Podcasts

Air Conditioning, Part 3

Air conditioning has had a profound impact on modern life -- and in more ways than you might realize. In this trio of Invention episodes, Robert and Joe explore pre-AC cooling methods, the invention itself and the many ways it changed the shape (and temperature) of our lives.

Air Conditioning, Part 2

Air conditioning has had a profound impact on modern life -- and in more ways than you might realize. In this trio of Invention episodes, Robert and Joe explore pre-AC cooling methods, the invention itself and the many ways it changed the shape (and temperature) of our lives.

Air Conditioning, Part 1

Air conditioning has had a profound impact on modern life -- and in more ways than you might realize. In this trio of Invention episodes, Robert and Joe explore pre-AC cooling methods, the invention itself and the many ways it changed the shape (and temperature) of our lives.

The Telescope

The telescope is one of the most important inventions in human history, ultimately enabling humanity to gaze beyond the limits of biological sight and begin a greater understanding of the cosmos. In this episode of Invention, Robert and Joe explore the invention’s history and impact.

Bubble Wrap

Don’t take bubble wrap for granted! Someone had to invent it and you might be surprised to learn where it came from. In this episode of Invention, Robert and Joe discuss the history and future of packing material.

Listener Mail: Machine

It's listener mail time again on Invention! You've written in with your thoughts on past episodes and now Robert and Joe are going to read some of them -- with the help of a brand new mailbot.

Scissors

Let's cut to the chase: scissors are an excellent and ancient invention that impacts our lives in a number of ways. In this episode, Robert and Joe discuss their origins, use and examples from past and present -- along with a little scissor myth and folklore.

Bread/Toast/Toasters

Who invented toast? Who then went on to invent the toaster? In this episode of Invention, Robert and Joe chase the origins of bread transformed through the Maillard reaction and consider the origins of the specialized mini-oven we use to do it.

The Hypodermic Needle

Sit back. This might sting. In this episode of Invention, Robert and Joe explore the history of hypodermic needles: what came before in human and evolutionary history and where we’re going with drug injections and blood withdrawls. 

The Earthquake Detector

How does earthquake detection work and when did humans device the first method of detecting them at a distance? In this Invention two-parter, Robert and Joe first discuss the mysterious invention of ancient Chinese polymath Zhāng Héng before moving on to modern innovations.