Unexplainable

Unexplainable is a science show about everything we don’t know. Host Noam Hassenfeld is joined by an array of experts and Vox reporters each week to look at the most fascinating unanswered questions in science and the mind-bending ways scientists are trying to answer them. New episodes drop every Wednesday starting March 10. From Vox and the Vox Media Podcast Network.

Science
Life Sciences
Natural Sciences
1
How Venus went to hell
Venus is the hottest, scariest place in the solar system, but billions of years ago it may have been a lot like Earth, complete with an ocean of water.
24 min
2
Mind readers
Will scientists ever fully understand the human brain?
29 min
3
A brainless yellow goo that does math
Slime molds can navigate mazes, control robots, and make complicated decisions, all without a central nervous system.
22 min
4
Why whales get beached
Every year, thousands of marine mammals end up trapped on beaches, but it’s often hard to figure out why.
19 min
5
Talking to ghosts
Why do so many people think they can see and hear ghosts, and what does that say about our conscious experience of the world?
29 min
6
Honey, we shrunk the birds
A recent study of tens of thousands of birds has shown that birds are growing smaller over time.
24 min
7
Nobel Prize 2.0
The Nobel Prize has rewarded some amazing discoveries.
23 min
8
The James Webb Time Machine
To look into deep space is to look back in time.
26 min
9
The James Webb Space Telescope
After decades of planning, NASA is finally (finally!) set to launch the successor to the Hubble.
23 min
10
What causes Alzheimer’s?
For decades, Alzheimer’s researchers have been stubbornly pursuing a single theory, but they’re starting to wonder: is this narrow focus the reason we still don’t have a cure?
27 min
11
Havana syndrome
Several years after US diplomats in Cuba claimed they were attacked by an invisible weapon, similar incidents continue to be reported around the world.
25 min
12
Getting to the bottom of butts
Once upon a time, there were no anuses.
23 min
13
The mysteries of endometriosis
This common chronic condition — where tissue that normally grows in the uterus grows elsewhere in the body — is barely understood.
27 min
14
A 150-year-old human
Two scientists. A billion-dollar wager. One unanswered question: Is the first human who will live to 150 already alive?
27 min
15
How low can you go?
Earlier this year, Nicole Yamase explored the bottom of the Challenger Deep, the deepest place in the ocean, where few people have ever been.
25 min
16
The tornado problem
8 minutes, 24 seconds.
21 min
17
Moon poop
Astronauts left something on the moon that could help unlock the origins of life itself.
21 min
18
Hot pink flying squirrels
An accidental discovery on a nighttime walk led one scientist and his team to wonder: How many mammals glow under ultraviolet light?
27 min
19
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.
28 min
20
How do animals know where to go?
25 min
21
Invasion of the jumping worms
These worms are fast, they’re mysterious, and they’re quickly changing North American ecosystems.
23 min
22
The many heights of Mount Everest
How tall is the world’s tallest mountain?
26 min
23
Unexplainable Flying Objects
UFOs are real, but that doesn’t mean they’re aliens.
29 min
24
The hunt for a new Pluto
Something strange is going on at the outer reaches of the solar system.
30 min
25
Cloudy with a chance of chaos
It’s surprisingly hard to predict how clouds form, move, and change.
25 min
26
A new force of nature?
Last month, physicists at Fermilab in Illinois found that tiny subatomic particles called muons were wobbling strangely.
22 min
27
Placebos work. Why?
For decades, scientists thought that placebos only worked if patients didn’t know they were taking them.
23 min
28
A virus that could heal people
In 2016, the UN declared antibiotic-resistant bacteria the “greatest and most urgent global risk.” Our best hope just might be phages,
21 min
29
The Twilight Zone of the ocean
A dive into its mysterious depths
24 min
30
The viral ghosts of long Covid
Scientists don’t understand why so many people suffer from Covid-19 symptoms for months, long after they stop testing positive.
22 min
31
Is a ton of psychology just ... wrong?
Psych!
27 min
32
It’s ball lightning!
A perfect sphere of crackling light
23 min
33
Skeleton Lake
When scientists examined the DNA of ancient bones found near a Himalayan lake, they were forced to confront a seemingly impossible conclusion.
25 min
34
Journey Toward the Center of the Earth
What lies beneath our feet?
25 min
35
No one nose
Believe it or not, scientists still don't know how the sense of smell works.
26 min
36
Most of the universe is missing
Scientists all over the world are searching for dark matter: an invisible, untouchable substance that holds our universe together.
30 min
37
Introducing Unexplainable
2 min