Brains On! Science podcast for kids

By American Public Media

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Description

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

Episode Date
Chop: The science of cooking, pt. 3
00:31:51
Our knives are drawn and ready to mince and dice our way through the science of chopping. In this episode we'll find out what happens to that carrot you're chopping on a molecular level (spoiler alert: the knife never actually touches it!). We also visit a knifemaker's studio and talk to Splendid Table host Francis Lam to get his chopping tips. This is the third in a five part series on the science of cooking, made in collaboration with America's Test Kitchen Kids. For more recipes and information for young chefs, head to americastestkitchen.com/kids to sign up for their newsletter. And to to make a donation to Brains On, visit brainson.org/donate.
Jun 19, 2018
Chill: The science of cooking, pt. 2
00:29:01
From ice cubes to ice cream, cold things are a crucial part of cuisine. How do we use chill to our advantage? This is part two of our series on the science of cooking, a collaboration with the brilliant foodies at America's Test Kitchen Kids. This episode is (literally) super cool. We're figuring out how refrigerators work and why some of their parts are hot. We're traveling back in time to find out how selling ice became a very big business (for a while anyway). And we'll learn why ice cream makes people thirsty and how to make incredibly delicious paletas. Plus: Our Moment of Um tackles the question, "Why do mints make your mouth feel cold?" For more recipes and information for young chefs, head to americastestkitchen.com/kids to sign up for their newsletter. Brains On is sponsored today by Children’s Cancer Research Fund (ccrf.org/brainson)
Jun 12, 2018
Heat: The science of cooking pt. 1
00:31:36
We’ve teamed up with America’s Test Kitchen Kids to delve into the scrumptious science of cooking. You’ve sent in so many great cooking questions that we had to spread the answers over four episodes. This is our first installment: HEAT. What crazy chemical reactions does heat trigger in food? How do microwave ovens work -- and why can’t you put metal in them when they’re lined with metal? We’ll answer those questions, find out how feeding squirrels helped profoundly change how we prepare food and learn the recipe for a perfect grilled cheese sandwich. Plus: our Moment of Um tackles the question, “How does coffee keep you awake?” For more recipes and information for young chefs, head to americastestkitchen.com/kids to sign up for their newsletter. Brains On is sponsored today by Children’s Cancer Research Fund (ccrf.org/brainson) and KiwiCo (kiwico.com/brainson).
Jun 06, 2018
Boogers and sun sneezes: Know your nose
00:20:49
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
The wonderful weirdness of water
00:29:14
One of the weirdest substances in the universe is right under your nose. No, not boogers. Water! Water seems ordinary, almost boring, but take a closer look and you’ll find a wonderfully weird molecule that behaves like nothing else in the universe. It can move up against gravity. It can absorb lots of heat energy without getting super hot. It can dissolve almost anything. It carves canyons and quenches our thirst. Why is water so weird, and why does that matter? Listen to find out! Today’s episode is sponsored by: KiwiCo (kiwico.com/brainson); Children’s Cancer Research Fund (ccrf.org) and ModCloth (modcloth.com and offer code BRAINSON)
May 22, 2018
Smash Boom Best: Bats vs. Owls (new show alert!)
00:27:40
For the past few months, we’ve been working on a top secret project and we’re so excited we finally get to share it with you! It’s a new show called Smash Boom Best and it’s nothing but debates. Sort of like the ones you’ve heard on Brains On, but with a few new twists. It’s a little faster paced, a little sillier and we hope you’ll think it’s a lot of fun. Today: Wings out, eyes wide -- we’re swooping in on a battle between a perfect pair of creatures of the night. Which is cooler: Bats? Or owls? We’re going to hear lots of facts and feelings from our debaters: Brandi Brown and Katie McVay. Who will be chosen the Smash Boom Best? Listen to hear what our judge decides and then head over to smashboom.org to share your opinion with us! And subscribe to Smash Boom Best wherever you get your podcasts to hear the rest of this season's debates.
May 15, 2018
What was the first robot? And more from Robotstravaganza
00:31:55
What was the first robot? What is artificial intelligence? How do robots "learn?" In this special episode, we have pieces from our live Robotstravaganza show in Boston. We meet some awesome robots (including one that's very cuddly), debate whether robots are good for humanity or bad, and find out what robots can learn from nature. Plus a mystery sound and a Moment of Um that answers the question, "How do oysters make pearls?"
May 08, 2018
What's in your water?
00:26:17
What’s in your water, and how did it get there? Clean water is a must, but modern living can put a lot of bad stuff in it. Road salt, fertilizer, dog doo-doo, heavy metals - how do these things get in our water? Why should we care? And how can we tell if our water is healthy? In this episode we hitch a ride on the water cycle with a pair of water drops. We learn about what caused the Flint water crisis. And we hear about one young girl’s award-winning idea for a faster way to test lead in water - spoiler alert - it involves carbon nanotubes! This is the first in a series of water-related episodes we’re working on over the next few months. We hope it makes a splash with you! Want to learn if you have a lead pipe carrying water into your home? Check out this helpful link from NPR: https://apps.npr.org/find-lead-pipes-in-your-home/en/#intro
May 01, 2018
What makes paint stick?
00:26:28
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
Allergy Attack: How our bodies can overreact
00:26:31
Pollen, peanuts, dust mites. These things aren't poisonous - so why do some people's bodies act like they are? In this episode, we'll find out what happens during an allergic reaction, explore why only some people have allergies and hear about new treatments. Plus: a brand new Moment of Um answers the question "Why do sunsets have so many colors?" and we'll read a new group of listeners to be added to the Brains Honor Roll! Brains On is sponsored today by Acer Swift 5 (visit acer.com, click on "Store", and enter coupon code BRAINSON at checkout to receive 10% off) and Mabel's Labels (mabelslabels.com/brainson)
Apr 09, 2018
Mystery Sound Extravaganza 2018
00:30:34
Sounds abound all around. Do you think your ears are up to the task? We have an episode chock full of nothing but mystery sounds to challenge and stretch your listening powers. Also, did you hear that the Brains On store is open? We couldn't be happier with the t-shirts and other goodies we have to offer. Have a look! brainson.org/shop Brains On is sponsored today by ButcherBox. Go to butcherbox.com/brainson and enter "BRAINSON" at checkout squarespace.com enter offer code BRAINSON
Apr 03, 2018
How do animals breathe underwater?
00:27:44
Our lungs are great at getting oxygen out of the air, but if we needed to do that underwater, we'd be sunk. So how do fish, shrimp, jellyfish and other marine animals breathe underwater? And what happens when there is no oxygen in the water for them to breathe? We answer those questions plus a brand new Moment of Um tackles this sticky one: "Why do we have earwax?" And a new group of listeners gets inducted into the Brains Honor Roll! Give a listen! Today Brains On is sponsored by: • Acer Swift 5 (acer.com -- enter BRAINSON at checkout for 10% discount) • Mr. Clean Magic Eraser (mrclean.com/brainson) Music in this episode by Good Old Neon.
Mar 26, 2018
'The Rice Cakes and the Oni': A story from Circle Round
00:16:09
Sometimes we're in the mood for a good story, so we're turning our show over to Circle Round this week. It's a podcast produced by WBUR in Boston that tells folktales from around the world. These stories are funny, surprising, suspenseful and downright charming. Here's one we think you'll dig. It stars a kid who loves making jokes, so you know it's up our alley. In the meantime, we're hard at work on some exciting new episodes -- including a brand new show. We'll be able to tell you more about in a few weeks and we CAN'T WAIT to share it with you. We are really, really excited.
Mar 20, 2018
Circadian rhythm pt. 2: Beyond human
00:27:36
Circadian rhythms keep our bodies on schedule. But what about the rest of the animal and plant world? Turns out, most living things run on similar cycles. In this episode we take a look at why some animals hibernate. There’s also an interview with a plant. Wait, what?!? You read that right: A PLANT!!! All that and a trip back to pre-history, to see how staying up late might have helped mammals survive all those dinosaurs. Three-word hint: nocturnal bottleneck hypothesis.
Mar 13, 2018
From 8-bit to orchestras: How does video game music affect you?
00:27:25
If you’ve ever played a video game, you know how important music can be when it comes to gaming. But what if you choose to play without music? How does that affect your playing? We’re going to dig into the psychology of video game music, explain how the interactivity of video game music works and figure out what “8-bit” means.
Mar 05, 2018
The tick-tock of our circadian clock
00:43:40
The near 24-hour-cycle that keeps us on track is conducted by the suprachiasmatic nucleus. It’s a tiny part of our brains, but it’s super, super important.
Feb 27, 2018
‘Is it opposite day?’ and other mind-bending paradoxes
00:25:26
Think about it: the answer to the question “Is it opposite day?” will always be no. So how do you figure out if it is, in fact, opposite day?
Feb 20, 2018
Our 100th episode! What's the big deal?
00:41:27
In this milestone of an episode, we ask why people seem to love the number 100 so much. We also learn some amazing tricks involving the number 100 and fan favorite Gungador goes from Most Epic Fighting Battle Realm to a much more challenging setting: high school.
Feb 13, 2018
Meet Sandy, the left-handed mutant snail
00:10:52
For humans, being left-handed or right-handed can definitely affect the way we experience life. Usually, that mismatch is just a minor nuisance — but sometimes, sidedness can change the future of an entire species, as is the case for Sandy.
Feb 06, 2018
Dolphins vs. Octopuses: Showdown in the sea!
00:54:36
Two of our planet’s most amazing animals go head to head in our latest debate.
Jan 30, 2018
Dogs: What's the secret of their sense of smell?
00:25:13
If you’ve ever seen a dog, you know they like to sniff — the ground, people, each other’s butts. They like to smell just about everything. But why? We’re digging into the science of smell and how dogs are able to decode things we can’t even begin to imagine.
Jan 23, 2018
Mary Shelley and the science of Frankenstein
00:07:02
As we celebrate the 200th anniversary of the novel’s publication, we look at how Mary Shelley was inspired by science and how the lessons of the book still resonate with the scientific world today.
Jan 16, 2018
Super-size-asaurus: How did dinosaurs get so big?
00:34:09
  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
Mysteries of the universe: Expansion and gravity
00:24:36
In this episode we ponder some big questions from Brains On listeners about the vastness of space.
Jan 02, 2018
The nerve! Electricity in our bodies
00:25:25
Your body is making and using electricity all the time — but how do we do it? We’ll take a look at how bioelectricity helps our brain sends signals and our hearts pump blood. And we’ll learn about some amazing animals that use electricity in weird and wild ways.
Dec 26, 2017
Charged up! The science of batteries
00:30:43
Batteries are everywhere — they’re in our phones, our computers, our cars, our toys. But how do they work? To find out, we talk to a scientist who’s making really big batteries to store renewable energy, another who’s working on really small ones to power our phones, and we play in a park with a dog.
Dec 19, 2017
High voltage! How electric power reaches your outlet
00:35:45
We use electricity all the time, but where exactly does it come from? How does it get to our homes? It’s a fascinating journey that can start hundreds of miles from your outlet.
Dec 12, 2017
Shocking! The science of static (Electricity series pt. 1)
00:28:42
What makes your hair stand on end? Why does your skirt stick your tights? Why do you get zapped by electric shocks when you go to touch a doorknob?
Dec 05, 2017
Where did language come from?
00:24:35
Is it possible to know about the origin of language without traveling back in time? And how do babies learn to speak?
Nov 27, 2017
Smash: When continents collide!
00:30:27
How are mountains made? What causes an earthquake? How does hot lava come bubbling up? The answer in each case is…tectonic plates!
Nov 21, 2017
Curio: Flies on the bus
00:08:48
A few weeks ago, we got two emails that were so similar and so intriguing we had no choice but to investigate.
Nov 14, 2017
What's smaller than an electron?
00:23:03
The natural world can be broken down into atoms. And those atoms can be broken down even further. Will the discovery of smaller and smaller particles ever stop?
Nov 07, 2017
Healing skin and regrowing limbs: The science of regeneration
00:26:36
What superpowers does our skin have to repair itself? And what about other animals like salamanders that can do some pretty extreme healing? We’re going under the skin for this one.
Oct 30, 2017
What is Down-syndrome?
00:27:37
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.
Oct 24, 2017
Bonus: Kidcast sampler
00:21:15
Looking for more awesome podcasts to listen to? We're bringing you a special bonus episode today to let you know about some of the other podcasts that you might want to check out. And if you want to find lots of other podcasts for kids you can always head to applepodcasts.com/kids
Oct 22, 2017
Curio: Vampire of the Great Lakes
00:10:46
The sea lamprey, with its concentric rows of sharp teeth, is part vampire and part alien invader. Would you let it suction to your arm? Reporter Dan Kraker did. Find out if he lived to tell about it.
Oct 17, 2017
Narwhals: Unicorns of the sea?
00:28:26
In this episode, we learn all about narwhals (what that tusk is for and how they’re connected to the myth of the unicorn) and the evolution of teeth (from scale-like nubbins to the versatile chompers we have today).
Oct 10, 2017
How do volcanoes erupt?
00:26:36
There are all kinds of volcanoes all over the world, but how are they formed? And how do they erupt? To find out, we’ll travel to the center of the Earth, and we’ll meet a NASA robot that’s going on a very special volcano mission.
Oct 02, 2017
For crying out loud: All about tears
00:33:47
It’s something so natural that we take it for granted — but when you think about it, it’s a little strange. Why does water come out of our eyes? And why does it happen when we’re happy? Or sad? Or scared? Or exhausted? In this episode we dive into our mysterious emotional tears, find out […]
Sep 26, 2017
Curio: Quindar tones and talking in space
00:11:12
You know those beeps in old NASA recordings? They’re called Quindar tones. This episode explains them and talks to a couple musicians who incorporate archival, NASA recordings into their songs.
Sep 19, 2017
Mars: Our next home planet?
00:30:19
In this episode we learn about Mars’ ancient past, meet an architect hoping to build cities there and we hear from Mars itself, thanks to the planet’s video blog, of course.
Sep 12, 2017
Thunder, lightning and tornadoes: Where do they come from?
00:17:28
There are some basic ingredients to make thunderstorms and tornadoes. We’ll find out what they are – and how to observe these powerful and amazing storms safely.
Sep 04, 2017
Animal farts: A mighty wind
00:34:24
Most animals fart. And some animals put those farts to work.
Aug 29, 2017
Sunburns: The why behind the ouch (and how to avoid them)
00:22:53
To help us understand sunburns, we’re going deep into the skin to look at cells, molecules and electrons.
Aug 15, 2017
Everything you need to know before the solar eclipse
00:27:11
On Monday, August 21, a total solar eclipse will be visible on a path that crosses the U.S., from Oregon on the west coast to South Carolina on the east coast. In this episode, we cover all your eclipse essentials: What causes an eclipse? What happens during an eclipse? How do you safely view it? Spoiler alert: Don’t stare at the sun without special eyewear.
Aug 01, 2017
Deep Sea vs. Outer Space
00:57:30
It’s time for the next Brains On debate! This intense matchup brings us to the depths of darkness, under the water and beyond our earth’s atmosphere. Who will prevail?
Jul 18, 2017
Fart Smarts: Understanding the gas we pass
00:26:48
Is farting good for us? Where do farts come from? Why do only some make sounds? And what’s up with the smell? We tackle your questions about the gas we all pass in this episode.
Jul 04, 2017
Riding in the car: Motion sickness and optical illusions (Road trip pt. 5)
00:21:41
Hosts Molly and Gabriella are locked out. No worries: Sanden and Bob to the rescue. While the duo drives a spare set of keys to our beloved hosts, they pass the time discussing science you might see (or feel) in a car.
Jun 30, 2017
Traffic: Phantom jams and chicken soup (Road trip pt. 4)
00:24:22
On the fourth leg of our road trip, we figure out where traffic comes from and what it would take to make it finally go away.
Jun 23, 2017
Monster trucks and car design (Road trip pt. 3)
00:28:35
At the third stop on our road trip series, we coast in for a pit stop and check out car design. We find out how monster trucks are different than cars, how culture influences car design and what it’s like to make car into animated, talking movie stars.
Jun 20, 2017