Podcasts that make us smarter

Podcasts that make us smarter

Podcasts that make us smarter

“This is the golden age of podcasting, which we know because a couple of people wrote that in an article and then people get interviewed and say it more, so now it’s true” (Seth Lind, Cast Party)

In recent years, we have seen podcasts of all kinds flourishing: ranging from “true crime” series (which began with the super-popular “Serial”, which is credited with the renewed growth of podcasts), to talk shows, comedies, sports, and more. Podcasts have brought radio back to center stage, for a generation that no longer listens to radio (in one new podcast, “Twice Removed”, there was an advertisement for an audio book service, with the slogan: “Audio books – it’s like a podcast that even your mother can understand”). They provide us with a wealth of quality, well-made content that combines in-depth research, first-rate storytelling, and a sense of intimacy with the presenters that is hard to find in other media.

I would like to share with you three interesting podcasts, from my personal playlist, which I have tagged as “make me smarter” – podcasts dealing with science or knowledge in an interesting, novel way:


A very popular, long-running podcast, which is a permanent feature of every “must listen to” list, and which the Guardian describes as “the gold standard of accessible documentary podcast”, is known for its high production values, including the level of the sound effects, fascinating, in-depth research, and easygoing, professional presentation. Many episodes of Radiolab offer a range of fascinating reports on the same topic, illuminating the topic from different angles. Radiolab has also launched a spinoff, called “More Perfect”, dealing with the Supreme Court.

Surprisingly Awesome

A podcast produced by Gimlet Media, one of the early players of the golden age of podcasting. The challenge undertaken by this podcast was, in each episode, to take an ostensibly boring or banal topic, and prove just how fascinating it was, and how much it touches on our lives. Among others, the podcast has looked at topics such as mold, lethal injections, concrete, mattresses, glue, boredom, weeping, and more. In one presentation, on the top[Islamic of interest rates, the presenters took on an even bigger challenge: to prove to adolescents just how interesting, and related to their lives, this issue was.

Science vs

Another podcast from Gimlet Media, which confronts our beliefs and opinions on various topics with scientific research. Among other things, the podcast has addressed hypnosis, the continuum concept, gun control, antidepressants, etc. Wendy Zukerman’s amusing presentation style, with her pompous repetition of the mantra “There are people with lots of opinions… and then there is science!”, lends a lighthearted air to the podcast as a whole, and ensures that, even if we don’t always agree with her conclusions, it certainly won’t be boring.