Disappearing Spoon: a science history podcast by Sam Kean
The Joys, and Pains, of Operating on Yourself

The Joys, and Pains, of Operating on Yourself

November 30, 2020

Why otherwise sane and rational doctors love experimenting on themselves—up to and including self-surgery...

A School Shooting for Science

A School Shooting for Science

November 13, 2020

When a crank scientist needed to get the attention of Einstein and others for his crazy physics theory, there was only one sure way he knew to get publicity: murder...

Star Wars, Death Rays, and Donald Trump

Star Wars, Death Rays, and Donald Trump

October 15, 2020

How the brilliant geek Nikola Tesla grew obsessed with an outlandish “death ray,” and the ray’s surprising connection to Donald Trump

Vitamin G

Vitamin G

October 1, 2020

How one heroic doctor, and his revolting experiments, singlehandedly ended the deadliest dietary epidemic disease in American history...

The CIA’s Drug-Fueled Orgies and You

The CIA’s Drug-Fueled Orgies and You

September 15, 2020

How the Central Intelligence Agency’s recklessly outrageous Operation Midnight Climax revealed some surprising psychological insights into sex, drugs, and human nature...

From Siberia with (Manipulative) Love

From Siberia with (Manipulative) Love

September 1, 2020

How two Russian scientists defied death and imprisonment to run a top-secret genetics experiment, and what it revealed about how dogs, babies, and stuffed animals manipulate our minds...

 

The Man Who Couldn’t Read Numbers

The Man Who Couldn’t Read Numbers

August 17, 2020

An Oliver-Sacks-like tale of a man with brain damage who can’t read numbers—even though he can still read words just fine! His amazing case could also shed light on the mysteries of human consciousness...

The Teflon Bomb

The Teflon Bomb

August 6, 2020

How did the nonstick frying pan in your kitchen make the first atomic bomb possible? A story about the innocent-seeming Teflon for this week’s 75th anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombs...

Chocolate Cake & Atomic Bombs

Chocolate Cake & Atomic Bombs

August 1, 2020

A story for the 75th anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombs: How a now-forgotten teahouse in Los Alamos and its unlikely owners—the spitfire Edith Warner and the Pueblo builder Tilano Montoya—influenced Robert Oppenheimer and changed the face of the whole Manhattan Project...

The Ice Island Murder

The Ice Island Murder

July 14, 2020

How one of the messiest homicides in history - when one scientist killed another scientist over a jug of raisin wine way up inside the Arctic Circle - foreshadows the first murder in outer space...

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