today, the strange story of a small group of islands that raise a big question: is it inevitable that even our most sacred natural landscapes will eventually get swallowed up by humans? And just how far are we willing to go to stop that from happening?

    We are dedicating a whole hour to the Galapagos archipelago, the place that inspired Darwin’s theory of evolution and natural selection. 179 years later, the Galapagos are undergoing rapid changes that continue to pose -- and possibly answer -- critical questions about the fragility and resilience of life on Earth.

  • Thursday, June 26, 2014 1:17pm

    Learn a new language faster than ever! Leave doubt in the dust! Be a better sniper! Could you do all that and more with just a zap to the noggin? Maybe.

    Sally Adee, an editor at New Scientist, was at a conference for DARPA - The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency - when she heard about a way to speed up learning with something called trans-cranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). A couple years later, Sally found herself weilding an M4 assualt rifle, picking off enemy combatants with a battery wired to her temple. Of course, it was a simulation, but Sally's sniper skills made producer Soren Wheeler wonder what we should think of the world of brain stimulation. 

    In the last couple years, tDCS has been all over the news. Researchers claim that juicing the brain with just 2 milliamps (think 9-volt battery) can help with everything from learning languages, to quitting smoking, to overcoming depression. We bring Michael Weisend, neuroscientist at Wright State Research Institute, into the studio to tell us how it works (Bonus: you get to hear Jad get his brain zapped). Peter Reiner and Nick Fitz of the University of British Columbia help us think through the consequences of a world where anyone with 20 dollars and access to Radioshack can make their own brain zapper. And finally, Sally tells us about the unexpected after-effects of a day of super-charged sniper training and makes us wonder about world where you can order up a state of mind.

  • Friday, June 13, 2014 2:00pm

    A plum-sized lump of metal takes us from the French Revolution to an underground bunker in Maryland as we try to weigh the way we weigh the world around us.

  • Friday, May 30, 2014 11:20am

    This hour we investigate the objects around us, their power to move us, and whether it's better to look back or move on, hold on tight or just let go.

  • Thursday, May 15, 2014 1:58pm

    Today, the story of one little thing that has radically changed what we know about humanity’s humble beginnings and the kinds of creatures that were out to get us way back when.


    Wits University Professor Lee Berger and Dr. Chris Stringer from London’s Natural History Museum explain how a child’s skull, found in an ancient cave, eventually helped answer one of our oldest questions: Where do we come from? Then Lee takes us on a journey to answer a somewhat smaller question: how did that child die? Along the way, we visit Dr. Bernhard Zipfel at Wits University in Johannesburg to actually hold the skull itself.


    We wanted to give you a chance to hold the skull, too. So we did a little experiment: we made a 3D scan of it. If you visit our page on Thingiverse, you’ll see the results. Anyone with access to a 3D printer can print their own copy of the skull. (We printed a bunch, with help from our friends at MakerBot—there’s even a purple one with sparkles.)


    We also collaborated with the folks at Mmuseumm, a tiny (really tiny, it’s in an elevator shaft) museum in Manhattan. You can visit them to see the 3D printed skull, along with the other wonderful things in their collection: mosquitoes swatted mid-bite, toothpaste tubes from around the world, and much more.


    Thanks to JP Brown, Emily Graslie and Robert Martin at the Field Museum in Chicago for scanning the skull. Thanks to Curtis Schmitt and shootdigital for refining the scan. Thanks to Bre Pettis and Jenifer Howard at MakerBot for guiding us through the world of 3D printing.


     

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11:40am

Mon July 1, 2013
Krulwich Wonders...

A Beautiful Notion: That Caterpillars Killed Off The Dinosaurs

Originally published on Tue July 2, 2013 9:52 am

Robert Krulwich NPR

For the last hundred years, scientists have been wondering why the dinosaurs disappeared so quickly. Was there one key reason, or several?

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12:38am

Sat June 29, 2013
Krulwich Wonders...

Stroke, Stroke, Stroke — The Atlantic Ocean's Dazzling Oarsmen

Gregory G. Dimijian Science Source

At night, in the ocean, they look like little Broadway billboards with dazzling trills of rainbow colored light. They have eight little runways on their bodies for light display. What are they?

They're called comb jellies. They're not jellyfish. They don't pulse like jellies. They seem to hang. You can find them bobbing off eastern beaches from Massachusetts to the Carolinas and if you pull them up (you can, they don't sting), they're goopy, gelatinous clumps vaguely shaped like walnuts.

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6:18am

Fri June 28, 2013
Krulwich Wonders...

Artist Plays Detective: Can I Reconstruct A Face From A Piece Of Hair?

Vimeo

Her techniques aren't super-sophisticated. She's not a leader in the field. She's more or less an amateur. This is what you can do with ordinary genetic engineering tools right now. Artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg can find a cigarette lying on the sidewalk on Myrtle Avenue in Brooklyn, and working from traces of saliva, by pulling DNA out of those saliva cells and using a bunch of simple algorithms available online, she can make some very educated guesses about what the smoker might look like.

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9:59am

Thu June 27, 2013
Krulwich Wonders...

7 Billion People And Trillions Of Creatures To Be Photographed Together On July 19

Originally published on Tue July 16, 2013 9:40 am

NASA

It's going to be a very small picture, but we're all going to be in it. All trillions of us on Earth.

It's not our first group portrait, but Carolyn Porco, the woman in charge, says it's going to be gasp-worthy. She should know. She helped shoot some of the early ones.

What am I talking about?

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9:49am

Tue June 25, 2013
Krulwich Wonders...

The Man With A 'Battery Operated Brain'

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1PFknl5YFsE

He calls himself the "human with the battery operated brain" because he does, in fact, have electrodes in his head, put there by his New Zealand doctors.

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