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Quantum entanglement’s long journey from ‘spooky’ to law of nature

PODCAST: From Einstein’s initial disbelief and Bell’s test to the 2022 Nobel Prizes, quantum entanglement has matured into a pillar of physics. Physicist Nicolas Gisin explains why it took so many decades.

How the placebo effect went mainstream

PODCAST: Sloppy by today’s standards, and maybe even back when it was published in 1955, Henry Beecher’s paper paved the way for sounder drug trials and pushed scientists to better understand how we process pain (Season 3, Episode 3)

The fossil that launched a dinosaur revolution

PODCAST: Archaeopteryx forever changed our understanding of dinosaurs and the origin of birds, but it took a century after its discovery and a one-page paper to shift scientific consensus (Season 3, Episode 2)

Scientists warned about climate change in 1965. Nothing was done.

PODCAST: A report to the US president sounded an alarm — humankind was ‘conducting a vast geophysical experiment’ by burning fossil fuels and filling the atmosphere with an ‘invisible pollutant.’ But a slick campaign by Big Oil led to confusion, politicization and dire consequences for the planet. (Season 3, Episode 1)

How antidepressants changed ideas about depression

PODCAST: Serendipitous discoveries led to drugs like Prozac and to new insights into the physical basis of this debilitating disorder. But scientists continue to search for deeper understandings and therapies that will bring relief to those who still struggle. (Season 2, Episode 6)

How particle accelerators came to be

PODCAST: They started out so small, one could fit on the palm of your hand, but to make groundbreaking discoveries, physicists had to think really big — as in, vast machines with the power and capacity to reveal the tiniest building blocks of our universe (Season 2/Episode 5)

The history of climate change offers clues to Earth’s future

PODCAST: Digging — quite literally — into our planet’s past to study its paleoclimate has shed light on bygone ice ages and hints at trouble ahead for our now-warming world (Season 2/Episode 4)

Structural biology: How proteins got their close-up

PODCAST: The journey to solving the structures of these critically important molecules began with a chance discovery. Today, after decades of painstaking lab work and huge technological leaps, the field of protein science is exploding. (Season 2/Episode 3)

The search for exoplanets

PODCAST: Not that long ago, scientists found evidence that our Sun wasn’t unique — other stars have their own orbiting bodies. It was a discovery centuries in the making. What does this mean for Earth today and our place in the universe? (Season 2/Episode 2)

The science of dreams

PODCAST: We have thoughts, visions and feelings while we sleep, experiencing a virtual reality of sorts. But how and why does dreaming happen? Researchers bring us closer to understanding the work our brains do while our bodies rest. (Season 2/Episode 1)

The Knowable Magazine Podcast, season 2: Trailer

The science history series audio returns on February 1. Subscribe today.

Memory, the mystery

PODCAST: Just in the past half-century, our understanding of how exactly our brains remember has taken huge leaps. Amazingly, this is just the beginning. (Season 1/ Episode 4)

The dazzling history of solar power

PODCAST: Once fringe and futuristic, this renewable energy shines brightly today as a cheap and efficient source of energy. Still, it remains controversial ­— for much different reasons. (Season 1/Episode 3)

The heart of invention

PODCAST: Replacing or assisting the human heart with a machine would save countless lives. But the quest to build an artificial heart has had many gruesome missteps and caused researchers to reimagine how to keep our blood flowing. (Season 1/Episode 2)

How black holes morphed from theory to reality

PODCAST: Physicists were mostly skeptical back when the idea of them emerged a century ago from Einstein’s work. The evolution of the evidence, from circumstantial to conclusive, is the quintessential story of science. (Season 1/Episode 1)

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