Paper Boys

53 EpisodesProduced by Paper BoysWebsite

Each week, two PhD students read the research papers behind headline science news and give you the details you can't get in the stories.

Support Paper Boys

Give back to your favorite content creators.

financial supportDonate

episodes iconAll Episodes

How does an artificial tongue taste whiskey?

August 22nd, 2019


For the average person, the words used to describe whiskey can seem strange, if not completely arbitrary. Dignified vs. subtle, austere vs. rich, mouth-coatingly winey...the entire process of tasting feels extremely …

Can you hide secret messages in music?

August 15th, 2019


Check out the paper, news articles, and more at

Like the show? Want more every month? Fan of universal constants? Check out!

Do you really need 10,000 steps a day?

August 8th, 2019


Nearly everyone has heard the advice “walk 10,000 steps per day to be healthy!” As fitness trackers like FitBit have grown in popularity, many people …

How is Neuralink hacking the brain?

August 1st, 2019


News channels have been buzzing with the new press releases from Elon Musk’s brain-computer interface company, Neuralink. The company hopes to …

Was Stonehenge built using pig fat?

July 25th, 2019


Stonehenge has puzzled people for centuries. What was the purpose of such a massive rock formation? And how were people able to move such large …

Can your brain see into the future?

July 18th, 2019


Recent research has sparked popular news headlines about the brain “seeing what’s around the corner.” Can your brain actually look around corners? …

How can you measure the expansion of the universe?

July 11th, 2019


In the early 20th century, Einstein, Hubble, and other scientists confirmed the universe was expanding. With the exception of a few nearby galaxies, nearly all galaxies are moving away from us. Scientists have long been …

Does caffeine make you burn fat?

July 4th, 2019


Most people don’t need an excuse to drink caffeine in the morning. Pick your poison: whether it’s coffee, tea, or an extra large Red Bull, caffeine’s …

Can seals learn to sing and talk?

June 27th, 2019


Researchers have long been puzzled about how human language evolved. Humans’ ability to create complex, flexible, spoken language stands out in the …

Is the Critical Brain Hypothesis correct?

June 20th, 2019


In the 1980s, neuroscientists put forth the Critical Brain Hypothesis, which suggests our brain operates on a teetering edge between different "phases" of operation. These phase changes characterize the way we think …

Does human endurance have a hard limit?

June 13th, 2019


Humans love to test their limits. Some people run marathons, race triathlons, or climb the world’s highest peaks. All of these endeavors are challenging, but can we quantitatively compare how each undertaking pushes the …

Did supernovae make us walk upright?

June 6th, 2019


Recent science news has been covering a paper drawing a connection between supernovae and the advent of human ancestors walking upright. The new headlines went viral, but their short titles made it hard to understand …

How deep does "bomb carbon" go?

May 30th, 2019


Nuclear weapons have obviously had a big impact on the world since their development more than 70 years ago. But new research on the diets of small crustaceans in the Mariana Trench--the deepest known point in the world …

Are synthetic genomes in our future?

May 23rd, 2019


A huge breakthrough of the last few decades is our ability to sequence genomes - pulling out the order of bases in our DNA to understand exactly what …

Are moonquakes reshaping the Moon?

May 16th, 2019


When people think of the moon, they often envision it as a cold, static body. However, when the Apollo moon missions landed on the moon’s surface, …

How bad is the Replication Crisis? feat. Ood Gallifrey from Occultae Veritatis

May 9th, 2019


The so-called Replication Crisis has plagued all areas of academia, and especially psychology, in the last few decades. The astonishing number of …

Is there a wrong side of the time zone?

May 2nd, 2019


Daylight Savings Time gets a bad rap every year when it's time to turn the clocks forward - it's bad for your health, it's bad for the economy...but DST has a friend no one warned you about: sunset time. Later sunsets …

Can you bring a dead brain back to life?

April 25th, 2019


Once an animal dies, there isn't much hope of bringing it back to life - especially when that animal is a slaughtered pig. There has been past research into brain activity after death, but the brain has to be …

Do mosquitoes hate Skrillex?

April 18th, 2019


Mosquitoes are the deadliest animal on the planet (which we all know from Episode 10 of Paper Boys, of course!) so scientists are always looking for ways to stop their spread of diseases. Over the past several decades, …

How do you image a black hole?

April 11th, 2019


This week, the Event Horizon Telescope unveiled something truly groundbreaking - the first ever direct image of a black hole. The telescope …

Are eggs really bad for you?

April 4th, 2019


It's one of the most controversial topics in all of diet science: are eggs good or bad for you? It seems there are contradicting studies all the time - one day eggs are a superfood, the next day eggs will give you a …

Does space affect male and female astronauts differently?

March 28th, 2019


It's long been known that going to space can have negative effects on the health of astronauts. Space is a harsh environment with too much radiation …

Did F-words come from a change in diet?

March 21st, 2019


You may not realize it, but having an overbite makes it a lot easier to say words with "f" and "v" in them. Go ahead, bring your lower teeth forward and try saying an F-word (no, not that one) - it's noticeably harder. …

Why does pain hurt?

March 14th, 2019


When you touch a hot stove, you reflexively pull your hand away in an instant. If you get burned (and you're like us), you'll grunt and whine about …

Is Titan's organic atmosphere coming from inside?

March 7th, 2019


Titan is the only moon in the solar system that has an atmosphere, and its origin is still a hotly studied mystery. However, ESA's Rosetta mission …

How did tardigrades become immortal?

February 28th, 2019


It seems every few months, a news article pops up talking about the indestructible Tardigrade - otherwise known as the "water bear" or "moss piglet." These resilient little animals can survive radiation in space, …

Are female brains really "more youthful?"

February 21st, 2019


Some clues have indicated that female brains may stave off aging better than male brains, such as better cognitive ability later in life and longer life expectancies. However, the reason behind these observations …

Can you understand talking brain waves?

February 14th, 2019


Brain-computer interfaces promise to change everything about our lives in the future, but are still in their early infancy technology-wise. However, …

How did the Curiosity rover weigh a mountain on Mars?

February 7th, 2019


The Curiosity rover on Mars has some pretty amazing experiments aboard, but curiously enough never had a gravimeter, a device used for measuring the …

How can 3D printed filters improve chemotherapy?

January 31st, 2019


Even though it's our best way of fighting cancer today, chemotherapy can be extremely damaging to the human body. The drugs spread through your entire bloodstream just to target one small tumor. Scientists may have …

Why is the giant ice disk in Maine spinning?

January 24th, 2019


There's a giant ice disk hanging out in the Presumpscot River in Westbrook, Maine that's garnered international attention, and rightfully so - it's …

Can an LED control your nervous system?

January 17th, 2019


Optogenetics is a breakthrough technology that you may not have heard of. So what exactly is it and how might it change our future? James brings in …

Did Leonardo da Vinci have strabismus?

January 10th, 2019


When you look at Da Vinci's art, it's not hard to see why he's hailed as a genius. But he may have had a little trick up his sleeve that helped him see the world a little differently than most people, in the form of an …

How often did humans breed with Neanderthals?

January 3rd, 2019


It's long been known that many modern humans have around 2% Neanderthal in their DNA. However, scientists don't have an exact answer for how it got there. James brings in a paper that gets closer to an answer by …

Does negative mass explain dark matter?

December 27th, 2018


Cosmologists claim that all the matter we can see in the universe really only accounts for 5% of everything that's out there - the other 95% is …

How does an "ion plane" actually fly?

December 20th, 2018


Airplanes are responsible for 10% of the carbon footprint of the US. Recently the news reported on a new "ion plane" that could revolutionize the …

Did climate change cause the "Great Dying?"

December 13th, 2018


The worst mass extinction in known history happened 250 million years ago, wiping out an astonishing 96% of all marine life. Scientists have offered …

Could you prove you're human in one word?

December 6th, 2018


Hypothetical scenario: you and a robot are before a judge who cannot see you. You each must pick one word from the english dictionary to give to the judge. Based on these two words, the judge will decide who is human, …

How hard was the InSight Mars landing?

November 29th, 2018


It seems everyone and their mother watched the InSight lander touching down on Mars this past monday, and it was impossible to turn on the TV without hearing that the landing phase is a big challenge. But while the …

Is paralysis a thing of the past?

November 22nd, 2018


Most paralysis patients are told that if they can't regain the ability to walk in 6 months they will never walk again. Then how did three research …

Is Oumuamua an alien spacecraft?

November 15th, 2018


Last year, astronomers discovered a bizarre rock from outside our solar system zipping past Earth. This year, two researchers have made the …

Does cloud seeding work?

November 8th, 2018


What does a phytoplankton virus have to do with the annual snowfall at a ski resort? It turns out they're more related than you think! James brings in two papers on cloud seeding that explore the ways scientists have …

How many faces do you know?

November 1st, 2018


How many different people could you recognize if you passed them on the street? As it turns out, this is a question science had never answered until …

Should we kill all the mosquitoes?

October 25th, 2018


Did you know mosquitoes are the deadliest animal on Earth? (Neither did we!) With gene editing, it may be possible to eradicate these bugs that transmit diseases to humans...but is it a good idea to kill an entire …

Can we terraform Mars?

October 18th, 2018


From Carl Sagan to Elon Musk, people have discussed making Mars more like Earth through terraforming. But are we sure that Mars even has the ingredients we need to transform it? Charlie brings in a paper that may …

Can you hear meteors?

October 11th, 2018


When you wish upon a star, you'd be freaked out if you heard it falling. Witnesses reporting to hear the sound of meteors have been called crazy for centuries, but James brings in new research that may prove the …

Magnetic fields can blow up your lab

October 4th, 2018


Everyone knows about magnetic fields, but very few people know what they really are and what they're capable of. Charlie brings in a paper from an experiment that broke a magnetic field world record...and blew itself …

Are microwave weapons attacking the US embassy?

September 27th, 2018


US embassy workers abroad have been reporting strange sicknesses and hearing imaginary sounds, and news reports say that microwave weapons may be to blame. Listen as James uncovers the mind-blowing science behind these …

Can goats read your face?

September 20th, 2018


Next time you meet a goat, make sure you put your best face on...but be careful which side you're standing on. Find out why when Charlie unravels a …

Pollution is damaging your cognition

September 13th, 2018


Nobody likes pollution, but did you know it could actually harm your brain? James looks at a study on pollution in Chinese cities that will make you …

Saturn is whistling to Enceladus

September 6th, 2018


Want to know what a plasma wave from outer space sounds like? Well, it's kind of like whistling (or aliens, according to Nikola Tesla). Charlie …

How to find water on Mars

August 30th, 2018


When it comes to the search for life on other planets, scientists like to "follow the water." But finding water in the solar system is its own …

How do spiders fly?

August 30th, 2018


Do you know how spiders fly? (Who even knew spiders could fly?) Charlie brings in new research that turns two centuries of conventional wisdom on …

Loading ...

Listen to Paper Boys


A free podcast app for iPhone and Android

  • User-created playlists and collections
  • Download episodes while on WiFi to listen without using mobile data
  • Stream podcast episodes without waiting for a download
  • Queue episodes to create a personal continuous playlist
RadioPublic on iOS and Android
Or by RSS
RSS feed

Connect with listeners

Podcasters use the RadioPublic listener relationship platform to build lasting connections with fans

Yes, let's begin connecting

Find new listeners

  • A dedicated website for your podcast
  • Web embed players designed to convert visitors to listeners in the RadioPublic apps for iPhone and Android

Understand your audience

  • Capture listener activity with affinity scores
  • Measure your promotional campaigns and integrate with Google and Facebook analytics

Engage your fanbase

  • Deliver timely Calls To Action, including email acquistion for your mailing list
  • Share exactly the right moment in an episode via text, email, and social media

Make money

  • Tip and transfer funds directly to podcastsers
  • Earn money for qualified plays in the RadioPublic apps with Paid Listens