Two Podcasts That Will Make You Smarter

I’m always surprised when I still discover people who haven’t listened to either The Infinite Monkey Cage or Radiolab.

Seriously? How is that possible?

If you’re a curious person who is interested in learning something new whenever the opportunity presents itself, then these two podcasts are your friend. In fact, they often play at our house on Saturday and Sunday mornings (“Science Sundays” for us) while Mindy and I nurse some pour-over coffees.

The Infinite Monkey Cage (BBC 4)


The Infinite Monkey Cage is hosted by professor and physicist, Brian Cox—often known for his work at CERN and his many great documentaries on the BBC—and comedian Robin Ince, my favorite smart-ass foil. Shows are recorded with an audience and guests are always scientists, comedians, and actors. Each week they tackle a range of scientific topics and spare nothing pseudoscience. You can subscribe on iTunes or listen online. Below you’ll find a sample from their recent U.S. tour. While they were in Chicago, they discussed evolution and the fossil record with NPR’s Peter Sagal, comedian and SNL alumnus Julia Sweeney, palaeontologist Paul Sereno, and evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne.

Radiolab (NPR)


Radiolab is hosted by Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich. It is driven by curiosity and weaves together science and storytelling in a way that keeps you listening to the end. The episode below is “Emergence,” a classic in which they “take a look at the bottom-up logic of cities, Google, and even our very own brains…with fire-flyologists, ant experts, neurologists, a mathematician, and an economist.”

And no, I’ve not been paid for this. I simply love these shows and decided to be their evangelist for the week. Listen and you’ll see why.