Top 5 Science Podcasts

Screen capture from my list of podcasts!

I’ve been out of the academic atmosphere for over a year now. Sometimes I just really miss getting my learn on. Academia pretty much ruled my entire life before I graduated with my MS degree (and it’s about to take back over!), so you would think I’d enjoy a well deserved break from, well…thinking. But no, I missed it terribly and have found becoming an avid podcast listener to be one of my more enjoyable hobbies. I love that I have a nice little list of podcasts queued up on my phone, so whenever I find myself with an extra 20 minutes or so I can just hit play. There’s no decision making, which is really nice for someone as indecisive as I am.

While I’m sure the internet has many sites for finding podcasts, iTunes is a great starting place. Their podcasts are collected, organized, and ranked, making it easy to browse categories of your interest and subscribe to those you’d like to have pushed to your device. Again, I always listen on my phone, but you can choose where to store your podcasts. I download a few episodes at a time when I’m around wi-fi so I don’t have to use up any cellular data. If you aren’t able to listen in this manner (maybe you don’t have a compatible phone/device) there are a few alternatives. Android users can use the Podkicker app. You can listen through iTunes on your PC. You could listen through a podcast website, such as Podcast Alley, from any computer. Several podcasts even have their own websites where you can listen.

I have loads to listen to currently.

I originally listened most of the time in the car. I often had 30 minute drives to/from schools when I substitute taught or between going to tutor the kiddos. However, now that I am about to settle down in Penn State sans car, there are plenty of other times I have been able to squeeze in a listen. People who conduct research often have simple, yet time consuming tasks to accomplish. Try listening to podcast or two while processing those samples or running those tests. I know a few runners that enjoy listening to podcasts while they go for a jog. Really, most times you are listening to music you could switch to an informative podcast instead*! If you’re really trying to get your learn on in a shorter amount of time, you can always listen to podcasts on 1.5x speed and enjoy a slightly faster, more hilarious experience.

When I first started storing podcasts on my phone I got very overwhelmed by all the options and episodes and those mocking red bubbles with the number of new episodes available! I actually ended up deleting and unsubscribing from everything for a while. I was spreading myself too thin. I can’t catch, errr, listen to ‘em all (editor’s note: Meridith’s geek girl side is one of my favorite things about her!). After this period of initial frustration, I went back and resubscribed to only a few podcasts, this time being much more selective. I also only focused on finding recent episodes that related to my interests. Then, I download these specific episodes so they are ready when I am!

Top Natural Science Podcasts on iTunes

You want a few suggestions? Here are some of mine and Rachel’s favorite podcasts.

 Sweet Tea, Science’s Favorite Science Podcasts

    1. Science Friday [Tumblr, website, Twitter]
    2. The Naked Scientists [website, Twitter]
    3. The family of “How Stuff Works” Podcasts (esp. Stuff You Should Know and Stuff You Missed in History Class, which often has science history episodes!)
    4. Star Talk [Tumblr, website, Twitter]
    5. RadioLab [Tumblr, website, Twitter]

     Bonus: New podcast BBC World Service Elements

    Tell us your tale! Are you on the Podcast Bandwagon? Have any favorite ones (science or otherwise) that you’d like to recommend? Just checked out one of our recommendations and loved/hated it? Let us know in the comments!

     *I just turned off my music and turned on SciFri. Listening to my own advice!


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