The Guardian Science Podcasts

By Mark Trodden | May 25, 2006 6:58 pm

For the last couple of months, The Guardian has been producing a weekly science podcast, in which the Guardian science team discusses various topics and interviews experts on the issues of the week.

Some examples are

  • An interview with David Bodanis, who recently won the Aventis science book prize for his book How Electricity Switched on the Modern World (Incidentally, it is worth either listening to or reading about what he did with his prize money, which reminded me of what my friend Paul did with his). (This week’s episode, May 22)
  • A discussion with Vivienne Parry (also nominated for the Aventis prize) about psychedelic drugs (May 1)
  • The story of the battle to keep Hooke’s papers in Britain (April 3).

Whatever one might think about the general trend of science coverage in The Guardian, I think this is a pretty fun idea that is likely to catch on in other places. It’s also interesting to see how the lines between various types of media are becoming blurred as new technologies become easier to use.

You can subscribe to The Guardian science podcasts using iTunes.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Science and the Media
  • damtp_dweller

    Now that you mention science-related podcasts, the BBC’s In Our Time had rather an interesting one today called Mathematics and Music. I haven’t had a chance to listen to anything other than the first five minutes but it seems like a good show. The podcast is here.

  • http://brahms.phy.vanderbilt.edu/~rknop/blog/ Rob Knop

    Dyer Observatory, the public-outreach observatory associated with Vanderbilt, has “stellar conversations”, which are podcasts.

    I’m on there right now… but haven’t listened to it, so I’m not sure how it got edited together! But they did spend a bunchg of time talking with me. (Rocky and Nancy– good people, the ones who run Dyer.)

    -Rob

  • Supernova

    There’s also Slacker Astronomy. Nice to see science podcasts are a growing trend!

  • http://name99.org/blog99 Maynard Handley

    The world is full of podcasts, webcasts, and other audio material. No-one has time to listen to all of it.
    Given this, might I suggest that when people breathlessly offer up a suggested podcast, they at least give us some hint as to who the expected audience is.

    For example, I am guessing that these podcasts take the standard radio format of an interviewer (who is trained as a journalist, probably has no expert knowledge in the subject, and may or may not be mostly interested in telling the world about him/herself, his/her children and his/her jokes). The level of the material is, I am guessing, aimed at “the intelligent layman” which means, in other words, someone about as educated as an intelligent fourteen year old. Am I correct or not?

    My point is not to slight this sort of material which may, I don’t know, do some good in the world. but to question whether it is relevant to me, or indeed to most Cosmic Variance readers. When we can listen to real experts, lecturing to university students or their colleagues, eg

    http://www2.slac.stanford.edu/lectures/past.htm
    http://www.tufts.edu/as/wright_center/work_con_lec/boston.html
    http://online.kitp.ucsb.edu/online/
    http://www.princeton.edu/WebMedia/lectures/
    http://today.caltech.edu/theater/list?subset=science
    http://video.google.com/videosearch?q=Google+techtalks&page=1&lv=0&so=1
    http://www.apscenttalks.org/choose_sess.cfm

    why would this material be of any interest to us?

    I’ll end with a plug for my blog,
    http://name99.org/blog99
    which is basically devoted to helping one sort through this stuff by recommending various extraordinarily good (and *only* extraordinarily good) audio material on the internet.

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/mark/ Mark

    Want … to … reply … to …snotty … comment, … but … am … out … of … breath …

  • erc

    I believe there are a number of laymen reading this blog – nowhere does it say it is for the uber-educated only. In addition, there have been numerous posts here regarding public outreach, the importance of good science journalism and altering the public perception of physicists as arrogant weirdos who have nothing in common with the general public.

    Hence, it is perfectly understandable that our gracious hosts might like to highlight articles, webcasts etc. which further these aims. If you do not find these of interest, just ignore them! This is infinitely preferable to writing comments which not only do not support, but in fact undermine, these efforts.

    Statements such as ‘“the intelligent layman” which means, in other words, someone about as educated as an intelligent fourteen year old. ‘ are down-right insulting and almost guaranteed to put off those some of us would like to encourage to take a more active interest in science, not to mention unnecessary.

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/clifford/ Clifford

    It never fails to amaze me to see how rude some people can actually be. And then still give a plug for their blog?! Unbelievable.

    Great post, Mark. I did not know about these. They’ll be great to listen to, I’m sure. I would not even bother wasting your time replying to the jerk… Everybody can see he’s a jerk from what he wrote.

    (Why oh why do they insist on coming here though?…sigh…)

    Best,

    -cvj

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/clifford/ Clifford

    damtp_dweller:- I was going to do a post on that one!

    -cvj

  • Moshe

    Guys, your signal to noise ratio is just excellent, no reason to be discouraged by the occasional anti-social behavior.

  • Cynthia

    Thanks, Mark, for this tidbit on popular science works. Making the longlist for the Aventis Prize, I noticed yet another book dedicated to the subject of Riemann’s zeta function: Dan Rockmore’s “Stalking The Riemann Hypothesis.” Admittedly, I am one of those Riemann junkies who is hopelessly addicted to large does of non-trivial zeros as they unruly ascend the high altitudes of the critical line. I simply hope quantum computerist/theorist can make sense of this mathematical madness!

  • Moshe

    Hey Mark (or anyone else), do you know what is their RSS feed URL? should be somewhere in itunes if you registered through them.

    (see, I never purchased that first Apple product, the one that makes all the others inevitable, and itunes only works with ipods…)

  • Moshe

    Nevermind, somehow managed to find it, for people not yet ready for commitment the relevant information is

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/podcast/0,,329442289,00.xml

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Cosmic Variance

Random samplings from a universe of ideas.

About Mark Trodden

Mark Trodden holds the Fay R. and Eugene L. Langberg Endowed Chair in Physics and is co-director of the Center for Particle Cosmology at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a theoretical physicist working on particle physics and gravity— in particular on the roles they play in the evolution and structure of the universe. When asked for a short phrase to describe his research area, he says he is a particle cosmologist.

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