Quanta Magazine announces the return of “The Joy of x,” its must-listen science podcast about the pursuit of the unknown, the thrill of discovery, and the heartbreak and frustration along the way. In each of the show’s episodes, host and mathematician Steve Strogatz shares an intimate conversation with one of the world’s leading scientists. Topics range from the promise of quantum computing to hearing you’ve won a Nobel Prize while still dripping wet from a shower.
“I provoke scientists to tell me how they got to the place they’re at today, what they discovered — and in some cases, how it changed the world,” says Strogatz, a New York Times best-selling author and the Jacob Gould Schurman Professor of Applied Mathematics at Cornell University.
The first episode of season two premieres on March 2, featuring an interview with paleontologist Neil Shubin. Future guests include molecular biologist Bonnie Bassler, theoretical physicist Frank Wilczek, chemical nanoengineer Sharon Glotzer, mathematician Federico Ardila, computer scientist Rediet Abebe, mathematical biologist Trachette Jackson, computer scientist Melanie Mitchell, computational neuroscientist Emery Brown, mathematician Amie Wilkinson, quantum computer scientist Charlie Marcus and neuroscientist Eve Marder.
“‘The Joy of x’ presents some of the most mind-stretching ideas in the universe in welcoming podcast form,” says theoretical physicist Sean Carroll, host of the “Mindscape” podcast and a research professor at the California Institute of Technology. “Steven Strogatz is a sure-footed and amiable guide, helping to make abstruse concepts accessible to absolutely anyone.”
You can subscribe to the podcast and listen to episodes from the first season on the Quanta Magazine website, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. New episodes will premiere every Tuesday.
“In each episode, ‘The Joy of x’ engages big ideas with accessible conversation,” says season one guest Brian Nosek, co-founder and executive director of the Center for Open Science and a psychology professor at the University of Virginia. “There’s never a dull moment, and it’s hard to avoid learning something new each time.”
As host, Strogatz brings his perspective as a renowned teacher and one of the world’s most highly cited mathematicians. “Strogatz has a knack not only for conveying complex scientific concepts to a broad audience, but for analyzing the human element in it all, and finding the universal themes present in any search for truth,” says season one guest John Urschel, an applied mathematician at MIT and a former NFL player. “This podcast is a must-listen!”
“The Joy of x” is produced by Quanta Magazine in partnership with Story Mechanics, an audio-oriented production company founded by former Radiolab executive producer Ellen Horne. Quanta is an award-winning, editorially independent online publication launched by the Simons Foundation. Quanta has published two anthologies of its reporting — Alice and Bob Meet the Wall of Fire and The Prime Number Conspiracy — and its articles have been syndicated through partnerships with outlets such as The Atlantic, Scientific American and The Washington Post.