If even the word ‘science’ brings you out in cold sweats thinking about stuffy school labs and just about everything your teacher ever told you going over your head, then Dr Adam Rutherford and Dr Hannah Fry are here to bring some fun and joy to all manner of scientific topics.
And by ‘scientific topics’, I mean things like why children don’t like vegetables; why we like being scared; why we get hangovers; and so much more. Geneticist Rutherford and mathematician Fry bounce through each episode with the kind of enthusiasm I last witnessed when my physics teacher busted out some breakdance moves in the school library one lunchtime (true story).
Rutherford turns up on Channel 4 News journalist Krishnan Guru-Murthy’s podcast to talk about using science to fight racism. He’s just one of many interesting interviewees from the worlds of science, politics, entertainment and sport.
There’s a lot to choose from, but journalist Sathnam Sanghera talking about empire and academic Emma Dabiri discussing the complexities of African hair are two stand-out episodes.
“I added one more podcast to the giant podcast bin…” Adam Buxton sings at the start of every episode, and it’s a bin you’ll want to rake through again and again.
His ‘ramble chats’ have been a constant, comforting companion before and during lockdown, and people like actor Tash Demetriou have had me snorting with laughter, whilst Buxton’s touching and raw reflections on the death of his mother with his old friend and collaborator Joe Cornish made me unexpectedly well up.
Whoever Buxton is talking to, it always feels genuine and personal, with enough delightful silliness to distract from these tough times, whilst never seeming frivolous.