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Radiolab Archive

Below are all the hour-long episodes of Radiolab.

To get all the latest Radiolab episodes and shorts delivered as soon as they're released, subscribe to our podcast. To listen to Radiolab on the old wireless, check with your local public radio station to see when Radiolab is scheduled. If we're not on the schedule yet, tell them that you'd like them to carry us!

Where to Listen Podcast Index

Season 15

  • Playing God: The Broadcast

    When people are dying and you can only save some, how do you choose? What happens, what should happen, when humans are forced to play god?
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    Playing God: The Broadcast

  • Man vs Machine

    We may need to adapt to the idea that our technology could someday truly have a mind of its own.
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    Man vs Machine

  • Epic Battles

    Every day, every moment, an epic battle is raging across the globe.
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    Tic Tac Toe

    Epic Battles

  • One Vote: The Broadcast

    In this episode, we search for the single vote that made all the difference, from the biggest election on the planet, to a tiny election that ended a town.
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    One Vote: The Broadcast

  • Earth Oddities

    Coral fossils, sex orchestras, and spacewalks...all in one episode!
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    Earth Oddities

  • The War On Our Shore

    Two stories dating back nearly 70 years ago, when something happened that nobody seems to ever talk about it.
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    The War On Our Shore

  • Nukes: The Broadcast

    Is there is anyone that can say “No” if the president orders a nuclear strike?
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    Nukes: The Broadcast

  • Saving Animals

    One place you absolutely, positively do not want to be if you're a healthy, middle-aged American lobster: trapped in a suburban grocery store in western Pennsylvania. 
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    American Lobster

    Saving Animals

Season 14

  • Music Lab

    At Radiolab, we’re obsessed with music. In this episode, we embrace that obsession for its own sake. 
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    Music Lab

  • Wild Things

     What does conservation really means in the 21st century?   
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    Wild Things

  • I Hart K-Pop

    Two countries, one question: How much should reporters report and how much does the public need to know? 
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    I Hart K-Pop

  • Love Supreme

    This is the story of a three-year-old girl and the highest court in the land. 
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    Love Supreme

  • Threat Level

    When should we consider someone a threat?
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    Man drinking coffee in diner

    Threat Level

  • Donation and Mutation

    Where do you find comfort after the death of a child? 
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    Donation and Mutation

  • Watching You, Watching Me

    From awkward moments to practical jokes to serious attempts at battling crime, we ask whether being watched is a good or bad thing. 
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    Watching You, Watching Me

  • Defying Odds

    Being the first (and best) at something means taking on a big hunk of risk and pushing yourself to dangerous limits.
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    Lincoln Beachey

    Defying Odds

  • Weights and Measures

    How do we measure the world around us?
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    Weights and Measures

Season 13

  • Translation

    How the right words can have the wrong meanings, and the best translations lead us to an understanding that's way deeper than language. 
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  • Jurisdiction

    From 'real' hip-hop to the Supreme Court, two stories about very different boundaries and how we patrol them. 
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  • Worth

    We’ve gathered a handful of stories that show how every time we think we’ve settled on a price for something, it slips out of our grasp. 
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  • Patient Zero - Updated

    The greatest mysteries have a shadowy figure at the center, Patient Zero. We hunt for Patient Zeroes from all over the map.      
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    Mexico City train passengers wearing surgical masks

    Patient Zero - Updated

  • American Football

    The most popular sport in the US is savage, creative, brutal & balletic. Love it or loathe it, it’s a touchstone of the American identity.  
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    American Football

  • La Mancha Screwjob

    This episode we pierce the spandex-ed heart of professional wrestling, and travel 400 years into the past to walk the line between reality and fantasy.
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    La Mancha Screwjob

  • To See Or Not To See

    Should the last moments of life be captured, seen, and shared? This hour, we ask that question from three very different perspective.
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    To See Or Not To See

  • Looking Back

    Three stories that give us a surprisingly intimate peek into the life, and death, of those who came before.
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    Otzi the Iceman

    Looking Back

  • Hello: The Broadcast

    In this episode, we try to make contact with some of the strangest strangers on our little planet: animals.
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    Hello: The Broadcast

  • DIY

    Two stories of humans DIY-ing answers to seemingly unsolvable problems.
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Season 12

  • Blood

    The metaphor, magic, and money coursing through our veins...

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    Illustration of a hand holding a vial of blood


  • Blame

    We've all felt it, that irresistible urge to point the finger. But why do we need blame and how is new technology complicating accountability? 

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    Making their points


  • Apocalyptical

    In this new live stage performance, Radiolab turns its gaze to the topic of endings, both blazingly fast and agonizingly slow.

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    Jad Abumrad with a T-Rex during Radiolab Live: Apocalyptical


  • Black Box

    This hour, we examine three very different kinds of black boxes—those peculiar spaces where it’s clear what’s going in, we know what’s coming out, but what happens in-between is a mystery.

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    Black Box

  • Dead Reckoning

    From a duel with the world's deadliest disease to a surprising peek into the way doctors think about death, in this hour Radiolab tries to reckon with the grim reaper.

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    Dead Reckoning

  • What's Left When You're Right?

    From the stage to the cage, a series of showdowns that leave us wondering about the price of being right ... or coming from the left.

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    What's Left When You're Right?

  • 60 Words

    How one sentence -- just 60 words written in the hours after the September 11 attacks -- became the legal foundation for the "war on terror."
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    60 Words

  • Things

    This hour we investigate the objects around us, their power to move us, and whether it's better to look back or move on, hold on tight or just let go.

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  • Galapagos

    Is it inevitable that even our most sacred natural landscapes will eventually get swallowed up by humans? 
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  • Hello

    It's tough to make small talk with a stranger—especially when that stranger doesn't speak your language. (And he has a blowhole.)
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Season 11

  • The Fact of the Matter

    Getting a firm hold on the truth is never as simple as nailing down the facts of a situation. This hour, we go after a series of seemingly simple facts -- facts that offer surprising insight, facts that inspire deeply different stories, and facts that, in the end, might not matter at all.

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    Illustration: a forest of questions

    The Fact of the Matter

  • Inheritance

    Stories of nature and nurture slamming into each other, & shaping our biological blueprints.

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    Illustration of a crystal ball revealing DNA


  • Bliss

    Stories of striving, grasping, tripping, and falling for happiness, perfection, and Bliss.

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    Illustration of a ladder to the moon


  • Speed

    The inhumanly fast world of high-speed trading, an excruciatingly slow experiment, and a physicist plays Zeus.

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    Illustration of person jumping over the hands of stopwatch


  • Are You Sure?

    Stories about walking the tightrope between doubt and certainty.


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    A narrow rope bridge

    Are You Sure?

  • 23 Weeks 6 Days

    A tiny baby, born at 23 Weeks and 6 days -- roughly halfway to full term. And a whole universe of medical and moral questions.

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    Juniper French in the NICU

    23 Weeks 6 Days

  • Inner Voices

    How the voices in our heads shape us, for better and for worse.

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    Photo illustration of inner workings of man's skull

    Inner Voices

  • Known Unknowns

    Stories of trying to chart the unknown, by measuring and making sense of things just beyond our grasp.

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    Illustration of a man and woman

    Known Unknowns

  • Of Men and Myths

    A hat that goes viral, an idea that gives birth to computer science, and a life-saving maneuver.

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    Illustration of a photophone receiver

    Of Men and Myths

  • The Power of Music

    The physical and psychological power of music... from a Disco hit that saves lives, to Beethoven's drive to push listeners to the brink.  
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    Hand playing the piano

    The Power of Music

Season 10

  • Talking to Machines

    What can machines tell us about being human?

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    Wire head

    Talking to Machines

  • Games

    Winners, losers, underdogs -- what can games tell us about who we really are?

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    Basketball hoop


  • Loops

    The surprising ways that loops steer… and sometimes derail… our lives.
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    Train spiral


  • Patient Zero

    We hunt for Patient Zeroes from all over the map.

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    Mexico City train passengers wearing surgical masks

    Patient Zero

  • The Bad Show

    We wrestle with the dark side of human nature, and ask whether it's something we can ever really understand, or fully escape.
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    The Bad Show

    The Bad Show

  • Escape!

    Stories about traps and getaways ... about getting stuck, and breaking free.

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    Open bird cage


  • Guts

    A look at the messy mystery in our middles, and what the rumblings deep in our bellies can tell us about ourselves.

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  • When Brains Attack!

    Strange stories of brains leading their owners astray, knocking them off balance, and, sometimes, propelling them to do amazing things.

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    Brains on a shelf

    When Brains Attack!

  • Ghost Stories

    Real-life people try to pin down, and make peace with, mysterious figures that haunt them, prod them, and fade out of existence.

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    Spooky silhouette

    Ghost Stories

  • Colors

    Radiolab rips the rainbow a new one.
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    Dark side of the eye


Season 9

Season 8

  • Oops

    Stories of unintended consequences -- from a psychologist who may have helped create a terrorist, to a toxic lake that spawned new life.

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  • Words

    It’s almost impossible to imagine a world without words. But in this hour, we try to do just that.
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  • Falling

    We plunge into a black hole, take a trip over Niagara Falls, and upend some myths about falling cats.

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    trip and fall


  • Cities

    One tidy mathematical formula may hold the key to how cities work. We take to the streets to test the numbers, & ask what really makes cities tick.
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  • Fate and Fortune

    Stories about the tug of war between force of will and fate.

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    Moon and stars

    Fate and Fortune

Season 7

  • Animal Minds

    Communicating across species -- from bringing pets to church, to a rescued whale that may have found a way to say thanks.

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    Dog and man

    Animal Minds

  • Lucy

    Chimps. Bonobos. Humans. We're all great apes, but that doesn’t mean we’re one happy family.

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  • Limits

    A journey to the edge of human limits -- from a bike race that makes the Tour de France look like child’s play, to a mind-stretching memory competition.

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  • Famous Tumors

    Say hello to the growth that killed Ulysses S. Grant, & get to know the woman whose cancer cells changed modern medicine.

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    HeLa cells treated with a microtubule stabilizing drug, paclitaxel. Stained for DNA (blue), tubulin (green) and actin (red).

    Famous Tumors

  • Who Are You?

    How well can you ever really know the people around you?

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    Who Are You?

Season 6

  • Stochasticity

    How stochasticity -- a wonderfully smarty-pants word for randomness -- drives our lives, and the patterns we see around us.

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    Blobs of light


  • After Life

    Eleven meditations on how, when, and even if we die.

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    Foggy road

    After Life

  • Parasites

    Tales of lethargic farmers, zombie cockroaches, and even mind-controlled humans (kinda, maybe).

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    Schistosome parasite


  • New Normal?

    Peacenik baboons, a man in a dress, and cuddly tame foxes. Stories of adaptation, and reframing ideas about normalcy.

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    Candies in a pea shell

    New Normal?

  • Numbers

    Love 'em or hate 'em, you rely on numbers every day. We ask how they confuse us, connect us, & even reveal secrets about us.

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Season 5

  • Choice

    We turn up the volume on the voices in our heads, and try to get to the bottom of what really steers our decisions.
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    Shelves of candy jars


  • Sperm

    We examine our beginnings, take a tour of the animal kingdom, and ponder a world where frozen sperm can last for all eternity.

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  • Race

    Radiolab asks what race is, and whether it's fixed or fluid, genes or culture?

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  • Diagnosis

    Humans love to solve problems. This hour, Diagnosis -- our attempt to find out what's wrong, and give it a label.
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  • Yellow Fluff and Other Curious Encounters

    Stories of love and loss in the name of science.
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    'City of Ferrara' Airship. The original picture, by Carlo Burzagli, is dated 1914.

    Yellow Fluff and Other Curious Encounters

Season 4

  • Laughter

    We all laugh. This hour of Radiolab asks why.

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  • Deception

    Lies, liars, and lie catchers. And the strange power of lying to yourself.


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    Fingers crossed


  • War of the Worlds

    Martians, mass media, and hysteria -- how War of the Worlds sparked panic in the 1930s, & fooled audiences again and again for decades.

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    War of the Worlds

  • (So-Called) Life

    The uneasy marriage of biology and engineering raises big questions about the nature of life.

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    DNA Double Helix

    (So-Called) Life

  • Pop Music

    Nightmarish stories of musical hallucinations, songs with the power to transcend language, & the triumphant return of the Elvis of Afghanistan.

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    vinyl record

    Pop Music

Season 3

  • Placebo

    The healing powers of belief, from the symbolic power of the doctor coat, to the very real stash of opium in your brain.

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  • Sleep

    Birds do it, bees do it...yet science still can't answer the basic question: why do we sleep?

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    Sleeping lamb


  • Zoos

    Blood-thirsty Romans, frozen carcasses, wild jaguars, and a question: how do you build a better cage?

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    tiger paw


  • Memory and Forgetting

    Remembering is a tricky, unstable business. This hour: a look behind the curtain of how memories are made...and forgotten.
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    Faded photos

    Memory and Forgetting

  • Mortality

    The modern search for the fountain of youth, and personal stories of witnessing death.

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Season 2

  • Detective Stories

    Mystery, intrigue, and a goat standing on top of a cow.
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    Man ducking into phone booth

    Detective Stories

  • Musical Language

    We explore the line between music and language, and turn to physics and biochemistry to ask how sound becomes feeling.
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    Learning to play piano

    Musical Language

  • Morality

    For thousands of years philosophers have debated the essence of morality. Now, neuroscientists may have answers.
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    Photo of 'Cupid and Pan,' oil on canvas attributed to Federico Zuccaro circa 1600, at the Getty Center


  • Where Am I?

    Radiolab examines the connection between your brain and your body -- and what happens when it breaks.

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    X-ray of skull

    Where Am I?

  • Space

    We ponder our insignificant place in the universe, and boldly go after stories of romance & cynicism in Outer Space.
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    Horsehead nebula


Season 1

  • Who Am I?

    The "mind" and "self" were formerly the domain of philosophers & priests. But this hour, neurologists lead the charge.

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    Neon brain

    Who Am I?

  • Stress

    Stories of stress -- from a singer who loses her voice, to an author caught in a body that never grew up.

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    Hand squeezing stress ball


  • Emergence

    What happens when there is no leader? We look at the bottom-up logic of cities, Google, and even our brains.

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  • Time

    The strange, subjective nature of time -- from a sped-up spin through childhood, to a really, really slowed-down Beethoven symphony. 

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  • Beyond Time

    Fighting the inevitable march of time -- or at least the common sense view of it.

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    Beyond Time