Radiolab is a show about curiosity. Where sound illuminates ideas and the boundaries blur between science, philosophy, and human experience. The program is hosted by Jad Abumrad and NPR Science Correspondent Robert Krulwich. www.radiolab.org
Talking to Machines
What can machines tell us about being human? This hour of Radiolab, Jad and Robert meet humans and robots who are trying to connect, and blur the line. We talk to the world's most advanced robot, meet a man who fell in love with a chatbot, and argue with the inventor of Furby over whether a toy can ever really be "alive."
A good game--whether it's a pro football playoff, or a family showdown on the kitchen table--can make you feel, at least for a little while, like your whole life hangs in the balance. This hour of Radiolab, Jad and Robert wonder why we get so invested in something so trivial. What is it about games that make them feel so pivotal?
So much of life is organized by cycles-seasons, biological rhythms, even our ideas of consciousness. In this episode, Radiolab looks at some of the surprising ways that loops steer our lives, and asks what happens when we disturb them.
The greatest mysteries all have a shadowy figure at the center-someone who sets things in motion and holds the key to how the rest of the story unfolds. In epidemiology, this central character is known as Patient Zero-the case at the heart of an outbreak. This hour, Radiolab hunts for Patient Zeroes from all over the map-from the origins of a blues legend, to the history of the high five, to a race to halt the spread of a deadly disease.
The Bad Show
Cruelty, violence, badness... This episode of Radiolab, we wrestle with the dark side of human nature, and ask whether it's something we can ever really understand, or fully escape. We encounter a man who scrambles our notions of good and evil, turn to one of the most famous (and misunderstood) psychology experiments ever, talk to a man who chased one of the most prolific serial killers in US history. then got a chance to ask him the question that had haunted him for years: why?
The walls are closing in, you've got no way out...and then, suddenly, you escape! This hour, stories about traps, getaways, perpetual cycles, and staggering breakthroughs. We meet a man who's broken out of jail more times than anyone alive, travel to the edge of the solar system ... to a boundary beyond which we know nothing, and we hear the story of a blind kid who freed himself from an unhappy childhood by climbing into the telephone system, and bending it to his will.
This hour, we dive into the messy mystery in the middle of us. What's going on down there? We stick our hand in a cow stomach, get a window into our core through the story of a human science experiment, listen in on the surprising back-and-forth between our gut and our brain, and talk to a man who kind of went out of his mind when a medical procedure left him (for a little while) gutless.
When Brains Attack!
In this episode of Radiolab, strange stories of brains that lead their owners astray, knock them off balance, and, sometimes, propel them to do amazing things. We hear from a kid whose voice was disguised from himself, relive a surreal day in the life of a young researcher who was hijacked by her own brain, and try to keep up with an ultra-athlete who, after suffering terrible seizures, gained extraordinary abilities through removing a chunk of her brain.
Ghosts, ghouls, shades from the past ... in this episode of Radiolab, real-life people try to pin down, and make peace with, mysterious figures that haunt them, prod them, and fade out of existence. One man finds a way to put the beatdown on his personal bogey man, a dead monk spurs a king to build a perfect prayer machine, an unknown face launches a thousand dummies (actually, a whole lot more than that), and a skeptic goes on a one-way to journey to find out whether spirits exist.
Chimps. Bonobos. Humans. We're all great apes, but that doesn’t mean we’re one happy family. This hour of Radiolab: stories of trying to live together. A chimp named Lucy teaches us the ups and downs of growing up human, and a visit to The Great Ape Trust in Des Moines, Iowa highlights some of the basics of bonobo culture (be careful, they bite).
Stochasticity (a wonderfully slippery and smarty-pants word for randomness), may be at the very foundation of our lives. To understand just how big a role it plays, we look at chance and patterns in sports, lottery tickets, and even the cells in our own body. And we meet two girls named Laura, whose unlikely meeting seems to defy pure chance.
After Life (1012)
What happens at the moment when we slip from life...to the other side? Is it a moment? If it is, when exactly does it happen? And what happens afterward? It’s an episode full of questions that don't have easy answers. Radiolab stares down the very moment of passing, and speculates about what may lay beyond.
Our world is saturated in color, from the softest hues to the most lurid, violent stains. But it’s hard to put your finger on how something so intangible can have such a visceral punch. This hour, we ask how the pigments around us color our thoughts, and wonder how much of what we see is on the outside...and how much is created in our heads. From Sir Isaac Newton sticking a needle in his eye, to a sea creature that sees a rainbow far beyond what humans can experience.