Whether science has been your favorite subject since junior high or current events like climate change have piqued your deeper interest in the scientific world, there’s so much out there to learn about this subject. And these days, you don’t even have to crack open a monotonous textbook to start absorbing all the new details your curious mind seeks. All you have to do is listen.
There’s so much more you can learn about the wonders of science thanks to podcasts that provide a fun and immersive experience — and we’ve rounded up some of the best to get you started. From comedy-focused tirades to thorough discourse with researchers themselves, there’s something on this list for everyone. Some are niche-specific, while others discuss anything and everything there is to know about the world of science. There’s always something new to learn about, and these podcasts are definitely must-downloads if you’re looking to get entertained and educated at the same time.
“Science Rules!” With Bill Nye
Let’s be real. Who doesn’t love Bill Nye the Science Guy — especially the ’90s kids among us? The Science Guy has been the best person to go to for anything related to science for several decades — how’s that for reliable? — so it makes total sense that he’d get his very own podcast with Corey S. Powell, a long-time science writer for Discover magazine. The two tackle anything and everything there is to know about science by answering thought-provoking questions you never knew to ask. Or maybe you did…but there was no one who could answer them in Bill Nye’s signature fun-yet-illuminating way. The show is currently on hiatus, but every episode is available on Apple Podcasts.
Why it’s a must-listen: This podcast isn’t just about making science topics easier to understand for listeners. It also tackles topics you didn’t think you’d want to know about — such as the courtship rituals of neanderthals.
Where to start: If you’d rather jump to something super-compelling — you don’t have to listen to the episodes in chronological order — begin by checking out the “Cooking With Science” episode. You’ll learn why egg whites are white, why a pickle has that crunch to it and so much more.
“Ologies” With Alie Ward
Ologies is all about investigating different scientific niches with experts from all those different fields. And you’ll be surprised to learn just how many “ologies” there really are. From dendrology (the study of trees) and penguinology (the study of penguins) to dasyurology (the study of Tasmanian devils) and desairology (the study of mortuary make-up), this podcast covers pretty much everything.
Why it’s a must-listen: The interviews are absolutely fascinating — if you’re a science enthusiast who’s curious about uncovering the secrets of lesser-known research fields, this podcast will answer all your questions.
Where to start: The science of the human body is amazing, but just how much do you know about your own nose — or the people who study our sniffers? Learn more than you’re probably expecting to with this episode on rhinology, and then have fun exploring from there.
“StarTalk” With Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson
This one goes out to all the space enthusiasts out there. Hosted by the King of Science Twitter himself, Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, StarTalk weaves together the topics of space, science and popular culture and adds a touch of comedy because, let’s be honest, science is best taught through entertainment. The show has featured some pretty amazing guests, including the one and only Buzz Aldrin. Curious listeners can also send in their science-related questions, which Neil and Co. might just answer during the show. While space is the main theme, the podcast covers a number of other subjects, too.
Why it’s a must-listen: Conversation flows naturally and makes you feel like you’re right there with the hosts, chatting about science. The podcast also has a remarkable lineup of inspiring guests.
Where to start: Love history and science? The Neil Armstrong interview is absolutely fascinating to listen to. Learn more about the man who walked on the moon and made a giant leap for mankind.
The Guardian’s “Science Weekly”
The Guardian‘s science podcast is perfect if you prefer a classic, informative discussion on scientific topics. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the podcast solely focused on the novel coronavirus and its effects. However, the show also tackles many common and uncommon questions people ask about the world of science. It takes a look at human psychology and answers plenty of philosophical questions, including what the meaning of life is. All in all, this is a podcast that has something for everyone.
Why it’s a must-listen: It covers all aspects and niches of science through informative, digestible discourse that’s perfect if you’re unsure where you want to begin learning when it comes to science.
Where to start: If you’re into philosophical questions, start with the episode titled “What Does It Mean to Be Alive?” However, if you want to dive deeper into subjects like climate change, the podcast has also looked at how people started becoming more aware of the crisis that’s happening on our planet.
“The Good, the Bad and the Science” With Various Comedians and Scientists
How can science be bad? Well, it is — at least when you watch movies. Much of the “science” that goes on in movie scenes just doesn’t make sense, and this podcast is all about analyzing those unbelievable moments. The Good, the Bad, and the Science (previously known by the title Bad Science) pairs a comedian with a scientist in each episode to talk about movies and shows you know and love. No genre is safe — they’ve covered Harry Potter films, The Silence of the Lambs, The Little Mermaid and many more classics. Even Homeward Bound made the cut, and this podcast is probably the only time you’ll be able to think about this movie without tears in your eyes.
Why it’s a must-listen: If you’ve ever side-eyed a movie scene because you weren’t sure if what happened was humanly possible, then this podcast is for you.
Where to start: For this show, just start with your fave movie and take it from there — easy peasy.
“Nature Podcast” From the Scientific Journal “Nature”
Nature Podcast focuses on nature, and pretty much nature only — but remember it’s a big, wide, beautiful world out there. This series gives you a great opportunity to catch up on the newest research published in the scientific journal Nature, and it’s perfect if you’re in the mood for serious, deep-dive discussions packed with fact. The hosts meet with scientists who performed the studies and research projects included in the journal and ask even more questions. The main goal? To produce an in-depth, conversational analysis of what goes on in the world of nature.
Why it’s a must-listen: It’s niche-specific, focusing on the world of nature, so it’s perfect if you love learning about plants, animals and people or want to focus on breaking down the latest research. Because of its level of discourse, this podcast is highly informative and useful for anyone who has a passion for what goes on in nature — and it’s one you might want to listen to while you aren’t doing anything else, simply so you can focus on all the details.
Where to start: This episode about the brain of a fruit fly takes a fascinatingly close look into those pesky flying creatures that sometimes hang out in our households. And you’ll come away from it with a newfound appreciation for (and understanding of) the way brain cells work.