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.

Sidedoor from the Smithsonian: Masters of Disguise

side_door_cover_art_640x640For the next few episodes, we’re featuring select episodes from the Smithsonian’s new series, Sidedoor, about where science, art, history, humanity and where they unexpectedly overlap — just like their museums. Up first: tales of scientific deception and trickery.

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

Dance: It’s Only Human

photo_credit_jos__roberto_corr_a
Bronwyn Tarr with Carimbó dancers.

Oxford evolutionary neuroscientist Bronwyn Tarr was in a remote area of Brazil to begin an experiment. On her first night there, she heard distant drumbeats, went looking for them, and experienced firsthand what she was there to study: how dancing develops a sense of community.

This story was produced by Katie Burke in 2015 with the assistance of Jagmeet Mac, and edited by Andrea Mustain. It was hosted for Transistor by Genevieve Sponsler and mixed for Transistor by Josh Swartz.

Image by: José Roberto Corrêa

The Art and Science of Polynesian Wayfinding

Ancient navigators traveled across the Pacific without the aid of maps or instruments. We’ll hear from modern-day navigators in New Zealand, Hawai’i and North America about the techniques used to do so. This is the art and science of Polynesian wayfinding, brought to us by producer Lily Bui.

This story was produced by Lily Bui in 2015 and edited by Andrea Mustain. It was hosted for Transistor by Genevieve Sponsler and mixed for Transistor by Josh Swartz. Image by Lily Bui.