Ologies with Alie Ward

Ologies with Alie Ward Podcast

Volcanoes. Trees. Drunk butterflies. Mars missions. Slug sex. Death. Beauty standards. Anxiety busters. Beer science. Bee drama. Take away a pocket full of science knowledge and charming, bizarre stories about what fuels these professional -ologists' obsessions. Humorist and science correspondent Alie Ward asks smart people stupid questions and the answers might change your life.

Political Sociology (VOTER TURNOUT & SUPPRESSION) with Mindy Romero
If you need fuel to get excited about voting: here it is. How low is U.S. voter turnout? And why? Are mail-in ballots safe? Should you vote early? How has voter suppression worked in the past -- and the present -- to skew elections? Oooh, buckle up as the wonderful Dr. Mindy Romero, a Political Sociologist and founding director of USC’s Center for Inclusive Democracy, chats about what drives us to the polls, what keeps us away, how to celebrate election day, and why every single vote actually does matter. B...

Fulminology (LIGHTNING) with Chris Giesige
Thunder and lightning: very, very frighteningly interesting! Wildfire researcher and lightning scientist Chris Giesige answers questions about thunderclaps and lightning flashes in a laid back way that will put him at the top of your Fulminologist list. He explains everything from clouds to positive and negative charges, volcanic lightning, fire tornadoes, getting struck by lightning, fractal scars, sprites, elves, how many gigawatts in a lightning strike, and how to enjoy a storm without getting zapped. Al...

Mammalogy (MAMMALS) with Danielle N. Lee
Mammals: you’re one. Your dog is one. So are giant rats. What do we have in common? Nipples. The incredible Southern Illinois University professor, researcher, science communicator and mammalogist Dr. Danielle N. Lee joins to chat about everything from nature’s parenting styles to hairy bellies, milk glands, nip counts, how a meteor paved the way for our existence, her favorite mammals and the mysteries of the platypus. An episode years in the making, Alie barely keeps her cool as Dr. Lee gives insight and ...


Cervidology Part 2 (DEER) with Rhiannons Jakopak & Kirton
The spirited, laughy chatter with a duo of deer scientists named Rhiannon continues in the thrilling conclusion with Part 2. Buckle up for listener questions addressing everything from social structure to hunting to Chronic Wasting Disease to how *not* to hit a deer with your car. Also the weirdest animal fact Alie has ever learned in the history of Ologies. Soul-rattling. And if you missed Part 1, circle back and catch up to learn all about ungulates and deer and moose and elk and fawns and … some Stevie N...

Cervidology (DEER) Part 1 with Rhiannons Kirton & Jakopak
What IS a deer? And an elk? And a moose? And a Rhiannon? One thing they all have in common: cervidology. Buckle up for some spirited, laughy chatter with a duo of deer scientists. They dish all about Welsh mythology and their field trips into the remote, gorgeous wilderness. They’ll explain what to do if you find a fawn, if you should feed backyard deer, what deer population numbers are like, hunting, ungulates, being a first-generation scientist and more. This episode is a quick overview and then the real ...

Dasyurology (TASMANIAN DEVILS) with Em Dale
Tasmanian devils! Quolls! Carnivores! Wait … what is a quoll? In what will become an instant-favorite new episode, Dasyurologist and Australian critter scientist Em Dale joins from Down-Down Under to discuss their work at Oxford University studying the ecology of misunderstood boofy bush babes. Alie learns about everything from the Tasmanian landscape to Looney Toons to flim flam, karaoke shrieking, wallaby standoffs, the most Australian afternoon ever, Tim Tam slams, moms with the munchies, teat shortages,...


Dasyurology (TASMANIAN DEVILS) with Em Dale
Tasmanian devils! Quolls! Carnivores! Wait … what is a quoll? In what will become an instant-favorite new episode, Dasydurologist and Australian critter scientist Em Dale joins from Down-Down Under to discuss their work at Oxford University studying the ecology of misunderstood boofy bush babes. Alie learns about everything from the Tasmanian landscape to Looney Toons to flim flam, karaoke shrieking, wallaby standoffs, the most Australian afternoon ever, Tim Tam slams, moms with the munchies, teat shortages...

Oceanology (THE OCEAN) with Ayana Johnson: Encore Presentation
With some fresh updates, ocean and policy expert Dr. Ayana Johnson guests in an encore presentation of a fan favorite episode.  Hear updates from her, learn about her new podcast “How to Save a Planet,” and what she’s been up to since this episode originally aired in 2018. Are plastic straws really that bad? What's the oldest message in a bottle? Any scuba vs. snorkel strategies? Does sunscreen kill coral? Can we reverse ocean warming in our lifetime? Alie struggles with finding a balance between the wonder...

Oceanology (THE OCEAN) with Ayana Johnson: Encore Presentation
With some fresh updates, ocean and policy expert Dr. Ayana Johnson guests in an encore presentation of a fan favorite episode.  Hear updates from her, learn about her new podcast “How to Save a Planet,” and what she’s been up to since this episode originally aired in 2018. Are plastic straws really that bad? What's the oldest message in a bottle? Any scuba vs. snorkel strategies? Does sunscreen kill coral? Can we reverse ocean warming in our lifetime? Alie struggles with finding a balance between the wonder...


Experimental Archaeology (OLD TOOLS/ATLATLS) with Angelo Robledo
Spears! Sharp rocks! Ancient blades, bows and arrows and ...atlatls? What’s an atlatl? Experimental Archaeologist and decades-long ancient tool enthusiast Angelo Robledo is as passionate as an ologist can get. You likely have never heard of an atlatl, but by the end of the episode you’ll be carving one out of old lumber. Also covered: early axes, Indigenous traditions of Central and South America, ancient graffiti, tales of field work, archeology heroes, what to do if you find artifacts on a hike, and the p...

Toxinology (JELLYFISH VENOM) with Anna Klompen
Jellyfish stings: what are they and why do they hurt? And who studies them? Toxinologist Anna Klompen, that’s who. Speaking from her lab in Kansas, surrounded by jellies, the self-described professional jellyfish nerd invites us into her scientific Polyp Parlor to chat about barbs, neurotoxins, quick sting fixes, panty hose, the deadliest jellies, the harmless ones, pee, her favorite moments in science and the species that have her heart forever. Also: how and why to “find a way.”  Anna Klompen’s jellyfi...

Toxinology (JELLYFISH VENOM) with Anna Klompen
Jellyfish stings: what are they and why do they hurt? And who studies them? Toxinologist Anna Klompen, that’s who. Speaking from her lab in Kansas, surrounded by jellies, the self-described professional jellyfish nerd invites us into her scientific Polyp Parlor to chat about barbs, neurotoxins, quick sting fixes, panty hose, the deadliest jellies, the harmless ones, pee, her favorite moments in science and the species that have her heart forever. Also: how and why to “find a way.”  Anna Klompen’s jellyfi...


Medusology (JELLYFISH) with Rebecca Helm
What even *is* a jellyfish?! How do they eat? What are they made of? Can we eat them? Your new favorite Medusologist, Dr. Rebecca Helm, is a ray of human sunshine in the depths of the deep sea. Truly one of the finest biology conversations you may ever hear. Get ready for PacMan ghosts, pet jellyfish, the biggest and smallest jellies, new band names, live medusas, secret formulas to incite jellyfish puberty, and the lengths that she will go to to see a jelly bloom. And next week, your ears will fill with To...

Medusology (JELLYFISH) with Rebecca Helm
What even *is* a jellyfish?! How do they eat? What are they made of? Can we eat them? Your new favorite Medusologist, Dr. Rebecca Helm, is a ray of human sunshine in the depths of the deep sea. Truly one of the finest biology conversations you may ever hear. Get ready for PacMan ghosts, pet jellyfish, the biggest and smallest jellies, new band names, live medusas, secret formulas to incite jellyfish puberty, and the lengths that she will go to to see a jelly bloom. And next week, your ears will fill with To...

Minisode: Listeners Interview Alie
Update! This episode posted on Tuesday per usual, then somehow un-published itself! Weird. Harrumph! It’s been a rough week for ol' Dadward VonPodcast, including a technical difficulty that left her behind, so she asked listeners if they would rather have a bizzaro minisode that involved a 30-40 minute rant about raw tomatoes or an AMA, and guess what: here’s both, sort of. There was quite a bit of rambling an editing to make it a minisode, but we hope you enjoy.  This is just a weird summer porch han...


Aperiology (MACRO PHOTOGRAPHY) with Joseph Saunders
Lights! Cameras! Arachnids! And lizards and bees and beetles. Macro photography is like magic: curved glass gives an entirely new take on the world, from dust on a cricket’s brow to a curious mantid stare to the elegant symmetry of spider whiskers. Joseph Saunders is an Oklahoma-based wildlife photographer whose larger-than-life photos of bugs and reptiles will make you realize just how little we appreciate the creatures on our window sills and skittering up our porches. We talk shop about cameras, bug hunt...

Agnotology (IGNORANCE) with Robert Proctor
Yes, there is an -ology for that. Dr. Robert Proctor is a Stanford professor of the History of Science and co-edited the book “Agnotology: The Making & Unmaking of Ignorance,” having coined the word 30 years ago. We chat about everything from the true evils of tobacco marketing, to the sugar lobby, to racial injustice, horse vision, the psychology of the Flat Earther movement, which countries have the highest rates of climate denial, empathy, how to navigate difficult conversations and why it's critical to ...

Bryology (MOSS) with Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer
An instant classic. You’ll listen on repeat as world-renowned author, botanist, Indigenous ecology professor and bryologist Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer talks about her passion for moss. Cozy up for the most beautifully doled-out information about hidden worlds, overlooked mysteries, botanical drama, forests in miniature, Native peoples’ uses for moss and philosophies about science and ecology. Dr. Kimmerer, author of “Gathering Moss” and “Braiding Sweetgrass,” will change the way you see mosses forever, will in...


Neuroendocrinology (SEX & GENDER) Part 2 with Daniel Pfau
The wonderful neuroscientist and endocrinology researcher Dr. Daniel Pfau is back for Part 2 to answer listener mail about how hormones affect our moods, the variation of gender expression, queer lizards, how a strict gender binary is harmful to entire populations, hormone replacement therapy, hormones in sports, gender dysphoria, additional info on the Gender Unicorn and more. They remain just charming and kind and this episode will help you further understand just how many ways there are to be human. Also...

Neuroendocrinology (SEX & GENDER) Part 1 with Daniel Pfau
How many genders are there? How do you know if you’re queer? Is sexual orientation biological, and if so, how? The amazing Michigan State University neuroscientist and endocrinology researcher Dr. Daniel Pfau joins to share their path in academia finding the perfect research, understanding their own genderqueer identity, what animals in nature exhibit queer behavior, how hormones influence the brain, how important it was for them to find community and why the gender binary isn’t a good fit for a lot of peop...

Very Special Episode: BlackAFinSTEM with various Ologists
The most ologists in one Ologies. And maybe my favorite episode ever. #BlackBirdersWeek was such a force that we wanted to keep the energy going by spotlighting not one, but 30 ologists. You’re about to meet 30 new science heroes who are @BlackAFinSTEM and chatting about electric fish snouts, urban birds, falcons, lizards, crocodiles, economics, carnivores, sea turtles, porcupine noses, butt breathing, Ivory Towers, microaggressions, and how being an ally is a learning process we can all get better at. Walk...


Pelicanology (PELICANS) with Juita Martinez
Spine mysteries, saggy sacs, limericks, flim flam, flags, #BlackBirdersWeek, sandals, divebombs, porcupine espionage, ice cream sandwiches and more! The warm and wonderful pelicanologist Juita Martinez studies these glorious dinosaurs and shares fieldwork stories, what it’s like to hold a floofy baby sea bird, what she loves about being in nature and resources for undergrads interested in becoming scientists. We also chat about birding and the amazing visibility campaign launched by BlackAFinSTEM, which is ...

Oikology (DECLUTTERING) with Jamie & Filip Hord + Joe Ferrari
Why does clutter happen? How can we get rid of it and how will it affect us psychologically if we do? Buckle up for an episode that will lift your spirits and quite possibly change your life. We all have unfolded piles of laundry, that closet we don’t want to open, a tornado of papers on our desk that seems impossible to sort through. Enter: Oikology, the science of keeping things contained. Alie hunted down world-famous professional organizers, Jamie & Filip Hoard of Horderly to chat about -- FIRST OFF-- t...

Planariology (VERY COOL WORMS, I PROMISE) with Oné Pagán
Who cares about flatworms? Guess what: you do. Planarian expert Dr. Oné Pagán shares his infectious enthusiasm for the teeny tiny ribbons of flesh that are helping scientists understand addiction, limb regeneration, stem cells, immortality and maybe aliens though probably not aliens. You’re about to be obsessed. We discuss where to find planarians, serendipitous science, taking risks in life, how these worms regrow themselves when they are cut into 279 pieces, marine flatworms, penis fencing, multipurpose m...


Coronasode: Virology Update (COVID-19) with Shannon Bennett & Mike Natter
What kind of masks should you wear? How many people have had COVID-19 and don’t know? Do antibody tests work? When will we have a vaccine? Is it okay to picnic? Will there be a second wave? You need updates and we’ve got ologists. The wonderful Dr. Shannon Bennett from the first Virology episode joins us again, as well as New York City physician Dr. Mike Natter from the Diabetology episode. These two warm, informed professions dispel rumors, explain what life has been like on the front lines, address medica...

Architectural Technology (COMPUTER PROGRAMMING) with Iddris Sandu
Iddris Sandu is only 22, but his life story is already legendary. This Architectural Technologist learned to program at the age of 11 and has worked with everyone from Kanye West to Nipsey Hussle to Space X. We talk coding, web design, holograms, and  how programming works and what languages should you learn and why it's important. The designer and entrepreneur also shares his creative process, favorite programming languages, philosophies on future technology and why empathy matters in life and in design. H...

Nassology (TAXIDERMY) with Allis Markham
Glass eyes! Pelts! Antlers! Hides! Bones! Tanning! Hilarious, charming and globally celebrated taxidermist Allis Markham chats about her passion for preserving animals for museums and institutions. She’s won multiple awards for her artful poses and meticulous work as an ethical taxidermist. With her flair for vintage styling, is perhaps the most elegant badass on planet Earth. Learn the process of making museum taxidermy, her favorite pieces she’s ever made, the best diorama halls, how to DIY it at home, th...


Penguinology (PENGUINS) with Tom Hart
Do penguins have flippers or wings? Why do they waddle? Do they really mate for life? What’s up with pebble gifts? Are they squishy or dense? And why why why are they so cute? April 25th is World Penguin Day and there’s never been a better time to sit down with renown Penguinologist Dr. Tom Hart, a research fellow with Oxford University. We chat all about life on Antarctica, how he counts colonies, how you can help him count colonies, what penguins smell like, behaviors he’s witnessed, and why he does NOT f...

Gastroegyptology (BREAD BAKING) with Seamus Blackley
Sourdough starters! Ancient yeasts! Why we need/knead dough! And why you don't need to buy a starter to start. Polymath, particle physicist, inventor of the Xbox, and truly delightful fermentation nerd Seamus Blackley joins to chat about his kitchen adventures resurrecting dormant yeasts from 4,000 Egyptian baking vessels, plus wild yeasts, the infuriating myth of “yeast scarcity,” the beauty of everyday objects, the debt we owe our ancestors, the joy of getting to know your dough plus tons of tips for newb...

Philematology (KISSING) with Robin Dunbar
Why do we kiss? What makes a good kiss or a bad kiss? How many microbes do we exchange? Is it good for us? One of the world’s most accomplished researchers on kissing, social behavior and relationships, Dr . Robin Dunar of Oxford University reluctantly agrees to be interviewed and explains how kissing may have evolved, how discos are research labs and friends are people you can invite yourself to have a beer with. Also: how to deal with the loneliness of isolation, autism and intimacy, why your cheerfulness...


Philematology (KISSING) with Robin Dunbar
Why do we kiss? What makes a good kiss or a bad kiss? How many microbes do we exchange? Is it good for us? One of the world’s most accomplished researchers on kissing, social behavior and relationships, Dr . Robin Dunar of Oxford University reluctantly agrees to be interviewed and explains how kissing may have evolved, how discos are research labs and friends are people you can invite yourself to have a beer with. Also: how to deal with the loneliness of isolation, autism and intimacy, why your cheerfulness...

Plumology (FEATHERS) with Allison Shultz
Plumage! Sexy dances! Feather heists! Possible holographic disco birds? Natural History Museum of LA ornithology curator Dr. Allison Shultz is a professional plumologist aka feather expert. We visit the museum’s collection of rare specimens and chat about everything from fossilized dinosaur feathers to silent owl flight to furry bird legs to why pigeons are so loud, peacock tails, down parkas, quill pens, heavy metal flautists, feather thieves, pigments, flight feathers, Vantablack, if you can eat feathers ...

Lepidopterology (BUTTERFLIES & MOTHS) — Encore Presentation with Phil Torres
Since we just put out the "All (Washed) Hands on Deck" episode on Sunday, we figured a happy Springtime encore about fluttery, colorful cuties was in order -- with a few new updates and asides. Because ... Butterflies are gross. Yes they are delightful and beautiful and part of any idyllic picnic-scape but lepidopterologist, TV host and jungle explorer Phil Torres is here to gossip about how shamelessly disgusting our favorite bugs actually are. Learn their secrets, their mating habits, how they turn themse...


Lepidopterology (BUTTERFLIES & MOTHS) — Encore Presentation with Phil Torres
Since we just put out the "All (Washed) Hands on Deck" episode on Sunday, we figured a happy Springtime encore about fluttery, colorful cuties was in order -- with a few new updates and asides. Because ... Butterflies are gross. Yes they are delightful and beautiful and part of any idyllic picnic-scape but lepidopterologist, TV host and jungle explorer Phil Torres is here to gossip about how shamelessly disgusting our favorite bugs actually are. Learn their secrets, their mating habits, how they turn themse...

All (Washed) Hands on Deck: How to Help Yourself & Others Right Now with Dr. Michael F. Wells
CALLING ALL OLOGISTS: If you’re a scientist who wants to help with the COVID-19 pandemic -- boy howdy have we got an episode for you. Dr. Mike Wells, a neurobiologist at Harvard University and the Broad Institute, knows we need tests in the U.S. and is coralling all the wonderful scientists willing to pitch in. He explains how testing for the SARS CoV-2 virus works, what other countries are doing, and even the book that inspired him to pursue science. Also: if you’re feeling helpless and want to help, Patro...

Coronasode: All (Washed) Hands on Deck -- How to Help Yourself & Others Right Now with Dr. Michael F. Wells
CALLING ALL OLOGISTS: If you’re a scientist who wants to help with the COVID-19 pandemic -- boy howdy have we got an episode for you. Dr. Mike Wells, a neurobiologist at Harvard University and the Broad Institute, knows we need tests in the U.S. and is coralling all the wonderful scientists willing to pitch in. He explains how testing for the SARS CoV-2 virus works, what other countries are doing, and even the book that inspired him to pursue science. Also: if you’re feeling helpless and want to help, Patro...


Veterinary Biology (CRITTER FIXING) with Dr. Vernard Hodges & Dr. Terrence Ferguson
At long last: an episode dedicated to veterinary medicine! Dr. Terrence Ferguson & Dr. Vernard Hodges have been friends for nearly 30 years and have co-owned their rural Georgia veterinary clinic, Critter Fixers, for over 20 years. The two wonderful buddies talk about getting accepted into vet school, caring for spiders & camels & lizards & toads & kittens & doggos, the weirdest things they’ve extracted from animal tummies, if our pets love us back, keeping kidneys healthy, grain-free diets, what to do if y...

Coronasode: Virology (COVID-19) with Dr. Shannon Bennett + various ologists
Folks, it’s a megasode. Not one, but 4 ologists. “Coronavirus” is on everyone’s lips -- and some people’s hands -- but what is it? Where did it come from? How does it spread? How dangerous is it? What should we do? Who’s most at risk? Was it biowarfare? Do bats spread it? Should you wear a mask? Can we still smooch our dogs on the face? Do we need to doomsday prep? What’s it like to live in a leper colony? Alie sits down with Dr. Shannon Bennett: a microbiologist, a molecular epidemiologist, a virologist an...

Scatology (POOP) with Rachel Santymire
Yep. Here it is. Let’s dive right in ... to poop. Hippo poop. Ferret poop. Octopoop. Dogs. Cats. Yours. The charming and informative Dr. Rachel Santymire -- aka Dr. Poop -- has a background in animal physiology and endocrinology and is elbow deep in dung as a research director at the Lincoln Park Zoo. Dr. Poop sits down with Alie to talk turds and how she uses poo to determine the health and stress of wild and captive animals, plus: poop vs. poo, why some animals poop pellets, muck middens, taking glitter p...


Volitional Psychology (PROCRASTINATION) with Dr. Joseph R. Ferrari
“Everyone procrastinates, but not everyone is a procrastinator,” quoth Dr. Joe Ferrari, a charming, hilarious expert on the subject. The research psychologist, author and DePaul University professor sits down for a truly delightful exploration of why we procrastinate, how prevalent it is, when it becomes harmful, some myths about procrastination, why it’s similar to gambling, how decision-making can feel paralyzing, how to trust your own abilities, and most importantly -- what to do if you’re a chronic proc...

Cryoseismology (ICEQUAKES) with Celeste Labedz
Glaciers: Where are they? What are they made of? What happens when chunks splinter off into the sea? There are ICEQUAKES? CalTech Cryoseismologist Celeste Labedz sometimes wears a cape with her snowpants and spends part of her career shooting explosions into giant chunks of ice and recording the seismic activity, analyzing the rivers that flow through glaciers, and keeping tabs on glacial melt. Also discussed: the most goth way to honor a glacier, and whether or not you should visit them IRL.  Follow Cel...

Genealogy (FAMILY TREES) with Stephen Hanks
Histories, mysteries, memories and families: it’s time to clamber up our ancestral trees. Author and genealogist Stephen Hanks -- who teaches genealogy classes in Portland, Oregeon and has contributed to PBS genealogy documentaries -- sits down to chat about what ignited a passion for learning about his own history. Also: how to find your family through census records, county archives, death certificates and more, plus which DNA tests he’s taken, our most recent common ancestor, and how America can try to h...


Nephology (CLOUDS) with Rachel Storer
Cumulus! Lenticular! Venti sugar-free stratocumulus stratiformis translucidus undulatus! Those light and fluffy things that hang overhead weigh thousands of pounds and form under all kinds of conditions. Cloud doctor and nephologist Dr. Rachel Storer chats about why she loves clouds, the different varieties of them, weather modification, sun dogs, bad emojis, tornado chasing, flim flam, conspiracy theories, cloud tattoos and diamond rain. Also: the common factor in whoopee cushions, boob implants and your l...

Diabetology (BLOOD SUGAR) Part 2 with Dr. Mike Natter, MD
Diabetic diabetologist and wonderful person Dr. Mike Natter, MD is back to answer all of your questions about blood sugar, the cost of insulin, pancreas transplants, keto, glucagon, how exercise can save your life, his most meaningful interactions with patients, pudding theft, and the best place to cry at work. Also: why you should always keep frosting in your purse. This episode is swear-free and okay for all ages, and a bleeped version of Diabetology Part 1 can be found at this link.  Follow Dr. Mik...

Diabetology (BLOOD SUGAR) Part 1 with Dr. Mike Natter, MD
Your blood sugar can make you happy, moody, sweaty, unconscious and possibly even homicidal. In this episode, Dr. Mike Natter dishes about how blood sugar works, what insulin does, and how prevalent diabetes is in all of its various forms. Also: keto vs. vegan, hypoglycemia, cyborg organs, owl hoots, gestational diabetes, type 1 vs. type 2 and ... does Gwyneth drink her own pee? Also: the emotional side of the disease and how to help those in your life who are diabetic.  Next week, the doc addresses your...


Bisonology (BUFFALO) with various bisonologists
Bison bison! Not just something to holler into the sky, but also the scientific name for North America's majestic wild bovines that once roamed the plains in the tens of millions. What's up with their humps? On what occasion do they wear capes? What noises do they make? How many are out there? What are the best ways to help them? In this special episode, you get 4x the usual number of ologists as we talk to archeologist Dr. Ken Cannon, wildlife biologist Dr. Dan McNulty, Alie's cousin Boyd and his wife Lila...

Futurology (THE FUTURE) with Rose Eveleth
"The future's not ours to see..." OR IS IT? Professional futurologist Rose Eveleth -- host of the podcast Flash Forward -- endures all kinds of breathless questions from Alie about shiny metal and implanted microchips and biohacking and population density curves and flying cars and equality and utopias and the Jetsons and technology and nuclear fusion and whether or not our phones are spying on us and if we should have kids or dogs. Also: how long do we, as a species, have on Earth? Despite some grim condit...

Fearology Pt. 2 (FEAR) with Mary Poffenroth -- Encore Presentation
FEAR. Anxiety. Stress. Dread. It's all the same dang thing, as it turns out. Biologist and fear expert Mary Poffenroth is back to answer your questions in Part 2 of the encore presentation that's been one of the most helpful interviews of ol' Alie Ward's life. Learn how super successful people approach fear, Mary’s scariest hour, plus answers to all of your questions about night terrors, self-spookery, sharks' bad PR image to how likely it is that a snake will bite your butt. Plus: the best thing about foll...


Fearology Pt. 1 (FEAR) with Mary Poffenroth -- Encore Presentation
Every day, your brain tries to save your life by being terrified. Thanks, brain! Also, calm the f*ck down, brain. In 2018, Alie hunted down Mary Poffenroth, an expert in the biological and sociological causes/effects of fear -- and it is riveting. This December, Time Magazine named Ologies a top podcast and recommended this episode specifically. Plus it just so happens that there was an administrative snafu with the podcast network and we're not supposed to have new episodes for two weeks, so enjoy this enc...

Audiobook Mixtape: Gift Ideas from the Ologists’ Brains
Need holiday gift ideas? GET BOOKS. This episode is like an audiobook… but also a mixtape? It's got a little bit of everything, from cozy cabin tales to dark caves to our own reflections, how your atoms will be recycled, New Year’s resolutions, cat training, dog rescues, battling past demons, aging, the apocalypse, crime TV and even Egyptian boobytraps. Alie has wanted to deliver excerpts from ologists’ books for over a year but she let them pile up for an even bigger compilation. Consider this like a refre...

Chronobiology (CIRCADIAN RHYTHMS) with Katherine Hatcher
What time should you go to bed? Are you sleeping enough? Is Daylight Savings good for us? Is shift work really that bad? How dark is dark enough? Katherine Hatcher, who studies hormones, sleep cycles and circadian rhythms, helps Alie dissect her terrible sleep habits and talks about a magic tiny area in our brains that acts as your body's Big Ben. By the end of the episode, you'll be in footie pajamas eager to change your whole life.   Follow Katherine Hatcher at Twitter.com/SuperChiasmatic A donation...


Phonology (LINGUISTICS) with Nicole Holliday — Encore Presentation
Alie is delirious with the flu, so it’s an encore presentation of a favorite episode. If you slept on this when it first aired, get into Phonology now. Vocal fry. Code switching. Black Twitter. Valley girls. Culture vultures. WE'RE TALKING ABOUT TALKING. Alie battles traffic to sit down with linguistics professor Dr. Nicole Holliday about intonational phonology: how tones and pitch help us bond with others and construct identities. Inspired in part by former President Barack Obama's masterful linguistic var...

Quantum Ontology (WHAT IS REAL?) with Adam Becker
Is anything real? How many universes are there? Do we know what dark matter is all about? Is everything a simulation being run by a quantum computer through a wormhole from a future era? Is the answer to everything really ... 42? The affable and charming astrophysicist, author and philosopher of tiny particles Dr. Adam Becker pulls up a seat. And Alie has an existential crisis or two as they discuss the drama, intellectual battles and drunken debates of science past, and the hope that a new era of thinkers ...

Lupinology (WOLVES) with Bridgett vonHoldt
Wolf howls, wolf packs, wolf pups and more! As the holiday Wolfenoot approaches, lupinologist and Princeton professor Dr. Brigette vonHoldt sits down to talk about her research looking at everything from wolf populations to modern dog behavior, canine family dynamics, Game of Thrones direwolves, Yellowstone wolfies, the ecological impact of predators, if wolves howl at the moon, myths and truths about alphas, the wolf movie she refuses to see, how dog and human genetics are similar, and how you can help ou...

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Molecular Neurobiology (BRAIN CHEMICALS) with Crystal Dilworth
Serotonin! Dopamine! Norepinephrine! Neurotransmitters: what's their deal? Dr. Crystal Dilworth, aka Dr. Brain, stops by to have a spirited discussion about how chemical messengers change our moods and behaviors. We chat about depression, anxiety, what chemicals drive us to get off the couch, how antidepressants work, ADHD, addiction, the microbiome, new habits, quitting smoking, starting meditation, Oreos vs. cocaine, SSRIs vs. SNRIs, what it's like to hold a human brain in your hands and if she would dona...

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Chiropterology Part 2 (BATS) with Merlin Tuttle
PART 2: The stunning conclusion of a 3-hour gab session about frickin' bats with America's favorite chiropterologist, Dr. Merlin Tuttle. Learn about bat conversations, their close friendships, surprising dongs, where they keep their nipples, how to go bat spotting after the sun sets, more myths and misconceptions about bat danger, perhaps the grossest thing Merlin has ever put in his mouth, how to hang up a bat house for maximum bat party funtimes, the latest on white nose syndrome and how it feels to get s...

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Chiropterology (BATS) Part 1 with Merlin Tuttle
“People fear most what they understand least." Words of wisdom from explorer/American treasure/bat expert, Dr. Merlin Tuttle. Alie headed to the bat capital of Austin and sat down with the legendary chiropterologist to discuss wild field stories and close calls and caves and comebacks and bat chatter and what a bat actually is and how big they get and what's up with their smushy noses, why folks are so frightened by them, the evolution of flight, echolocation, getting a bat out of your house, how they sleep...

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Demonology (EVIL SPIRITS) with Alyssa Beall
Demons, spooky spirits, devils, fallen angles, hungry ghosts: every culture has them. And West Virginia University Religious Studies professor, demonologist and history buff Dr. Alyssa Beall runs down how humans have used myths and stories to explain the feelings that make our hairs stand up and our stomaches sink. Is possession a mental illness? Are demons pranksters from hell? Is your baby evil or just cranky? And why do we like to be scared and poke at the line between life and death? Also: demon dongs. ...

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Spidroinology (SPIDERWEBS) with Randy Lewis
Invisible but stronger than steel. Complex architectural marvels. Things that stick to your face. Spiderwebs are much more than just Halloween decor or something to feather dust from your corners. Spider silk expert Dr. Randy Lewis of Utah State University not only coined the word "spidroin" for the proteins comprising the many types of silk, but he is considered one of the foremost experts on the wonders of spiderwebs. Alie visits his lab and chats about how spiders weave them, what the silk is made of, t...

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Cucurbitology (PUMPKINS) with Anne Copeland
PUMPKIN PUMPKIN! Not only a thing to scream while passing a patch, but also the name of author and human delight Anne Copeland's gourd opus. Yes, she's so charmed by pumpkins that she dedicated a whole book to exploring their folklore, history, planting protocol, care, and cooking. On a lark, Alie stops by her house in the rural hamlet of Yucaipa, California to chat about everything from creation myths surrounding pumpkins to Anne's favorite recipes, how to make a pumpkin last longer on your porch, the secr...

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Osteology (SKELETONS/BODY FARMS) with Daniel Wescott
Let's dig right into Spooktober with ... BONES. You're a steak-covered skeleton and it's nothing to fear. The amazingly kind and committed osteologist Dr. Daniel J. Wescott of Texas State University's famed Forensic Anthropology Research Center sits down -- surrounded by skulls and femurs and ribs -- and chats about how bones are formed, how they break, why they might hurt when the weather changes, what CSI gets wrong, how long it takes a body to decompose, looking for isotopes in found remains, cast iron c...

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Phenology (FALL/SEASONS) with Libby Ellwood
The seasons are a-changin'! It's sweater weather in both hemispheres and seasonal researcher and expert Phenologist Dr. Libby Ellwood weighs in with amazing information about why fall smells so good, why leaves change color, why we like to cronch them, historical records of blossoms and twigs, bird migrations, Daylight Savings, seasonal mythbusting, pumpkin spice vs. apple cider, the best temperature to wear sweaters, why the Halloween aisle springs up in summer and how global temperature shifts affect the ...

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Potterology Part 2 (WIZARD SCIENCE) with Rebecca Lai
**UPDATE: since this episode was first released, J.K. Rowling has said and written some deeply transphobic sentiments and for this, Alie no longer stans nor supports her. So in listening to this episode, let's marvel at the -ologist herself and her love of Chemistry and remember that feminism is intersectional and trans women are women, and trans folks are welcome and beloved in the Ologies universe.**   PART 2: Your questions answered by Dr. Rebecca Lai, as a continuation of last week's foundational ...

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Potterology Part 1 (WIZARD SCIENCE) with Rebecca Lai
**UPDATE: since this episode was first released, J.K. Rowling has said and written some deeply transphobic sentiments and for this, Alie no longer stans nor supports her. So in listening to this episode, let's marvel at the -ologist herself and her love of Chemistry and remember that feminism is intersectional and trans women are women, and trans folks are welcome and beloved in the Ologies universe.** Accio: ALL YOUR DREAMS COMING TRUE. Whether you've never read the Harry Potter series -- or you have do...

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Potterology Part 1 (WIZARD SCIENCE) with Rebecca Lai
Accio: ALL YOUR DREAMS COMING TRUE. Whether you've never read the Harry Potter series -- or you have dogeared copies on your nightstand -- there's something for everyone in this 2-part episode dissecting the science of the spells in J.K. Rowling's books. Electrochemist and professor Dr. Rebecca Lai is a devoted fan who teaches a university course called "A Muggle’s Guide to Harry Potter’s Chemistry." Alie travels to her lab at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to chat about disappearing ink, gold nanoparti...

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Vexillology (FLAGS) with E. Tory Laitila
Flags! How long have we flown them? Will you get arrested for stomping on one? Which ones are cute and which are fugly? Which colors don't we see on flags and why? How did all this flag etiquette originate? E. Tory Laitila, a textile expert who also handles Honolulu's flag protocol, gives the skinny on how to dispose of a flag, flags and conspiracy theories, history of the Pride flag, the oldest flags, which state flag needs a makeover the hardest, how to store flags, who designed our modern American flag a...

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Vexillology (FLAGS) with E. Tory Laitila
Flags! How long have we flown them? Will you get arrested for stomping on one? Which colors don't we see on flags and why? How did all this flag etiquette originate? E. Tory Laitila, a textile expert who also handles Honolulu's flag protocol, gives the skinny on how to dispose of a flag, flags and conspiracy theories, the oldest flags, which state flag needs a makeover the hardest, how to store flags, who designed our modern American flag and how you too can have ... fun with flags all year round. Also: pir...

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Paleontology (DINOSAURS) Encore Presentation with Michael Habib
It's a trip back in time to a baby podcast! Hear the humble beginnings of Ologies as your Ol' Dadward takes a week to celebrate her parents' 50th wedding anniversary. This encore presentation of Paleontology -- complete with new bells, whistles, intro and a fresh secret or two at the end -- will remind you of the wonders of dino digs. Dr. Michael Habib of the beloved Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County answers questions such as: Did Ross Gellar ruin being a paleontologist? What's the hot goss on di...

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Disasterology (DISASTERS) with Samantha Montano
Floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, tornados, explosions, hurricanes, oil spills, bombings, BAD THINGS: Why do they happen? What can we do to prepare? What is a disaster vs. a catastrophe? Who makes it their life's work to go help? Professional Disasterologist and Emergency Management expert Dr. Samantha Montano sits down to talk about disaster movies, the addiction of helping others, the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the floods, looting, doomsday prepping, keeping calm under pressure, climate change, gover...

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100th Episode: Best Life Advice from Ologists + 100 More Ologies
ONE HUNDRED EPISODES, kiddos. From slimy hagfish coils on the ocean floor to the outer reaches of space. Into our brains and out a bird butt and beyond. Ol' Dadward reflects on the past 100 episodes by distilling the 5 best peptalk lifehack self-helpy pieces of advice she's learned from making Ologies for the last nearly two years. Also: a list of 100 potential more episodes and what's cooking for the next few weeks. A donation went the SciCommCamp.com scholarship fund Sponsor links: betterhelp.com/ol...

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Saurology (LIZARDS) with Earyn McGee
Saurologist and professional lizard scientist Earyn McGee visits Alie to go on a little lizard hunt, then they hunker down to chat about everything from tiny chameleons to drooling dragons, venomous thiccbois, legless lizards, geckos’ antigravity grip, festering dragon mouths, gila monster sightings, close encounters with lions, tangles of snoozy lizards, virgin births, and blood shooting from eyeballs. We also discuss Earyn’s wildly popular #FindThatLizard Twitter game and she gives us all some sound advic...

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Graphology (HANDWRITING/FORGERY) with Sylvia Kessler
Is it weird to have different handwritings? How do you forge ancient documents? What pen should you use to write checks? Who is the greediest person in American history? Forensic document examiner Sylvia Kessler met up with Alie in the back of a Nebraska office store to chat about penmanship, ransom notes, court cases, self-expression, and we *very* lightly touch on the fringe -ology that uses handwriting to analyze personalities and how Barnum knew best when it comes to carnival "magic." More about Sylv...

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Cnidariology (CORAL) with Shayle Matsuda
Will changing your sunscreen save coral reefs? What even IS a coral? Where do they grow and what do they eat and why are they so pretty? Is it reefs or reeves? The wonderful and charming coral biologist and cnidariologist Shayle Matsuda of the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology/UH Mānoa takes time out of his busy schedule during a coral spawning event to chat about how magical and beautiful coral can be and why reef health is important. Also: whether or not "Finding Nemo" got coral right, making transitions...

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Disinfectiology (BLEACH) with Evan Rumberger
It lives under your sink and may have saved your life but… WHAT THE FUNK IS BLEACH? Hot off of a beaker-laden lab tour, Alie chats with Dr. Evan Rumberger, a bleach scientist, about his work, his history, what bleach IS, what it turns into, and how to appreciate this household staple. Also: what exactly is in swimming pools and how to tie-dye shirts when you’re goth. This was part of a partnership with Clorox, but Alie thought the chemistry was cool enough to share with Ologites. For more bleach facts, ...

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Nomology Part 2: (THE CONSTITUTION): Let's read the whole friggin thing.
Have you ever read every word of The U.S. Constitution? You don't have to, because ol' Dadward here is about to read it into your ears and give little sidenotes to make sure we both understand it. This episode is a follow up to Nomology with law professor Franita Tolson, so start there for the basics and learn why knowing your rights and using your voice can change the future. Follow Franita Tolson at Twitter.com/ProfTolson and read more about her work here. More links at alieward.com/ologies/nom...

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Nomology (THE CONSTITUTION) with Franita Tolson
If you've never read The Constitution, you're like most of us. What does it even say?! Most Americans aren't law scholars, which is why we sat down with a Dean of USC's Gould School of Law, Professor Franita Tolson, to have her give us the crib sheet on the most important document in the free world. What's up with the amendments? What are the articles? What does it mean to be an American? What rights do we have? How did we get them and how do we keep them? We also discuss what it was like having Barack Obam...

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Cabinology (CABINS) with Dale Mulfinger
Log cabins, woodsy getaways, A-frame cuties, cottages, tiny homes, lake houses: WE GET INTO IT. World famous Minnesota architect, author, professional cabinologist and human delight Dale Mulfinger sits down to discuss everything from what makes a cabin a cabin, to why we bond better surrounded by wood, Scandinavian hygge-ness, where to situate windows, cabin history, horror flicks and vacation activities. Alie sits there starry-eyed and stammers a bunch because she's so excited. More on Dale Mulfinger: s...

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Disease Ecology (LYME/TICK-BORNE ILLNESSES) with Andrea Swei
Lyme Disease! Powassan virus! That Lonestar tick meat allergy! Paralysis ticks! Acarology taught us all about the eight-legged villains that aim for our crevices, but Disease Ecologist Dr. Andrea Swei offers a deep dive under the skin to learn more about what nasties a tick can give us. We chat a whole bunch about Lyme Disease: its prevalence, testing, treatment, which animals carry it, “chronic Lyme” vs. post-treatment Lyme. We also cover how lizards might harbor a helpful protein, two Ukrainian princesses...

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Island Ecology (ISLANDS) with Andy Kraemer
What IS an island? How do birds and plants and mammals GET there? Why do we like going to islands? Dr. Andy Kraemer studies how life populates and survives on hunks of remote rock and chats all about the Galapagos Islands -- where he does his research. We address the smallest island in the world, the largest, some bananas biological adaptations, Darwin's finchy mistakes, some nude people and a Baroness who got caught up in a homicide scandal, and shrinking skeletons. Also: pirates and prison islands. Fol...

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Acarology (TICKS) with Neeta Pardanani Connally
Ticks: They’re tiny. They’re thirsty. They’re drooling vectors of various illnesses and they want nothing more than to cuddle up to your darkest crevices. In the episode, learn how to remove a tick, if you should spray your yard and with what, how landscaping affects tick exposure, why Lyme Disease is spreading, the Lone Star Tick rolling into town, how to protect your pets and why the CC ruined poppyseed muffins. Acarologist, medical entomologist and tick expert Dr. Neeta Pardanani Connally chats with me f...

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Psychological Traumatology (PTSD & STRESS) with Nicholas Barr
What happens to the brain under extreme stress? Why do past traumas haunt us? What kind of therapies work for veterans? And what can we do in day-to-day life to be more resilient to adverse experiences? Traumatologist and social worker Dr. Nicholas Barr has studied PTSD in veterans and homeless youth and explains how traumas affect the rest of our lives and how to bounce back by getting a little help. Also: great resources for lower-cost therapy and what you can do to support loved ones who have experienced...

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Behavioral Ecology (REPRODUCTIVE TRADEOFFS) with Amy Worthington
Why do we bone? Why should we have kids? When should we have kids? Crickets might answer all these questions. Dr. Amy Worthington of Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska studies "life history tradeoffs:" when to allocate resources to reproduction versus preserving your own health. Whether you're an insect ghosting a buster mate or a millennial waiting to have kids until the economy gets better, you may learn a thing or two about whether having kids is worth it. Follow Dr. Amy Worthington at Twitter.co...