Cover image of Brains On! Science podcast for kids
(4824)

Rank #6 in Kids & Family category

Kids & Family
Science

Brains On! Science podcast for kids

Updated 1 day ago

Rank #6 in Kids & Family category

Kids & Family
Science
Read more

Brains On!® is a science podcast for curious kids and adults from American Public Media. Co-hosted each week by kid scientists and reporters from public radio, we ask questions ranging from the science behind sneezing to how to translate the purr of cats, and go wherever the answers take us. @Brains_On

Read more

Brains On!® is a science podcast for curious kids and adults from American Public Media. Co-hosted each week by kid scientists and reporters from public radio, we ask questions ranging from the science behind sneezing to how to translate the purr of cats, and go wherever the answers take us. @Brains_On

iTunes Ratings

4824 Ratings
Average Ratings
3614
636
199
139
236

This is the best podacast

By undyene - Jan 26 2020
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Me and my mom and my dad love this podcast it has so much cool facts

Our fav!

By carliwr - Jan 23 2020
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This is our favorite podcast! Super entertaining without being obnoxious for both my kids and me!

iTunes Ratings

4824 Ratings
Average Ratings
3614
636
199
139
236

This is the best podacast

By undyene - Jan 26 2020
Read more
Me and my mom and my dad love this podcast it has so much cool facts

Our fav!

By carliwr - Jan 23 2020
Read more
This is our favorite podcast! Super entertaining without being obnoxious for both my kids and me!
Cover image of Brains On! Science podcast for kids

Brains On! Science podcast for kids

Latest release on Dec 31, 2019

Read more

Brains On!® is a science podcast for curious kids and adults from American Public Media. Co-hosted each week by kid scientists and reporters from public radio, we ask questions ranging from the science behind sneezing to how to translate the purr of cats, and go wherever the answers take us. @Brains_On

Rank #1: Dreams: The science of a sleeping brain

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You dream every night, even if you don't remember them. But why? We'll hop on a wild ride to go inside the brain and see which parts help create these often fantastical images and storylines. We'll also learn how to take control of our dreams and how they make us more creative. Plus: a new mystery sound and a Moment of Um answers the question "How do octopuses make ink?" This episode is sponsored by Thoughtfully (thoughtfully.com/brains), Pre (eatpre.com offer code BRAINSON), and Little Passports (littlepassports.com/brains).

Dec 11 2018

37mins

Play

Rank #2: Dolphins vs. Octopuses: Showdown in the sea!

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Two of our planet’s most amazing animals go head to head in our latest debate.

We’re asking you to decide which animal reigns supreme. Is it the eight-armed, three hearted, shape-shifting octopus? Or the speed-swimming, echolocating, super-jumping dolphin?

Listen along as Marc argues for #TeamOctopus and Sanden fights for #TeamDolphin. We’ll learn amazing facts about both sides along the way.

Which side are you on? Vote here!

Plus an aquatic Mystery Sound, some deep-sea stand up comedy and a Moment of Um answering why flamingos are pink featuring Flora Lichtman from Gimlet Media’s Every Little Thing.

You can also share your opinions and your drawings of dolphins and octopuses in the workplace by emailing them to hello at brainson dot org.

Can’t wait to see your drawings and hear your thoughts!

Jan 30 2018

54mins

Play

Rank #3: Flush! Where does our poo and pee go?

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Every time you flush, your poo and pee start an epic journey. From the toilet, to the sewers, to a treatment plant, our waste travels quite a distance only to end up cleaner by the end. We'll hear from a "PooTube" star about her experience with "the flush." We'll also hear about ancient sewers, a "fatberg" under London and a toilet that cleans waste on site. Plus, our Moment of Um answers why you can feel your heart beating in your neck of all places.

Sponsors for this episode include:

And you can support the show at brainson.org/donate !

Mar 20 2019

33mins

Play

Rank #4: Flavor facts: Why food is so delicious

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Read more

You might think flavor is what happens on your tongue – and it is. But it’s also so much more.

Flavor is influenced by all the senses. How food looks, smells and feels can make a difference. Even the sounds you hear while eating can impact how you perceive taste.

We’ll visit a tastebud beauty salon, talk with a chef researcher and do some experiments provided by our friends at America’s Test Kitchen Kids. Plus: a three-part Mystery Sound and a Moment of Um that answers the question: “What makes spicy food spicy?”

Note: If you want to do the experiments along with us, congratulations, you can! You’ll need jellybeans, a blindfold and two pieces of dark chocolate. Listen, eat and yum!

This episode is a collaboration with our friends at America’s Test Kitchen Kids! They’re sharing access to their “The Nose Knows” experiment with Brains On listeners! Check out the whole activity right here.

This episode is sponsored by Pillsbury Crescent Rolls, Stitch Fix Kids (stitchfix.com/kids/brains), and KiwiCo (kiwico.com/brains).

Nov 26 2019

35mins

Play

Rank #5: What makes gross things gross?

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Fair warning: Today we’re gonna get gross! We’re talking sounds, smells, and tastes that some people might find repulsive. But we're asking: why? What's the purpose of disgust? Is it something we're born knowing or do we learn to dislike things? When will entomophagy (the eating of insects) catch on everywhere? Plus: A brand new Moment of Um answers the question "Why do worms come out when it rains?"

Aug 21 2018

36mins

Play

Rank #6: Thinkin stinkin: Why we smell

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You may have noticed some strong smells coming from your feet, your friend's breath, or your brother's armpit. Where do these body odors come from? We'll meet the microscopic organisms responsible and visit the kingdom of Footsteros. We'll also find out why we might find these naturally occurring smells so disgusting. Plus: A brand new Moment of Um answers the question: Why do stink bugs stink? This episode is sponsored by Cloud Control Cat Litter by Arm & Hammer, Bona Premium Spray Mop (bona.com/brainson), and Quip (getquip.com/brainson). You can support the show at brainson.org/donate

Apr 30 2019

28mins

Play

Rank #7: Brains On! + The Story Pirates: What makes fun things fun?

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We're teaming up with our pals The Story Pirates to learn about the science of having fun! Our experts tell us what makes something fun and why we're so geared toward seeking a good time. Plus, the Story Pirates share their song "Pizza Revenge." We've also got a fun-tastic Mystery Sound and a Moment Of Um all about pirates. How fun is that?

Still want more fun? Head over to the Story Pirates to hear more (plus the punchline to a Brains On joke) - apple.co/2wwlgDE

Today’s episode is sponsored by Vamousse (vamousselice.com) and Roshambo Baby (roshambobaby.co and offer code BRAINS)

Aug 28 2018

33mins

Play

Rank #8: Super-size-asaurus: How did dinosaurs get so big?

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  Ancient dinosaurs were some of the biggest creatures to ever stomp the Earth. But how and why did they get so giant? Was there more food to help them grow? Was the planet itself somehow different, allowing them to reach epic proportions? In this episode we talk to dino-experts Femke Holwerda and Brian Switek…

Jan 09 2018

34mins

Play

Rank #9: Salty snack science: Popcorn, nachos and the origins of salt

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We're having a snack attack in this episode and we're using it as an excuse to delve into the facts and history of some of our favorite snacks. How does popcorn pop? Who invented nachos? And where does salt come from? Plus, our Moment of Um tells us all about salt's buddy: pepper! If you want to hear more from our pals at Every Little Thing, you can check them out wherever you listen to podcasts or at https://www.gimletmedia.com/every-little-thing And you can find more Ear Snacks on your favorite podcast device or right here: https://www.earsnacks.org/

Jul 24 2018

33mins

Play

Rank #10: Boogers and sun sneezes: Know your nose

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In this encore mash-up episode, we revisit some fascinating facts that will help you get to know your nose. Why does the sun make some people sneeze? And where do boogers come from anyway? Plus: A brand new moment of um answers the question: "Why do sloths move so slow?"

May 29 2018

20mins

Play

Rank #11: What was the first life on earth?

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What was the first lifeform like? What was the first fish or mammal? Is it even possible to know? In this episode, we look to the fossil record to help us trace our roots back to the Last Universal Common Ancestor. Paleontologist Neil Shubin joins us to talk about discovering a remarkably cool fossil that helped us understand how life evolved over billions of years. We also take a field trip to the Hall of Ancestors and examine a few branches on the tree of life. And we learn why figuring out how life began on earth could help us as we find life elsewhere in the universe.

This episode is sponsored by Pillsbury Crescent Rolls, KiwiCo (kiwico.com/brains) and Quip (getquip.com/brainson). You can support the show at brainson.org/donate

Nov 20 2019

32mins

Play

Rank #12: Books: How they're made and how your brain reads them

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There is so much happening in your brain when you read. From recognizing shapes as letters to discovering empathy, our brains really get a workout when we read books.

In this episode, Ben Bergen from the Language and Cognition Lab at UC San Diego drops by to shed some light on how our brains process the meaning of words. We also learn how printing books has evolved and how the invention of the printing press brought worldwide change. And Newberry Award-winning author Kelly Barnhill shares a little of what’s going on in HER brain as she’s writing a story.

This episode is sponsored by KiwiCo (kiwico.com/brains), Quip (getquip.com/brainson) and Pillsbury Crescent Rolls. You can support the show at brainson.org/donate.

Nov 05 2019

31mins

Play

Rank #13: Do dogs know they're dogs?

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We treat dogs like they're part of the family. But do they know they are a different species, or do they think they're just short, four-legged people?

In this episode, canine cognition researcher Alexandra Horowitz helps us puzzle out this question. We’ll also find out what happens (or doesn’t) when a dog looks in the mirror. Dogs are always dozing, and we’ll check in to see if they are dreaming too. And, we take a quick trip around the world in the language of barks.

All that, plus a brand new Mystery Sound and moon-filled Moment of Um!

Today’s episode is sponsored by Ozobot (ozobot.com/brains), KiwiCo (kiwico.com/brainson), and the book Horse Meets Dog. You can support Brains On with a contribution at brainson.org/donate

Nov 06 2018

29mins

Play

Rank #14: How do elevators work?

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Elevators are like magic. You walk in, the door shuts and when it opens again, you are suddenly someplace new! Ta da! But it’s not magic that does this trick, it’s science and engineering.

In this episode we explain how elevators work and we talk about how they’ve changed over time. For instance, did you know the first elevators had no walls?

We also speak with historian Lee Gray about two elevator innovators who both happen to be named Otis. Speaking of Otis, Vijay Jayachandran with the Otis Elevator company, joins us to drop some high level elevator facts. Plus, we hear your ideas for the elevators of the future! And listen to the end to our Moment of Um for an answer to this question: Why do crickets chirp?

This episode is sponsored by Old El Paso, Sun Basket (sunbasket.com/brains), Panama City Beach (VisitPanamaCityBeach.com) and The Great Courses Plus (thegreatcoursesplus.com/brainson). You can support the show at brainson.org/donate

Aug 13 2019

39mins

Play

Rank #15: Ants: Who's in charge here?

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We have a lot to learn from ants. This episode digs into the hierarchy of ant colonies (spoiler alert: there is none) and why they walk in a straight line (spoiler alert: they don’t). We’ll also find out about epic ant battles and how the study of ants is teaching us about how cancer spreads, how the internet can be improved, and could even give us new ways to explore Mars. Plus: Our Moment of Um answers the question: Why do the mountains look blue from far away? This episode is sponsored by Old El Paso, KiwiCo (kiwico.com/brainson), The Great Courses Plus,(thegreatcoursesplus.com/brainson), and Sun Basket (sunbasket.com/brains). You can support the show at brainson.org/donate.

Jul 23 2019

37mins

Play

Rank #16: What is Down syndrome?

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You may have heard of Down syndrome, but what is it exactly? In this episode, we'll break down the science of chromosomes and how having an extra one leads to this fairly common condition. Plus, we'll learn some tips for making friends with someone who might seem different than you. We'll also swing by a farm staffed by ranchers with Down syndrome. And in our Moment of Um we'll find out why eggs go from clear to white when cooked.

Oct 24 2017

27mins

Play

Rank #17: How does GPS know where you are?

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Without GPS, we’d be lost. Literally. Thanks to these radio transmissions from space though, we’re able to pinpoint our location and find our way home. Join us as we learn all about satellites, how the robot voice of GPS is created and how atomic clocks hold it all together. Plus a mystery sound and a brand new Moment of Um answers the question: "What is light made of?" Today's episode is sponsored by Kind Snacks (KindSnacks.com/BRAINS), Vamousse (vamousselice.com) and Roshambo Baby (roshambobaby.com and offer code BRAINS).

Jul 31 2018

24mins

Play

Rank #18: Why do we like getting scared?

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Spooky stuff may make you cover your eyes in fright, but many of us find ourselves peeking through our fingers to get another glimpse. Why are we drawn to things that make us jump? In this episode, we'll find out how fear can actually be fun. We visit a scientist who helps design haunted houses for ultimate scares, chat with an author who writes ghost stories about how he crafts the creepy crawlies, and play a rousing game of Name That Phobia! Plus we help Gungador get rid of his hiccups and answer the Moment of Um question: "Why do raspberries have little hairs?"

Spoiler alert! To learn more about the mystery sound, click here.

This episode is sponsored by Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner (bona.com/brainson), Pillsbury Crescent Rolls, and MEL Science (text BRAINS to 64-000).

Oct 29 2019

30mins

Play

Rank #19: What makes paint stick?

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Paint goes on wet, then it dries — and it’s stuck there. But how does it stick? We’re going to zoom way in to find out. We’ll visit a forensic chemist, a painter who makes his own paint and a party happening at the molecular level.

Apr 24 2018

26mins

Play

Rank #20: The secrets of the spectacular spacesuit

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Never explore the final frontier without your trusty, white, puffy space suit! But why is it puffy and white? And why do astronauts need them? Turns out space is super dangerous and these suits can save your life.

We’ll give you a tour of all the features of NASA’s iconic EMU suit and explain why it looks like a squishy marshmallow. Plus, we’ll interview an engineer working on the next generation of space suits and hear a funky new space jam by singer Jamie Lidell.

Add in a mystery sound, a Moment of Um looking at knuckle cracking and some rad ideas for super suits of the future and you’ve got an action packed episode of Brains On.

This episode is sponsored by KiwiCo (KiwiCo.com/brainson), Panama City Beach (VisitPanamaCityBeach.com), The Great Courses Plus (TheGreatCoursesPlus.com/brainson) and Quip (GetQuip.com/brainson). You can support the show at brainson.org/donate

Aug 27 2019

37mins

Play

Aliens and UFOs: Making Sense of Myths, pt. 4

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In the final episode of our series about myths and legends, we’re launching our imaginations into outer space!

Monster expert Emily Zarka tells us about her favorite alien and why aliens fascinate so many people. In the Hoax Hunters season finale, Marc and Sanden bring us a UFO spoof. Plus, scientists give us the lowdown on the real quest for extraterrestrial life — we haven’t found any... yet. And, planets and moons compete for the title of ‘most likely to have life’.

A new moment of um keeps us outside the atmosphere: why does space look so dark if the sun is so bright?

Today’s episode is sponsored by The American Dental Association (ada.org/brains). You can support Brains On at brainson.org/donate and get a bonus Mystery Sound Extravaganza episode in January!

Dec 31 2019

31mins

Play

Mermaids, Kraken and the Loch Ness Monster: Making Sense of Myths, pt. 3

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What’s lurking in the depths of the ocean? Or your local loch? We’re diving deep into the world of water-dwelling mythical creatures in part three of our series on myths. We’ll talk with monster expert Emily Zarka and learn about the very real creature that may have inspired the tale of the Kraken. We’ll also hear from a frustrated manatee and dugong, and get caught up on all the latest deep sea trends. Marc and Sanden are back with a Hoax Hunters about the Loch Ness Monster. Plus, a Moment of Um about our physical reaction to fear.

Today’s episode is sponsored by Pillsbury Crescent Rolls. You can support Brains On at brainson.org/donate and get a bonus Mystery Sound Extravaganza episode this January!

Dec 24 2019

29mins

Play

Lost Cities: Making Sense of Myths, pt. 2

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Was Atlantis a real city? If not, why have so many people gone looking for it? In part two of our series on modern myths and legends, we’re searching for lost cities.

We’ll trace the origins of El Dorado, and head to the ruins of an actual lost city in Egypt. We'll find out how mangrove trees could help prevent cities from being lost to climate change, and Sanden and Marc are back with another edition of Hoax Hunters. Plus, a Moment of Um about how tattoos stay put.

Today’s episode is sponsored by Quip (getquip.com/brains), KiwiCo (kiwico.com/brains), American Dental Association (ADA.org/brains) and Stitch Fix Kids (stitchfix.com/kids/brains). You can support Brains On at brainson.org/donate and get a bonus Mystery Sound Extravaganza episode this January!

Dec 17 2019

30mins

Play

Bigfoot, Unicorns and Dragons: Making Sense of Myths, pt. 1

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Where do stories of unicorns, mermaids and Bigfoot come from? And do they have any truth to them? In this four-part series, we're tackling listeners' biggest questions about modern myths and legends.

Today's episode is about mythical creatures that live on land. We'll hear the story of El Chupacabras, learn about the search for Bigfoot, and hear from some animals once mistaken for unicorns. Marc and Sanden have a new project to share, and Gungador has an urgent announcement. Plus, a Moment of Um about how sloths snooze upside down.

If you want to learn more about the history, facts and lore behind dragons and unicorns, check out this fascinating episode of Smash Boom Best: UNICORNS VS DRAGONS!

This episode is sponsored by Pillsbury Crescent Rolls, iD Tech (idtech.com/brains), and KiwiCo (kiwico.com/brains). You can support Brains On at brainson.org/donate. All supporters of the show will get a bonus mystery sound extravaganza episode this January!

Dec 10 2019

29mins

Play

How do pianos work?

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Behind every piano’s polished exterior are thousands of parts. From keys to strings, they work together to produce a sound.

In this episode, we take a field trip to a piano shop, peek behind the walls at a world-famous piano factory and have an EPIC FIGHTING BATTLE to discover how sound travels. And the Moment of Um answers this question: “Can you really hear the ocean in a seashell?”

This episode is sponsored by KiwiCo (kiwico.com/brains), Quip (getquip.com/brainson) and the Good Kids podcast. You can support the show and get access to a bonus Mystery Sound extravaganza episode at brainson.org/donate

Dec 03 2019

25mins

Play

Flavor facts: Why food is so delicious

Podcast cover
Read more

You might think flavor is what happens on your tongue – and it is. But it’s also so much more.

Flavor is influenced by all the senses. How food looks, smells and feels can make a difference. Even the sounds you hear while eating can impact how you perceive taste.

We’ll visit a tastebud beauty salon, talk with a chef researcher and do some experiments provided by our friends at America’s Test Kitchen Kids. Plus: a three-part Mystery Sound and a Moment of Um that answers the question: “What makes spicy food spicy?”

Note: If you want to do the experiments along with us, congratulations, you can! You’ll need jellybeans, a blindfold and two pieces of dark chocolate. Listen, eat and yum!

This episode is a collaboration with our friends at America’s Test Kitchen Kids! They’re sharing access to their “The Nose Knows” experiment with Brains On listeners! Check out the whole activity right here.

This episode is sponsored by Pillsbury Crescent Rolls, Stitch Fix Kids (stitchfix.com/kids/brains), and KiwiCo (kiwico.com/brains).

Nov 26 2019

35mins

Play

What was the first life on earth?

Podcast cover
Read more

What was the first lifeform like? What was the first fish or mammal? Is it even possible to know? In this episode, we look to the fossil record to help us trace our roots back to the Last Universal Common Ancestor. Paleontologist Neil Shubin joins us to talk about discovering a remarkably cool fossil that helped us understand how life evolved over billions of years. We also take a field trip to the Hall of Ancestors and examine a few branches on the tree of life. And we learn why figuring out how life began on earth could help us as we find life elsewhere in the universe.

This episode is sponsored by Pillsbury Crescent Rolls, KiwiCo (kiwico.com/brains) and Quip (getquip.com/brainson). You can support the show at brainson.org/donate

Nov 20 2019

32mins

Play

Ask-A-Scientist: Bird Bonanza!

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In this special episode, we've asked two rock star ornithologists to answer a flock of listener questions about birds. Drew Lanham and Corina Newsome talk flying, feathers, eggs, poop and how we humans can help birds. Plus: we test their ears with the Mystery Sound and their obscure bird knowledge with a game called Real Birds or Just Words.

And many, many thanks to The Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology for providing the bird sounds you hear in this episode.

This episode is sponsored by Pillsbury Crescent Rolls and iD Tech (idtech.com/brains). You can support the show at brainson.org/donate

Nov 12 2019

27mins

Play

Books: How they're made and how your brain reads them

Podcast cover
Read more

There is so much happening in your brain when you read. From recognizing shapes as letters to discovering empathy, our brains really get a workout when we read books.

In this episode, Ben Bergen from the Language and Cognition Lab at UC San Diego drops by to shed some light on how our brains process the meaning of words. We also learn how printing books has evolved and how the invention of the printing press brought worldwide change. And Newberry Award-winning author Kelly Barnhill shares a little of what’s going on in HER brain as she’s writing a story.

This episode is sponsored by KiwiCo (kiwico.com/brains), Quip (getquip.com/brainson) and Pillsbury Crescent Rolls. You can support the show at brainson.org/donate.

Nov 05 2019

31mins

Play

Why do we like getting scared?

Podcast cover
Read more

Spooky stuff may make you cover your eyes in fright, but many of us find ourselves peeking through our fingers to get another glimpse. Why are we drawn to things that make us jump? In this episode, we'll find out how fear can actually be fun. We visit a scientist who helps design haunted houses for ultimate scares, chat with an author who writes ghost stories about how he crafts the creepy crawlies, and play a rousing game of Name That Phobia! Plus we help Gungador get rid of his hiccups and answer the Moment of Um question: "Why do raspberries have little hairs?"

Spoiler alert! To learn more about the mystery sound, click here.

This episode is sponsored by Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner (bona.com/brainson), Pillsbury Crescent Rolls, and MEL Science (text BRAINS to 64-000).

Oct 29 2019

30mins

Play

Wonderful Wool: The secrets of this amazing fluff

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Wool is warm, absorbs water and odors, plus it’s flame resistant. In short, wool is amazing!

In this episode we explore how wool is different from hair. We go on a sheep safari at Cuyama Lamb in California, meet expert wool weaver Zefren Anderson and catch up with our favorite wooly hero Alpaca Jack.

Plus a wool-worthy mystery sound and an Moment of Um that answer the question: If Earth had rings like Saturn would we be able to see them through our windows?

This episode is sponsored by Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner (bona.com/brainson), Pillsbury Crescent Rolls, Quip (getquip.com/brainson) and Stitch Fix Kids (StitchFix.com/KIDS/brains).

Oct 22 2019

33mins

Play

How does the internet get to us?

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In this episode, we find out how a system of cables around the globe (and deep in our oceans) brings websites, songs, videos and podcasts to our phones and computers, almost at the speed of light. The internet can seem vast and intangible but there’s a very physical system of cables, servers and exchange points across the globe (and yes, even under the oceans). We’ll find out how a video shows up nearly instantly on our screens and about insanely thin, clear glass tubes are the key to our digital communication.

You can join the Brains On Fan Club at brainson.org/fanclub. This episode is sponsored by America’s Test Kitchen Kids (atkkids.com/brainson and promo code ATKKIDS10), Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner (bona.com/brainson), Hello Products (helloproducts.com and promo code HELLOBRAIN), and KiwiCo (kiwico.com/brains). You can support the show at brainson.org/donate.

Oct 15 2019

29mins

Play

How do flu vaccines work?

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The flu shot changes every year. But why is the flu special, if other illnesses have much longer-lasting vaccines? This episode takes us into the world of viruses and immunity.

A friendly lymphocyte fills us in on how flu shots work, and science journalist Anna Rothschild shares how vaccines started around the world. We'll hear from some virus-busting detectives to see how scientists solve the case of how to make next year’s flu shot as effective as possible. Author Maryn McKenna will stop by and drop some flu knowledge, too!

Get your ears ready for a good, thumping mystery sound, and a new Moment of Um: how do straws work?

This episode is sponsored by America’s Test Kitchen Kids (atkkids.com/brainson and promo code ATKKIDS10), Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner (bona.com/brainson) and Quip (getquip.com/brainson). You can support the show at brainson.org/donate

Oct 08 2019

32mins

Play

Why do we lie?

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Most of us think we’re good at detecting lies, but it turns out humans only get it right about half the time. And why do we do it anyway? What makes us want to deceive other people? In this episode we get to the truth about lying. We take a look at when people start lying, and how that helps us in our development as humans. We also hear from A. Lie, who tries to remind us that we might need lies more than we think. Plus, Angela Evans stops by and fills us in on the latest lie detection research. And remember to listen for the Moment of Um at the end of the show. This time we get squishy and find out if sponges are still harvested from the sea. This episode is sponsored by KiwiCo (kiwico.com/brainson), Hello Products (helloproducts.com and promo code HELLOBRAIN) and America’s Test Kitchen Kids Young Chef’s Club (atkkids.com/brainson and promo code atkkids10).

Oct 01 2019

32mins

Play

The secrets of the spectacular spacesuit

Podcast cover
Read more

Never explore the final frontier without your trusty, white, puffy space suit! But why is it puffy and white? And why do astronauts need them? Turns out space is super dangerous and these suits can save your life.

We’ll give you a tour of all the features of NASA’s iconic EMU suit and explain why it looks like a squishy marshmallow. Plus, we’ll interview an engineer working on the next generation of space suits and hear a funky new space jam by singer Jamie Lidell.

Add in a mystery sound, a Moment of Um looking at knuckle cracking and some rad ideas for super suits of the future and you’ve got an action packed episode of Brains On.

This episode is sponsored by KiwiCo (KiwiCo.com/brainson), Panama City Beach (VisitPanamaCityBeach.com), The Great Courses Plus (TheGreatCoursesPlus.com/brainson) and Quip (GetQuip.com/brainson). You can support the show at brainson.org/donate

Aug 27 2019

37mins

Play

What is dyslexia? And how do our brains read?

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Have you heard the word dyslexia before? It's a term used to describe when people have a hard time learning to read. It's actually very common because reading is a fairly new skill that humans have developed.

In this episode we do a deep dive on dyslexia. We'll look at how our brains have cobbled together the ability to read by re-purposing parts of the brain that evolved for other functions. And we’ll learn what scientists think might be going on in the brains of people with dyslexia when they learn to read. We also talk to Ann Bancroft, a Polar explorer and educator who also has dyslexia, about why getting lost can be fun.

Plus we’ll hear a new Mystery Sound and find out if mice actually do love cheese in our Moment of Um.

This episode is sponsored by Sun Basket (sunbasket.com/brains), Old El Paso, and Panama City Beach (VisitPanamaCityBeach.com). You can support the show at brainson.org/donate

Aug 20 2019

36mins

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How do elevators work?

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Elevators are like magic. You walk in, the door shuts and when it opens again, you are suddenly someplace new! Ta da! But it’s not magic that does this trick, it’s science and engineering.

In this episode we explain how elevators work and we talk about how they’ve changed over time. For instance, did you know the first elevators had no walls?

We also speak with historian Lee Gray about two elevator innovators who both happen to be named Otis. Speaking of Otis, Vijay Jayachandran with the Otis Elevator company, joins us to drop some high level elevator facts. Plus, we hear your ideas for the elevators of the future! And listen to the end to our Moment of Um for an answer to this question: Why do crickets chirp?

This episode is sponsored by Old El Paso, Sun Basket (sunbasket.com/brains), Panama City Beach (VisitPanamaCityBeach.com) and The Great Courses Plus (thegreatcoursesplus.com/brainson). You can support the show at brainson.org/donate

Aug 13 2019

39mins

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Hey, where did you get those genes?!?

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Today we’re talking genes - the recipe for you! We’ll go microscopic and check out how traits like hair color are passed down through your family. We’ll also hear the story of genetics pioneer Nettie Stevens and find out how current-day geneticist Janina Jeff unlocks the information packed in genes. And if you have ever wondered how two black Labrador retrievers can be the parents of a yellow Lab, you’re not alone. We have the answer to that too. All this and an especially rambunctious Mystery Sound. Don’t forget to listen to through to the end, where the Moment of Um tackles the question: do we sneeze in our sleep?

This episode is sponsored by:
Discount Tire - Visit discounttire.com to find out more.

KiwiCo - Visit kiwico.com/brainson for a free trial to this subscription service of hands on art and science projects.

Panama City Beach - Go to VisitPanamaCityBeach.com to find out more

Aug 06 2019

31mins

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Plastic: Why it's everywhere

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Human-made plastics are super useful -- they're lightweight, can be molded into anything, and they don’t break down. And because plastic is so versatile, we humans have found lots of uses for it. But the fact that it last forever means we find ourselves with a plastic problem. In this episode, we'll learn about the invention of plastic, how it's made and recycled and what you can do to help handle plastic waste. Plus: A very special appearance by Gungador, a tricky mystery sound and a Moment of Um that answers the question: "How do glow in the dark things glow?"

One thing you can do now to help with plastic pollution is use Jenna Jambeck's Marine Debris Tracker to report where you're finding plastic in the environment.

Today’s episode is sponsored by Old El Paso, Panama City Beach (VisitPanamaCityBeach.com) and Madison Reed (madison-reed.com and coupon code BRAINSON). You can support the show at brainson.org/donate

Jul 30 2019

40mins

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Ants: Who's in charge here?

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We have a lot to learn from ants. This episode digs into the hierarchy of ant colonies (spoiler alert: there is none) and why they walk in a straight line (spoiler alert: they don’t). We’ll also find out about epic ant battles and how the study of ants is teaching us about how cancer spreads, how the internet can be improved, and could even give us new ways to explore Mars. Plus: Our Moment of Um answers the question: Why do the mountains look blue from far away? This episode is sponsored by Old El Paso, KiwiCo (kiwico.com/brainson), The Great Courses Plus,(thegreatcoursesplus.com/brainson), and Sun Basket (sunbasket.com/brains). You can support the show at brainson.org/donate.

Jul 23 2019

37mins

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This is the best podacast

By undyene - Jan 26 2020
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Me and my mom and my dad love this podcast it has so much cool facts

Our fav!

By carliwr - Jan 23 2020
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This is our favorite podcast! Super entertaining without being obnoxious for both my kids and me!