WNYC’s “Radiolab” is a podcast/radio program distributed by National Public Radio and hosted by Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich. “Radiolab” is geared toward the world around us, but tries to get us to think differently about it.
Although it discusses heavy issues such as physics, animal behavior, space, and genetics to name a few topics, it communicates the complexity in a way non scientific types can understand — not just understand, but make interesting.
For example, in an episode entitled “Cities,” “Radiolab” talks about how certain cities have certain rhythms set to them set by the pace of the city itself.
The entire episode relates cities like New York City to living things, with energy coming in and energy going out.
They explore the central nervous system of a city deep underground in the water systems and the city’s heartbeat set by the pace of people walking. They also investigate what happens when a city begins to die, and visits Centralia, Penn., to visit what is left of a city destroyed by mine fires, betrayal, murder and tells what happens when a populace simply leaves town.
But if I just told you there was an hour-long podcast about how cities work, you wouldn’t be as interested as “Radiolab” makes it. “Radiolab” is educational, interesting and stimulating to the listener’s ears and imagination.
Other topics have included what happens when you raise a chimpanzee as a human (“Lucy”), symmetry and the importance of the direction of your hair part (“Desperately Seeking Symmetry”), and more recently the physics involved in a Slinky (“What A Slinky Knows”).
Abumrad and Krulwich host the show with special guests and specialists for each topic. They oftentimes have the curiosity of a child and seem to ask the questions I get to thinking while listening. They also sometimes handle controversial topics and present them in a fair light, but not without discussing their individual — and often different — stances.
“Radiolab” can be listened to in podcast form for free on www.Radiolab. com and iTunes, but also can be heard locally at 9 a.m. on KGOU 106.3 FM Saturday. The entire “Radiolab” catalog also is available on their website.
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