The 10 Best Science Podcasts in 2020

Jessica Clifton

by Jessica Clifton

15th April 2020

We’ve done some digging to find a selection of the best science podcasts in 2020 to suit practically every taste.

The result is this compilation of podcasts that may (or may not) enhance your science knowledge. Some are funny, some serious, some are educational, whilst others offer some light relief from hard-core science.

The science podcasts listed have a variety of lengths, topics and credible sources and depending on whether you want the facts or the fun, there is a podcast for every taste and ability here.

1. The Guardian Science Podcast – Science Weekly

Science Weekly is a podcast that has been set up by The Guardian. Each podcast lasts around 40-45 minutes and it is updated fairly regularly; you can expect a new podcast to be uploaded roughly once per week if not more frequently. In 2020, a lot of the podcasts talk about different aspects of the coronavirus and the effects of COVID-19.

Each podcast features a number of different credible speakers, such as doctors or experts in the science industry. Some in-depth interviews with guests are embedded within the podcasts, so it’s likely you’ll learn something new when speakers get down to the nitty-gritty.

  • Useful if…
    You have around an hour a week to spare (or long train journeys to kill) and would like detailed updates about science, including consistent input from professionals
  • Not so useful if…
    You just want to scratch the surface of science and are inclined towards topics of general interest. The more deeply scientific topics of DNA and fossil fuels from Science Weekly may not appeal to you

2. I F***ing Love Science

I F***ing Love Science (or IFLS) is hosted by Elise Andrew, the founder of the expletive-loving science blog. IFLS was created in 2012 and stands out from the rest as it encompasses video and audio. The video features Elise discussing her favourite IFLS posts from the past week, accompanied by images and videos to provide further reference points.

Each podcast is around 3-4 minutes long and features roughly 5-10 news stories.

  • Useful if…
    You want a quick-fire round-up of the latest science stories, that only focuses on the most exciting or unconventional news
  • Not so useful if…
    You’re looking for a podcast that is religiously uploaded on a regular basis

3. Royal Society of Chemistry

Here you will find a rather unusual format for a science podcast; a podcast of the periodic table, created by Chemistry World (which also has its own more traditional style of podcast – see #5.)

This podcast is presented as an image of the periodic table and is great for learning about each chemical element. It’s interactive and visual. Each element is in its place on the periodic table and can be clicked on for information about its history and features. Podcasts last around 6-9 minutes.


The periodic table of chemical elements

The Royal Society of Chemistry’s podcast looks at each element of the periodic table

  • Useful if…
    You want to learn about chemical elements in detail – great for educational purposes
  • Not so useful if…
    You want to know about other aspects of science, and don’t have the time to spend up to 10 minutes learning about each individual element

4. Chemistry World

Chemistry World science podcast episodes last around half an hour and you can count on the podcast being uploaded regularly. The host’s chatter is intertwined with multiple other voices from the science industry, providing a professional viewpoint. You’ll find science updates and new findings from the latest month.

Each podcast comes with a transcript of the main points with the time they appear in the audio, so you can easily skip to the part you’re most interested in.

  • Useful if…
    Your scientific interest focuses on chemistry and you already have a good level of knowledge of the subject, as this podcast doesn’t cover the basics
  • Not so useful if…
    You’re the type of person that hates waiting a week for the next instalment of your favourite TV show, as you will need to wait a month to listen to each Chemistry World podcast

5. 60 Second Science

The 60 Second Science podcast is part of Scientific American. Not every episode is actually 60 seconds – some can be upwards of a minute and a half.

The podcast aims to post daily, which is usually – but not always – the case. As time is limited, each episode tends to report on a single study or finding in the science industry. The podcast doesn’t feature guests or delve deep into topics as there’s not enough time, but the enthusiastic speaker covers the necessary basis.

  • Useful if…
    You have a spare minute or two and are twiddling your thumbs, ready to ingest some small nuggets of science
  • Not so useful if…
    You’re looking for a thorough explanation of the latest news. If you already know the basics of a recent science story, this podcast won’t tell you much more

6. Radiolab

Consisting of roughly hour-long episodes, Radiolab is recorded from a live stage performance and includes guests, who are generally musicians and comedians. It is easy to become absorbed in the atmosphere of the live performance – speakers explain stories to explain historical science and you can clearly hear the audience laughing, whistling and being involved in the show.

The episodes are intentionally dramatic and exciting, set off by sound effects and background music to set the scene. Hosts of Radiolab discuss unusual topics with intriguing titles such as ‘When Brains Attack’, ‘Talking to Machines’ and ‘Oops’. There is already an extensive archive of topics to choose from to expand your science knowledge.

  • Useful if…
    You want a detailed science podcast with added cinematic value, made more dramatic with music and entertaining stories to set the scene
  • Not so useful if…
    You’re looking for simple facts that get straight-to-the-point and would prefer the voices of scientists for some added credibility

7. Story Collider

This science podcast strays away quite excessively from the norm. Story Collider invites submissions for personal stories relating to science from scientists, artists, those studying science, or people that have gone through a disease. It encourages people to share their own stories about the ways in which science has affected their lives. Anyone can submit a story and in short, it explores the emotional part of science.

Story Collider is made even more personal as you can hear the audience laughing and enjoying the stories.

  • Useful if…
    You want stories from real-life people to demonstrate how science affects us all in some ways
  • Not so useful if…
    You’d like hard facts about new scientific discoveries or studies and need to cite scientific sources

8. Science Friday

On the Science Friday podcast, industry professionals and market-leaders discuss science

On the Science Friday podcast, industry professionals and market-leaders discuss science

You can probably guess which day of the week this podcast is uploaded on. Science Friday usually rewards its listeners with more than one upload per Friday and includes interviews with professionals and market-leaders from whichever industry is being discussed, as well as the odd appearance from doctors and scientists.

The podcast focuses around current areas of interest.

  • Useful if…
    Friday is your favourite day to catch up on some science and you want to regularly receive some solid facts
  • Not so useful if…
    You prefer a podcast to incorporate the odd joke to make learning fun. This podcast gets the information out, but not in a very entertaining format

9. BBC Science Podcast

The BBC Inside Science podcast is hosted by Dr Adam Rutherford. His guests shine a light on scientific mysteries and challenge the controversies behind the science that’s changing the world as we know it.

Episodes are updated weekly, and are informative and educational, as you would expect from the BBC.

The BBC Inside Science podcast discusses science topics each week

The BBC Inside Science podcast discusses science topics each week

10. Joe Rogan Science Podcasts

American comedian and podcast host Joe Rogan interviews scientists and talks about scientific advancements and theories. Previous well-known guests include Brian Cox and Neil deGrasse Tyson – talk gets deep, but it’s always entertaining.


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