. lecture : 2 minutes

Radiolab's logo

I haven't told you which podcast to listen to in a while, so here's my review of Radiolab. It's a show produced by WNYC, a public radio station from New York, and is broadcast across the US, via NPR.

The show is hosted by Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich, and the humorous banter between the two really adds to the enjoyment of the show, similarly to the podcast "stuff you should know".

Most of the episodes are awe-inspiring, like some of the most popular TED talks. The show tackles heavy themes, often at the crossroad of philosophy, sociology, and science. In one episode, a scientist recalls a time where, after completed some research, was stunned to discover that that same work had been done, by another team.

After the initial "egg on face" moment, he felt in awe at the beauty of scientific research, that two groups of people, on opposites sides of the planet, working on the same problem will find the same exact answer. But then, he starts to think about what this means for him, as a scientist. What is his contribution to the sum of human knowledge, if any other researcher could find the same exact thing ? If we push the topic further, aren't artists the only ones who genuinely "create" something ?

While you chew on that one, consider the following, from the "blame" episode : A man, arrested for downloading pedopornographic material on his computer, argued that was unable to control his impulses since his brain operation, which removed part of his brain to stop his epileptic seizures.

Is he legally responsible, if he has brain damage ? Isn't every human choice the consequence of your brain configuration, couldn't that defense be used by everyone accused of a crime ?

The program received multiple awards, and has impeccable audio design. In the "colors" episode, they found a great way to illustrate what it "means" that different animals can perceive different colours using a choir, representing with sound the range of the visible spectrum.

You can subscribe to it via RSS, at, or look for it in another music player, developed by Apple Inc. for instance.