Talk Nerdy with Cara Santa Maria artwork

Talk Nerdy with Cara Santa Maria

723 episodes - English - Latest episode: 6 days ago - ★★★★★ - 863 ratings

Cara Santa Maria is a science communicator, television host, producer, and journalist. She is excited to present "Talk Nerdy," a place for conversations with interesting people about interesting topics.

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Episodes

Physics, Activism, and Leadership w/ Walter E. Massey

September 13, 2021 06:53 - 1 hour - 60.2 MB

In this episode of Talk Nerdy, Cara is joined by physicist Dr. Walter E. Massey to talk about his long and distinguished career as the past head of the National Science Foundation, president and chairman of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, director of Argonne National Laboratory, and president of Morehouse College, among countless other titles. They also talk about his new book, "In the Eye of the Storm: My Time as Chairman of Bank of America During the Country's Worst...

Claiming Space w/ Eliza VanCort

September 07, 2021 00:13 - 1 hour - 64.4 MB

In this episode of Talk Nerdy, Cara is joined by Eliza VanCort, author of “A Woman’s Guide to Claiming Space: Stand Tall. Raise Your Voice. Be Heard.” They talk about her harrowing childhood and recovery from a traumatic brain injury, which influenced her work in women’s empowerment and anti-racism.

Quantum Life w/ Hakeem Oluseyi

August 30, 2021 07:25 - 1 hour - 76.8 MB

In this episode of Talk Nerdy, Cara is joined by astrophysicist Dr. Hakeem Oluseyi to talk about his new book, "A Quantum Life: My Unlikely Journey from the Street to the Stars." They discuss his work in both theoretical cosmology and applied astrophysics as well as the absolute necessity of representation in the sciences.

Neurochemistry w/ Ginny Smith

August 16, 2021 08:29 - 1 hour - 69.5 MB

In this episode of Talk Nerdy, Cara is joined by science communicator Ginny Smith to talk about her new book, “Overloaded: How Every Aspect of Your Life is Influenced by Your Brain Chemicals”. They discuss the importance of neurotransmission, the role different neurochemicals play in brain function, and when we shouldn’t believe the hype.

Geometry w/ Jordan Ellenberg

August 09, 2021 07:51 - 58 minutes - 53.9 MB

In this episode of Talk Nerdy, Cara is joined by award-winning mathematician Dr. Jordan Ellenberg to talk about his newest book, "Shape: The Hidden Geometry of Information, Biology, Strategy, Democracy, and Everything Else." They discuss the importance of mathematics education, as well as the geometry that lies beneath the scientific, political, and philosophical problems we encounter as human beings.

Computational Neuroscience w/ Grace Lindsay

August 02, 2021 07:02 - 1 hour - 35.1 MB

In this episode of Talk Nerdy, Cara is joined by computational neuroscientist Dr. Grace Lindsay to talk about the new book, "Models of the Mind: How Physics, Engineering, and Mathematics Have Shaped Our Understanding of the Brain." They talk about efforts to quantify mental processes like sensation, perception, and memory, as well as new frontiers in machine learning, computer vision, and artificial intelligence, using systems inspired by neurobiology.

Deep Sea Coral w/ Narissa Bax

July 26, 2021 07:01 - 58 minutes - 53.9 MB

In this episode of Talk Nerdy, Cara is joined by Dr. Narissa Bax, the Marine and Coastal Program Coordinator for the South Atlantic Environmental Research Group in the Falkland Islands. Narissa shares her love for all things conservation and ecology, especially the work she is doing to better understand and preserve deep-sea corals in the Antarctic region.

Black in STEM w/ Deena Pierott

July 19, 2021 07:48 - 58 minutes - 54.5 MB

In this episode of Talk Nerdy, Cara is joined by awardee of President Barack Obama's White House Champion of Change for Technology Inclusion, Deena Pierott. Deena is the founder of iUrban Teen, a science, technology, engineering, manufacturing (STEM), and arts program for youth of color, and co-founder of Black Women in STEM 2.0, an organization advocates for equitable and inclusive workspaces while supporting black women in high-tech careers. They talk about the issues facing historically ex...

Forced Sterilization w/ Audrey Clare Farley

July 12, 2021 07:15 - 1 hour - 65.7 MB

In this episode of Talk Nerdy, Cara is joined by writer and historian Dr. Audrey Clare Farley to talk about her new book, "The Unfit Heiress: The Tragic Life and Scandalous Sterilization of Ann Cooper Hewitt." Audrey tells a story steeped in white supremacy and greed, against a backdrop of the growing eugenics movement in 1930s America.

How to Be Animal w/ Melanie Challenger

July 05, 2021 08:02 - 1 hour - 65.1 MB

In this episode of Talk Nerdy, Cara is joined by writer, researcher, and broadcaster Melanie Challenger to talk about her newest book, "How to Be Animal: A New History of What It Means to Be Human." They reflect on the existential and moral roots of the human experience, as well as our deep evolutionary nature as creatures living on Planet Earth.

Fake Medicine w/ Brad McKay

June 28, 2021 08:38 - 1 hour - 68.5 MB

In this episode of Talk Nerdy, Cara is joined by Australian GP and science communicator Dr. Brad McKay to talk about his new book, “Fake Medicine: Exposing the Wellness Crazes, Cons and Quacks Costing Us Our Health.” They dive into the world of snake oil and pseudoscience, and Brad shares his own journey into science, skepticism, and LGBTQIA+-affirmative practice.

Best in Fair w/ Michelle Hua & Yunseo Choi

June 21, 2021 08:08 - 54 minutes - 50.9 MB

In this episode of Talk Nerdy, Cara is joined by two brilliant teenagers who recently won top honors in science competitions. First, she speaks with Michelle Hua, first-place winner of the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) and George D. Yancopoulos Innovator Award. Michelle tells how she designed and implemented a novel deep-learning framework using human silhouettes. Next, Yunseo Choi, first-place winner of the Regeneron Science Talent Search, shares her work in mat...

Uncertainty and Art in Medicine w/ Alexa Miller

June 14, 2021 07:01 - 55 minutes - 51.6 MB

In this episode of Talk Nerdy, Cara is joined by Alexa Miller, founder of the medical education consultancy Arts Practica. They discuss the use of visual arts education to improve diagnostic outcomes, as well as physician and patient comfort in times of uncertainty.

Racism and Expertise w/ Eman Tadros

June 07, 2021 07:01 - 1 hour - 74.9 MB

In this episode of Talk Nerdy, Cara is joined by Dr. Eman Tadros, Assistant Professor in the Division of Psychology and Counseling at Governor’s State University. They talk about the profound effects racism has on the perception of expertise as well as her research into incarceration and family systems. Follow Eman: @EmanTadros.

Who Gives a Poop? w/ Heather Montgomery

May 31, 2021 07:57 - 45 minutes - 42 MB

In this episode of Talk Nerdy, Cara is joined by environmental educator and children’s book author Heather L. Montgomery to talk about “Who Gives a Poop? Surprising Science from One End to the Other.” They discuss the joys of gross science, why kids rule, and some of the strange and wonderful promises of, you guessed it, poop.

Great Adaptations w/ Kenneth Catania

May 24, 2021 07:06 - 57 minutes - 53.2 MB

In this episode of Talk Nerdy, Cara is joined by neuroscientist Dr. Kenneth Catania to talk about his new book, "Great Adaptations: Star-Nosed Moles, Electric Eels, and Other Tales of Evolution's Mysteries Solved." They discuss Ken's groundbreaking research into some of planet Earth's most bizarre and incredible creatures, including star-nosed moles, electric eels, and more.

Blackwell Doctors w/ Janice Nimura

May 17, 2021 07:47 - 53 minutes - 49.4 MB

In this episode of Talk Nerdy, Cara is joined by historian Janice Nimura to talk about her new book, "The Doctors Blackwell: How Two Pioneering Women Brought Medicine to Women and Women to Medicine." She shares the story of Elizabeth Blackwell and her younger sister Emily, the first and second women in America to receive an M.D. (medical degree).

Fire in Paradise w/ Dani Anguiano

May 10, 2021 18:17 - 59 minutes - 55.5 MB

In this episode of Talk Nerdy, Cara is joined by The Guardian’s Dani Anguiano to talk about her new book, “Fire in Paradise: An American Tragedy.” Dani tells the harrowing details of the November 8, 2018 Camp Fire that claimed the lives of 85 people and destroyed virtually every home in Paradise, California. They also discussed the reality of wildfires and the necessity of prescribed burns, how climate change is affecting their frequency and severity, and how we can address the societal ills ...

Beloved Beasts w/ Michelle Nijhuis

May 03, 2021 15:50 - 1 hour - 56.6 MB

In this episode of Talk Nerdy, Cara is joined by Michelle Nijhuis, author of "Beloved Beasts: Fighting for Life in an Age of Extinction." They discuss the nuanced efforts of individuals and organizations dedicated to global conservation, including the good, the bad, and the colonialist.

Four Lost Cities w/ Annalee Newitz

April 26, 2021 17:24 - 1 hour - 60.9 MB

In this episode of Talk Nerdy, Cara is joined by science writer Annalee Newitz to talk about their newest book, "Four Lost Cities: A Secret History of the Urban Age." They discuss the fascinating history of once-thriving metropolises, how/why they were abandoned, and the important contributions of those who were far too often erased from our collective memories.

Fundamentals w/ Frank Wilczek

April 19, 2021 16:59 - 1 hour - 62 MB

In this episode of Talk Nerdy, Cara is joined by the winner of the 2004 Nobel Prize in Physics, Dr. Frank Wilczek, to talk about his newest book, "Fundamentals: Ten Keys to Reality." They discuss the fundamental physics underlying the known universe, science's most burning unanswered questions, and the essential search for meaning that lies at the heart of humankind.

Cyber Privacy w/ April Falcon Doss

April 12, 2021 07:00 - 1 hour - 61.9 MB

In this episode of Talk Nerdy, Cara is joined by the Executive Director of the Georgetown Institute for Technology, Law, and Policy, April Falcon Doss. They talk about her new book, "Cyber Privacy: Who Has Your Data and Why You Should Care." Informed by her time spent both at the NSA and serving as counsel for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, April explains what happens to our data online and why we should care.

Is This Wifi Organic? w/ Dave Farina

April 05, 2021 07:25 - 1 hour - 71.5 MB

In this episode of Talk Nerdy, Cara is joined by Dave Farina (Professor Dave Explains) to talk about his new book, "Is this Wifi Organic? A Guide to Spotting Misleading Science Online." They talk about the business of YouTube, the importance of basic science education, and how we can protect ourselves from pseudoscience.

Cholera, Anthrax, & Sexism Too w/ Rita Colwell

March 29, 2021 07:12 - 55 minutes - 51.9 MB

In this episode of Talk Nerdy, Cara is joined by infectious disease scientist Dr. Rita Colwell, who served as the first female director of the National Science Foundation and continues to engage in academic research at the age of 86. They talk about her newest book, "A Lab of One's Own: One Woman's Personal Journey Through Sexism in Science." In addition to describing the incredible barriers faced throughout her career, Rita shares stories of her groundbreaking discoveries in microbiology, in...

Trans and Dinos w/ Riley Black

March 22, 2021 07:01 - 1 hour - 59.2 MB

In this episode of Talk Nerdy, Cara is joined by science writer Riley Black ("Written in Stone," "My Beloved Brontosaurus," "Skeleton Keys"), who shares her experience as a transgender woman in paleontology. She also talks about cool new fossil discoveries that will blow your mind.

Democratizing Our Data w/ Julia Lane

March 15, 2021 19:25 - 58 minutes - 54 MB

In this episode of Talk Nerdy, Cara is joined by economist, NYU Professor of Public Service, and cofounder of the Coleridge Initiative Dr. Julia Lane to talk about her newest book, "Democratizing Our Data: A Manifesto." They discuss how big data can be used safely and transparently as a powerful governmental tool for social justice, representation, and equity.

Science and Cooking w/ Pia Sörensen

March 08, 2021 08:06 - 1 hour - 57.2 MB

In this episode of Talk Nerdy, Cara is joined by Dr. Pia Sörensen, Senior Preceptor in Chemical Engineering and Applied Materials at Harvard University. They talk about her new book, "Science and Cooking: Physics Meets Food, From Homemade to Haute Cuisine." From diffusion to pH, fermentation to viscosity, they discuss the physical, chemical, and biological processes underlying our favorite culinary creations. Follow Pia's work: @hseas.

Feminist Philosophy w/ Carol Hay

March 01, 2021 09:30 - 1 hour - 68.4 MB

In this episode of Talk Nerdy, Cara is joined by Dr. Carol Hay, philosopher and author of "Think Like a Feminist: the Philosophy Behind the Revolution." They discuss the core philosophy of feminism, diving deep into topics like historical oppression of women, the importance of trans inclusion, and why intersectionality matters.

Our Material World w/ Ainissa Ramirez

February 22, 2021 08:12 - 1 hour - 57.7 MB

In this episode of Talk Nerdy, Cara is joined by materials scientist, author, and science communicator Dr. Ainissa Ramirez. They talk about her new book (and winner of the 2021 AAAS/Subaru Prize for Excellence in Science Books), The Alchemy of Us: How Humans and Matter Transformed One Another. From clocks to light bulbs to silicon chips, they dig into the myriad ways such groundbreaking inventions have profoundly changed the way we exist in the world, with a special emphasis on the under-appr...

Childhood Vaccines w/ Perri Klass

February 15, 2021 19:04 - 1 hour - 69.9 MB

In this episode of Talk Nerdy, Cara is joined by NYU professor of journalism and pediatrics Dr. Perri Klass to talk about her new book, "A Good Time to Be Born: How Science and Public Health Gave Children a Future." They examine the profound impact that medical advancements like vaccines have had on infant mortality and public health. Also discussed: the often-overlooked women and minority practitioners who changed the course of human history.

Drug Use for Grown-Ups w/ Carl L. Hart

February 08, 2021 08:23 - 1 hour - 61.9 MB

In this episode of Talk Nerdy, Cara is joined by the chair of Columbia University's psychology department, Dr. Carl L. Hart. They talk about his newest book, "Drug Use for Grown-Ups: Chasing Liberty in the Land of Fear." Discussed topics include: public misunderstanding about responsible drug use versus addiction, the racist underpinnings of the war on drugs, and how evidence-based policy could improve countless lives.

Morbid Anatomy w/ Joanna Ebenstein

February 01, 2021 20:00 - 1 hour - 61.1 MB

In this episode of Talk Nerdy, Cara is joined by the founder and creative director of Morbid Anatomy, Joanna Ebenstein. They talk about her newest book, "Anatomica: The Exquisite and Unsettling Art of Human Anatomy." Together, they dig into the art, history, and science behind visual representations of the human body, including how anatomical representations remind us of our own mortality.

National Geographic Almanac 2021 w/ Susan Tyler Hitchcock

January 25, 2021 08:18 - 54 minutes - 50.7 MB

In this episode of Talk Nerdy, Cara is joined by Dr. Susan Tyler Hitchcock, Senior Editor of Books at National Geographic Partners. They talk about the new National Geographic Almanac 2021, with a special focus on the art, photography, science, history, culture, and travel packed within its stunning pages.

Cancer Evolution w/ Kat Arney

January 18, 2021 08:02 - 1 hour - 66 MB

In this episode of Talk Nerdy, Cara is joined by award-winning science writer, broadcaster, and podcaster (Genetics Unzipped), Dr. Kat Arney. They talk about her newest book, "Rebel Cell: Cancer, Evolution, and the New Science of Life's Oldest Betrayal."

Evolution in the Anthropocene w/ Shane Campbell-Staton

January 11, 2021 08:03 - 1 hour - 87.3 MB

In this episode of Talk Nerdy, Cara is joined by UCLA evolutionary biologist and co-host/co-creator of the Biology of Superheroes Podcast, Dr. Shane Campbell-Staton. They talk about the evolution of pathogens like SARS-CoV-2, the biology of superheroes, how the poaching of elephants during the Mozambiquan civil war has led to increased tusk loss, and the dark history of science that shapes modern experiences of Black researchers.

The End of Everything w/ Katie Mack

January 04, 2021 18:12 - 1 hour - 76.7 MB

In this episode of Talk Nerdy, Cara is joined by Dr. Katie Mack, theoretical astrophysicist and author of "The End of Everything (Astrophysically Speaking)." They talk about the formation of the universe by the big bang, how we know its current trajectory, and possible scenarios for its final destruction. In reflecting on the ultimate eschatological question, Katie and Cara grapple with humanity's quest for meaning in the great beyond.

Anti-Vax Origins w/ Brian Deer

December 14, 2020 08:09 - 1 hour - 78.1 MB

In this episode of Talk Nerdy, Cara is joined by award-winning investigative journalist Brian Deer to talk about his new book, "The Doctor Who Fooled the World: Science, Deception, and the War on Vaccines." They discuss the incredible story of how Andrew Wakefield's fraudulent research sparked an anti-vax movement that swept the globe.

Scientific Racism w/ Angela Saini

December 07, 2020 08:06 - 1 hour - 76.6 MB

In this episode of Talk Nerdy, Cara is joined by award-winning science journalist Angela Saini to talk about her book "Superior: The Return of Race Science." They discuss the deep roots of scientific racism from taxonomy to eugenics and beyond, including its present-day incarnations. They also talk about emergent themes of her previous book, "Inferior: How Science Got Women Wrong- and the New Research That's Rewriting the Story."

Bones w/ Roy A. Meals

November 30, 2020 08:00 - 1 hour - 60.3 MB

In this episode of Talk Nerdy, Cara is joined by orthopedic surgeon Dr. Roy A. Meals to talk about his new book, "Bones: Inside and Out." They discuss the structure and function of bone, its iconographic role in art, music, and culture, and our own relationship with this dynamic, yet persistent substance.

Why Fish Don't Exist w/ Lulu Miller

November 23, 2020 08:22 - 1 hour - 74.3 MB

In this episode of Talk Nerdy, Cara is joined by science reporter, producer, and Radiolab co-host Lulu Miller to talk about her new book, "Why Fish Don't Exist: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of Life." Lulu shares the incredible story of taxonomist David Starr Jordan, and in doing so, opens up the conversation to the power and consequences of imposing order on the world around us in the form of labels, categories, and impossible constraints.

Alternative Facts w/ Asheley Landrum

November 16, 2020 08:08 - 1 hour - 86.8 MB

In this episode of Talk Nerdy, Cara is joined by her old high school pal, psychologist and science communication expert Dr. Asheley Landrum. They discuss why a large portion of the public doesn't believe the scientific consensus on topics like climate change, evolution, vaccines, and COVID-19. From pseudoscience to conspiracy theories to extreme denial of reality, Asheley dives deep into the distrust of authority, political propaganda, and psychosocial pressures that lead to belief in "altern...

Tree Migration w/ Zach St. George

November 09, 2020 08:44 - 1 hour - 67.5 MB

In this episode of Talk Nerdy, Cara is joined by science reporter Zach St. George to talk about his book "The Journeys of Trees: A Story About Forests, People, and the Future." They discuss the phenomenon of forest migration as well as the sometimes misguided yet passionate and heartfelt efforts of environmental activists to secure a lusher, greener future for us all.

Phallacy w/ Emily Willingham

November 02, 2020 01:56 - 1 hour - 60.8 MB

In this episode of Talk Nerdy, Cara is joined by science writer Dr. Emily Willingham to talk about her newest book, "Phallacy: Life Lessons from the Animal Penis." Emily guides Cara through a demystification of the so-called male member, including its imposed relationship to dominance, masculinity, and the vagina (or other counterparts in nature).

Books Bound in Human Flesh w/ Megan Rosenbloom

October 26, 2020 18:57 - 1 hour - 65.2 MB

In this episode of Talk Nerdy, Cara is joined once again by UCLA librarian and Death Salon director Megan Rosenbloom to talk about her new book, "Dark Archives: A Librarian's Investigation into the Science and History of Books Bound in Human Skin." They discuss the rare practice known as anthropodermic bibliopegy, in which published works are covered with the tanned flesh of deceased people. They bust myths, address medical ethics, and get downright spooky just in time for Halloween!

Cystic Fibrosis w/ Bijal Trivedi

October 19, 2020 06:54 - 1 hour - 67.2 MB

In this episode of Talk Nerdy, Cara is joined by science journalist and editor at The Conversation, Bijal Trivedi, to talk about her newest book, "Breath from Salt: A Deadly Genetic Disease, a New Era in Science, and the Patients and Families Who Changed Medicine Forever." They discuss the history of cystic fibrosis as well as the incredible advancements in its treatment that may one day provide a path to curing a host of rare genetic diseases.

Bubonic Plague w/ David K. Randall

October 12, 2020 06:34 - 1 hour - 67.6 MB

In this episode of Talk Nerdy, Cara is joined by Reuters senior reporter David K. Randall to discuss his newest book, "Black Death at the Golden Gate: The Race to Save America from the Bubonic Plague." In telling of the similarities between the 1900 plague and today's coronavirus pandemic, he shares stories about racism, science, and the individual personalities who shaped public policy for better or worse.

The Hot Hand w/ Ben Cohen

October 05, 2020 07:02 - 1 hour - 59.6 MB

In this episode of Talk Nerdy, Cara is joined by Ben Cohen, a sports reporter for the Wall Street Journal and author of "The Hot Hand: The Mystery and Science of Streaks." They talk about whether and when the "hot hand" is a cognitive bias or an actual phenomenon, including its effect on the player who thinks they are on a streak.

Death Denial w/ Caitlin Doughty

September 28, 2020 17:46 - 1 hour - 63.9 MB

In this episode of Talk Nerdy, Cara is joined by Caitlin Doughty (mortician, death positive activist, and author of "Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs? And Other Questions About Dead Bodies." They talk about the denial of death in modern western culture, ways to improve mortality salience, and of course, whether or not your cat will actually eat your eyeballs when you die.

Industrial Espionage w/ Mara Hvistendahl

September 21, 2020 07:45 - 1 hour - 117 MB

In this episode of Talk Nerdy, Cara is joined by Mara Hvistendahl, Pulitzer Prize finalist, investigative reporter for the Intercept, and author of “The Scientist and the Spy: A True Story of China, the FBI, and Industrial Espionage.” Mara tells the thrilling story of a Chinese company’s conspiracy to steal trade secrets from Monsanto and DuPont Pioneer as well as the ethical dangers of America’s counterintelligence efforts.

Science News w/ Maya Ajmera

September 14, 2020 07:32 - 1 hour - 120 MB

In this episode of Talk Nerdy, Cara is joined by the President and CEO of the Society for Science and the Public, as well as the publisher of Science News, Maya Ajmera. They talk about the Society’s mission to promote the understanding and appreciation of science. They also discuss the challenges of such a mission in America’s current landscape of fake news, distrust in scientific institutions, anti-vaccine rhetoric, and politicization of scientific principles.

Guests

Dave Rubin
2 Episodes
Paul Gilmartin
2 Episodes
Phil Plait
2 Episodes
Phil Torres
2 Episodes
Ramesh Srinivasan
2 Episodes
Sean Carroll
2 Episodes
Adam Frank
1 Episode
Alison Becker
1 Episode
Annaka Harris
1 Episode
Ann Druyan
1 Episode
Arthur Benjamin
1 Episode
Brian Greene
1 Episode
Brian Redban
1 Episode
Caitlin Doughty
1 Episode
Carin Bondar
1 Episode
Carl Zimmer
1 Episode
Carrie Nugent
1 Episode
Chris Mooney
1 Episode
Daniel Lieberman
1 Episode
Daniel Suarez
1 Episode
Dava Sobel
1 Episode
Hannah Fry
1 Episode
Helen Czerski
1 Episode
Hemant Mehta
1 Episode
Ivan Oransky
1 Episode
Janna Levin
1 Episode
John Urschel
1 Episode
Kelly Weinersmith
1 Episode
Marcus du Sautoy
1 Episode
Martin Rees
1 Episode
Merlin Tuttle
1 Episode
Michael Habib
1 Episode
Michael Shermer
1 Episode
Michio Kaku
1 Episode
Natalie Panek
1 Episode
Paul Debevec
1 Episode
Richard Prum
1 Episode
Robert Kurson
1 Episode
Robert Sapolsky
1 Episode
Simon Singh
1 Episode
Steven Strogatz
1 Episode
Susan Blackmore
1 Episode