“Science Friday” a podcast for learners

In “Science Friday,” host Ira Flatow engages with intriguing scientific topics and their sociopolitical implications.

It’s that time of year! The time when I reveal the part of myself that still enjoys learning about science. Although I’m now firmly committed to getting a major in the liberal arts, there was a time when I wanted to be a biologist of some sort. That’s why I love podcasts about science— a way for me to get a chance to learn about things I’m not studying.

No one does it better than “Science Friday.” This podcast, which is produced by WNYC Studios, features news about science and technology. Hosted by Ira Flatow, the episodes vary from information about recent scientific advancements and history to interviews with experts across different disciplines.

The episodes, which are about 45 minutes long, usually feature two to three topics that Flatow covers. They’re not always connected but the different segments come together to keep the episode informative and engaging. For example, in their most recent episode on Oct. 29, they covered maggots and medicine, European wolves and stories from people experiencing sea levels rising in their communities. Quite the mix!

The show has had a long history, as they started in 1991 with a radio show. Since then, they’ve expanded to be more than just a podcast. On their website, they publish videos and interesting articles covering different facets of science. They also host weekly book clubs, making “Science Friday” a fun community to be a part of for science lovers everywhere.

One of the things I really appreciate about “Science Friday” is how they bring in social and political issues into their discussions about science. Often, there is this desire among the scientific community to rely purely on scientific research and data when talking about problems. But this show does a really good job of showing how science is impacted by culture and politics, as well as issues of inequity.

For example, in the episode for Oct. 22, the podcast explores how Filipino-Americans are disproportionately affected by the pandemic. They look at how “32 percent of U.S. registered nurses who died of COVID-19 by Sept. 2020 were of Filipino descent, even though they only make up four percent of nurses in the U.S.” This is just one example that shows how social-political issues must be taken into account when talking about science.

Since the show has recently been more committed to exploring these political topics, there are quite a few people who left reviews in the Apple Podcast app about how they were upset that “Science Friday” explores socio-political aspects as they relate to science. But science and culture have always been intertwined and I’m happy that this show is attempting to explore that connection with the different episodes that air.

Despite the complaints of some of the show’s critics, I think “Science Friday” has a nice balance of episodes, with a mix of content spanning across different scientific disciplines. There are episodes about high-tech air purifiers, episodes about dinosaurs and episodes about mating spiders! Basically, there’s something for everyone. There are quite a few episodes talking about recent developments with the pandemic, especially when it concerns vaccines, but I think that is relevant information to be talking about on a science podcast.

If you are looking to learn new things about the world and expand your knowledge of random facts, then this podcast is definitely for you.

This podcast is available on all streaming platforms.

Post Author: Hana Saad