The Pulse-logo

The Pulse

Health & Wellness Podcasts >

More Information


United States








Man-Made Worlds

It was supposed to be a paradise. A parcel of wilderness, reminiscent of the past, where birds and large grazers would find refuge. Conservationists fought hard to create this sanctuary, but things didn’t go as planned. Soon, animals were dying, and humans were fighting over the future of the reserve. People have long tried their hand at creating their own worlds, and on this episode, we explore why we do this, and what happens next. We hear stories about nature conservation gone wrong, the...


Why We Play

You know what they say — all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. And science seems to confirm that statement, with findings that play is as important for adults’ emotional health as it is for children’s development. But what exactly counts as play? Who engages in it — and why is it so important? On this episode, we explore some of those questions. We’ll hear stories about rediscovering play as an adult, which animals play and why, and meet a reverend in her 70s who still jumps double...


How Buildings Impact Our Lives

From bungalows to skyscrapers, farmhouses to condos, brownstones to corner shops, buildings define the spaces of our lives. They are our homes, our workplaces, and our settings for fun, commerce, and government. And the way they’re built can shape the way we live our lives. In this episode, we look at how buildings affect our health and well-being, along with the future of our cities. We hear stories about protecting hospitals from the elements, what it takes to make buildings truly...


The Ocean and Us

Our planet’s surface is 71% water — with five vast oceans that span a range of temperatures and shades of blue. Humans have long loved and feared these oceans. They sustain us and other animals, help regulate our climate, and offer endless opportunities for awe and joy. But our relationship hasn’t always been smooth. The ocean can be a threat to us, and we — with our expanding environmental footprint — can be a threat to it. On this episode of The Pulse, we dig into the science of our...



Everyone loves a good comeback story — but they don’t just apply to athletes and washed-up actors. Revivals can happen for ideas, places — even entire species. On this episode of The Pulse, we explore how and why comebacks happen in the scientific realm. We’ll hear stories about how grizzly bears are starting to rebound, the unexpected revival of Lamarckian evolution, how flatworms regenerate their bodies, and the psychological power of nostalgia. Also heard on this week’s episode: Leslie...


The Other Side of the Moon

In honor of Apollo 11’s 50th anniversary, we’ve been talking a lot about getting to the moon, and the science of understanding its origins. This episode is more of a tribute to the moon itself, and our relationship with this bright, beautiful object in the sky. The moon lights up our nights, influences the oceans’ tides, stabilizes the earth’s tilt — which is responsible for our seasons. Without the moon, our lives here on Earth would be very, very different. On this episode of The Pulse,...


Destination Moon

On July 20th, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to walk on the moon. It was an astounding achievement — a feat of science and technology, born from the will and effort of thousands. But it was also an incredible risk, one that could very well have ended in tragedy. Fifty years later, we pay homage to that mission with stories about the moon landing’s significance, its drama, and its legacy. On this special episode of The Pulse, we hear stories about the science...


What We Call Things and Why It Matters

How we talk about an issue has ramifications that go far beyond the words. Names, descriptions, and terms lay the foundation for how we think about an issue, how we deal with a problem — or whether we see something as a problem at all. Why do we call addiction a “brain disease,” and how does that impact treatment and policy? Is stuttering a “disorder,” or merely a different way of speaking? Plus, the debate over who gets called “Dr.” and the respect that comes with that title. Also heard on...


Why We Exercise

Running, biking, weightlifting, swimming — for lots of people, working out is an important part of life. It’s about our health — mental and physical — strength, weight control, discipline and let’s face it: vanity. On this episode, we explore why we exercise, why we should, and how to do it best. Also heard on this week’s episode:


The Science of Everyday Objects

From penicillin to the moon landing, we have science to thank for humanity’s greatest achievements. But science has also helped advance things we consider common and ordinary. From bicycles to toilets, our everyday objects hold tales of dogged pursuit, and occasional lucky breaks. On this episode of The Pulse, we take a closer look at our stuff, to uncover the hidden science that fuels our daily lives. Also heard on this week’s episode: Michael Yudell“The TVs of Tomorrow.”Psychologist...


How Did We Miss That?

You’re developing a new, revolutionary product. You have all the science figured out, it works like a charm. Problem is, nobody wants — or needs — your product. How do things like this happen? On this episode, we look into this phenomenon, of missing something that’s pretty obvious — the things we didn’t see coming. Why do we miss them — and how can we prevent this from happening? We hear stories about doctors making the wrong diagnosis; how grifters get away with cons; and why a sweeping...


Who Do You Think You Are?

Scientist. Farmer. Feminist. Leader. Alpha male. Veteran. African-American. Hindu. Identity isn’t just about who we think we are — it’s about how others perceive us, and how we move through the world. It’s determined by our families and culture; our race and gender; our jobs, personalities, bodies, and minds. All of those things make up our personal narratives, defining who we are and how we deal with things. But identities aren’t always fixed. Sometimes, they can change, and even clash. On...


Opting Out

There’s a comfort to the mainstream way of doing things — it offers standard solutions to standard problems. But sometimes existing systems don’t work or aren’t accessible, and we’re forced to carve out our own paths. On this episode, we explore stories of opting out — and finding new solutions. We hear about communities opting out of conventional internet service, universities ditching the GRE test as part of their admissions process, and people saying no to some aspects of medical care....


Cats and Dogs, their Health and Ours

For a lot of Americans, cats and dogs are more than just pets — they’re our fur babies. We’re willing to do whatever it takes to keep them happy and healthy. But sometimes — whatever it takes — gets complicated and expensive. On this episode of The Pulse, we examine pet health from Prozac to surgery, and the epidemic of fat cats and pudgy pups. Plus, how pets impact human well-being. Also heard on this week’s episode: Patricia Bentz


Shifting Gears

Cars have played a fundamental role in changing our modern lives — where we live, where we work, the shape of our communities, and how we spend our money and free time. But along with new opportunities, cars have also brought negative impacts — air pollution, traffic deaths, congestion, and road rage, just to name a few. On this episode, we explore how cars have affected our world, and how we might reframe their role going forward. Also, why we often behave so badly while driving. Also...


Marijuana Now

Marijuana is starting to feel like the new normal. In less than 25 years, it’s gone from illicit drug to accepted medical treatment in more than half the country — plus cannabis is now legal recreationally in 10 states. It’s been a stunning transformation — one that’s thrust weed (and us) into a brand new reality. On this episode, we tackle some of the questions that have popped up along the way. How “medical” are those medical dispensaries, really? What are the risks for pregnant women and...


Shades of Green

As Kermit the Frog once said — it’s not easy being green. Amid challenges like pollution, deforestation and climate change, engaging with environmental problems can feel like an overwhelming task. To mark Earth Day, we explore some of the ways, big and small, people are working to do just that. Also on this week’s show: recent landmark studyPopulation Bomb


Failing Better

In science — and in life — failure is both a stumbling block and a building block. We regard failure as the enemy of success — but really, it’s just part of the process. Mistakes and missteps, blunders and slips are often stepping stones toward places of greater knowledge. But failure can also take us on detours, deflate our ambitions, and lead us down blind alleys. In this episode of The Pulse, we hear stories about failure — what we can learn from it, how we cope with it, and how we can...


Becoming a Mother

“Motherhood will change your life.” It may sound like a greeting card sentiment — but it’s also a statement of fact. Pregnancy changes the way bodies function and look. It affects women’s hormones and weight — even their brain chemistry. In this episode, The Pulse looks at the impact of new motherhood on women’s health. We hear stories about the ongoing debate over breastfeeding, and why so many hospitals are no longer using their nurseries. Plus, why some women of color are reluctant to...


How We Eat

Chow. Nibbles. Grub. Food — we relate to it in a lot of different ways. It can serve as nourishment, as pleasure, as fuel for our bodies, or the glue that holds communities together. But food can also make us sick — or cause us to feel powerless over our cravings and habits. So what determines our relationship with food? In this episode, we explore that question, with stories about the rise of — and backlash against — food allergies, the connection between climate change and eating meat, and...