Get curious with Radiolab

Published

Sean Anderson

If you’ve been keeping up with this mega-feature, you’ve now tried real ale and whisky, travelled across the hilly bits of Scotland, baked, ruined your sleeping pattern, taken up photography, revelled in Pharoah Sanders, and put your bat box on twitter.

Done? Kay. Now let’s go back. Aaaall the way back to when play-doh tasted better than olives, and the dominant questions were a whole lot more profound (and less about radiator keys) than they are now.

Radiolab!

Radiolab is a podcast about curiosity, and one of the internet’s greatest diamonds in the rough. Each episode takes a big topic and tackles it in a big way. The show has been winning plaudits from a lot of places, including a Peabody award and a Macarthur “genius grant” for the show’s co-creator Jad Abumrad. I didn’t want to use the s-word until at least paragraph three, so here goes: it’s mostly about science. All the really good cool, amazing, life-disturbing bits of science.

As well as leading academics and science popularisers of the day, they will use anything to get the point across; especially a lot of spacey, mind-bending sounds that illustrate some very complex points. The New York Times has a great interactive feature on some of these sounds, but you are better to listen to it in the context of an episode.

I don’t have much praise to offer that better writers haven’t already said in smoother language. So: to the Radiolab archive! Find something that takes your fancy. My favourite is probably Cities.

Don’t cease from exploration, and at the end of all our exploring …