Bowl Tastes Delicious

What if the size of our dinner plate, its color, the material of our cutlery – even background sounds – all affect how our food tastes? In other words, what if it’s not just about what we cooked for dinner, but the context of the meal itself?

Presenter Quentin Cooper meets some of the growing band of scientists who say that the food we eat is just a small part of our tasting experience.

This story was originally produced by Hannah Marshall and presented by Quentin Cooper in 2015. It was hosted and mixed for Transistor by Josh Swartz. Outro music by Jahzzar.

A Job for the Bee Team

On May 2, 2015, beekeepers Pam Arnold and Kristy Allen got hit with a pesticide. They couldn’t see it or smell it, but when they saw their bees writhing on the ground and dying they knew something was seriously wrong. Listen along as scientists get to the bottom of the killer pesticide.


This story was originally produced by Megan Molteni in 2015. It was hosted for Transistor by Genevieve Sponsler and mixed for Transistor by Josh Swartz.

Image by Pam Arnold.

An Ovarian Transplant Between Twins

Thirty-six-year-old twins Carol and Katy are physically identical in every way but one: Katy was born without ovaries, and wanted to start a family. The science and ethics behind ovarian transplants as a treatment for infertility.

This story was originally produced by Robin Amer in 2016. It was hosted for Transistor by Genevieve Sponsler and mixed for Transistor by Josh Swartz.

Tick Tock Biological Clock

Women over 30 who haven’t yet had kids are often told “tick tock — your biological clock is running out of time.” Marnie Chesterton digs into the science underpinning that view. When do women become infertile and why?

This story was originally produced by Marnie Chesterton in 2015. It was hosted for Transistor by Genevieve Sponsler and mixed for Transistor by Josh Swartz. Host intro music: “My Always Mood” from Broke For Free.

Owning the Clouds

Humans have always been interested in controlling the weather. In the past we used raindances and sacrifices; today we turn to science. Cloud seeding is practiced all over the world, but there’s still a lot we don’t know about it. Delve into the surprising history, the controversial present, and the uncertain future of cloud seeding.

This story was originally produced by Steven Jackson in 2015. It was hosted for Transistor by Genevieve Sponsler and mixed for Transistor by Josh Swartz.

Image: Custom “burn-in-place” racks for silver iodide seeding flares by Steven Jackson.

Spotting Fake Art — with Math

Math and art meet at the museum. Come along and hear how visual stylometry can determine the style of a particular artist’s body of work.

This story was originally produced by Jenny Chen in 2014. It was hosted for Transistor by Genevieve Sponsler and mixed for Transistor by Josh Swartz.

Image: Paintings by Craig Moran; photo by Jenny Chen | Music: ‘Hard Court’ from Vir Nocturna

700 Fathoms Under the Sea


This 1948 graphic shows sound traveling on an axis 700 fathoms down in the Atlantic.

Something unusual happens about a half mile under the sea. Ocean physics create a special zone where sound travels for hundreds, even thousands of miles. Whales use it, and cold warriors plumbed its secrets. Listen in:

This story was produced by David Schulman in 2014. It was hosted for Transistor by Genevieve Sponsler and mixed for Transistor by Josh Swartz.

Sidedoor from the Smithsonian: Shake it Up

For the next few episodes, we’re featuring the Smithsonian’s new series, Sidedoor, about where science, art, history, and humanity unexpectedly overlap — just like in their museums.

In this episode: an astronomer has turned the night sky into a symphony; an architecture firm has radically re-thought police stations; and an audiophile builds a successful record company on under-appreciated sounds.

For even more from Sidedoor, subscribe in iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts.

Music credits under backannounce: “Candy” by Jahzzar.