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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.
 
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They are numerous. They are patient. They are COMING for the United States in droves this spring: They are cicadas. *The* Cicada guy Dr. Gene Kritsky joins to chat all about the annual cicadas you may see every summer vs. the periodical ones that cycle through the states in broods of giant numbers. Learn how they survive underground for decades, wh…
 
Yes, an entire episode on butts. Primatologist and anthropologist Natalia Reagan joins to chat about the caboose: why do we have butts? Why do we like butts? How do we appreciate ours even more? She drops knowledge on bidets, wiping, twerking, the mystical field of Rumpology, how our derrieres have our back, plus butt dimples, and crack formations.…
 
This one’s got it all: teeny tiny cellular factories, obscure trivia, historical gossip, sick beats, mitochondrial relevancy, viral popularity, a backstory that with charm you to death, sports cars, lab coats, smelly vats, Space Camp and mysteries of the brain. Raven The Science Maven has a background in molecular biology and is getting her Ph.D in…
 
You might only know carob as not-chocolate, which is a tragedy of its disco-era branding. This tough, gnarly, drought-resistant plant is the real-life Giving Tree, explains passionate Carobologist Megan Lynch. Dripping with leathery banana-shaped legume pods, this tree quietly dots suburban streets but has kept people alive through wars and famines…
 
Part 2 is here! Gamestop, #stonks, Universal Basic Income, how to incentivize things that are good for us, whether or not kids should have an allowance, Trekonomics and more. Economist, professor and “Freakonomics” co-author Steven Levitt joins to chat about everything from being cheap and what decision making costs our minds to the worth of the Am…
 
Choices! Trade-offs! Money! How much should you save? And how much should stimulus checks be? Don’t be scared by the term “economics,” especially since it doesn’t end in -ology. This 2-part Economic Sociology bonanza addresses the behavior that motivates the fiscal systems of the world, from avocado toast to retirement funds. Economist, professor a…
 
A LOST EPISODE! Three years in the making, this interview features vials of vile creatures, worm drama, febrile hallucinations, spooning, and unfortunate snacks. It has waited a long time to meet you, so let’s get weird, take a trip back to summer of 2017 -- before Ologies existed -- and unearth one of the very first, never-before-heard interviews.…
 
RATS: They love pizza. They invade taquerias at midnight. They scurry. They cuddle. They outsmart. They inspire movies that inspire musicals. Proving that not just woodsy megafauna can be charismatic, rats have lives we would never suspect. Globally-lauded Urban Rodentologist Dr. Robert Corrigan, or Bobby if you like, has been studying these animal…
 
The Coronasode we’ve been waiting for! Vaccines. Finally. But what does this mean? As a Vaccine Infodemiologist and science communication lead for The COVID Tracking Project, Jessica Malaty Rivera specializes in infectious disease epidemics and the surge of misinformation that accompanies them. The very first human trials of the COVID-19 vaccine oc…
 
Part 2 of a very special duo! The fresh catch-up interview to learn what the world’s most charming and enthusiastic tree expert, Casey Clapp, has been up to since his 2018 episode aired. He’s been busy. Listen to hear if he’s gotten more pine cone tattoos, what other trees he hates, which ones he gives 10/10, musical blunders, winter pagan traditio…
 
Part 1 of a very special duo: Do trees have feelings? How do they talk? How old can they get? Are there any tree stories that will make me cry? Spoiler: YES. This episode aired in May 2018 and is worth a revisit, especially since Part 2 is a brand new 2020 interview with possibly the world's most enthusiastic tree expert, J. Casey Clapp. Learn abou…
 
This specific episode was cited in The New Yorker this week, so we’re giving it an encore refresh with bonus material and a 2020 update from Dr. Esposito herself! Scorpions: the victims of undue shade. If you've ever wanted to impress a date with weird facts THIS IS THE EPISODE FOR YOU. A handful of people on planet Earth have a PhD in scorpions an…
 
A long snout. Hundreds of teeth. Scales that could slice you. What is a gar and should we fear it? Should we hug it? One of the world’s most passionate and knowledgeable experts on this ancient, mysterious fish joins to make you fall in love with these slimy longbois. Dr. Solomon David is affable, charming, enthusiastic and absolutely shameless whe…
 
Gaze into the cosmos and wonder at broken satellites, retired rockets and shattered contraptions. Archaeologist Dr. Alice Gorman is a leading expert on orbital debris and chats about what’s up there, how it got there, and how to get it down. Strap in to hear about everything from Sputnik to sports cars, flaming garbage bonking us, alien clutter, co…
 
Alligators, crocodiles and … a shut-down nuclear weapons plant? The excitement never ends when you’re Laura Kojima, an Alligator Ecotoxicologist. A longtime reptile cheerleader, Laura has passion to match some truly bananas stories about field work, tail smacks, gator jaws, mercury levels, swamp boats, and crocodilian evolution, overbites, and loco…
 
Gratitude: what’s the deal? Does it really make us happier? Even when the world seems terrible? Or is being appreciative a bunch of hokey flim-flam? Author Neil Pasricha started a blog of 1000 Awesome Things in 2008 and it led him down rabbit holes looking into the science of gratitude and how to better survive some really tough times. Learn about …
 
Sexy apes: you’re one of them. And Biological Anthropologist Dr. Lara Durgavich joins to chat about everything from monogamy to PMS, male birth control pills, freezers of orangutan urine, imposter syndrome and testosterone, how the Pope makes you buy more tampons, which species has better sex, pancakes vs. boners, and boobs as a life preserver. It’…
 
Fashion! Trends! Not really! This lively chat with Riley Kucheran, an Assistant Professor of Design Leadership at Ryerson University’s School of Fashion, covers everything from the history of industrialized clothing manufacture to current Indigenous designers he loves, political statements through beadwork, Indigenous art markets, and a dissection …
 
BILL NYE. That’s right. Bill Freakin’ Nye sits down to get grilled by your Dadward (that’s me, Alie) all about Pedagogology, the art and science of science communication. How did the modern day hype man of facts and wonder get his start? What does he love about his job? What are the most important elements of spreading knowledge? WHICH TIE IS HIS F…
 
HERE IS SOME SAFE, COZY COMFORT: a platter of pumpkins. We have a new episode up this week: Desairology (MORTUARY MAKE-UP) but if that's toooo spooky: This 2019 Cucurbitology episode is an Ologies all-time favorite. Also? It helped launch sweet, sweet Anne Copeland’s book to the top of the seasonal cookbook charts last year. “Pumpkin, Pumpkin!” is …
 
What happens when you die? Cosmically, no one knows. But cosmetically, Desairologist Monica Torress knows everything. This friendly Phoenix funeral director shares her secrets for giving the dearly departed the greatest glam on their “special day.” She chats practical preservation techniques, spooky questions, her influences, the newest make-up lin…
 
Anthropodermic bibliopegy is a long, fancy way of saying “HUMAN SKIN BOOKS” and the study of confirming or debunking them is … Anthropodermic Biocodicology. For this skin-crawling, history-trawling Spooktober episode, we chat with the absolutely wonderful and charming medical librarian and expert of books bound in human skin, Megan Rosenbloom. Also…
 
Spooktober continues with … CrEePy cRawLies. And dark woods and solo hiking and Forest Entomologist Dr. Kristen Wickert a.k.a. KayDubs the Hiking Scientist. We chat about everything from Moth Man to chubby caterpillars to spiderwebs to fungus. She tells us how to look for big beautiful moths, what footwear is best for hitting the trail, which bugs …
 
To kick off SpooOoktober, we’re looking at huge birds that DEVOUR DEATH: the giant, majestic and critically endangered California condor. Condorologist Dr. Jonathan C. Hall’s work helps monitor populations, tracks flight data, and keeps tabs on how well this small population is rebounding after going extinct in the wild in 1987. We chat carcasses, …
 
If you need fuel to get excited about voting: here it is. How low is U.S. voter turnout? And why? Are mail-in ballots safe? Should you vote early? How has voter suppression worked in the past -- and the present -- to skew elections? Oooh, buckle up as the wonderful Dr. Mindy Romero, a Political Sociologist and founding director of USC’s Center for …
 
Thunder and lightning: very, very frighteningly interesting! Wildfire researcher and lightning scientist Chris Giesige answers questions about thunderclaps and lightning flashes in a laid back way that will put him at the top of your Fulminologist list. He explains everything from clouds to positive and negative charges, volcanic lightning, fire to…
 
Mammals: you’re one. Your dog is one. So are giant rats. What do we have in common? Nipples. The incredible Southern Illinois University professor, researcher, science communicator and mammalogist Dr. Danielle N. Lee joins to chat about everything from nature’s parenting styles to hairy bellies, milk glands, nip counts, how a meteor paved the way f…
 
The spirited, laughy chatter with a duo of deer scientists named Rhiannon continues in the thrilling conclusion with Part 2. Buckle up for listener questions addressing everything from social structure to hunting to Chronic Wasting Disease to how *not* to hit a deer with your car. Also the weirdest animal fact Alie has ever learned in the history o…
 
What IS a deer? And an elk? And a moose? And a Rhiannon? One thing they all have in common: cervidology. Buckle up for some spirited, laughy chatter with a duo of deer scientists. They dish all about Welsh mythology and their field trips into the remote, gorgeous wilderness. They’ll explain what to do if you find a fawn, if you should feed backyard…
 
Tasmanian devils! Quolls! Carnivores! Wait … what is a quoll? In what will become an instant-favorite new episode, Dasyurologist and Australian critter scientist Em Dale joins from Down-Down Under to discuss their work at Oxford University studying the ecology of misunderstood boofy bush babes. Alie learns about everything from the Tasmanian landsc…
 
With some fresh updates, ocean and policy expert Dr. Ayana Johnson guests in an encore presentation of a fan favorite episode. Hear updates from her, learn about her new podcast “How to Save a Planet,” and what she’s been up to since this episode originally aired in 2018. Are plastic straws really that bad? What's the oldest message in a bottle? An…
 
Spears! Sharp rocks! Ancient blades, bows and arrows and ...atlatls? What’s an atlatl? Experimental Archaeologist and decades-long ancient tool enthusiast Angelo Robledo is as passionate as an ologist can get. You likely have never heard of an atlatl, but by the end of the episode you’ll be carving one out of old lumber. Also covered: early axes, I…
 
Jellyfish stings: what are they and why do they hurt? And who studies them? Toxinologist Anna Klompen, that’s who. Speaking from her lab in Kansas, surrounded by jellies, the self-described professional jellyfish nerd invites us into her scientific Polyp Parlor to chat about barbs, neurotoxins, quick sting fixes, panty hose, the deadliest jellies, …
 
What even *is* a jellyfish?! How do they eat? What are they made of? Can we eat them? Your new favorite Medusologist, Dr. Rebecca Helm, is a ray of human sunshine in the depths of the deep sea. Truly one of the finest biology conversations you may ever hear. Get ready for PacMan ghosts, pet jellyfish, the biggest and smallest jellies, new band name…
 
Update! This episode posted on Tuesday per usual, then somehow un-published itself! Weird. Harrumph! It’s been a rough week for ol' Dadward VonPodcast, including a technical difficulty that left her behind, so she asked listeners if they would rather have a bizzaro minisode that involved a 30-40 minute rant about raw tomatoes or an AMA, and guess w…
 
Lights! Cameras! Arachnids! And lizards and bees and beetles. Macro photography is like magic: curved glass gives an entirely new take on the world, from dust on a cricket’s brow to a curious mantid stare to the elegant symmetry of spider whiskers. Joseph Saunders is an Oklahoma-based wildlife photographer whose larger-than-life photos of bugs and …
 
Yes, there is an -ology for that. Dr. Robert Proctor is a Stanford professor of the History of Science and co-edited the book “Agnotology: The Making & Unmaking of Ignorance,” having coined the word 30 years ago. We chat about everything from the true evils of tobacco marketing, to the sugar lobby, to racial injustice, horse vision, the psychology …
 
An instant classic. You’ll listen on repeat as world-renowned author, botanist, Indigenous ecology professor and bryologist Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer talks about her passion for moss. Cozy up for the most beautifully doled-out information about hidden worlds, overlooked mysteries, botanical drama, forests in miniature, Native peoples’ uses for moss a…
 
The wonderful neuroscientist and endocrinology researcher Dr. Daniel Pfau is back for Part 2 to answer listener mail about how hormones affect our moods, the variation of gender expression, queer lizards, how a strict gender binary is harmful to entire populations, hormone replacement therapy, hormones in sports, gender dysphoria, additional info o…
 
How many genders are there? How do you know if you’re queer? Is sexual orientation biological, and if so, how? The amazing Michigan State University neuroscientist and endocrinology researcher Dr. Daniel Pfau joins to share their path in academia finding the perfect research, understanding their own genderqueer identity, what animals in nature exhi…
 
The most ologists in one Ologies. And maybe my favorite episode ever. #BlackBirdersWeek was such a force that we wanted to keep the energy going by spotlighting not one, but 30 ologists. You’re about to meet 30 new science heroes who are @BlackAFinSTEM and chatting about electric fish snouts, urban birds, falcons, lizards, crocodiles, economics, ca…
 
Spine mysteries, saggy sacs, limericks, flim flam, flags, #BlackBirdersWeek, sandals, divebombs, porcupine espionage, ice cream sandwiches and more! The warm and wonderful pelicanologist Juita Martinez studies these glorious dinosaurs and shares fieldwork stories, what it’s like to hold a floofy baby sea bird, what she loves about being in nature a…
 
Why does clutter happen? How can we get rid of it and how will it affect us psychologically if we do? Buckle up for an episode that will lift your spirits and quite possibly change your life. We all have unfolded piles of laundry, that closet we don’t want to open, a tornado of papers on our desk that seems impossible to sort through. Enter: Oikolo…
 
Who cares about flatworms? Guess what: you do. Planarian expert Dr. Oné Pagán shares his infectious enthusiasm for the teeny tiny ribbons of flesh that are helping scientists understand addiction, limb regeneration, stem cells, immortality and maybe aliens though probably not aliens. You’re about to be obsessed. We discuss where to find planarians,…
 
What kind of masks should you wear? How many people have had COVID-19 and don’t know? Do antibody tests work? When will we have a vaccine? Is it okay to picnic? Will there be a second wave? You need updates and we’ve got ologists. The wonderful Dr. Shannon Bennett from the first Virology episode joins us again, as well as New York City physician Dr…
 
Iddris Sandu is only 22, but his life story is already legendary. This Architectural Technologist learned to program at the age of 11 and has worked with everyone from Kanye West to Nipsey Hussle to Space X. We talk coding, web design, holograms, and how programming works and what languages should you learn and why it's important. The designer and …
 
Glass eyes! Pelts! Antlers! Hides! Bones! Tanning! Hilarious, charming and globally celebrated taxidermist Allis Markham chats about her passion for preserving animals for museums and institutions. She’s won multiple awards for her artful poses and meticulous work as an ethical taxidermist. With her flair for vintage styling, is perhaps the most el…
 
Do penguins have flippers or wings? Why do they waddle? Do they really mate for life? What’s up with pebble gifts? Are they squishy or dense? And why why why are they so cute? April 25th is World Penguin Day and there’s never been a better time to sit down with renown Penguinologist Dr. Tom Hart, a research fellow with Oxford University. We chat al…
 
Sourdough starters! Ancient yeasts! Why we need/knead dough! And why you don't need to buy a starter to start. Polymath, particle physicist, inventor of the Xbox, and truly delightful fermentation nerd Seamus Blackley joins to chat about his kitchen adventures resurrecting dormant yeasts from 4,000 Egyptian baking vessels, plus wild yeasts, the inf…
 
Why do we kiss? What makes a good kiss or a bad kiss? How many microbes do we exchange? Is it good for us? One of the world’s most accomplished researchers on kissing, social behavior and relationships, Dr . Robin Dunar of Oxford University reluctantly agrees to be interviewed and explains how kissing may have evolved, how discos are research labs …
 
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