The Disappearing Spoon: a science history podcast with Sam Kean

Sam Kean

A topsy-turvy science-y history podcast by Sam Kean. I examine overlooked stories from our past: the dental superiority of hunter-gatherers, the crooked Nazis who saved thousands of American lives, the American immigrants who developed the most successful cancer screening tool in history, the sex lives of dinosaurs, and much, much more. These are charming little tales that never made the history books, but these small moments can be surprisingly powerful. These are the cases where history gets inverted, where the footnote becomes the real story.

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Our Editor's Take

Sometimes, important stories disappear into the annals of human history and become forgotten. American history has many people who accomplished amazing feats but are no longer known to the general public. The Disappearing Spoon: a science history podcast with Sam Kean is a science history podcast that revisits these moments.

The host and creator of The Disappearing Spoon is Sam Kean. He is a writer who works on both articles and non-fiction books. He has degrees in both physics and English from the University of Minnesota. Kean also has a master's degree in library science. The host has written many science-themed non-fiction books. The first one, published in 2010, was the inspiration for this podcast. It shares a name with that book as well. The title refers to a scientific practical joke.

Each episode of the podcast focuses on a new topic. One explores the life of noted scientist Robert Oppenheimer. Another explains why Leonardo Da Vinci was not actually that great of a scientist. It also explores the meaning of "sitzfleisch." A third explores a location in Africa that is the world's only natural nuclear reactor.

While some of the names in these episodes will be familiar, these parts of their lives are not generally known to the public. Kean has a gift for finding significant stories that are only sometimes well-reported. This is especially true when they have anything to do with science.

While Kean is a great writer, one of the best aspects of The Disappearing Spoon is his hosting. Kean proves to be a more than capable science communicator for his listeners. He is very good at simplifying complex concepts in a way that is easy to understand. One does not need an advanced science degree to follow along with this podcast. The only necessary thing is a desire to learn more and curiosity.

Episodes of The Disappearing Spoon: a science history podcast with Sam Kean average about 20 minutes in length. New episodes of the podcast premiere on Tuesday of each week.

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Episodes