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.
*At the bottom: See our recommended cheapest and safest headphones for listening to podcasts in the lab
Podcasts about scientific research:
Straight From A Scientist Podcast
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.
Endocrine Disruptors Podcast
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 the STEM Advocacy Institute’s (SAI) podcasting fellowship program, in partnership with Prasha from Her STEM Story.
Global Caveat Podcast
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
The Science of Self-Care Podcast
It feels like everything is self-care these days, so what actually works?! Each week, comedians Steven Polletta, Sophie Yalkezian and neuroscientist Shannon Odell act 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.
The People’s Scientist Podcast
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.
Marine Conservation Happy Hour Podcast
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 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
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 Podcast
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.
Everything Hertz Podcast
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.
Podcasts about Graduate School:
Hello PhD Podcast
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.
Growing Through Grad School Podcast
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.
This is Grad School Podcast
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 host Sadie is 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 Podcast
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 Podcast
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.
Listen on: Apple Podcasts
PhD (in Progress) Podcast
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.
5 to Life Podcast
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.
Listen on: Apple Podcasts
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.
Inside the Petri Dish Podcast
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 blogger Alice Gray) that make a point to let their passions for science shine through. Season 2 started in 2019 with a fantastic live video episode about how to save the world. We’re excited to see where they take this series next!
Science Sucks Podcast
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.
Warm Regards Podcast
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.
The Science Pawdcast
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!
For a good list of larger more established science-focused podcasts, see this article by Joy Chen on Scout FM.
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.
In Defense of Plants Podcast
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.
How to safely listen to podcasts or music while doing lab work
Now that we've given you countless hours of enthralling listening content, you need to find time to listen!
Want to save time and listen to these podcasts while working in the lab? Headphones can be tricky and a safety hazard. Wired headphones often get caught on equipment or can knock over glassware and need strung through your shirt or lab coat. Bluetooth headphones are best but should not fully seal your ear and should not be noise-canceling. You need to hear alarms and communicate with those around you.
Our personal favorite is the one-ear Bluetooth MPow earpiece pictured above. It lasts for 4-6 hours, charges magnetically on a USB dongle, has a one-click button for pause/play and pairs quickly with your phone or laptop. The one-ear design lets you stay aware of your surroundings and it will be hard for the safety office or PI to argue that your headphones are a safety issue!
(This is a referral link, meaning that if you purchase these through this link we will get a small percentage of the sale from the manufacturer, at no cost to you, for referring you to their helpful product. Thank you for supporting this blog!)
Looking for gift ideas for a grad student or researcher?
We've further curated several collections of our own inventions depending on the type of researcher you're looking for. See these more niche collections below for more ideas!