Saturday, 30 November 2019

nerd central - my podcast list

It is almost December and the general election and Christmas are in touching distance. I am not sure which is worse actually in terms of stress created.... One way to keep the adrenaline levels at a relatively healthy level is distraction and for me, listening to podcasts and radio programmes is an excellent distraction. I have been a podcast aficionado for years and I thought I should maybe share some of my favourite listens. This will of course reveal just how nerdy I am but you really know that already.

So here we go in no particular order

The curious cases of Rutherford and Fry (BBC Radio 4). This is a science podcast for anyone interested in important questions of life, for example why scratching an itch feels so good or how big the universe is. It is humorous, accessible and entertaining and you'll beat all your pals at the next pub quiz, I am certain of that. I am going through the back catalogue at the moment, one episode is just the right length for my commute to and from work.

Woman's Hour (BBC Radio 4). What can I say? I love the mix of current affairs, literature and feminist issues. This is a daily programme but I listen to the podcasts. I actually save them up for the weekend.

This week in Parasitism. Loving that one, of course. Parasitology (not to be confused with parapsychology) is my bread and butter. What a particularly like is the clinical puzzles that us readers can solve. It is very accessible even for those of you not lucky to be a parasitologist. The first two dozen episodes or so are each dedicated to a particular parasitic disease and if you want to learn about the a-z about malaria, or sleeping sickness, this is where you should start.

The Inquiry (BBC World Service). This is a mixed bag of subjects, the programmes own description says it all: The Inquiry gets beyond the headlines to explore the trends, forces and ideas shaping the world. Recent episodes I enjoyed were "How soon can be go carbon zero?" and "Is rock music doomed"

Fortunately with Fi and JaneThe  (BBC Radio 4). Not an easy one to describe but it often makes me laugh. It is described like this: A frank look behind the scenes with broadcasters Jane Garvey and Fi Glover as guests from Radio, TV and podcasting share stories they probably shouldn’t.

The Naked Scientists. You guessed right, another science podcast. This is a one hour programme that starts with science news of the week and then focuses on a specific topic. The current episode is named "Print me a new liver" and investigates how far away we are from growing transplantable organs in the lab. There are also satellite podcasts, for example Naked Neuroscience or the Naked Astronomy (if that's your cup of tea, it is not mine)

The Guardian Long Read. This covers a broad selection of topics and I enjoy this very much. You can of course also read these pieces but I prefer listening. There was one about David Attenborough that I really enjoyed just a few weeks ago.

More or less. (BBC Radio 4). This has to be one of my all time favourites, I have been listening to this for many years. In this podcast, the presenters look at numbers and statistics used in political debate and in every day life. Although of course not unexpected, it is quite worrying just how wrong those statistics are, or where the eye catching data come from...

The Life Scientific (BBC World Service). This is an interview based podcast in which Jim Al-Khalili talks to leading scientists. The subject areas are very broad and it is interesting to hear about the life of fellow scientists. Of course I am not going to be interviewed any time soon because I have left research behind and now focus on teaching.

How to Fail with Elizabeth Day. A podcast that celebrates what didn't go well. Elizabeth Day talks to broadcasters and other interesting people. I particularly liked the interview with Nigel Slater but also the one with George Alagiah.

You'll notice there are no crafty podcasts on my list. I tried a few but generally don't find myself engaged enough. I do sometimes listen to literary podcasts, too but this feels a bit like being back at school. I didn't enjoy literature at school. If you have any recommendations, I'd be keen to broaden my listening.

Thanks for visiting xx

friends listen to podcasts as a replacement for


  1. Just what I needed before I settle down to a mammoth knitting session this afternoon. I too love listening to the radio. Book at bedtime is a favourite as well as the plays. I’ll give some of the above a go. Thanks. B x

  2. A pretty similar list to mine. I have only recently discovered Podcasts when I got my first smartphone this summer. I tried the Guardian Long Read but didn't get on with it I prefer Today in Focus. I love the Life Scientific it is on the radio when I am driving on a Tuesday evening . I also love The Food Chain and Science in Action on the BBC World Service. Other Podcasts I love are Sustainable (ish), Eat Weeds (about foraging) and Wardrobe Crisis which is about sustainable clothing and so much more. I too love more or less I subscribe to that through BBC Sounds, I haven't heard of the Inquiry I am going to look that one up. Thank you for sharing!

  3. I'm fairly new to podcasts but love listening to one called Art Juice which as you might guess is all things art and painting related. Many of your Radio 4 podcasts I listen to live if I'm working in my studio but I will check out your list! Have a lovely weekend x

  4. Very interesting post . . . There were a couple on our list that I might give a try, thanks :)

  5. Great to see what you're listening to. I particularly love the title 'This Week in Parasitism', fabulous. I always enjoy the R4 programme 'From Our Own Correspondent'. Only short pieces, but they're always entertaining. There's one calle 'From Our Home Correspondent' which I haven't tried but which is probably good too. I do love to hear about foreign parts though. I am ignoring both the General Election and Christmas, except for the odd lebkuchen. Hope you have a good Sunday. I shall be standing outside all day watching boys kick things as per normal. Wondering if I could surreptitiously plug myself into a podcast and just pretend to be watching. CJ xx

  6. I am not a crafty podcast listener either. I am loving about women's health issues ans natural ways to help. I still love audiobooks but for now I am listening to every single one of her episodes. Thanks for the list.

  7. My wife is a podcast person, so I will pass this link onto her.

  8. What a great list. I am a comedy listener so I like the News Quiz, Tom Wrigglesworth and any of the R4 comedy shows. I catch womans hour here and there and always think I will catch up but don't always find the moment. I used to catch them on the radio driving between teaching appointments but with my new job in Year 2 I don't think they would appreciate it somehow! Jo xxx

  9. I enjoyed reading about your podcasts. I actually know lots of people who watch/listen them but I have not caught the bug and best not add anything else to my schedule! LOL! ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

  10. I still haven't gotten on the podcast bandwagon. I already have such limited time to read and catch up on tv and movies that I just don't know how to also make space for podcast without giving up all the other stuff.. :/

  11. I'm not very good at listening to podcasts or audio books. I prefer reading. :)

  12. Like you, Christina, I also enjoy podcast listening and enjoyed reading your list of favorites. My listening is done while in the gym and usually while treadmill walking. My choices are crime, current events, true personal stories and podcasts I listen to include: Modern Love, The Moth, 99% Invisible, Lore, Every Little Thing, On the Road (from NY to Boston), Snap Judgment. My only “problem” is that when I miss a few days there can be several to catch up on.

  13. Bardzo ciekawy artykuł. Pozdrawiam serdecznie !


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