Written by Kate Henderson
Kate is Science World's Manager of School Engagement. When she isn't connecting schools to great science resources she can usually be found chasing her toddlers, exploring the beach or sailing the Salish Sea.


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Created date

Thursday, August 10, 2017 - 1:45pm

Our favourite science podcasts

My family and I recently drove to the West Kootenays. We do our best to keep long drives cheerful by stopping for meals and visiting playgrounds to get the kids moving, but we still ended up with a few 3-4 hour stretches of driving. My son (age 3.5) does really well keeping himself amused by looking at picture books (he loves the Richard Scarry books). However, we also discovered that he was interested in listening to books-on-CD and engaging podcasts. I have since explored and listened to a variety of podcasts for kids and adults and thought I would help anyone else planning a summer road trip by crowdsourcing a list of Science World’s favourite science podcasts for all ages. All of the podcasts listed below can be streamed directly from their podcast website, or through a podcast app. 

Science podcasts for kids:

Brains On! | Podcast Website | Listen in Apple PodcastsStitcherSpotify 
A different kid co-hosts each episode about the interesting stuff they’re doing and the things they think about. Sometimes that means talking to a food scientist or a snake handler, other times that means putting on a play about sound waves or writing songs about sleep. Recommended by Kate. 
If you've been asked repeatedly: How do engines work 

The Show about Science | Podcast Website | Listen in Apple PodcastsStitcherGoogle Play
Nate, the host of The Show About Science, started this podcast when he was 5 years old. He is now 7, and has produced podcasts on such topics as genetics, extraterrestrials, and radiation. Recommended by Kate. 
Inspire your own little podcaster with: Episode 1, Science with Mom

Tumble Science Podcast for Kids | Podcast Website | Listen on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Play 
Exploring stories of science discovery. Tumble is a science podcast created to be enjoyed by the entire family. Hosted & produced by Lindsay Patterson (science journalist) & Marshall Escamilla (teacher). Recommended by Kate. 
To keep your kids awake during a long drive: The Science of Poop with Mary Roach

Wow in the WorldPodcast Website | Listen on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher   
Hosts Guy and Mindy guide curious kids and their grown-ups away from their screens, inside their brains, out into space, and deep into the coolest new stories in science and technology. Recommended by Kate. 
Our favourite episode: Ep 9: Dogs vs Two-Year Olds, Tooting Cows, and Crickets for Breakfast
For questions to ask your child after listening to the podcast: Check out the Curious Conversation Starters 

Science podcasts for all ages: 

60 Second Science | Podcast Website | Listen on Apple Podcasts
Tune in every weekday for quick reports and commentaries on the world of science. Recommended by Kate. 

99% Invisible | Podcast Website | Listen on Apple Podcasts
This podcast is about all the thought that goes into the things we don’t think about—the unnoticed architecture and design that shape our world. This is a completely independent production, and it's one of the most popular podcasts on iTunes for a reason. Recommended by Elizabeth. 
In the spirit of Made in Canada: DIY Space Suits

Every Little Thing | Podcast Website | Listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play 
Hosted by Flora Lichtman, each episode explores a surprising and unexpected aspect of a science-related topic. Not every episode is strictly science, but most of them are, and the host comes at every topic with a very scientific approach. Recommended by Jesse. 
To prepare for August's solar eclipse: Rapture Chasers 

FutureBANG! Podcast Website | Listen on Apple PodcastsStitcher
Hosted and produced as a side-gig by Science World's Program Specialist Jesse Brydle, FutureBANG! is about the science, technology, and culture of the future. Both the future that is still to come, and the future we inhabit today!
Because you've always wanted to know more about: Toilets

The Infinite Monkey Cage | Podcast Website | Listen on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher
A witty, irreverent look at the world through scientists' eyes. Scientists (Brian Cox and Robin Ince) and comedians (Eric Idle often makes an appearance) talk about physics and astronomy with lots of jokes and lots of interaction with their audience. Recommended by Jesse, Rob and Elizabeth. 
If you're having problems with insomnia or you have a teen that sleeps all day: Science of Sleep

The Naked Scientists | Podcast Website | Listen on Apple Podcasts  
Based at Cambridge University's Institute of Continuing Education, the Naked Scientists are a team of scientists, doctors and communicators whose passion is to help the general public to understand and engage with the worlds of science, technology and medicine. Recommended by Elizabeth. 
For building superior sandcastles: Life's a Beach 

Quirks and Quarks | Podcast Website | Liste on Apple Podcasts
Canada's original science podcast, hosted by Bob McDonald. 
When you're listening to the rhythmic sounds of waves: The Science of Mindfulness 

Radiolab | Podcast Website | Listen on Apple Podcasts
A show about curiosity. Each episode covers a single topic with lots of quick cuts, expert interviews, and analysis. Recommended by everyone! 
Can humans and nature coexist? For the Birds 
What's gotten into you? Parasites 

Science Vs. | Podcast Website | Listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play
Each episode explores a single controversial or fringe science topic and goes through all of the evidence to find out what's fact, what's not, and what's somewhere in between. I really like the host, Wendy Zukerman, an energetic science jouralist and has a great Australian accent (recommended by Jesse).
For those suffering from: Acne

StarTalk Radio | Podcast Website |Listen on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Play 
Neil deGrasse Tyson talks to celebrities, comedians, and scientists about astronomy, physics, and everything else about life in the universe. Recommended by Jesse, Kat and Elizabeth. 
When you're wondering if it's all just a game: 
Is Our Universe a Simulation? 

Story Collider | Podcast Website | Listen on Apple Podcasts 
True, personal stories about science. Recommended by Catherine
The one about dream jobs, and informal science education: A Bad Day at the Museum 

How Stuff Works produces several great shows including:  
Stuff to Blow Your Mind | Podcast Website | Listen on Apple Podcasts
Stuff You Should Know | Podcast Website | Listen on Apple Podcasts
To prepare for the beach: Sunburn, Suntans and Sunscreen 

Science Podcasts for Adults (occasional adult language): 

Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe | Podcast Website | Listen on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Play 
A weekly show with 5 hosts that covers everything. Science news, in-depth discussions of single topics, interviews with experts, games and contests. They also incorporate a ton of critical thinking and skepticism, discussing not just science, but pseudoscience and scams, and strategies for avoiding them. Jesse's #1 recommendation

Talk Nerdy | Podcast Website | Listen on Apple PodcastsStitcher
Science communicator Cara Santa Maria interviews someone (usually a scientist, sometimes a celebrity) about their field of interest in a really casual and funny conversation. They talk a lot about social issues within science itself as well as the science content. Recommended by Jesse. 
To be inspired by women in science: Dava Sobel

Honourable Mentions (because the list above is so so long): 

Hidden Brain | Podcast Website | Listen on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Play 
Using science and storytelling, Hidden Brain's host Shankar Vedantam reveals the unconscious patterns that drive human behavior, the biases that shape our choices, and the triggers that direct the course of our relationships.

Invisibilia | Podcast Website | Listen on Apple Podcasts, StitcherGoogle Play
Co-hosted by Lulu Miller, Hanna Rosin and Alix Spiegel, Invisibilia interweaves narrative storytelling with scientific research that will ultimately make you see your own life differently. 

What’s the Point | Podcast Website | Listen on Apple Podcasts
A show about how data is changing lives. FiveThirtyEight is no longer producing new episodes of What's the Point, however, they are still available to check out on their website. 

You Are Not So Smart Podcast Website | Listen on Apple PodcastsStitcher 
This podcast is about psychology, the process of science, and how to think critically. Each episode covers a particular bias, error, or misconception that can lead to incorrect thinking and talks about how to avoid or correct it. Great theme music. Recommended by Jesse in Community Engagement.
When the conversation gets shut down quicklyWhy you often believe people who see the world differently are wrong

While you're waiting for us to do our next round-up (of our favourite Science YouTube channels!), check out Science vs Cinema recommended by Rob in exhibits. 

Let us know what is missing from the list! What are the do-not-miss science podcasts that you're listening to?

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