Three Letters on Broom Bridge

Every October 16th hundreds of people gather in Dublin to celebrate Ireland’s greatest mathematician, William Rowan Hamilton. And get this – it was his act of vandalism on Broom Bridge in 1843 that put him in the history books – it actually changed mathematics forever. Samuel Hanson brings us the story.

This story was originally produced by Samuel Hansen in 2015. It was hosted and mixed for Transistor by Josh Swartz. Outro music by Chris Zabriskie.

After A Flood

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Hurricanes Harvey and Irma left devastation in their wake all across the southern United States as unimaginable quantities of water swallowed up small towns and cities alike. But what happens to that water and how can cities better prepare ahead of time? Two years ago, reporter Jenny Chen followed two so-called flood hydrologists to learn more about the preparation.

This story was originally produced by Ellen Roles and Jenny Chen in 2015. It was hosted and mixed for Transistor by Josh Swartz. Outro music by The Underscore Orkestra.

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