Quirks & Quarks

The first 5 steps to take to rebuild civilization

If society were to collapse, what would you need to know to survive and to rebuild? Author Lewis Dartnell explains how to do so in The Knowledge: How to Rebuild the World from Scratch....

How two patients defeated HIV

A new book looks at two remarkable cases of curing HIV -- and what they mean for the future of medical science. ...

Gorillas, a French adventurer and the evolution debates

In his new book Between Man and Beast, science writer Monte Reel tells the story of Paul du Chaillu, who caused a sensation in Victorian England....

Are we doomed? Elizabeth Kolbert explains why the world might be in the midst of a major mass extinction

According to a new book by science writer Elizabeth Kolbert, the planet may now be in the midst of another great extinction, and this time we can't blame an asteroid -- the fault lies with us humans. ...

How evolution works against us

First aired on Quirks & Quarks (21/12/2013) Evolution has a lot to answer for, like: eye glasses, heart disease, bad backs, flat feet, impacted wisdom......

It's time to stop the war on germs

In his book The Germ Code: How to Stop Worrying and Love the Microbes, microbiologist and science writer Jason Tetro argues that we need to change our relationship with germs....

Science writer George Johnson's revealing Cancer Chronicles

In his new book, Johnson argues that we misunderstand what causes cancer. He explains where we've gone wrong to Quirks & Quarks. ...

Veterinarian Sheri Speede on her mission to save endangered chimps

In her new book Kindred Beings: What Seventy-Three Chimpanzees Taught Me About Life, Love and Connection, she chronicles how she set up a rescue centre for chimpanzees in Cameroon. ...

Is limiting population growth the key to a sustainable future?

In his new book Countdown, the award-winning science writer addresses tough questions such as the optimum number of people the Earth can support. Quirks & Quarks has more....

Attack! Jellyfish are taking over the underwater world

In a new book, Stung! On Jellyfish Blooms and the Future of the Ocean, leading jellyfish expert Dr. Lisa-Ann Gershwin warns that the creatures are becoming the "middleman of destruction" of ecosystems....

The Origin of Feces and how poop can save the world

Author David Waltner-Toews thinks we should stop seeing excrement as something disgusting, and realize its positive potential. Quirks & Quarks has more....

Everything you think you know about dinosaurs is wrong

A man looks at the prehistoric dinosaur called Giganotosaurus at an exhibit in Toronto. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press) First aired on Quirks & Quarks (5/4/13)......

What evolution can tell us about sex, diets and how we live

Do we romanticize the Stone Age? A new book argues that we do -- and why doing so is a big problem....

Is time real?

A new book looks at how science uses time to understand the universe, philosophy and even human free will....

How brain-machine interfaces work

Neurobiologist and author Miguel Nicolelis explains his pioneering work in connecting living brains to computerized devices so they can be controlled by thought alone....

Life on the Serengeti

In his new book Serengeti Story, zoologist Anthony Sinclair describes his life and work in "the world's greatest wildlife region." Quirks & Quarks has more....

The connection between rocks, planets, and people

American palaeontologist and evolutionary biologist Dr. Neil Shubin explores how everything on Earth is connected in his new book, The Universe Within....

The science of gene-changing

Do our genetics determine our destinies? Certainly not, argues scientist and author Tim Spector....

Apocalypse averted: How NASA's Don Yeomans watches the sky for Near-Earth Objects

NASA's Don Yeomans talks about finding asteroids and comets before they find us....

How the dinosaurs did it

An Australian scientist reveals the prehistoric origins of sex in his new book, The Dawn of the Deed....

Fishing less to get more: Dr. Callum Roberts on The Ocean of Life

Marine biologist Dr. Callum Roberts talks about how we're destroying the ocean...and what we can do to stop....

Neil Turok tackles the universe within

What went bang? This year's Massey Lecturer is trying to find out. He spoke to Quirks & Quarks about his work and the secrets of the universe.... Read More »

'To be second is to be forgotten': The competition and backstabbing behind the Nobel Prize

Morton Meyers talks to Quirks & Quarks about his book Prize Fight, which reveals the less noble side of the Nobel Prize in various sciences....

We are all made of stardust

Each and every one of us is made of stardust. This isn't a silly romantic metaphor or childhood whimsy: it's scientifically so. Every proton and neutron, every atom and molecule in our bodies was created in the Big Bang.... Read More »

The fuel of the future?

Could thorium-based nuclear energy be the key to powering a safer, greener future? Writer Richard Martin explores its potential in his book SuperFuel.... Read More »

The life and legacy of Rachel Carson

Rachel Carson wrote Silent Spring 50 years ago, but it remains one of the most influential environmental texts ever written. A new biography looks at why. ...

Quirks & Quarks: The life of Neil Armstrong

Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, passed away last weekend, at the age of 82. His "giant leap for mankind" changed our sense of our place in the universe. In honour of his legacy, Quirks & Quarks presented a special podcast featuring an interview with Armstrong's biographer from December 2005. (You can listen to the podcast...... Read More »

Run, Swim, Throw, Cheat: The science behind performance-enhancing drugs

First aired on Quirks & Quarks (23/06/12) The Olympic and Paralympic Summer Games in London are around the corner. Athletes from around the world......

Jay Ingram on proteins, prions and Mad Cow Disease

In the late 1980s, a new disease emerged in British cattle, a strange syndrome called Mad Cow Disease. To control the epidemic, millions of cows were slaughtered. But even more terrifyingly, it became clear in the 1990s that this new disease could be communicated to humans as well. ...

Mark Anderson on the day the world discovered the sun

Later today, Venus will pass across the face of the sun, an astronomical event called the Transit of Venus. In 1769, this event helped create new navigational methods and allowed us to determine, for the first time, how far Earth was from the sun. Quirks & Quarks has more. ...

What we need to do before the lights go out

Virtually every aspect of our life depends on the modern energy system, which is largely built on fossil fuels. But it's only a matter of time before that system fails us. Maggie Koerth-Baker, the science editor of Boing Boing, looks at why this happened and what the future of energy looks like in a new book.... Read More »

How robots can teach us about animal evolution

Dr. John Long build robots to better understand the natural world. He explains how in his new book, Darwin's Devices and spoke with Quirks & Quarks about why these mechanical creatures are so important to the future of biology....

Who were really the first people here?

For a long time, it's been accepted that the first humans in North America were people who walked across a land-bridge from Siberia to Alaska about 15,000 years ago. Dr. Bruce Bradley thinks differently. He explains why to Quirks & Quarks....

You are your connectome

A fascinating new book explores how the brain makes us who we are. Quirks & Quarks speaks to its author, Sebastian Seung....

In space, everyone can hear you innovate: Neil deGrasse Tyson on the benefits of space exploration

    First aired on Quirks & Quarks (24/03/12) If asked to name a famous scientist, most people would be hard-pressed to come up with......

From (guitar) zero to hero

A new book explores the science of learning new skills as adults. Quirks & Quarks talks to the author, Dr. Gary Marcus,...

How to think like a Neandertal

A new book goes inside the mind of the Neandertal, our distant cousin that went extinct 60,000 years ago....

Physicist Lawrence Krauss on A Universe from Nothing

  First aired on Quirks & Quarks (21/1/12) Where did the universe come from? In other words, why is there something rather than nothing?......

Wade Davis on the fight to save the Sacred Headwaters

  First aired on Quirks & Quarks (7/1/12) A valley in a rugged corner of northwestern British Columbia is the birthplace of three of......

Holiday book recommendations from Quirks & Quarks

In the program's annual episode on holiday books, host Bob McDonald spoke with the authors of three fascinating new titles about nature and science that are sure to please.... Read More »

Dr. David Wright and the history of Down Syndrome

    First aired on Quirks & Quarks (19/11/11) There was a time, not so very long ago, when doctors used to refer to......

Lisa Randall on the science of tomorrow

The physicist and bestselling author discusses her latest book, Knocking on Heaven's Door....

The God Species: Science writer Mark Lynas on our planet's precarious future

Our practices are destroying the planet. But what can we do about? Scientist Mark Lynas thinks he has the answer.... Read More »

The science of smiling

Psychologist Dr. Marianne LaFrance explores the complexity of smiles in her new book Lip Service. ...

Thinking outside the box with Tyler Hamilton

The technology writer goes in pursuit of scientists who are Mad Like Tesla....

Quirks & Quarks explores sex on six legs

Dr. Marlene Zuk dives into the world of creepy, crawly creatures and their bizarre habits in her fascinating new book....

Sharks: evil killers or just misunderstood?

People have been obsessed with sharks for hundreds of years, and it's an obsession driven mostly by fear and misunderstanding. But if we're not careful, that intriguing deep-sea predator may not be around for much longer. Author Juliet Eilperin dives deep into the world of sharks in her new book. ...

Quantum Man: Lawrence M. Krauss's look at Richard Feynman's life in science

A look at the life and science of physicist Richard Feynman, who pioneered the field of quantum computing....

Quirks & Quarks dives deep into the sex, drugs and slime under the sea

The ocean is filled with sex, drugs and sea slime. Author Ellen Pager dives deep into the weird and wonderful world under the waves in her new book....

The future is now: Harnessing our green tech past for a cleaner present

There is nothing new under the sun, not even harnessing its light for energy. Alexis Madrigal's new book looks to green technology's past to help understand its future... ...

Strange New Worlds: Science's search for planets outside our solar system

Fifteen years ago, astronomers could barely imagine studying planets around other stars. Today, we've detected thousands. Dr. Ray Jayawardhana speaks with Quirks & Quarks host Bob McDonald about his new book, Strange New Worlds....

Unlock the science of kissing with Quirks & Quarks

First aired on Quirks & Quarks (01/22/11) The lights are turned down low and the romantic music is playing in the background. You close......

Feeling itchy? A new book explores the hidden world of parasites

First aired on Quirks & Quarks (12/18/10) This interview was aired as part of the Quirks & Quarks Holiday Book Show. To hear the......

Don't choke! The science of cracking under pressure

First aired on Quirks & Quarks (10/16/10) You've practised for hours. You can make the shot in your sleep. But when the moment finally......

The Eerie Silence on Quirks & Quarks (audio)

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of an international research program known as SETI -- the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence. So......

Masha Gessen and a mathematical mystery

First aired on Quirks & Quarks 12/12/09 runs [18:05] In 2002, mathematician Grigori Perelman solved the Poincaré conjecture, a mathematical theorem that baffled mathematicians......