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Science Podcasts

From the PBS science series NOVA, a biweekly podcast digging into the science behind the headlines. Alok Patel takes you behind the scenes with the people—scientists, engineers, technologists, mathematicians and more—working to understand our world. Now it's more critical than ever to distinguish fact from fiction and find science-based answers to the most pressing questions of our time. Subscribe, and learn more by visiting pbs.org/novanowpodcast.

From the PBS science series NOVA, a biweekly podcast digging into the science behind the headlines. Alok Patel takes you behind the scenes with the people—scientists, engineers, technologists, mathematicians and more—working to understand our world. Now it's more critical than ever to distinguish fact from fiction and find science-based answers to the most pressing questions of our time. Subscribe, and learn more by visiting pbs.org/novanowpodcast.

Location:

United States

Description:

From the PBS science series NOVA, a biweekly podcast digging into the science behind the headlines. Alok Patel takes you behind the scenes with the people—scientists, engineers, technologists, mathematicians and more—working to understand our world. Now it's more critical than ever to distinguish fact from fiction and find science-based answers to the most pressing questions of our time. Subscribe, and learn more by visiting pbs.org/novanowpodcast.

Language:

English


Episodes

The Big Bang: started from inflation, now we’re here

12/2/2021
For tens of thousands of years, humans have pondered eternal questions like “How does our world even exist?” and “Where did we come from?” Now, more than ever, scientists are finding answers within the Big Bang theory. About 13.8 billion years ago, in a fraction of a fraction of a second, the universe expanded into being. The event, astronomers believe, was less of an explosion than a transformation of energy into matter: As this so-called inflation slowed, it gave way to matter, radiation,...

Duration:00:33:26

Black holes: to the event horizon and beyond

11/25/2021
Black holes: they’re dense, elusive, light-absorbing pockets of spacetime that are critical to our understanding of the universe. But black holes are difficult to peer into, so there’s a lot scientists still don’t know. This leaves some room for science fiction to take over. Tall tales of galactic adventure may pair well with popcorn, but they also blur the lines between fact and fiction. To explore what humanity knows—and what we think we know—about black holes, Dr. Alok Patel and a...

Duration:00:31:21

The hitchhiker’s guide to exoplanets and alien life

11/18/2021
If television shows and movies are any indication, we humans spend a lot of our time subconsciously preparing for UFOs carrying maleficent aliens to descend on Earth. But should we rush to create an intergalactic battle plan? In actuality, finding otherworldly life won’t be so easy (or, hopefully, so dangerous). Already, astronomers and other scientists are using a multitude of techniques to search for planets outside our solar system and any signs of life they carry. With 4,500 exoplanets...

Duration:00:30:11

How to make a Milky Way: the ultimate galactic recipe

11/11/2021
When our ancestors looked up into the night sky, they too saw a great, glimmering band of light splitting the darkness. In Southeast Asia, people called it “the Silver River.” In Southern Africa, “the Backbone of the Night.” And in the West, around 2,500 years ago, it earned the name “the Milky Way.” Across the globe, civilizations had theories of what the band of light was and why it was there. But only recently have humans had the tools to get the full picture. Today we know the Milky Way...

Duration:00:25:57

Fusion: Can we recreate the renewable power of stars down on Earth?

11/4/2021
The process that powers our sun was still a mystery about 100 years ago. Bit by bit, scientists have worked out that the fusion of hydrogen at a star’s core can generate enough power to keep it shining for billions of years. Now, armed with this knowledge, researchers around the world are trying to figure out if we can recreate that fusion process here on Earth. (And yes, trying to kickstart fusion—and then contain superheated plasmas that reach temperatures up to 100 million degrees...

Duration:00:27:11

This is NOVA Now Universe Revealed

10/29/2021
This is NOVA Now Universe Revealed, hosted by Alok Patel, a physician, science communicator, and somewhat of a space nerd. In this special 5-part podcast series, blast off with us to explore alien worlds, galaxies, stars, black holes, and the start of the universe itself, the Big Bang. NOVA Now Universe Revealed drops on Thursday, November 4th. This podcast has been made possible by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. Produced by GBH and PRX.

Duration:00:03:28

Would you eat insects to help the planet?

10/28/2021
You may think of insects as creepy-crawly pests. But for at least 2 billion people on the planet, they’re a source of nourishment. Entomophagy, the practice of eating insects, has been around for thousands of years. But it isn’t a global practice today; cuisine in Europe and the U.S. tends to exclude insects. Could that change? The culinary case for insects is a compelling one—but it’s not the only one. A 2013 UN food and agriculture report proposed insect consumption as a possible solution...

Duration:00:30:41

Cryptocurrency: the future of money in a digital world?

10/14/2021
The internet revolutionized how we communicate and exchange information. Now, it’s causing the ways in which we invest and spend money to change, laying the foundation for cryptocurrency. How this digital currency functions—much like the inner workings of the internet itself—is invisible to most. But the ongoing explosion of interest and investment in cryptocurrency is undeniable. In September, El Salvador became the first country to accept Bitcoin as legal tender. Meanwhile, China announced...

Duration:00:31:56

Cannabis: Discovering its effects on the body and brain

9/30/2021
The cannabis industry has flowered into a billion-dollar industry in the last decade. Now, cannabis is easier than ever to legally access for medical or recreational use in the majority of U.S. states. But does legalization mean that cannabis is actually safe to use? After all, cannabis is still federally classified as a Schedule 1 controlled substance, defined by the Drug Enforcement Administration as a substance with “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.”...

Duration:00:32:04

The case of hurricanes and climate change

9/16/2021
The 2021 Atlantic hurricane season is half-way through and, like 2020, is expected to be another above-normal Atlantic hurricane season as estimated by NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. As of September 14, 2021, there have been over a dozen named storms, including three major hurricanes, Grace, Ida, and Larry, that reached Category 3 status or higher. Climate computer models predict that rising ocean temperatures—warm water being fuel for hurricanes—impact storm activity; but does this mean...

Duration:00:19:58

Back to school during a pandemic: experts weigh in

9/2/2021
Back-to-school jitters are in the air as many schools across the U.S. welcome students back to in-person learning for the 2021 to 2022 school year. But, after more than a year of pandemic-related disruption and the more recent emergence of the highly infectious delta variant, excitement to get back into the classroom is met by significant concern for student health. Dr. Alok Patel speaks with a leading expert in aerosol transmission of infectious disease, an education researcher and...

Duration:00:35:06

Electric vehicles: infrastructural needs and environmental effects

8/19/2021
Gasoline-powered passenger cars account for about 17% of global carbon dioxide emissions. Earlier this month, President Biden signed an executive order setting a goal that by 2030, half of all cars sold in the U.S. would be hybrid or electric. And major automakers have joined in support to make this a reality. But will a widespread switch to battery-powered cars ensure a cleaner future? And what does it take to make the shift from gas to electric? Dr. Alok Patel speaks with a leader in...

Duration:00:21:56

Covid Vaccines & Variants: What will it take to get out of this pandemic?

8/5/2021
With the emergence of new variants of the coronavirus, including Delta, COVID-19​​ continues to spread rapidly across much of the world. In most U.S. states, a surge in cases is reigniting conversations about the country’s response to the pandemic. Dr. Alok Patel speaks with a leading epidemiologist and a specialist in infectious diseases to gain perspective on pressing concerns, from vaccine effectiveness and boosters to vaccine hesitancy, misinformation, and inequity at a national and...

Duration:00:28:23

The science of Unidentified Aerial Phenomena

7/22/2021
Ever spotted a strange object in the sky? According to a recent report released by the U.S. government, nearly 150 aerial objects observed between 2004 and 2021 remain unidentified—with the exception of one large deflated balloon. The sightings of these objects, once called UFOs and now referred to as Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP), can have a number of reasonable explanations. Cloud formations, Venus shining brightly in the night sky, or the occasional recon aircraft or government-led...

Duration:00:28:11

Using technology to cope with drought

7/8/2021
As temperatures continue to rise this summer, the U.S. is experiencing increasingly worse drought conditions with more than 93% of land in seven Western states affected. Though this decades-long dry spell is concentrated in the Western part of the country, droughts have widespread consequences, affecting everything from our national food supply to water quality. With the help of hydrologists and innovators on the ground and in the lab, Dr. Alok Patel learns about the traditional ecological...

Duration:00:28:25

The science of exercise—and getting back in the game

6/24/2021
Hey folks, it’s been a minute. But now we’re back and breaking down the science behind the headlines. This week, we’re stretching it out and exploring the science of exercise and—after more than a year of unexpected interruption—getting back in the game. Dr. Alok Patel checks in with an expert in exercise physiology and an Olympic athlete, biomechanist, and chiropractor. Together, they talk about training under lockdown, what happens to the body and mind when taking time away from intense...

Duration:00:30:40

NOVA Now Returns!

6/17/2021
NOVA Now is back! Join host Alok Patel for another season of new insights into the most pressing issues that are impacting our lives right now. From the PBS science series NOVA, this is a biweekly podcast using science to separate fact from fiction. New episodes start June 24th! Visit our website at: http://www.pbs.org/novanowpodcast

Duration:00:02:49

Bonus! From our friends at AirSpace: Mask, Gloves, Soap, Scrubs

1/21/2021
AirSpace from the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum is a podcast that helps you discover news, entertainment, and inspiration in the sky. In other words, we tell aspirational stories about defying gravity. Whether you’re an avid aviation geek, space cadet, or just somebody who loves great stories about smart topics, join hosts Emily, Matt, and Nick and spend a little time with your head in the clouds.

Duration:00:27:33

The science of positive motivation for the New Year

12/31/2020
2020 is finally over. After the coronavirus pandemic and everything else the year's thrown our way, it's time to dust ourselves off and get ready for 2021. To do that, we need positive motivation (neurologically, that’s how our brains prepare to get things done). First, we hear from a neuroscientist on the science of becoming and staying motivated. Then, we have a special auditory treat. All season, host Alok Patel has asked NOVA Now guests which songs motivate them to do their work, whether...

Duration:00:26:19

How the future of satellites might affect life on Earth

12/17/2020
In 2020, the world celebrated two decades of continuous human presence aboard the International Space Station (ISS). As an orbiting laboratory that has provided astronauts with a view of Earth from outer space, the ISS may not seem very similar to other space innovations like CubeSats and NASA/USGS’s Landsat. But all of these devices are satellites: objects orbiting objects larger than themselves. Satellites can be natural (like the moon and planets, including Earth) or human-made (like the...

Duration:00:28:52