Summer is a self-designated time for improvement, no one can deny that. Maybe you’re working six jobs, or just trying to slow things down and relax this summer — but the pressure to get smart is real.
Whether it’s for your nerdy Tinder date or your snooty cousin at family dinners, sometimes you just need to remind people to love you for the smart, informed and sensitive individual you are. Give your summer self-improvement project a kick-start with these curated science podcasts to keep you company on bus rides for days, or whenever you listen to podcasts.
Hosted by Shankar Vedantam, Hidden Brain explores the human mind, from psychology to neuroscience. Digging deep into “the unconscious patterns that drive human behaviour,” this podcast brings together science and storytelling in a remarkable way.
Some notable episodes include “Emma, Carrie, Vivian,” which explores the rise of the eugenics movement that led to a dreadful, almost Orwellian social experiment in America. Another one of my favourites is “I’m Right, You’re Wrong.” My friends are glad I listened to that one.
Quirks and Quarks
CBC’s award-winning radio science program hosted by Bob McDonald unpacks the latest developments in science and technology. Promising to cover “the quirks of the expanding universe to the quarks within a single atom,” this podcast will take on you on a journey. An enlightening episode to check out is “Chimps Take Cooking Lessons.”
The Naked Scientists
Led by a team passionate about “helping the general public understand and engage with the worlds of science, technology and medicine,” The Naked Scientists is an award-winning show about all things science. Stay updated on the latest scientific developments such as ground-breaking cancer medication, or learn about the science behind a perfect hug. A noteworthy episode to try is “What the Heck is Xenobiology?”
Do you have whack science questions? Wonder why you can’t taste your tongue or what the first killer robot was? Did anyone ever inform you about chocolate’s carbon footprint or about the new minerals formed by nuclear testing? Don’t get schooled by amateurs, get it from Brain Stuff. Covering a wide — and I mean wide — range of topics, these podcasts are relatively short and super informative. An interesting episode to try would be “Is Our Brain Hardwired for Poetry?”
Science Friday will bring you up to speed with its weekly review of scientific developments. Hosted by Ira Flatow, who keeps it light and conversational, it’s everything you would expect in a science podcast (without the rambling). A notable episode to try is “What Does Your Dog Really Think About You?”
If you’re not already feeling smarter by the end of this listicle, it’s time to get locked and loaded for that podcast binge.