The 31 best science podcasts of 2023 (that are under the radar)
11 min read
Want to hear what really happens in the lab, in science research and in graduate school? Forget the mega-podcasts and listen in to these up-and-coming independent scientists creating their own podcasts! You’ll get less advertisements and more truth from people much like you. It’s a special look into the day-to-day scientist life that big-name podcasts often don’t dive into. These podcasts cover science, biology, physics, chemistry and everything in between!
Learn how to deal with messy lab mates, how to ask your professor for more vacation, how to handle bias and racism in your university research setting and hundreds of stories of scientists in unique situations overcoming their own personal adversity.
Getting the story straight from a scientist without the media hyperbole and clickbait titles. Created by two friends in different Neuroscience PhD programs, the Straight from a Scientist podcast brings in young scientists to break down the popular storylines and get a true sense of the impacts and timelines of the research. One of our personal favorites because their passion for truthful science communication shines through in every episode.
A brand new podcast in 2019 hosted by Katherine Hatcher (@grad_selfcare on Instagram), a PhD student in Neuroscience and Shreya Patel, a STEM career development advisor. Endocrine Disruptors is a weekly podcast that features stories of the scientists behind your favorite hormones. The show focuses on endocrinology and how hormones affect our everyday lives. This podcast is the first to come out of theSTEM Advocacy Institute’s(SAI) podcasting fellowship program, in partnership with Prasha from Her STEM Story.
Global health scientists Diana and Susanna tackle topics in the global health sciences with each other and other humans to examine the connection between health and the sciences and how we have to work together for health, humanity, and the earth. The hosts definitely understand their field and are experts at tying together seemingly disconnected topics that have unseen effects on public health. Season 2 starting in September 2019
It feels like everything is self-care these days, so what actually works?! Each week, comedians Steven Polletta, Sophie Yalkezian and neuroscientistShannon Odellact as guinea pigs to a different self-care practice. They explore whether it works and the science behind it – with laughs along the way. One of the funniest podcasts on this list. It’s refreshing and unique to have non-scientists (especially comedians) interacting with a scientist. Season 1 episodes include the science of sleep, meditation and cupping.
Neuroscientist Dr. Stephanie Caligiuri breaks down the latest health trends to distill out the scientific facts to give you evidence-based advice you can immediately apply to your every-day life. As a scientist from another field, this is the podcast I’ve always been looking for to get the through the misinformation surrounding current health trends and figure out what changes, if any, I should actually consider making in my habits.
A show where several marine scientists chat over a few drinks about saving our oceans, sustainable fishing, the interesting oddities of marine animals and the challenges of a marine biology/conservation career. The hosts’ passion for marine conservation really comes out in every episode while also keeping it fun and sometimes silly. Possibly the most entertaining way to learn about marine life and conservation.
Podcasts about the recent developments and fresh perspectives in Science
Useful Science Podcast
When your feed is overrun with comments about 5G or anti-vaxxers and you want someone to explain the facts for you, Useful Science is your go-to source. They have produced a ton of episodes on the Coronavirus, dispelling myths, scare tactics, and current science developments. The discussion in the episode Clinical Trials, COVID-19, and Ethics focused on the researchers' attempts to balance the need for vaccinations with moral considerations and risk-mitigation strategies.
Mary, the host, candidly discusses everything about science, including tumor treatments, potential treatments for diseases like diabetes, and mental health, as implied by the podcast's name. Despite the short episodes, the conversations are in-depth enough to keep you interested. Mary conducts interviews professionally and carefully, especially when mental health is involved, as evident in the episode A Royal Recognition for Mental Health.
Considering how often universal rules and methods are overused, many of us have grown tired of them. As changing these standards runs against everything we've ever known, we're worried about what might happen. Out of the Box Stories provides insight into how individuals have expanded the possibilities of what might be, created new possibilities (even if they seem impossible), and challenged the status quo.
The hilarious host Darrion is the one behind Lab Shenanigans which became famous on Instagram and TikTok. Listening to the ScienTEAfically Speaking podcast is like walking into a coffee shop and listening to someone enthusiastically discuss science, school, and research projects. This podcast will keep your interest with its blend of humor, imaginative storytelling, and interesting science. It gives you a glimpse into graduate student life, reveals how they overcome challenges, and provides real, personal stories about research from scientists themselves. It's TEA TIME.
Podcasts about scientists and the life of a STEM researcher
Her STEM Story Podcast
The Her STEM Story podcast focuses on the experiences of women in STEM fields. The host Prasha brings on women from all fields from graduate students to professionals to tell their stories. Topics range from the unique experience of being a women in a male-dominated field, to issues of bias, harassment or racism, to unlocking the motivations and inspirations that lead the guests down these paths. Not just for women, this podcast can also help men in these fields understand the perspectives and challenges of their female colleagues they may otherwise be blind to. Prasha does a great job of delving into sensitive topics yet coming out of the episode with a positive light and motivations for enacting change.
*If you’d like to support Her STEM Story’s website and hosting expenses, please see our Her STEM Story stickers, shirts and tote bags which all include a $2-$4 donation in the listed price. Free shipping in the USA.
STEM Culture Podcast is focused on improving the culture of STEM by taking on topics that affect graduate students, postdocs, early career researchers and more. The varied hosts want to provide a platform to improve graduate school and STEM culture by demystifying the culture and highlighting stories of perseverance and persistence in STEM.
Double Shelix is a podcast all about women in STEM, the grad school grind, and inclusive science. The hosts Sally and Kayla are PhD candidates in Bioengineering and want to help you find role models, be inspired, create inclusive STEM communities, develop professional skills, and share your love of science. This podcast does an exceptional job of finding guests from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences from students to professors to professionals that allow them to do deep dives into many interesting topics.
AcaDames is a biweekly podcast that explores whether being a woman in academia is a dream, game, or scam through interviews with a diverse range of women. Discussions cover career trajectories, finances, childbearing decisions, spirituality, the ever-present patriarchy, and everything in between.
Hosted by two female professors at UNC, this podcast makes you feel like you’re in the living room chatting with old friends. They stand out by being honest, open and genuinely caring about giving the best guidance to their audience.
A podcast by scientists, for scientists. Methodology, scientific life, and bad language. Co-hosted by Dr. Dan Quintana (biological psychiatry researcher at the University of Oslo) and Dr. James Heathers (bioinformatics and health researcher at Northeastern University). This podcast often focuses on academic research and best-practices in publishing and data analysis. They occasionally get into every-day problems faced by academic researchers and keep a humorous twist through all the topics. One of the more data analytics-focused podcasts on this list.
100+ episodes and counting, Hello PhD does a deep dive podcast on a new PhD-related topic each episode. Their PhD-focused podcast episodes range from productivity, dealing with your professors or advisor, mental health in grad school, popular research trends and every-day life in grad school. Joshua and Daniel are entertaining and excel and getting to the root of the problems to help the listeners understand the real issues.
A podcast about self-care & personal growth in graduate school with 4th year clinical psychology doctoral students Rebecca Miller, M.A. and Christian Mallett, M.S. This podcast is unique because the hosts take a holistic approach to well-being in grad school through reflections, work-life balance and including guided meditations. A great listen when you need to de-stress and gain a better perspective on your research.
A podcast for grad students, by grad students. Two applied social psychology PhD students have casual conversations about issues relevant to graduate students in psychology and beyond. This is Grad School aims to provide a place for grad students to decompress, process, and discuss the real experiences graduate students have, both positive and negative. An honest and insightful podcast for incoming grad students or those considering graduate school.
An interview-based podcast about life as a grad student (across all disciplines) and the groundbreaking research grad students conduct. The hostSadieis memory researcher, an unabashed fan of ethanol in all forms and gives each episode name a clever alcohol-themed name. Even if you’re not a drinker, the episodes shortly get into the technical details of each guests’ field.
Blk + In Grad School is an audioblog created to encourage and inspire women + people of color to and through the grad school struggle. Follow Allanté, a regular, schmegular Black woman pursuing her Ph.D. This podcast delves into every-day problems for any grad student while also bringing a diverse perspective that will resonate with people of color.
Grad School Deconstructed is a podcast that explores the trials and tribulations of graduate school in a new and innovative way. Stephanie Marder and Clark Ausloos share personal experiences, welcome various guests, and interact with you, the listeners, as they navigate both practical and taboo topics related to the graduate school experience.
A (now retired) podcast that entertains and informs graduate students (current, former, and future), focusing on the issues of the young academic community. They discuss the topics of thriving in graduate school, pursuing an academic or non-academic career, and introducing the resources capable of changing the way they believe graduate school should be. Though they aren’t releasing new episodes, the advice and topics they cover are timeless for your academic career.
Podcast about academia, culture, and social justice across the STEM/humanities divide. Dr. Liz Wayne and Dr. Christine "Xine" Yao are two women of color Ivy League PhDs navigating higher education. The pair started the podcast during their PhDs and are now both professors. Maybe the only academia podcast with co-hosts in such different fields (Biomedical Engineering vs. English Literature). The hosts do a great job of being entertaining while also informative.
Building a community of future, current, and past graduate students to support each other through this great adventure of the PhD. 5 to Life is not only about the commitment we are making to our field of study for the 5 years of grad school but our commitment to science for life. Hosted by several early-PhD students from Wake Forest, North Carolina, this podcast sis incredibly relatable and gives great advice for anyone starting their PhD.
Podcasts about societal issues in science and research:
Neuroethics Police Podcast
Katherine Bassil, an upcoming neuroscientist and neuroethics enthusiast, has always tried to advocate for bridging the fields of neuroscience and neuroethics together. The absence of similar enterprises from the community makes it even more difficult for Katherine to achieve her goal. The Neuroethics Police Podcast delves into new advances in neuroscience which bring up new ethics questions of where we should draw the line. What if we could transplant a human head to a donor body? What if we could engineer the brain? Is it OK to live forever? Katherine brings on knowledgeable guests and leads the audience through the science and the future ethics problems it could create.
The podcast that puts science under the microscope and dissects the topics you want to learn more about. Hosted by three women scientists from the UK (including bloggerAlice Gray) that make a point to let their passions for science shine through. Season 2 started in 2019 witha fantastic live video episodeabout how to save the world. We’re excited to see where they take this series next!
The science podcast that welcomes everyone! Episode topics range from science writing to sexuality to science policy. The host, Ive, is a neuroscientist who keeps the show fun while still digging into the most interesting details of each guest’s work.
Two PhD scientists illuminating the science, myths and speculation behind climate change. They cover global warming from all angles and do an excellent job at presenting the technical data and information behind the popular headlines. Their 2020 theme is “data” including who’s collecting it, how it’s managed and how we should interpret it to make the best evidence-based policy decisions.
Do you like dogs? Do you like science? If so, this pawdcast is perfect for you! Canadian host Jason weaves dog jokes from his Burnese mountain dog into updates on the latest scientific studies and interviews with scientists doing interesting research in all fields. This show always leaves you in a good mood with a smile, which is rare in the podcast world. Also make sure to follow their hilarious and cute Twitter feed if you’re a dog lover!
Here are a few more of our favorites that are no longer under the radar!
Volcanoes. Trees. Drunk butterflies. Mars missions. Slug sex. Death. Beauty standards. Anxiety busters. Beer science. Bee drama. Take away a pocket full of science knowledge and charming, bizarre stories about what fuels these professional -ologists' obsessions. Humorist and science correspondent Alie Ward asks smart people stupid questions and the answers might change your life.
Plants are everything. They are also incredibly interesting. From the smallest duckweed to the tallest redwood, the botanical world is full of wonder. Join them for a podcast celebrating everything botany. This is a fantastic podcast for anyone who loves plants, no matter your science background.
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