In today’s world, it is becoming increasingly difficult to keep up with the latest research and scientific information. If you want to learn about exciting topics in these fields without time-consuming reading, you can opt for a science podcast. Which exciting podcasts are worthwhile, which representatives are also suitable for children and where this format can be obtained, read here.
What is a science podcast?
When we talk about a science podcast, we are talking about an audio format in an episodic form. In principle, podcasts are a combination of audio books and regularly published formats (such as magazines or series) that can be listened to via a so-called podcatcher. “Science podcasts” refers specifically to podcasts on topics related to science.
This can cover many different areas, ranging from natural sciences and economics to history and social issues. What these many podcasts have in common is the demand for scientific precision combined with a format that is easy to consume.
Among the many advantages of science podcasts or science podcasts is that the knowledge can be played conveniently and at any time. This can be done, for example, during sports, while shopping, in the background or on a long car ride. Also, complex topics are broken down by experts, which can make it easier to understand.
10 Fascinating Science Podcasts
Those interested in a science podcast can choose from a wide selection of different providers, formats, lengths, and release intervals. There are also podcasts suitablefor all ages. In the following list we present some of our personal favorites and insider tips:
100 seconds knowledge
In the podcast “100 Seconds of Knowledge”, the name says it all – various topics are summarized and explained compactly in one minute and 40 seconds. This makes this science podcast ideal for in between. Under the direction of Sandra Leis, topics such as doomscrolling, dicastery, oligarchs or simply proverbs and colloquial expressions are explained.
Abgehört von National Geographic
Among the best science podcasts in English is Overheard by National Geographic, voiced by Vaughn Wallace. In episodes between 15 and 20 minutes, the longtime National Geographic photographer explains various scientific and social topics. Scientists from the specific subject areas are often included.
The “Talk Nerdy” podcast is edited by science journalist Cara Santa Maria, who describes herself as a self-confessed nerd – and discusses various topics in science that could be considered nerdy with a guest in episodes of 90 minutes each. The podcast is produced in English and covers topics such as experimental physics and women in science.
IQ - Science and Research
The BR podcast “IQ – Science and Research” focuses on topics from current research (including modern controversies) in areas such as medicine, climate, society and technology. The episodes are between five and 30 minutes long and bring this content closer in a well-researched and understandably explained way.
The science podcast “Wirkstoffradio” is published by scientists themselves and is “intended for use in the ear”. In it, the field of active ingredients and active ingredient research is brought to life for people outside the industry. In addition to basics (“What is cholesterol?”), topics related to everyday life (“How does the sense of taste work?”) are covered.
Synapsen from NDR Info
The science podcast “Synapsen” is backed by NDR Info, a major broadcaster, so the production quality is outstanding. In this podcast, topics from headlines are regularly taken up and explored in more detail. This ranges from facts and background on COVID to info on animal testing to human hormones and life after a PhD. The length of the individual episodes varies to some extent.
Deutschlandradio’s “Deep Science” podcast has been exploring the shallows of science since September 2021. The focus is on experiments and researchers who venture into the fringes of the permissible. For example, the episodes deal with human-chimpanzee experiments, remote-controlled brain research in bullfighting, or the darkening of the sun. The individual episodes are each about 45 minutes long.
It stays medical in the podcast “Fein Dosiert”, which is edited by the hosts Marco Hanselka, Philipp Ratzel and Melanie Schuler in their spare time. The content revolves around topics fromemergency medicine and rescue services and is published compactly in episodes of about 30 minutes each. This podcast aims to present scientific basics in an easy-to-understand way – which can be helpful in an emergency.
Science in focus
“Science in Focus” is one of those podcasts that is not satisfied with a superficial narrative of progress and scientific achievement. Instead, in-depth reports, features and interviews further advance diverse topics in science. Examples include mRNA technologies, molecular research, and psychiatric genetics as the focus of past episodes. These last about 30 minutes each.
Back in Control
In his “Back in Control” podcast, stem cell biologist Bruce Lipton talks about epigenetics, gene expression, and cellular metabolismandtheir use in expanding consciousness. In the episodes, for example, the stress effects on cell growth or the influence on the immune system are explained. The episodes are 30 minutes each and are in English.
Well known classics of science podcasts
In addition to the representatives of this genre mentioned so far, there are, of course, some top dogs whose name recognition is already quite high. These include, for example, the “Spektrum der Wissenschaft” podcast, which is published by detektor.fm and appears weekly on medical, psychological and other scientific topics. Quarks Daily and ZEIT WISSEN can also be mentioned in this context.
5 science podcasts for kids
Science podcasts aren’t just for adults, though, of course – there are now a number of formats aimed specifically at children of different ages. Depending on the podcast, the topics revolve around science, history, society or news and information designed to fill knowledge gaps in a child-friendly way.
The Science Podcast “Eric erforscht” is edited by host Eric Mayer, who is already known for formats such as PUR+ and the Entdeckermagazin of KiKA and ZDF. In 12 episodes, different experts are interviewed, telling interesting stories about topics such as tsunamis, research ships, outer space and animals of all kinds. Each episode is 30 minutes long and is suitable for young listeners aged six and up.
Under the name “Kakadu”, the broadcaster Deutschlandfunk Kultur is launching a children’s magazine as a science podcast, aimed primarily at listeners aged six and up (but sometimes younger). Every Tuesday and Thursday, questions are answered that relate to interesting topics and news of all kinds – from how COVID self-tests work to the principle of hibernation to the Ukraine war and why some people are bald.
Suitable for an audience of about eight years and older, the six-part science podcast “Heat Free!” focuses on climate change and climate protection. Each episode is 20 minutes long and educates on topics such as flooding, wall fires, garbage disposal and food waste. The topics are explained by media educator Hannah Weber, who developed this podcast in the course of her final thesis.
Critical thinking and science are brought together in the “Schlaulicht” podcast, which can be listened to like an exciting radio play. Subtitled “(not only) for children”, the concept encourages to be a meaningful pastime for the whole family. Behind the science podcast is a nonprofit that aims to satisfy children’s curiosity about scientific topics. The format is moderated by the smart guys André, Jörg and Kumi.
Die Sendung mit der Maus
The “Sendung mit der Maus” is one of the classics that many people probably still remember in TV format from their own childhood. In a new podcast format, this knowledge magazine is now presented as “Die Sendung mit der Maus zum Hören” (The program with the mouse to listen to) for children from the age of four. It’s all about laughs and factual stories – just like in the past – which are released every day in a 60-minute episode by WDR. The topics are scientific as well as historical and social.
Where can I listen to or subscribe to podcasts?
To be able to listen to a podcast, various sources come into question. These programs and apps are called podcatchers. Although most listeners are probably familiar with the biggest platforms like Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Spotify, it’s worth taking a look at what smaller podcatchers have to offer. Numerous interesting podcasts on science topics can be found there as well:
AntennaPod is a podcast manager for Android devices that allows access to millions of free and paid podcasts. In terms of science podcasts, the offer is also wide and varied. Individual episodes can be marked as favorites so that they can be found again particularly quickly.
Less of a podcatcher in its own right and more of an analysis tool for podcasts is the website Podwatch.io, which offers an extensive directory of apps, podcasts and sources. Not only will you find all the available science podcasts through a simplekeyword search, but you’ll also be able to check directly on which apps you can listen to these podcasts.
Pocket Casts was developed specifically for Android devices and can be downloaded for free from the Google Play store. The focus of this mobile and PC app is on new and exciting content that is particularly clear and easy to organize. In addition to cross-device synchronization, a comprehensive directory can also be used – and in multiple languages. You can find just about any science podcast there.
Just like Apple Podcasts and Overcast, Castro is also limited to iOS devices. However, this podcatcher focuses on high clarity and user-friendly settings, so you can have your favorite science podcasts right on speed dial – even in your car through the Castro CarPlay app. The rather expensive subscription model is a disadvantage. On the other hand, this app does not lack interesting podcasts on scientific topics.
Besides Apple Podcasts, the podcatcher Overcast also focuses on iOS devices, so it is not available for Android users. Overcast is characterized by a wide range of functions with an intuitive interface that offers a variety of innovative features – from Voice Boost to Smart Speed. However, the actual playlist functions are limited. This podcast app focuses on functionality, which is why the selection of science podcasts could be even larger.
The range of science podcasts offers something for every taste
If you want to learn about scientific topics of all kinds or simply stay up to date, you can choose to listen to science podcasts. This saves time and can be done in passing – for example, while exercising, shopping or in the bathtub. With a wide variety of offerings, there’s a podcast for every listener.
Science podcasts are podcast formats dedicated to scientific, social, historical or contemporary topics with high informational value. Like a blog or magazine, they are published in (often regular) episodes and can be consumed auditorily like an audio book.
What the best podcasts are, of course, depends primarily on one’s own tastes and knowledge requirements. But it’s worth looking at smaller formats in addition to the big representatives of these podcasts (like Quarks Daily and detektor.fm).
Free podcasts can be obtained on many different platforms for PC, Android and iOS. These include, for example, the apps from Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts as the largest representatives in terms of numbers. In addition, there are smaller providers such as AntennaPod, Overcast, Castro and Pocket Casts.
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