Unexplainable

Unexplainable takes listeners right up to the edge of what we know … and then keeps on going. Host Noam Hassenfeld and an all-star team of reporters — Byrd Pinkerton, Meradith Hoddinott, and Mandy Nguyen — tackle scientific mysteries, unanswered questions, and everything we learn by diving into the unknown. New episodes drop every Wednesday.

Science
Life Sciences
Natural Sciences
51
Expecting: Baby brain
Caring for a child seems to change parents’ brains.
25 min
52
Expecting: Pregnancy souvenirs
Fetuses leave cells behind in their parents' bodies, where they braid themselves into tissues, and remain, for years.
34 min
53
The tornado problem
2023 has been a record-setting year for tornadoes, and these storms came with barely any warning.
22 min
54
How to resurrect a mammoth
Scientists are hard at work trying to bring back woolly mammoths (and dodos).
30 min
55
Live show, dead dinosaurs
We did a live show!
34 min
56
Talking trees
Studies suggesting trees communicate through an elaborate underground fungal network have captured imaginations.
21 min
57
Your questions, unexplained
This week, we tackle three listener questions — on sleepwalking, deja vu, and Earth’s magnetic field.
24 min
58
What's so funny?
Scientists are digging into what makes something funny.
16 min
59
Origins: The meaning of “life”
For every definition of life, there’s a creature that sends us right back to the drawing board.
23 min
60
Origins: The first living thing
How did life on Earth start?
25 min
61
Origins: How did Earth get its water?
Life as we know it needs water, but scientists can’t figure out where Earth’s water came from.
23 min
62
What is love?
Can science help us predict whether a relationship will succeed?
30 min
63
Why we hiccup
Listeners told us that eating baby carrots or telling lies can bring on the hiccups. Burping or kissing can make them stop. Um, what?
27 min
64
We booped an asteroid
Last fall, a NASA spacecraft slammed into an asteroid to test a way to avert a disaster on Earth. So are we safe now?
20 min
65
Your creepy, crawly roommates
Our houses are homes to hidden worlds of bugs.
24 min
66
Henrietta Leavitt and the end of the universe
In the early 1900s, Henrietta Leavitt made one of the most important discoveries in the history of astronomy: a yardstick to measure distances to faraway stars.
29 min
67
Plants with eyes?
In the temperate rainforests of Chile, there is a vine that can shapeshift to copy the look of other plants.
24 min
68
Unexplainable or Not: Bikes, planes, ice skates
Our game show is back!
27 min
69
Your gut's feelings
How we feel emotionally may be influenced by unseen troves of microbial life that live inside us. Is it possible to harness this gut power?
26 min
70
Nuclear fusion breaks through
Back in January, we spoke to a scientist at the National Ignition Facility about how close they were to achieving what’s been called “one of the most impressive scientific feats of the 21st century.”
28 min
71
Basic instinct
How do animals know how to do things like spin a web or build a dam? A neuroscientist argues it's not “instinct.” Something bigger is going on.
26 min
72
Why we cry
Humans seem to be the only animals that cry from emotion. What makes our tears so special?
21 min
73
Can we live in space?
NASA just launched the Artemis program, a series of missions that will eventually take humans back to the moon, and beyond.
29 min
74
Holding on to power
A mountain, a tower, a thermos full of molten salt: These are the batteries that could power our renewable future.
28 min
75
Redefining death
Death used to be fairly self-evident, but new technologies have forced us to ask: When is someone actually dead?
30 min