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Brains On! Science podcast for kids - Raaga.com - A World of Music
Brains On! Science podcast for kids

Description

Brains On!® is a science podcast for curious kids and adults from American Public Media. Co-hosted each week by kid scientists and reporters from public radio, we ask questions ranging from the science behind sneezing to how to translate the purr of cats, and go wherever the answers take us. @Brains_On
292 Episodes Play All Episodes
access_time6 days ago
Pour yourself a nice glass of water, and take a close look at it. Seems pretty boring, right? It’s clear, doesn’t have a taste or smell, and just sits there. It you were trying to come up with the most ordinary thing imaginable, water might be right up there with shoelaces or potato chips. But behind it’s bland appearance, a wonderfully weird substance is hiding in plain sight. In this episode of Brains On, we explore some of the weird things water can do, like move against gravity! Or cut right through rock! We learn some of the reasons why water is so weird, and fill you in on how you can learn more about the water in your neighborhood.
How is water weird? Let’s start with a water oddity that’s easy to see. Ice, the solid form of water - floats on it’s liquid! Substances can exist in 3 forms or phases: gas, liquid, and solid. These phases are different because the atoms or molecules, what makes up all the stuff in the universe, are arranged differently. Gas molecules move around really quickly, and have lots of space between them. Liquid molecules are much closer together, but still moving and flexible. Solids are packed tight, the atoms right up next to each other. Almost everything gets denser as it moves from gas to liquid to solid. But not water! When water solidifies into ice, it becomes less dense and floats!



NOAA / Flickr

An Arctic iceberg captured on camera aboard the NOAA Ship Fairweather in 2012.




Another weird factoid - hot water seems to freeze faster than cold water! That’s right, in a race to the icy finish line, hot water will get there faster than cold water, despite having further along the thermometer to travel! This phenomenon is known as the Mpemba effect, named after Erasto Mpemba, a Tanzanian high school student who observed this phenomenon while making ice cream! Scientists still aren’t confident they know why this happens.



SOFIZMAT

Erasto Mpemba, the Tanzanian high school student who discovered firsthand that hot water freezes faster than cold water while making ice cream back in the 1960s.




Water is what’s called a “universal solvent” which means it is really good at dissolving stuff. Table salt? No problem. Vitamins and minerals? Easy peasy. A vertical mile of rock? Give water enough time and it can carve the Grand Canyon. Water can climb upwards against gravity, absorb an unusually high amount of heat energy, and transport essential nutrients throughout our body.
Why is water so weird? Well it turns out that it boils down to the forces that hold water together. Like everything, water is made up of atoms, those tiny-building blocks that make up all the stuff in the universe. Atoms combine to form molecules, and in the case of water, two hydrogen atoms combine with one oxygen atom to form H2O!
Every H20 molecule has an end with a positive charge and an end with a negative charge, just like a magnet does. The Oxygen atom has a small negative charge, and the two Hydrogen atoms have an even smaller positive charge. And just like a magnet, negative and positive ends attract one another. These small attractions are called hydrogen bonds, and are indicated by the dotted lines in this picture.



Clear Biology

Water molecules: Dotted lines indicate hydrogen bonds




These attractions are called hydrogen bonds because they only form between hydrogen atoms and other charged molecules. These Hydrogen bonds between the different water molecules are a lot weaker than the bonds that hold the two hydrogen atom to the oxygen atom of a single H2O molecule. It’s kind of like the difference between a firm, long lasting handshake and a quick high-five. Plus, Hydrogen bonds exist for just a fraction of a second, 10 picoseconds to be exact (a picosecond is to one second, what one second is to  31,700 years!)
So you’ve got all these water molecules zooming around, “high-fiving” their neighbors, and being pulled together just a little bit more by hydrogen bonds. This little extra pull means water molecules can to stick really well to each other. And it helps them stick to other stuff without getting stuck, since the hydrogen bonds are so easily broken. It also explains why water expands when it freezes, since these H-bonds get “stuck” below 32 ℉, leaving more room between the molecules and making ice less dense than liquid water!
Check out this video to learn more:













What makes water so weird is also what makes it so essential for life. In fact, in addition to supporting life by transporting nutrients and energy, helping our cells do their work, filling the gaps between cells, and even making up the bulk of our bodies (about 70%!), water was likely a crucial player in the origin of life itself! Listen to the podcast to hear all about it!

This episode was powered by the Water Main, a new initiative from American Public Media focused on connecting people to their water resources. Find out more at www.watermain.org
access_time13 days ago
For the past few months, we’ve been working on a top secret project and we’re so excited we finally get to share it with you! It’s a new show called Smash Boom Best and it’s nothing but debates. Sort of like the ones you’ve heard on Brains On, but with a few new twists. It’s a little faster paced, a little sillier and we hope you’ll think it’s a lot of fun.
Today: Wings out, eyes wide -- we’re swooping in on a battle between a perfect pair of creatures of the night. Which is cooler: Bats? Or owls? We’re going to hear lots of facts and feelings from our debaters: Brandi Brown and Katie McVay. Who will be chosen the Smash Boom Best? Listen to hear what our judge decides and then head over to smashboom.org to share your opinion with us! And subscribe to Smash Boom Best wherever you get your podcasts to hear the rest of this season's debates.
Click here to vote for who you think won the debate! Team Owl or Team Bat?
access_time20 days ago
What was the first robot? What is artificial intelligence? How do robots "learn?" In this special episode, we have pieces from our live Robotstravaganza show in Boston. We meet some awesome robots (including one that's very cuddly), debate whether robots are good for humanity or bad, and find out what robots can learn from nature. Plus a mystery sound and a Moment of Um that answers the question, "How do oysters make pearls?
access_time1 month ago
Paint goes on wet, then it dries — and it’s stuck there. But how does it stick? We’re going to zoom way in to find out. We’ll visit a forensic chemist, a painter who makes his own paint and a party happening at the molecular level.
access_time1 month ago
Paint goes on wet, then it dries -- and it's stuck there. But how does it stick? We're going to zoom way in to find out. We'll visit a forensic chemist, a painter who makes his own paint and a party happening at the molecular level. Plus a brand new Moment of Um answers the question: "How does sand get on the beach?" And we'll add a brand new group of listeners to the Brains Honor Roll. This episode of Brains On is sponsored by Mr. Clean Magic Eraser (mrclean.com/brainson) and Marc's Mission (wayofthewarriorkid.com)
access_time2 months ago
Pollen, peanuts, dust mites. These things aren't poisonous - so why do some people's bodies act like they are? In this episode, we'll find out what happens during an allergic reaction, explore why only some people have allergies and hear about new treatments. Plus: a brand new Moment of Um answers the question "Why do sunsets have so many colors?" and we'll read a new group of listeners to be added to the Brains Honor Roll! Brains On is sponsored today by Acer Swift 5 (visit acer.com, click on "Store", and enter coupon code BRAINSON at checkout to receive 10% off) and Mabel's Labels (mabelslabels.com/brainson
access_time2 months ago
Pollen, peanuts, dust mites. These things aren't poisonous - so why do some people's bodies act like they are? In this episode, we'll find out what happens during an allergic reaction, explore why only some people have allergies and hear about new treatments. Plus: a brand new Moment of Um answers the question "Why do sunsets have so many colors?" and we'll read a new group of listeners to be added to the Brains Honor Roll! Brains On is sponsored today by Acer Swift 5 (visit acer.com, click on "Store", and enter coupon code BRAINSON at checkout to receive 10% off) and Mabel's Labels (mabelslabels.com/brainson)
access_time2 months ago
Sounds abound all around. Do you think your ears are up to the task? We have an episode chock full of nothing but mystery sounds to challenge and stretch your listening powers.

Also, did you hear that the Brains On store is open? We couldn't be happier with the t-shirts and other goodies we have to offer. Have a look! brainson.org/shop

Brains On is sponsored today by ButcherBox. Go to butcherbox.com/brainson and enter "BRAINSON" at checkout

squarespace.com enter offer code BRAINSON
access_time2 months ago
Sounds abound all around. Do you think your ears are up to the task? We have an episode chock full of nothing but mystery sounds to challenge and stretch your listening powers. Also, did you hear that the Brains On store is open? We couldn't be happier with the t-shirts and other goodies we have to offer. Have a look! Brains On is sponsored today by: • ButcherBox (butcherbox.com/brainson and enter "BRAINSON" at checkout) • Squarespace (enter offer code BRAINSON)
access_time2 months ago
Our lungs are great at getting oxygen out of the air, but if we needed to do that underwater, we'd be sunk. So how do fish, shrimp, jellyfish and other marine animals breathe underwater? And what happens when there is no oxygen in the water for them to breathe? We answer those questions plus a brand new Moment of Um tackles this sticky one: "Why do we have earwax?" And a new group of listeners gets inducted into the Brains Honor Roll! Give a listen!Today Brains On is sponsored by: • Acer Swift 5 (acer.com -- enter BRAINSON at checkout for 10% discount) • Mr. Clean Magic Eraser (mrclean.com/brainson) Music in this episode by Good Old Neon.
access_time2 months ago
Our lungs are great at getting oxygen out of the air, but if we needed to do that underwater, we'd be sunk. So how do fish, shrimp, jellyfish and other marine animals breathe underwater? And what happens when there is no oxygen in the water for them to breathe? We answer those questions plus a brand new Moment of Um tackles this sticky one: "Why do we have earwax?" And a new group of listeners gets inducted into the Brains Honor Roll! Give a listen!

Today Brains On is sponsored by:
• Acer Swift 5 (acer.com -- enter BRAINSON at checkout for 10% discount)
• Mr. Clean Magic Eraser (mrclean.com/brainson)
Music in this episode by Good Old Neon.
access_time2 months ago
Sometimes we're in the mood for a good story, so we're turning our show over to Circle Round this week. It's a podcast produced by WBUR in Boston that tells folktales from around the world. These stories are funny, surprising, suspenseful and downright charming. Here's one we think you'll dig. It stars a kid who loves making jokes, so you know it's up our alley. In the meantime, we're hard at work on some exciting new episodes -- including a brand new show. We'll be able to tell you more about in a few weeks and we CAN'T WAIT to share it with you. We are really, really excited.
access_time2 months ago
Sometimes we're in the mood for a good story, so we're turning our show over to Circle Round this week. It's a podcast produced by WBUR in Boston that tells folktales from around the world. These stories are funny, surprising, suspenseful and downright charming. Here's one we think you'll dig. It stars a kid who loves making jokes, so you know it's up our alley. In the meantime, we're hard at work on some exciting new episodes -- including a brand new show. We'll be able to tell you more about in a few weeks and we CAN'T WAIT to share it with you. We are really, really excited.
access_time3 months ago
Circadian rhythms keep our bodies on schedule. But what about the rest of the animal and plant world? Turns out, most living things run on similar cycles. In this episode we take a look at why some animals hibernate. There’s also an interview with a plant. Wait, what?!? You read that right: A PLANT!!! All that and a trip back to pre-history, to see how staying up late might have helped mammals survive all those dinosaurs. Three-word hint: nocturnal bottleneck hypothesis.
access_time3 months ago
Circadian rhythms keep our bodies on schedule. But what about the rest of the animal and plant world? Turns out, most living things run on similar cycles. In this episode we take a look at why some animals hibernate. There's also an interview with a plant. Wait, what?!? You read that right: A PLANT!!! All that and a trip back to pre-history, to see how staying up late might have helped mammals survive all those dinosaurs. Three-word hint: nocturnal bottleneck hypothesis.
access_time3 months ago
You know how important music can be when it comes to gaming. But what if you choose to play without music? Or, what if you replace the music with your own soundtrack? How does that affect your playing? We're going to dig into the psychology of video game music, explain how the interactivity of video game music works and figure out what "8-bit" means. You can find all of that in this episode, plus a new group of names added to the Brains Honor Roll and brand new Moment of Um answers the question, "How do cheetahs run so fast?
access_time3 months ago
If you’ve ever played a video game, you know how important music can be when it comes to gaming. But what if you choose to play without music? How does that affect your playing? We’re going to dig into the psychology of video game music, explain how the interactivity of video game music works and figure out what “8-bit” means.
access_time3 months ago
The near 24-hour-cycle that keeps us on track is conducted by the suprachiasmatic nucleus. It’s a tiny part of our brains, but it’s super, super important.
access_time3 months ago
Our bodies are filled with tiny clocks. Down to the cellular level, they tick and tock and stay in sync with the light and dark cycles of the sun. These near 24-hour-cycles are known as our circadian rhythm. Do you want to know the best time of day to be productive or exercise or do your homework? In this episode, we'll take a look at the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) -- the great conductor of our circadian rhythm. Plus, the number of screens we look at every day keeps growing. Find out how light from these screens might affect circadian rhythms and what you can do about it. What if every 24 hours, you saw the sun rise and set 16 times? That's what happens to astronauts orbiting the earth. Doug Wheelock (@Astro_Wheels) gives a first-hand account. Throughout history, cycles of light and dark have been celebrated, revered and commemorated. Archeoastronomer Anthony Aveni guides us through a few of these events. All that plus a listener-submitted Mystery Sound from down under. This episode is the first of a two-parter looking at circadian rhythm. The second part will look at how these cycles affect plants and animals too!
access_time3 months ago
Think about it: the answer to the question “Is it opposite day?” will always be no. So how do you figure out if it is, in fact, opposite day?
access_time3 months ago
Think about it: the answer to the question "Is it opposite day?" will always be no. It's a head-scratcher. So how do you figure out if it is, in fact, opposite day? We talk to two philosophers who walk us through how questions like these can bend and twist the truth -- and our minds. We learn about the sinister-sounding "Liar Paradox." And we find out that it's not only our brains that use logic, it's used by the machines all around us too. Plus: A brand new mystery sound and an answer to the question: How do erasers erase?
access_time3 months ago
In this milestone of an episode, we ask why people seem to love the number 100 so much. We also learn some amazing tricks involving the number 100 and fan favorite Gungador goes from Most Epic Fighting Battle Realm to a much more challenging setting: high school.
access_time3 months ago
In this milestone of an episode, we ask why people seem to love the number 100 so much. We also learn some amazing tricks involving the number 100 from a mathemagician. And fan favorite Gungador goes from Most Epic Fighting Battle Realm to a much more challenging setting: high school.
access_time4 months ago
For humans, being left-handed or right-handed can definitely affect the way we experience life. Usually, that mismatch is just a minor nuisance — but sometimes, sidedness can change the future of an entire species, as is the case for Sandy.
access_time4 months ago
Sandy is a mutant snail whose shell coils to the left instead of the right. For humans, being left-handed or right-handed can definitely affect the way we experience life, though that mismatch is usually just a minor nuisance. But sometimes, sidedness can change the future of an entire species.
access_time4 months ago
Two of our planet’s most amazing animals go head to head in our latest debate.
access_time4 months ago
Two of Earth's most amazing animals go head to head in our latest debate. We're asking you to decide which animal reigns supreme. Is it the eight-armed, three hearted, shape-shifting octopus? Or the speed swimming, echo-locating, super-jumping dolphin? Listen along as Marc argues for #TeamOctopus and Sanden fights for #TeamDolphin. We'll learn amazing facts about both sides along the way. Plus an aquatic Mystery Sound, some deep-sea stand up comedy and a Moment of Um answering why flamingos are pink featuring Flora Lichtman from Gimlet Media's Every Little Thing.
access_time4 months ago
If you’ve ever seen a dog, you know they like to sniff — the ground, people, each other’s butts. They like to smell just about everything. But why? We’re digging into the science of smell and how dogs are able to decode things we can’t even begin to imagine.
access_time4 months ago
As we celebrate the 200th anniversary of the novel’s publication, we look at how Mary Shelley was inspired by science and how the lessons of the book still resonate with the scientific world today.
access_time4 months ago
Frankenstein has become a pop culture mainstay and it all started off as a novel written by an 18-year-old woman written in the early 1800s. As we celebrate the 200th anniversary of the novel's publication, we look at how Mary Shelley was inspired by science and how the lessons of the book still resonate with the scientific world today. And for more on electricity, check out our four-part series from December.
access_time5 months ago
Ancient dinosaurs were some of the biggest creatures to ever stomp the Earth. But how and why did they get so giant? Was there more food to help them grow? Was the planet itself somehow different, allowing them to reach epic proportions? In this episode we talk to dino-experts Femke Holwerda and Brian Switek…
access_time5 months ago
Ancient dinosaurs were some of the biggest creatures to ever stomp the Earth. But how and why did they get so giant? Was there more food to help them grow? Was the planet itself somehow different, allowing them to reach epic proportions? In this episode we talk to dino-experts Femke Holwerda and Brian Switek for answers. We also tackle some other questions, like what color were dinosaurs and how were the first ones discovered? Speaking of which, listen for an introduction to one of the most important fossil finders of the 19th century, Mary Anning. All this plus a Mystery Sound and a Moment of Um answering why the sun is so hot.
access_time5 months ago
In this episode we ponder some big questions from Brains On listeners about the vastness of space.
access_time5 months ago
Have you ever wondered what's beyond the edge of the universe? Or better yet: IS there an edge of the universe? And what does it mean that the universe is expanding? In this episode we ponder some big questions from Brains On listeners about the vastness of space. We also cover what we know and don't know about gravity. All that plus a brand new mystery sound, Moment of Um (do we get taller when we jump?) and honor roll!
access_time5 months ago
Your body is making and using electricity all the time — but how do we do it? We’ll take a look at how bioelectricity helps our brain sends signals and our hearts pump blood. And we’ll learn about some amazing animals that use electricity in weird and wild ways.
access_time5 months ago
Your body is making and using electricity all the time -- but how do we do it? We'll take a look at how bioelectricity helps our brain sends signals and our hearts pump blood. And we'll learn about some amazing animals that use electricity in weird and wild ways. (This is the fourth of a four-part series)
access_time5 months ago
Batteries are everywhere — they’re in our phones, our computers, our cars, our toys. But how do they work? To find out, we talk to a scientist who’s making really big batteries to store renewable energy, another who’s working on really small ones to power our phones, and we play in a park with a dog.
access_time5 months ago
Batteries are everywhere -- they're in our phones, our computers, our cars, our toys. But how do they work? To find out, we talk to a scientist who's making really big batteries to store renewable energy, another who's working on really small ones to power our phones, and we play in a park with a dog. All that, plus the mystery sound! (This is the third episode in a four part series.)
access_time6 months ago
We use electricity all the time, but where exactly does it come from? How does it get to our homes? It’s a fascinating journey that can start hundreds of miles from your outlet.
access_time6 months ago
We use electricity all the time, but where exactly does it come from? How does it get to our homes? It's a fascinating journey that can start hundreds of miles from your outlet. We'll trace the path electricity takes from the power plant to your light bulb. We'll also learn what it's like without electricity and we'll hear about the rivalry between two great inventors, Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla.
access_time6 months ago
What makes your hair stand on end? Why does your skirt stick your tights? Why do you get zapped by electric shocks when you go to touch a doorknob?
access_time6 months ago
What makes your hair stand on end? Why does your skirt stick your tights? Why do you get zapped by electric shocks when you go to touch a doorknob? We answer those questions as we explore the science of static electricity. We'll also learn about the 18th-century parties where the goal was to shock, very literally, yourself and your loved ones. Plus: The first event in the first-ever Brains On Electric Games! It's a dramatic tennis match between Benjamin Franklin and Jean-Antoine Nollet.
access_time6 months ago
Where did language come from? Is it possible to know without traveling back in time? And how do babies learn to speak? In this episode we have the answers to those questions and we'll hear how the word "silly" has evolved over the last several hundred years. Plus: A brand new Moment of Um answers the question, "Why is blood red if it looks blue in your veins?" And you'll hear the latest group to be added to the Brains Honor Roll!
access_time6 months ago
Is it possible to know about the origin of language without traveling back in time? And how do babies learn to speak?
access_time6 months ago
How are mountains made? What causes an earthquake? How does hot lava come bubbling up? The answer in each case is…tectonic plates!
access_time6 months ago
How are mountains made? What causes an earthquake? How does hot lava come bubbling up? The answer in each case is tectonic plates! These are giant, moving slabs of rock covering the Earth's surface. When they slide past or smash into each other it shakes the planet. But, they also helped shape the land we live on. Find out how they work with an extreme cooking demonstration (you'll never see peanut M&Ms the same way). Meet the scientist who thought long ago all the continents were smushed together in a super-continent (spoiler: he was right!). Plus an interview with a USGS scientist about what our planet might look like in a million years. All that plus a mystery sound and a Moment of Um about stinky breath. Listen up and rock on!
access_time6 months ago
A few weeks ago, we got two emails that were so similar and so intriguing we had no choice but to investigate.
access_time7 months ago
A few weeks ago, we got two emails that were so similar and so intriguing we had no choice but to investigate. They both basically asked this: Is a fly on a bus flying as fast as the bus is moving? Or is just hovering? And why doesn't it need a seatbelt? Turns out Einstein wondered about the same kind of things.
access_time7 months ago
The natural world can be broken down into atoms. And those atoms can be broken down even further. Will the discovery of smaller and smaller particles ever stop?
access_time7 months ago
Molecules make up everything around us and they are very, very small. But those molecules are made of atoms, which are even smaller. And then those atoms are made up of protons, neutrons and electrons, which are even smaller. And protons are made up of even smaller particles called quarks. Quarks, like electrons, are fundamental particles, which means they can't be broken down into smaller parts. Or can they? In this episode we parse out the subatomic by talking with a physicist from Fermilab. We also hear how scientists' love for glass tubes aided in the discovery of electrons. Our Moment of Um tackles this puzzler: why is chocolate poisonous to dogs? All that and a smoking hot Mystery Sound.
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