The 11 Best Science Podcasts

The 11 Best Science Podcasts

Science has taken plenty of heat in recent years for some surprising reasons, such as its reliance on hard data and a tendency towards rationality. What a shame we didn’t learn our lesson about science-bashing when the Catholic Church came for Galileo. With disinformation spreading like a rash you contracted the last time you went camping, the role of experts in public life has become increasingly politicized. Remember when facts were just facts? Your dad certainly does. Unfortunately, times have changed (some would say regressed), since we now debate whether the Earth is flat with the same fervor that heliocentrism was contested in the 17th century.

So, what’s next for scientific inquiry? Our only hope is good, old-fashioned empiricism. Thankfully, these science podcasts have it in spades. By emphasizing methodology, a good science podcast not only asks interesting questions; it also explains how and why we arrived at an answer. Science, like the moment you finally surrender to the elements and stow away your waterlogged tent, is always susceptible to error.

What elevates a science podcast from good to great is the way it presents information: through humor, clear language, and occasional references to pop culture. We’re not saying these podcasts will save us from disinformation, but they’re an engaging place to start.


Ologies is a weekly podcast by Alie Ward that thrives on the pursuit of knowledge. Simply put, an “ology” refers to the study of something, whether it’s birds (ornithology), dreams (oneirology), or podcasting (podology). Okay, that last one’s not real, but who would know? Barely a dinner party goes by where someone doesn’t bring up an obscure “ology” to make themselves sound smart. Listen to this podcast and you can be that person.

In each episode, Ward is joined by a specialist in their field to discuss how they got into their “ology.” Think of it as the Longform Podcast but for scientists. It’s striking just how normal these specialists are. Many of them got into their field by accident, just like any other career. Ward is an outstanding host as well as genuinely funny. Don’t let the show’s tagline fool you; “Ask smart people stupid questions” isn’t a reflection of her intelligence.

Remarkably astute, Ward not only emphasizes the most interesting aspects of each “ology,” but she can handle conversation better than a French existentialist. It’s little wonder this show is consistently named one of the best science podcasts around. And there’s also a version for kids.

For fans of: Always knowing the answer during a pub quiz

Short Wave

NPR’s Short Wave examines the way that science and technology intersect with society, asking probing questions about the impact of discoveries on our lives, as well as the mysteries we haven’t yet solved. True to its name, each episode of Short Wave is about the length of a coffee break, but thanks to the show’s diverse production style, they’re easy to consume in succession should you crave more.

On Short Wave, there are no drawn-out introductions or superfluous conversations. Instead, hosts Emily Kwong and Regina Barber jump right into the day’s subject, whether it be very serious (the future of AI in medicine) or incredibly silly (worm blobs).

Short Wave critically analyzes the methodologies underpinning common scientific beliefs, refusing to take the most obvious answers at face value. This is particularly important for hot-button topics like AI or social media. But beyond being a social good, Short Wave makes for great listening, especially for the time-poor.

For fans of: Never trusting a clickbait headline

Science Vs

If you enjoy podcasts like You’re Wrong About, then Science Vs is likely to captivate your interest. The show is all about finding truth in the face of fads and opinions. From fasting diets to hypnosis, host Wendy Zukerman and her team painstakingly sift through the scientific literature to provide the best possible answers to these questions. If you have a friend contemplating Ozempic, this might be the show to direct them to.

Before we go any further, it’s worth noting that this show is not without its critics. Any podcast that claims to tell “the truth” is going to be met with pushback. Science Vs is no exception. And when it comes to science podcasts, the critique can get amusingly pedantic. While we won’t entertain criticisms of a female host’s voice – in this case, we love Zukerman’s jaunty Australian accent – the show’s Apple Podcast reviews are worthy of reflection. That said, Science Vs is still one of the best shows out there, thanks to its rigor and admirable mission. We like the puns, too.

For fans of: Not letting conspiracy theorists off the hook

Well… That’s Interesting

Well… That’s Interesting is an independent podcast that relishes finding the sillier side of science. Boasting a dedicated fanbase, this show is the epitome of “adorkable,” packed with endearing nicknames and cursing in equal measure. As far as topics go, the show bounces around from astronomy to archaeology, delving into anything from a swimming pool full of saliva to why everyone should love bees.

Not only does host Jill ChaCha have an endless curiosity, they have grown an enthusiastic community around their podcast. With a narrative style reminiscent of Philosophize This!, ChaCha’s monologues are bespeckled with zingers. Given more meticulous editing and enhanced production value, Well… That’s Interesting has plenty of potential.

For fans of: Podcasters that make you feel like you’re their friend

The Disappearing Spoon

A hidden gem in the genre is The Disappearing Spoon, a history-focused podcast that doesn’t shy from the darker, gorier side of science. Written and hosted by Sam Kean, the show departs from most other science podcasts by not looking forward, but retrospectively. Scientific history is not dominant in the discourse, though other podcasts like In Our Time do it very well.

However, instead of an academic roundtable, The Disappearing Spoon embarks on narrative journeys that transport listeners from the polar wastelands to the Demilitarized Zone in Korea. You’ll quickly realize Kean’s penchant for rather melodramatic presentation, but with the rise of true crime, there’s certainly an audience for shock-and-awe storytelling. Before you jump into the show’s back catalogue, we recommend that you don’t eat your lunch while listening.

For fans of: Dark tourism, ghost tours, and other creepy but interesting pursuits


Knowledge is perpetually evolving, which implies there is always more research to be undertaken. Of course, that doesn’t mean that the Earth might be flat. Let’s not confuse scientific inquiry with conspiracy. Unexplainable is a podcast dedicated to mysteries of science — all the stuff we don’t quite have the answers to.

Adhering to a journalistic ethos, “Unexplainable” addresses topics that generally appeal to a broad audience, making its widespread popularity understandable. With the high-quality production you’d expect from Vox and an abundance of pop culture references, this podcast renders science accessible for those in search of effortless listening. It’s the perfect accompaniment as you clear your inbox.

For fans of: The science section over the sports pages

The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe

Scientists are generally skeptical individuals, but some exhibit this trait more zealously than others. Take the hosts of The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe, a show that has amassed nearly a thousand episodes dedicated to scrutinizing pseudoscience and conspiracy theories, as well as the latest scientific breakthroughs and tech news. They approach everything from herbal medicine to fake scientific studies with a fiercely critical eye and an unwavering commitment to evidence-based reasoning.

But wait, is it funny? Absolutely. If most scientists are skeptical, it’s just as true that most science podcasts strive to be amusing. Thankfully, this roundtable podcast ranks among the most entertaining, thanks to the hosts’ collective dedication to questioning anything they deem subpar to their stringent scientific standards. This show has garnered an impressive following, and it’s easy to hear why. For diehard science buffs, this is the pick for you.

For fans of: Feeling superior


Radiolab has often been referred to as the grandfather of science podcasting. Around since the early 2000s, this show has never been shy about experimenting with narrative and sound design, established itself as a paradigm of the genre. Radiolab strikes a balance between being scientifically rigorous and empathetic. It is, by any definition, a storytelling podcast that just so happens to be packed with information.

Along with the energy of its current hosts, Lulu Miller and Latif Nasser, this duality is the key to the show’s lasting appeal. The perfect listen for curious types, Radiolab explores science, legal history, and ethics in episodes that vary from quick twenty-minute bites to an hour of in-depth analysis.

When a show has this many fans, change is always going to be controversial. And yet, despite weathering the departure of two beloved hosts over the last few years, Radiolab still delights its listeners with high-quality production and compelling tales. Will it be around in another twenty years? We certainly hope so.

For fans of: Immersive sound design

The Infinite Monkey Cage

There isn’t much that will unite generations in the average British household, but a nice Jammy Dodger and an episode of The Infinite Monkey Cage might just do it. This loveable science show from the BBC has been around since 2009, hardly straying from the formula that confirmed it as an instant classic. Each week, the hosts are joined by a panel peppered with scientists and comedians — everyone’s enthusiasm makes it hard to tell who is who — to discuss a new topic, such as “hunting for exoplanets” or “space archaeology.” With over twenty seasons, it’s remarkable that the format has yet to go stale.

The show’s enduring success has everything to do with its hosts, comedian Robin Ince and physicist Brian Cox. As everyone in Britain knows, Cox was in two rock bands before he went back to university to get his PhD. As career pivots go, it’s hard to think of anything more badass.

Famously mild-mannered and soft-spoken, Cox carries every show he presents, while Ince provides charisma and comic relief. Filmed in front of a live studio audience, The Infinite Monkey Cage doesn’t sound like your average podcast. It excels at audience interaction, often getting carried away in its own banter. It’s just the thing for weekend listening.

For fans of: Dad jokes and Britishisms

All In the Mind

All In the Mind is an Australian podcast by ABC that explores the impact of modern life on our mental universe. If that sounds corny, don’t be turned off; this science podcast is grounded in research. Not to be confused with the BBC podcast of the same name, All in the Mind is an established weekly show that uses neurology to explain how our understanding of our world is altered by different issues and phenomena.

Take their episode on the impact of the housing crisis on our perception of the future. The story is told through narrative non-fiction that perfectly marries the data with the human factor. By focalizing on one topic per episode, the team takes care to explore complicated issues that have many implications outside of the scientific field, whether that be health, politics, social science – or a combination of all three. Their research is meticulous without being impenetrable, making complicated topics like AI or schizophrenia easier for non-scientists to comprehend. Perfect for fans of Radiolab, this show consistently offers in-depth analysis that is accessible, relevant, and compelling.

For fans of: Knowing why we “doomscroll”… then doing it anyway

The Life Scientific

Professor Jim Al-Khalili has been hosting The Life Scientific for over a decade, and the show can easily be described as science’s answer to Desert Island Discs. It features interviews with celebrated scientists who have made it their life’s work to contribute new knowledge to their field. It’s a simple formula: the personal and the professional meld together to reveal a deeper understanding of their scientific work. Each episode offers insight into different discipline, from physics to biology, social sciences to engineering. It can get rather niche. But, like Ologies, the pleasure comes in the discovery of a new field, something that may have never entered your orbit. Al-Khalili is a skilled interviewer, rarely failing to bring out the best in his guests – even the ones who haven’t spent much time beyond the lab. The Life Scientific blends biography with breakthroughs in a way that even lay people can admire.

For fans of: Chasing Peter Higgs for an autograph


Alice Florence Orr is a staff writer and assistant editor for Podcast Review. She is based in Edinburgh. You can connect with her on Twitter or read her work on