Getting your chemistry fix shouldn't always involve textbooks and journal papers. What if you could send spectacular chemistry content straight to your brain while you're driving, walking or synthesizing chemicals in the lab?
We've got you. Below are our favorite chemistry podcasts in 2023, in no particular order. There's a huge variety here, from hardcore technical details to learning fun chemistry facts in everyday life. We even fully hyperlinked every place to listen and follow on social media.
1. Chemistry For Your Life Podcast:
Episode length: 20-40 minutes
An enjoyable discussion about how things in our daily lives are influenced by chemistry. Melissa, the chemist, explains the technical aspects to Jam, the non-chemist, while he actively tries to understand it and ask his own questions that often represent misconceptions or knowledge gaps that non-chemists may have. There's also an occasional episode for learning to do chemistry outreach experiments at home. It's incredibly easy to listen to and digest. Plus, it'll help you sharpen your chemistry education and communication skills when trying to explain these topics to your friends or family. It's a weekly exercise in science communication that'll help you learn more about the chemistry in your world.
Best for: Exploring an early interest in chemistry or helping you get someone else fired up about the field.
Inspired by the desire to make the world a healthier place for everyone, this podcast is insightful and informative. The host's engaging manner and charm bring a breath of fresh air to the podcast. There are always interesting and thought-provoking conversations that challenge thinking and introduce refreshing perspectives on how chemistry is shaping the future of health care.
With that said, you'll be thrilled to learn about how inventor and trailblazer, Dr. Mary Lou Jepsen, is revolutionizing the world of neurotherapeutics in one of their episodes.
Best for: Anyone with a genuine interest in learning more about the innovative work of scientists in shaping the world of health care and the role that chemistry plays in it.
With its technical themes of peer-reviewed research on innovative practices in today's clinical laboratory, this will not be relevant to all chemists. However, their valuable work is making research-based clinical knowledge available to the general public. The dialogue between the host and their esteemed guests carefully deconstructs the key findings of the research much like the highlights of a science journal. A quick but juicy dig, so let's get to it!
Best for:People in the vast industry of health care and medical sciences who love the occasional update.
Not specifically a chemistry podcast, but this podcast sponsored by the Science History Institute has many chemistry-focused and cross-functional episodes that any chemist would love. Their podcast format includes both direct interviews and story-telling science history lessons using testimonials which are both incredibly well-produced and fun to listen to. Our favorites include a deep dives on chemical weapons, the chemistry of old age and their newer interview series with influential scientists about the pandemic. They also have excellent transcripts and credits on the Distillations website.
Best for: Getting your science fix on your way to work with wide-ranging topics.
Tiny Matters, with the lovely hosts Sam and Deboki, brings together those who work persistently to uncover and comprehend the intricate world of microbiology and life sciences in general. It also reveals how it affects and shapes the world we live in and the recent developments that are making waves.
Their 'why should I care' approach helps bring about deeper probes into the subject at hand which piques interest and allows for a free-flowing conversation without getting too technical. And oooh, the Tiny Show and Tell segment, definitely the icing on this already sumptuous cake!
Best for: Those who enjoy a deeper dive into significant biological developments and discoveries that have influenced the course of our existence. Each episode is a worthwhile and insightful snack.
C&EN is the news magazine of the American Chemical Society and this relatively new podcast (from 2018) is active and getting better every month. Stereo Chemistry covers a huge range of topics that keep it fresh and interesting from technical advancements and chemistry history to challenges for chemists outside of research like mental health, networking and cultural changes in the chemistry field. The information is well-communicated and typically organized into a story format with sound bytes from various interviewees. They also have excellent accessible transcripts and imagery available on their website.
Best for: Keeping up with relevant topics in chemistry news and culture.
OK, so this one's not really a podcast, but close enough. C&EN launched a 3-minute daily chemistry news briefing that can be triggered automatically with an Alexa app, Amazon Echo smart speaker or Google Home smart speaker. For example, just say “OK, Google. Play the podcast Chemistry Update.” You'll get a few short news briefs of developments in chemistry research or manufacturing to keep you up to date on advancement and changes in the field. Add it to your morning routine and you'll be a wealth of chemistry news in no time.
Best for: Advanced students, professors and professionals with a serious interest in the field who would love to get updates while brushing their teeth.
ChemTalk is a new non-profit organization that is raising the bar in chemistry education and outreach without running ads or walling off content. Their podcast is one part of their strategy and it's off to a strong start. What really stands out is the caliber of guests they are able to pull in - including multiple Nobel Laureates, hugely influential professors and chemists doing high-level research around the world. It's a fantastic way to get to know the people behind the most impressive achievements in chemistry and the hosts come prepared with critical questions that set the tone for a thought-provoking interview.
Best for: Chemistry-focused students who want to explore the different niches that chemistry offers and professionals who like to keep up with emerging stars in the field.
The Bringing Chemistry to Life podcast offers a wealth of information about the careers, lives, and breakthroughs of other scientists. Each episode provides listeners with inspiration and motivation while also reminding them that even the most accomplished scientists struggle from time to time. If you're short on time, this podcast is for you as each episode only lasts around 35 minutes.
Best for: Avid Chemistry-lovers who don't want to miss the advancements that are making waves as well as the science and the stories of people behind them.
Let’s face it—we’ve all struggled with uncertainty and fear of failure. Although relatively new to the podcast scene, The Periodic Table of People is a fantastic introduction for people trying to figure out their Chemistry career path. The host, Niamh, keeps the episode light, entertaining, and incredibly listenable, so if you're unsure whether you'd prefer an intellectually stimulating or entertainment-focused podcast, pick this one up.
Best for: Students and even industry professionals looking to learn and be guided by the experience and insights of people on what steps to take to further their career.
Majors in Materials Science and Engineering develop materials that enhance everyday technologies. Due to the wide range of career opportunities available in the field, it's imperative to choose a career that you are passionate about and have a strong support system. The podcast provides a refreshing look at how experts deal with unique materials situations that don't go according to plan.
Best for: Individuals and professionals who are up for a frequent dose of the materials and technologies that are rapidly altering our world.
This is a podcast that the chemistry field truly needed. Bec and Geraldo are taking it upon themselves to build a visible community of LGBTQ+ chemists to support each other and explore the cultures of inclusiveness (or lack thereof) at institutions around the world. They touch briefly on the research topics of their guests but focus more on their varied experiences finding community at their institution. The guests are usually graduate students, post-docs or professors in chemistry and are refreshingly open about the challenges they face. Listen in to learn how you can become a better ally, to start building an LGBTQ+ support network, or to gather ideas for making your institution more LGBTQ+ friendly.
Best for: Academia-focused chemists in this LGBTQ+ community or those who want to become better allies by understanding the challenges they face.
This podcast is one of the few focusing on industry, rather than academia. The host interviews the biggest players in chemical and materials companies to uncover what's really going on in the industry. I love how the host in sharp, concise and keeps the guests delivering excellent information minute-to-minute. The show is full of interesting insight that you're unlikely to get anywhere is such an easy to digest format.
Best for: Chemical industry professionals trying to keep up with global events affecting their fields, changing tides in trade and demand, and ways to improve your business strategy in the field. It can also be interesting for an academic chemist looking for insight on how their work may ultimately be implemented.
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