The news is constantly full of depressing and confusing news. "Humanity is doomed due to climate change", "Diseases like bird flu and ebola are going to kill us all", "Antibiotics will soon stop working". Despair and be frightened! But I have found a wonderful antidote to this and one that never ceases to brighten up my week. This is the wonder that is science podcasts.
What I appreciate is:
- Serious topics presented for non experts. If a topic needs a lot of explaining, then that is just what you get.
- A lot of fear and nonsense in the media is put in sensible context or simply dispelled.
- The range of fascinating areas I get to learn about that I often never even knew existed.
- Interviews with the actual scientists. You often get to hear much clearer limits of what their research does or does not show.
- A lot of news about research that may well be years from impacting our lives, but clear progress is being made.
- Fascinating new books to read.
- An understanding that there are a lot of people out there working hard to make the world a better place and succeeding.
Here are three that I cannot imagine my week without:
Science for the People: This is a weekly radio show from Alberta Canada. The format is two guests are interviewed one after the other. They often have an interesting book they just published or are an expert in an area that is currently hot news. If like me you are a coffee addict the episode on caffeine might take your fancy.
The Naked Scientists: As well as a weekly news program on the BBC there are also a number of specialised programs on areas such as neuroscience and genetics. Covering a lot of the latest science news, interviews with scientists directly working in each area and plenty of background information to help you understand the issues at hand. It is often a great podcast to listen to with your kids. Discover why spaghetti always breaks into three pieces or if reading as a child, will make you smarter as an adult. They cover it all.
Science Weekly: From The Guardian newspaper this weekly podcast covers the latest news.