Radiolab believes your ears are a portal to another world. Where sound illuminates ideas, and the boundaries blur between science, philosophy, and human experience. Big questions are investigated, tinkered with, and encouraged to grow.


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Wednesday, November 19, 2014 Permalink

Radiolab: Emergence



We gaze down at the bottom-up logic of cities, Google, and even our very own brains with fire-flyologists, ant experts, neurologists, a mathematician, and an economist. 

There is No Lord of the (Fire)Flies

We begin in Thailand, watching fireflies glow in glorious synchrony, lighting up miles of mangrove trees like Christmas trees.’s off to Stanford University to contemplate the bottomless mystery of ants, a mystery which culminates in New York City’s flower market (ever wondered what ants can teach us about human ...


The Invisible Hand

In 1776, writer Adam Smith came up with a theory: when lots of buyers and lots of sellers get together, the resulting "market price" that emerges through all that buying and selling is in fact the work of an "invisible hand." He meant god. We think he really meant "emergence." ...


The Unconscious Toscanini of the Brain

How does the brain produce a thought? Or experience a unitary, whole, synchronized perception of a cup of coffee? For neuroscientists, this is the Mount Everest of questions. We have a look at one possible theory (that a thought is like lots of little neurons singing together in harmony) and ...