Ever wonder how roller coasters are built, why dogs love to sniff or what causes thunder? Each episode of Brains On! will answer some of your most burning questions. Satisfy your curiosity one topic at a time!
We find out all about the common cold and, more importantly, why we get sneezy, coughy and achy. Achoo!
If you love video games, you may have noticed how important the music is to the game. We explore what would happen if there wasn't any special effects sounds or music in your favorite game.
If you’ve ever seen a dog, you know they like to sniff — the ground, people, each other’s butts. Find out why in this episode about that famous dog nose!
Have you ever wondered how your favorite roller coast was built and why it is so much fun? We'll talk to a real roller coaster creator to find out how they do it, and more importantly, why we sometimes feel dizzy from riding them!
We'll explore some serious questions about the universe and space. How big is the universe and what does it mean that it's expanding?
Dive into all things volcanoes in this explosive episode. Travel to the center of the Earth and meet a NASA robot whose mission it is to find out how a volcano erupts.
Fish, jellyfish, shrimp and other animals can breath under water, but why can't we? Explore what makes them different and allows them to survive under water.
GPS is what allows us to pinpoint exactly where we are and can help us get from one location to another without getting lost. In this episode, find out exactly how GPS works.
We talk about all things CATS! From why their eyes look the way they do to what their purrs really mean–we have all the answers you've been looking for.
Find the answer to how thunderstorms and tornadoes made. Plus, do you know what the mystery sound is?
Is farting good for us? Where do farts come from? Why do only some make sounds? And what’s up with the smell? We tackle your questions about the gas we all pass.
Nasal mucus is very important to our health – and actually kind of magical. There’s a lot going on in our noses all the time that we don’t appreciate.
What’s really going on under that scab? What superpowers does our skin have to repair itself? We’re going under the skin for this one.
Rain, sun, wind, snow… you name it, somewhere in the world it’s happening. We’ll find out how scientists collect data on weather and turn it into a forecast. We’ll also test our ears with the mystery sound!
Can you tell the difference playful barks and warning barks? How about decoding the meaning behind a cat’s meow? Get ready to test your dog and cat language skills.
Do spiders give you the heebie-jeebies? If so, we want to change your mind about our eight-legged buddies!
The International Space Station sits 250 miles above Earth, but how did it get there? Astronaut Don Pettit tells us about what it’s like to live on the ISS.
Why do humans have hair and not fur? How does hair grow? How does hair become curly or straight? The hair on our heads is on our minds.
How do planes stay in the air? We’ll find out about the invention of airplanes, plus an aviation-inspired mystery sound and paper airplane tips!
Pollen, peanuts, dust mites. These things aren’t poisonous – so why do some people’s bodies act like they are? In this episode, we’ll find out what happens during an allergic reaction and hear about new treatments.
Most plants get the energy and nutrients they need from water, sunlight, air and soil. But carnivorous plants get key nutrients from a different source: bugs. We’ll find out how they do it and talk about the mystery of how venus fly traps snap shut. Plus: Two gardeners – one very experienced and one just starting out – offer their tips for growing venus fly traps.
Think of the cutest puppy, kitten or baby you’ve ever seen. Now what sound did you just make? Was it an “Awwwww?” Or did you want to pinch, bite or squeeze it? In this episode, we’ll find out why this is a natural reaction to cute and why we’re so easily distracted by cute things.
What if the color that you call blue and the color I call blue don’t look the same at all? When our brains see color, we’re really just seeing waves of light. Sure, we may be seeing the same waves when we look at the color blue, but do we know if our brains are interpreting those waves in the same way? Maybe my blue is your orange! We talk to Dr. Robert Marc from the University of Utah about this mystery and go ringside to find out how rods and cones help us see.
We have a lot to learn from ants. This episode digs into the hierarchy of ant colonies (spoiler alert: there is none) and why they walk in a straight line (spoiler alert: they don’t).
Scientists are also studying how ants spread out and search. This work is teaching us about how cancer spreads, how the internet can be improved, and could even give us new ways to explore Mars.
If you’ve ever been in the ocean, you’ve tasted that salt. But where does it come from? And why aren’t lakes and rivers salty too? A sea shanty is probably the best way to explain, right? Plus: we learn about the weird and wonderful world of deep ocean hot springs.
Elevators are like magic. You walk in, the door shuts and when it opens again, you are suddenly someplace new! Ta da! But it’s not magic that does this trick, it’s science and engineering.
In this episode we explain how elevators work and we talk about how they’ve changed over time.
Homemade slime is sticky, gooey and all the rage, but what is it?
Slime magic starts when you add something called sodium borate to water. In laundry detergent these are already mixed, but some slime makers do it themselves.
There is so much happening in your brain when you read. From recognizing shapes as letters to discovering empathy, our brains really get a workout when we read books.
In this episode, Ben Bergen from the Language and Cognition Lab at UC San Diego drops by to shed some light on how our brains process the meaning of words. We also learn how printing books has evolved and how the invention of the printing press brought worldwide change. And recent Newberry Award-winning author Kelly Barnhill shares a little of what’s going on in HER brain as she’s writing a story.
To help us understand sunburns, we’re going deep into the skin to look at cells, molecules and electrons. We also explore the different ways to prevent burning in the first place. Plus, in our “moment of um” we tackle this question: What is the farthest that a human can see?
In this episode, we follow the path of the animal fart database. We’ll hear about snakes, birds, manatees, and an insect that gives new meaning to silent but deadly. Farts can be funny, but they’re also really important. They’re a vital function of life, and animals use them for a variety of amazing reasons.