From the PBS science series NOVA, a biweekly podcast digging into the science behind the headlines. Alok Patel takes you behind the scenes with the people—scientists, engineers, technologists, mathematicians and more—working to understand our world. Now it's more critical than ever to distinguish fact from fiction and find science-based answers to the most pressing questions of our time.
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Bonus! From our friends at AirSpace: Mask, Gloves, Soap, Scrubs
AirSpace from the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum is a podcast that helps you discover news, entertainment, and inspiration in the sky. In other words, we tell aspirational stories about defying gravity. Whether you’re an avid aviation geek, space cadet, or just somebody who loves great stories about smart topics, join hosts Emily, Matt, and Nick and spend a little time with your head in the clouds.
The science of positive motivation for the New Year
2020 is finally over. After the coronavirus pandemic and everything else the year's thrown our way, it's time to dust ourselves off and get ready for 2021. To do that, we need positive motivation (neurologically, that’s how our brains prepare to get things done). First, we hear from a neuroscientist on the science of becoming and staying motivated. Then, we have a special auditory treat. All season, host Alok Patel has asked NOVA Now guests which songs motivate them to do their work, whether that’s running COVID-19 tests in a hospital or conducting experiments in a lab. We took those songs and wrapped them up as a gift for you: a Nova Now Spotify playlist. Tune in for a taste of guests’ music picks and to revisit some of our most memorable moments from the year.
How the future of satellites might affect life on Earth
In 2020, the world celebrated two decades of continuous human presence aboard the International Space Station (ISS). As an orbiting laboratory that has provided astronauts with a view of Earth from outer space, the ISS may not seem very similar to other space innovations like CubeSats and NASA/USGS’s Landsat. But all of these devices are satellites: objects orbiting objects larger than themselves. Satellites can be natural (like the moon and planets, including Earth) or human-made (like the ISS). Joined by two experts in this outer-worldly technology, host Alok Patel explores how satellites have shaped our understanding of the modern world, including the Landsat program’s effort to create a space-based record of the surface of the Earth, and what lies ahead at the intersection of justice and space.
Covid vaccines are coming: What’s inside, and how and when you’ll get one
Pending FDA approval, safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines could reach the first wave of Americans in a matter of weeks. Manufacturers of leading vaccine candidates are releasing promising results from clinical trials, revealing that some experimental vaccines, including those from Pfizer and Moderna, are more than 90% effective against the coronavirus. But vaccine development alone will not end the pandemic; getting the distribution right is key. Host Alok Patel speaks with two immunization experts about the challenges of distribution at an unprecedented scale. Tune in to explore questions like: What are the differences between the first vaccine candidates? Who can expect to get vaccinated first and how much will it cost? And why do vaccines have to be kept so cold?
About the Host
Dr. Alok Patel is a physician, journalist, and producer who firmly believes humor and relatability should drive science communication. "Scientists," he'll tell you, "need a much louder megaphone." He is a special correspondent for ABC News and regularly appears as an on-camera expert for several news outlets. Additionally, he is co-host of "Parentalogic,” a digital series from NOVA and PBS Digital Studios on the science of parenting, and hosts a popular web series for Medscape. Previously, he worked as a medical producer for CNN/HLN and as a host/contributor for both ABC and NBC News in New York. He is involved with several advocacy projects including a media-based sex trafficking education campaign, a 501(c)(3) dedicated to improving healthcare's presence on social media, and on initiatives to improve access to mental health care. Dr. Patel is originally from Arizona, completed his pediatric residency at Seattle Children's Hospital and is currently faculty as a pediatric hospitalist, at Columbia University, Stanford University, and the University of California, San Francisco.
In his rare downtime, you can catch him practicing martial arts, creating cocktails, discovering new music (ask him about this), or spending time with his wife, a renowned wedding/event planner, who is more creative, talented, and far better-looking, than he is.
National corporate funding for NOVA is provided by Draper. Major funding for NOVA is provided by the David H. Koch Fund for Science, the NOVA Science Trust, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and PBS viewers.