Radiolab

Radiolab is a show about curiosity. Where sound illuminates ideas, and the boundaries blur between science, philosophy, and human experience. Radiolab is heard around the country on more than 450 NPR member stations.
Schedule:

Sunday 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM on WUSF 89.7

Contact Info:

Contact the Show

Host:
Jad Abumrad

The son of a scientist and a doctor, Jad Abumrad did most of his growing up in Tennessee, before studying creative writing and music composition at Oberlin College in Ohio. Following graduation, Abumrad wrote music for films, and reported and produced documentaries for a variety of local and national public radio programs, including On The Media,Studio 360 with Kurt Andersen, Morning Edition, All Things Considered and WNYC's "24 Hours at the Edge of Ground Zero."

Host:
Robert Krulwich

Robert Krulwich is co-host of Radiolab, WNYC's Peabody Award-winning program that examines big questions in science, philosophy and the human experience through compelling storytelling.  Today, Radiolab is one of public radio's most popular shows.  Its podcasts are downloaded over 4 million times each month and the program is carried on 437 stations across the nation. In addition to Radiolab, Krulwich reports for National Public Radio. “Krulwich Wonders” is his NPR blog featuring drawings, cartoons and videos that illustrate hard-to-see concepts in science.

From Radiolab

  • Fronads
    <p>At 28 years old, Annie Dauer was living a full life. She had a job she loved as a highschool PE teacher, a big family who lived nearby, and a serious boyfriend. Then, cancer struck. Annie would come to find out she had Stage 4 non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. It was so aggressive, there was a real chance she might die. Her oncologists wanted her to start treatment immediately. Like, end-of-the-week immediately. But before Annie started treatment, she walked out of the doctor’s office and crossed the street to see a fertility doctor doing an experimental procedure that sounded like science fiction: ovary freezing.</p> <p>Further ReadingA medical <a href="https://www.fertstert.org/article/S0015-0282(10)02198-9/fulltext">case report</a> on Annie’s frozen ovariesWhat’s primordial germ cells <a href="https://academic.oup.com/humrep/article/21/6/1345/724245">got to do with it?</a></p> <p><em>This episode was reported by Molly Webster, and produced by Pat Walters. With original music and scoring by Dylan Keefe. The Gonads theme was written, performed, and produced by Majel Connery and Alex Overington. Additional production by Rachael Cusick, and editing by Jad Abumrad.</em></p> <p class="p1"><em>Radiolab is supported in part by <a href="https://www.simonsfoundation.org/outreach/science-sandbox/">Science Sandbox</a>, a Simons Foundation initiative dedicated to engaging everyone with the process of science. And the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, enhancing public understanding of science and technology in the modern world. More information about Sloan at <a href="applewebdata://98F02D21-82D9-4896-A630-23984C56BA70/www.sloan.org">www.sloan.org</a>.</em></p> <p><em>Support Radiolab today at <a href="https://pledge3.wnyc.org/donate/radiolab-it/onestep/?utm_source=podcast&amp;utm_medium=notes&amp;utm_campaign=membership&amp;utm_content=radiolab" target="_blank">Radiolab.org/donate</a>.</em></p>
  • The Primordial Journey
    <p>At two weeks old, the human embryo has only just begun its months-long journey to become a baby. The embryo is tiny, still invisible to the naked eye. But inside it, an epic struggle plays out, as a nomadic band of cells marches toward a mysterious destiny, with the future of humanity resting on their microscopic shoulders.</p> <p><em>This episode was reported by Molly Webster, and produced by Jad Abumrad. With scoring and original composition by Alex Overington and Dylan Keefe. Additional production by Rachael Cusick, and editing by Pat Walters. The “Ballad of the Fish” and “Gonads” was produced by Alex Overington and sung by Majel Connery.</em></p> <p><em>Special thanks to Ruth Lehmann and Dagmar Wilhelm.</em></p> <p class="p1"><em>Radiolab is supported in part by Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation initiative dedicated to engaging everyone with the process of science. And the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, enhancing public understanding of science and technology in the modern world. More information about Sloan at <a href="applewebdata://98F02D21-82D9-4896-A630-23984C56BA70/www.sloan.org">www.sloan.org</a>.</em></p> <p><em>Support Radiolab today at <a href="https://pledge3.wnyc.org/donate/radiolab-it/onestep/?utm_source=podcast&amp;utm_medium=notes&amp;utm_campaign=membership&amp;utm_content=radiolab" target="_blank">Radiolab.org/donate</a>.</em></p>
  • Birthstory
    <p>We originally posted this episode in 2015, and it inspired producer Molly Webster to take a deep dive into the wild and mysterious world of human reproduction. Starting next week, she’ll be taking over the Radiolab podcast feed for a month to present a series of mind-bending stories that make us rethink the ways we make more of us.</p> <p>You know the drill - all it takes is one sperm, one egg, and blammo - you got yourself a baby. Right? Well, in this episode, conception takes on a new form - it’s the sperm and the egg, plus: two wombs, four countries, and money. Lots of money. </p> <p>At first, this is the story of an Israeli couple, two guys, who go to another continent to get themselves a baby - three, in fact - by hiring surrogates to carry the children for them. As we follow them on their journey, an earth shaking revelation shifts our focus from them, to the surrogate mothers. Unfolding in real time, as countries around the world consider bans on surrogacy, this episode looks at a relationship that manages to feel deeply affecting, and deeply uncomfortable, all at the same time. </p> <p><em>Birthstory is a collaboration with the brilliant radio show and podcast Israel Story, created to tell stories for, and about, Israel. <a href="https://israelstory.org/en/episodes/">Go check ‘em out! </a></em></p> <p><em>Israel Story's five English-language seasons were produced in partnership with <a href="http://www.tabletmag.com/" target="_blank">Tablet Magazine</a> and we highly recommend you listen to all of their work at  <a href="http://www.tabletmag.com/tag/israel-story" target="_blank">http://www.tabletmag.com/tag/israel-story</a></em></p> <p><em>This episode was produced and reported by Molly Webster.</em></p> <p><em>Special thanks go to: Israel Story, and their producers Maya Kosover, and Yochai Maital; reporters Nilanjana Bhowmick in India and Bhrikuti Rai in Nepal plus the <a href="http://internationalreportingproject.org/">International Reporting Project</a>; Doron Mamet, Dr Nayana Patel, and Vicki Ferrara; with translation help from Aya Keefe, Karthik Ravindra, Turna Ray, Tom Wasserman, Pradeep Thapa, and <a href="http://www.adhikaar.org/">Adhikaar</a>, an organization in Ridgewood, Queens advocating for the Nepali-speaking community. </em></p> <p><em>Support Radiolab today at <a href="https://pledge3.wnyc.org/donate/radiolab-it/onestep/?utm_source=podcast&amp;utm_medium=notes&amp;utm_campaign=membership&amp;utm_content=radiolab" target="_blank">Radiolab.org/donate</a>.</em></p>
  • Poison Control
    <p>When reporter Brenna Farrell was a new mom, her son gave her and her husband a scare -- prompting them to call Poison Control. For Brenna, the experience was so odd, and oddly comforting, that she decided to dive into the birth story of this invisible network of poison experts, and try to understand the evolving relationship we humans have with our poisonous planet. As we learn about how poison control has changed over the years, we end up wondering what a place devoted to data and human connection can tell us about ourselves in this cultural moment of anxiety and information-overload.</p> <p><em>Call the national Poison Help Hotline at 1-800-222-1222 or text POISON to 797979 to save the number in your phone.</em></p> <p><em>This episode was reported by Brenna Farrell and was produced by Annie McEwen.</em></p> <p><em>Special thanks to Wendy Blair Stephan, Whitney Pennington, Richard Dart, Marian Moser Jones, and Nathalie Wheaton. Thanks also to Lewis Goldfrank, Robert Hoffman, Steven Marcus, Toby Litovitz, James O'Donnell, and Joseph Botticelli.  </em></p> <p><em>Support Radiolab today at <a href="https://pledge3.wnyc.org/donate/radiolab-it/onestep/?utm_source=podcast&amp;utm_medium=notes&amp;utm_campaign=membership&amp;utm_content=radiolab" target="_blank">Radiolab.org/donate</a>.</em></p>
  • Unraveling Bolero
    <p>This week, we're throwing it back to an old favorite: a story about obsession, creativity, and a strange symmetry between a biologist and a composer that revolves around one famously repetitive piece of music.</p> <p>Anne Adams was a brilliant biologist. But when her son Alex was in a bad car accident, she decided to stay home to help him recover. And then, rather suddenly, she decided to quit science altogether and become a full-time artist. After that, her husband Robert Adams tells us, she just painted and painted and painted. First houses and buildings, then a series of paintings involving strawberries, and then ... "Bolero."</p> <p>At some point, Anne became obsessed with Maurice Ravel's famous composition and decided to put an elaborate visual rendition of the song to canvas. She called it "Unraveling Bolero." But at the time, she had no idea that both she and Ravel would themselves unravel shortly after their experiences with this odd piece of music. Arbie Orenstein tells us what happened to Ravel after he wrote "Bolero," and neurologist Bruce Miller helps us understand how, for both Anne and Ravel, "Bolero" might have been the first symptom of a deadly disease.</p> <p> <em>Support Radiolab today at <a href="https://pledge3.wnyc.org/donate/radiolab-it/onestep/?utm_source=podcast&amp;utm_medium=notes&amp;utm_campaign=membership&amp;utm_content=radiolab" target="_blank">Radiolab.org/donate</a>.</em></p> <p>Read more:</p> <p><a title="Unravelling Bolero" href="http://brain.oxfordjournals.org/content/131/1/39.full" target="_blank">Unravelling Bolero: progressive aphasia, transmodal creativity and the right posterior neocortex</a></p> <p>Arbie Orenstein's <a title="Ravel: Man and Musician" href="http://www.amazon.com/Ravel-Musician-Dover-Books-Music/dp/0486266338/ref=la_B001HCY5JC_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1340121834&amp;sr=1-1" target="_blank">Ravel: Man and Musician</a></p>
  • More or Less Human
    <p>Seven years ago chatbots - those robotic texting machines - were a mere curiosity. They were noticeably robotic and at their most malicious seemed only capable of scamming men looking for love online. Today, the chatbot landscape is wildly different. From election interference to spreading hate, chatbots have become online weapons.</p> <p>And so, we decided to reinvestigate the role these robotic bits of code play in our lives and the effects they’re having on us. We begin with a little theater. In our live show “Robert or Robot?” Jad and Robert test 100 people to see if they can spot a bot. We then take a brief detour to revisit the humanity of the Furby, and finish in a virtual house where the line between technology and humanity becomes blurrier than ever before.</p> <p><em>This episode was reported and produced by Simon Adler. Our live event was produced by Simon Adler and Suzie Lechtenberg.</em></p> <p><em>Support Radiolab today at <a href="https://pledge3.wnyc.org/donate/radiolab-it/onestep/?utm_source=podcast&amp;utm_medium=notes&amp;utm_campaign=membership&amp;utm_content=radiolab" target="_blank">Radiolab.org/donate</a>.</em></p>
  • Dark Side of the Earth
    <p><span>Astronauts at the International Space Station can make one request to talk to an earthling of their choice. For some reason, Astronaut Mark Vande Hei chose us. A couple weeks ago, we were able to video chat with Mark and peer over his shoulder through the Cupola, an observatory room in the ISS. Traveling at 17,000 miles an hour, we zoomed from the Rockies to the East Coast in minutes. And from where Mark sits, the total darkness of space isn’t very far away. </span></p> <p><span>Talking to Mark brought us back to 2012, when we spoke to another astronaut, Dave Wolf. </span>When we were putting together our live show <em>In the Dark</em>, Jad and Robert called up Dave Wolf to ask him if he had any stories about darkness. And boy, did he. Dave told us two stories that  became the finale of our show.</p> <p>Back in late 1997, Dave Wolf was on his first spacewalk, to perform work on the Mir. Dave wasn't alone -- with him was veteran Russian cosmonaut Anatoly Solovyev. </p> <p>Out in blackness of space, the contrast between light and dark is almost unimaginably extreme -- every 45 minutes, you plunge between absolute darkness on the night-side of Earth, and blazing light as the sun screams into view. Dave and Anatoly were tethered to the spacecraft, traveling 5 miles per second. That's 16 times faster than we travel on Earth's surface as it rotates -- so as they orbited, they experienced 16 nights and 16 days for every Earth day.</p> <p>Dave's description of his first spacewalk was all we could've asked for, and more. But what happened next ... well, it's just one of those stories that you always hope an astronaut will tell. Dave and Anatoly were ready to call it a job and head back into the Mir when something went wrong with the airlock. They couldn't get it to re-pressurize. In other words, they were locked out. After hours of trying to fix the airlock, they were running out of the resources that kept them alive in their space suits and facing a grisly death. So, they unhooked their tethers, and tried one last desperate move.</p> <p>In the end, they made it through, and Dave went on to perform dozens more spacewalks in the years to come, but he never again experienced anything like those harrowing minutes trying to improvise his way back into the Mir.</p> <p>After that terrifying tale, Dave told us about another moment he and Anatoly shared, floating high above Earth, staring out into the universe ... a moment so beautiful, and peaceful, we decided to use the audience recreate it, as best we could, for the final act of our live show.</p> <p><em>This episode was produced by Matt Kielty and Soren Wheeler. </em></p> <p><em>Support Radiolab today at <a href="https://pledge3.wnyc.org/donate/radiolab-it/onestep/?utm_source=podcast&amp;utm_medium=notes&amp;utm_campaign=membership&amp;utm_content=radiolab">Radiolab.org/donate</a>.</em></p>
  • Border Trilogy Part 3: What Remains
    <p>Border Trilogy:</p> <p>While scouring the Sonoran Desert for objects left behind by migrants crossing into the United States, anthropologist Jason De León happened upon something he didn't expect to get left behind: a human arm, stripped of flesh.</p> <p>This macabre discovery sent him reeling, needing to know what exactly happened to the body, and how many migrants die that way in the wilderness.  In researching border-crosser deaths in the Arizona desert, he noticed something surprising. Sometime in the late-1990s, the number of migrant deaths shot up dramatically and have stayed high since. Jason traced this increase to a Border Patrol policy still in effect, called “Prevention Through Deterrence.”</p> <p>Over three episodes, Radiolab will investigate this policy, its surprising origins, and the people whose lives were changed forever because of it.</p> <p> </p> <p>Part 3: What Remains </p> <p>The third episode in our Border Trilogy follows anthropologist Jason De León after he makes a grisly discovery in Arivaca, Arizona. In the middle of carrying out his pig experiments with his students, Jason finds the body of a 30-year-old female migrant. With the help of the medical examiner and some local humanitarian groups, Jason discovers her identity. Her name was Maricela. Jason then connects with her family, including her brother-in-law, who survived his own harrowing journey through Central America and the Arizona desert.</p> <p>With the human cost of Prevention Through Deterrence weighing on our minds, we try to parse what drives migrants like Maricela to cross through such deadly terrain, and what, if anything, could deter them.</p> <p><em>This episode was reported by Latif Nasser and Tracie Hunte and was produced by Matt Kielty and Tracie Hunte. </em></p> <p><em>Special thanks to Sandra Lopez-Monsalve, Chava Gourarie, Lynn M. Morgan, Mike Wells, and Tom Barry.</em></p> <p><em>Support Radiolab today at <a href="https://pledge3.wnyc.org/donate/radiolab-it/onestep/?utm_source=podcast&amp;utm_medium=notes&amp;utm_campaign=membership&amp;utm_content=radiolab">Radiolab.org/donate</a>.</em></p>
  • Border Trilogy Part 2: Hold the Line
    <p>Border Trilogy: </p> <p>While scouring the Sonoran Desert for objects left behind by migrants crossing into the United States, anthropologist Jason De León happened upon something he didn't expect to get left behind: a human arm, stripped of flesh.</p> <p>This macabre discovery sent him reeling, needing to know what exactly happened to the body, and how many migrants die that way in the wilderness.  In researching border-crosser deaths in the Arizona desert, he noticed something surprising. Sometime in the late-1990s, the number of migrant deaths shot up dramatically and have stayed high since. Jason traced this increase to a Border Patrol policy still in effect, called “Prevention Through Deterrence.”</p> <p>Over three episodes, Radiolab will investigate this policy, its surprising origins, and the people whose lives were changed forever because of it.</p> <p> </p> <p>Part 2: Hold the Line:</p> <p>After the showdown in court with Bowie High School, Border Patrol brings in a fresh face to head its dysfunctional El Paso Sector: Silvestre Reyes. The first Mexican-American to ever hold the position, Reyes knows something needs to change and has an idea how to do it. One Saturday night at midnight, with the element of surprise on his side, Reyes unveils ... Operation Blockade. It wins widespread support for the Border Patrol in El Paso, but sparks major protests across the Rio Grande. Soon after, he gets a phone call that catapults his little experiment onto the national stage, where it works so well that it diverts migrant crossing patterns along the entire U.S.-Mexico Border.</p> <p>Years later, in the Arizona desert, anthropologist Jason de León realizes that in order to accurately gauge how many migrants die crossing the desert, he must first understand how human bodies decompose in such an extreme environment. He sets up a macabre experiment, and what he finds is more drastic than anything he could have expected.</p> <p><em>This episode was reported by Latif Nasser and Tracie Hunte, and was produced by Matt Kielty, Bethel Habte, and Latif Nasser.</em></p> <p><em>Special thanks to Sherrie Kossoudji at the University of Michigan, Cheryl Howard, Andrew Hansen, William Sabol, Donald B. White, Daniel Martinez, Michelle Mittelstadt at the Migration Policy Institute, Former Executive Assistant to the El Paso Mayor Mark Smith, Retired Assistant Border Patrol Sector Chief Clyde Benzenhoefer, Paul Anderson, Eric Robledo, Maggie Southard Gladstone, and Kate Hall.</em></p> <p> <em>Support Radiolab today at <a href="https://pledge3.wnyc.org/donate/radiolab-it/onestep/?utm_source=podcast&amp;utm_medium=notes&amp;utm_campaign=membership&amp;utm_content=radiolab">Radiolab.org/donate</a>.</em></p> <p> </p> <p> </p>
  • Border Trilogy Part 1: Hole in the Fence
    <p>Border Trilogy:</p> <p>While scouring the Sonoran Desert for objects left behind by migrants crossing into the United States, anthropologist Jason De León happened upon something he didn't expect to get left behind: a human arm, stripped of flesh.</p> <p>This macabre discovery sent him reeling, needing to know what exactly happened to the body, and how many migrants die that way in the wilderness.  In researching border-crosser deaths in the Arizona desert, he noticed something surprising. Sometime in the late-1990s, the number of migrant deaths shot up dramatically and have stayed high since. Jason traced this increase to a Border Patrol policy still in effect, called “Prevention Through Deterrence.”</p> <p>Over three episodes, Radiolab will investigate this policy, its surprising origins, and the people whose lives were changed forever because of it.</p> <p> </p> <p>Part 1: Hole in the Fence:</p> <p>We begin one afternoon in May 1992, when a student named Albert stumbled in late for history class at Bowie High School in El Paso, Texas.  His excuse: Border Patrol. Soon more stories of students getting stopped and harassed by Border Patrol started pouring in. So begins the unlikely story of how a handful of Mexican-American high schoolers in one of the poorest neighborhoods in the country stood up to what is today the country’s largest federal law enforcement agency.   They had no way of knowing at the time, but what would follow was a chain of events that would drastically change the US-Mexico border. </p> <p><em>This episode was reported by Latif Nasser and Tracie Hunte and was produced by Matt Kielty, Bethel Habte, Tracie Hunte and Latif Nasser. </em></p> <p><em>Special thanks to Centro de Salud Familiar La Fe, Estela Reyes López, Barbara Hines, Francesca Begos and Nancy Wiese from Hachette Book Group, Professor Michael Olivas at the University of Houston Law Center, and Josiah McC. Heyman, Ph.D, Director, Center for Interamerican and Border Studies and Professor of Anthropology.</em></p> <p><em>Support Radiolab today at <a href="https://pledge3.wnyc.org/donate/radiolab-it/onestep/?utm_source=podcast&amp;utm_medium=notes&amp;utm_campaign=membership&amp;utm_content=radiolab">Radiolab.org/donate</a>.</em></p>

 

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