To kick things off, I thought I'd share some of the conversational content that I've found informative and inspiring over the years. I try to fit in a podcast whenever my ears are free! Here's my list, categorized and commented:
1. Very Bad Wizards
If I had to pick an overall favorite, this is it. A psychologist and a philosopher host irreverent yet intelligent discussions of hot topics in psychology, philosophy, ethics, current events, and occasionally, books, TV shows and movies.
2. Axons and Axioms
Another philosopher and neuropsychologist combo with well-informed science-minded discussion. Knowing one of the hosts personally from Pitt makes this one special for me. Unfortunately not active anymore.
3. The Psychology Podast
A bit self-helpy but gives a good peek into current thinking in the field of positive psychology.
Hard to categorize and not very active, but the guests and topics are unconventional and offer new perspectives on the mind.
1. Brain Inspired
High-level but approachable discussions with high-profile guests about the intersection of neuroscience and machine learning. I was amazed to discover that the host also did graduate work in primate neuroscience at Pitt!
2. Neural Implant Podcast
A great way to learn about the challenges facing the field of brain-computer interfaces, and the innovative solutions from researchers on the cutting edge.
3. Brain Science Podcast
The host is thoughtful and inquisitive, and guests are often behemoths in the field.
Delightfully (for me) in-the-weeds discussion with the authors of the hottest papers in Nature Neuroscience.
1. The Partially Examined Life
Rigorous discussions of just about any topic in philosophy you could ask for from some guys who thought about doing philosophy for a living, but then thought better of it. Can be a little technical.
2. The Panpsycast
Banteriffic, utterly endearing and thoughtful coverage of various philosophical topics by three cheeky Brits.
3. The History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps
Invaluable for its coverage of early Greek philosophy, but prepare for a slog once he reaches the medieval period...
4. Space Time Mind
Deep but dry discussions on hard topics in the philosophy of mind. Seems to be finished.
GENERAL SCIENCE / CULTURE
1. Nature Podcast
Delightful deluge of bite-sized breakthroughs from the pages of Nature.
2. Rationally Speaking
The early episodes are more philosophical, while newer episodes focus on societal issues. Listening to this podcast will make you a more rational human!
3. Making Sense
Sam Harris' podcast. His positions are very well thought-out and rational, guests and topics are wide-ranging and often provocative, if sometimes abrasive.
4. The Infinite Monkey Cage
Quintissential edutainment, with panels composed of scientists and comedians.
5. Mindscape Podcast
A newcomer, but features some really great and varied discussion between scientists, especially in physics and neuroscience.
6. Freakonomics Radio
An economist's perspective on everything from sports to business to crime. Can feel a bit pandering and over-produced at times.
7. What do you do again?
A saxophonist and a painter ponder the trials and tribulations of trying to succeed as a young artist.
1. The Lawfare Blog Podcast family
Unbiased and highly informed legal analysis of current events both domestic and international.
2. The Ezra Klein Show
An admittedly left-leaning insightful, sharp look at the current state of politics and how we got here.
3. Meuller She Wrote
Three hyper-opinionated comedians try to keep up with all the developments of the Russia investigation - and somehow succeed. Features an all-female team, and recently won the 2019 People's Voice Webby Award.
4. Stay Tuned with Preet
Great insights into the justice system from a former federal prosecutor.
1. Dan Carlin's Hardcore History
Absolutely riveting long-form storytelling of history. The visceral descriptions of warfare put you right on the battlefield. The King of Kings series (about Persian empires and conflicts with the west) and the Blueprint for Armageddon series (about World War I) are not to be missed, though they take some commitment - Blueprint for Armageddon clocks in at over 23 hours total!
2. Revisionist History
Unashamedly pedantic but somehow incredibly satisfying intellectual takes on events and people that weren't quite what we all thought they were...
Invisibilia, 99% Invisible, Radiolab, MAPS Podcast, The Consciousness Podcast, S-Town, Serial, Song Exploder
Well, that was a bit longer than I expected! Please let me know in the comments if you know of any other great podcasts that aren't on this list. Any topic is welcome!
By the way, I use CastBox on Android to subscribe to and keep track of all of these. It's been really useful.