17 Best Radiolab Episodes You Can’t-Miss

For those who revel in the world of podcasts, Radiolab needs little introduction. With excellent storytelling, it blends the intricacies of science, the depth of philosophy, and the richness of culture to create an audio experience like no other. 

It’s brainy but welcoming, the show that gets you chatting and keeps you wondering. With so many episodes to pick from, it’s hard to know where to start. No worries; we’ve got you covered. We’ve dug through charts, scoured Reddit debates, and checked out listener reviews to bring you a curated list of the17 best Radiolab episodes. And yes, we tossed in a few of our personal favs, too.

Animal Minds

Release Date: November 26, 2021

Are you curious about what your pet is thinking? This episode explores animal emotions and even cross-species communication, challenging how we view animals and understand our own emotions. 


Release Date: February 5, 2013

An adrenaline-charged episode that questions our obsession with speed, from technology to transportation. Hold on tight; it’s a wild ride. 

The Gatekeeper

Release Date: July 15, 2022

How does a Supreme Court with no scientists rule on science issues? Peter Smith and Matt Kielty unpack this legal maze. From abortion to internet rights, this episode is a critical listen.


Release Date: August 27, 2020

Ever felt something’s ‘lost in translation’? Dive into this intricate exploration of language, culture, and deep emotion. You’ll be left rethinking the boundaries of human understanding. 

The Humpback and the Killer

Release Date: July 29, 2022

Think orcas are the ultimate sea predators? Annie McEwen shows how humpback whales actually protect other species from orcas. It’s a sea-world twist that’ll make you rethink who the real giants of the ocean are. 

Corpse Demon

Release Date: April 2023

Ever heard of using vultures to clean corpses? This episode dives into the ancient Zoroastrian practice and asks what happens when the vultures go missing. From religion to ecology, this is an audio ride you won’t forget.

The Queen of Dying

Release Date: July 23, 2021

Ever heard about the Five Stages of Grief? This episode reveals they were originally about dying, not grieving. Discover their creator, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, and how she changed our approach to death and loss. 


Release Date: January 4, 2022

Are our genes set for life? Radiolab flips the script, showing how outside forces can change our DNA, affecting future generations, too. A deep dive that’ll make you rethink family, biology, and destiny.

The Rhino Hunter

Release Date: May 27, 2021

An ethical dilemma packaged as a safari adventure. This episode confronts the uncomfortable intersection of hunting and wildlife conservation. 

The Fellowship of the Tree Rings

Radiolab Podcast

Release Date: July 14, 2023

Three scientists discover a link between tree rings and a mysterious natural force shaping our world. With pirates and bartenders in the mix, you will rethink climate change and our relationship with the sun.

Family People

Release Date: May 19, 2023

Alex Neason finds out her granddad’s dad had a different last name. She digs through Louisiana’s past to figure out why. Radiolab explores the big questions: What’s in a family name? Are names just labels, or do they define us?


Release Date: April 6, 2020

Radiolab takes you from ’60s space fever to modern skepticism. Listen about the Voyager first hand, while Neil deGrasse Tyson reminds us how tiny we are in the cosmos. Stretch your imagination to the stars. 


Release Date: April 5, 2010

How far can you push the human body and spirit? This episode challenges everything you thought you knew about human potential, from athletics to mental barriers. 


Release Date: May 21, 2012

A jaw-dropping new perspective on color and physics, stretching beyond human vision into the animal kingdom. You’ll never look at the sky the same way again. 


Release Date: June 15, 2009

It’s randomness like you’ve never considered —questioning fate, destiny, and the mysterious forces shaping our lives. Prepare for a mind trip. 

The Good Show

Release Date: December 14, 2010

Is true altruism a myth? Prepare to scrutinize your own motives as you navigate the compelling maze of selflessness and ethical conduct. 

The Bad Show

Release Date: October 13, 2011 and July 27, 2018 

Get ready to confront your own demons. This episode dives deep into the darkest corners of human behavior. You’ll question your definitions of ‘right’ and ‘wrong.’ 

So, there you have it, —a handpicked list of the best Radiolab podcast episodes. They will ignite your curiosity and challenge your assumptions. Grab your headphones, hit play, and get ready to have your mind deliciously twisted. 


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