Long drive ahead? Or maybe your room hasn’t seen a vacuum in 6 months? These 15 top podcasts on science, tech, engineering and maths are more interesting than an album on repeat… and they might even teach you a little something.
Our picks for top podcasts in science
If you’re something of a beauty junkie, then you might like to know more about the science behind your favourite foundations, sunscreens and skincare products. The Beauty Brains, hosted by cosmetic scientists Perry Romanowski and Randy Schueller dives into subject matter like debunking myths about parabens or explaining the science behind dubious ingredients like bee venom or acids. If you love beauty, this is one of the best science podcasts for you.
Join hosts and certified astronomers Kirsten Banks and Angel Lopez-Sanchez as they bring a fortnightly dose of astronomy to your ears. Covering everything from how to get out and stargaze (and really recognise what you’re seeing!) to answering your burning questions about the universe, this podcast is sure to delight your inner astronomy nerd.
3. Science VS
Hosted by Australian science journalist Wendy Zukerman, Science VS is the perfect mix of entertainment and scientific fact. This science podcast delves into topics like human lab rats, a mysterious man who died twice, the science behind transgenderism and ancient aliens. There’s something for everyone in this boredom-busting science podcast which has definitely earned its place on our top podcasts list (… in no particular order!).
Our article on forensic science is perennially popular with the morbidly curious among you, so we thought we’d offer up this in-depth forensic science podcast that’s more fact than CSI. Host Steven David Lampley is a former police officer who’s worked some pretty chilling cases in his time, so he’s the perfect person to ask the probing questions to the forensic scientists that guest star on the show.
If the name hasn’t won you over, then the interviews with real NASA scientists will! This is the official podcast of the NASA Johnson Space Center and it takes you through all things aerospace; how to plan a spacewalk (spoiler: there’s a lot more involved than you might think), the weather in outer space, how to become an astronaut, and the hazards astronauts face in space.
Our picks for top podcasts in tech
6. Reply All
This is one of our all-time top podcasts for tech lovers. Reply All offers segments like Super Tech Support, where listeners can submit problems they’re having on the internet and the hosts try to hack a solution. There’s also Yes Yes No where the show’s producer, Alex Blumberg, presents a meme, tweet or joke he doesn’t understand so hosts Alex Goldman and PJ Vogt can delve into the twisted internet history of the thing and come to understand the punchline.
The motto of this Microsoft-sponsored podcast from Gimlet Media is: “The future doesn’t just happen. It’s the result of a series of choices that we’re making right now. You can wait for the future to come to you or you can engage with it, and get ahead of the curve.” This podcast is like a series of lessons in the digital future; whether that’s on designing for inclusivity, how data can solve health issues, or diversity in video games (or lack-thereof).
Another edutainment goldmine is this tech podcast, IRL: Online Life is Real Life. This awesome tech podcast brings you stories of where real life intersects with the internet. For example, there are people in the world who moderate all of the violent and disturbing content uploaded to the world wide web, so that our screens stay free of the stuff. But how does viewing all this negative content affect the people tasked with identifying it?
Our picks for top podcasts in maths
9. Maths Appeal
If you have trouble seeing how maths is applicable to the real world, then this could be the top podcast for you. Hosts Bobby Seagull and Susan Okereke are on a mission to make maths accessible to everyone, so that means talking about maths puzzles, how probability is all around us, and speaking to awesome guest speakers who live and breathe maths – just not as you know it.
Freakonomics deep dives into economics in the real world; why rent control doesn’t work, why you shouldn’t open a restaurant, predicting economic crises, and even how to win games and beat people. This top podcast gets full marks for production value, a smooth-talking host and content that doesn’t feel like an economics lesson.
Despite how it sounds, this podcast isn’t a verbal cheat-sheet for your maths homework. This is another awesome look at maths in the real world, like how maths can take us to space or the essential skills you’ll need to be a problem-solving expert.
Statistics are an easy way to understand big data sets – but the people who use them may not always know what they really mean. This top podcast for maths lovers looks at statistics in the media to find the truth behind the numbers. Highlights include episodes that investigates the link between daylight savings and heart attacks or the numbers behind the impending insect extinction.
Our picks for top podcasts in engineering
13. 99% Invisible
If you haven’t heard of this podcast – where have you been?! This awesome podcast is perfect for budding engineers, looking at the (mostly invisible, duh) design principles behind just about every man-made thing on earth. Host Roman Mars helps us to rethink what we know about everything from why the clothes on our backs look the way they do to the Chinoiserie architecture of Chinatown… that’s not at all Chinese.
Don’t have time to listen to podcasts? We got you! Engineering Word of the Day is a podcast that is pretty self-explanatory. Taking a word that appears in the Engineering lexicon, these 3-6 minute episodes give you an in-depth definition of the term so you’ll know what you’re talking about the next time you discuss CRISPR with your Engineering mates.
15. Grinding Gears
This podcast is not just about entertainment, this is a top educational resource from the minds of real engineers to help you understand what it’s like to work professionally in engineering – even if you didn’t learn it at school.
Have we missed one of your top podcasts in STEM? Let us know in the comments below!
Author: Eliza Brockwell
Eliza is passionate about creating content that encourages diversity of representation in STEM.