Feb 17, 2023

Golden Goose

After years of being publicly shamed for “fleecing” the taxpayers with their frivolous and obscure studies, scientists decided to hit back with… an awards show?! This episode, we gate-crash the Grammys of government-funded research, A.K.A. the Golden Goose Awards. The twist of these awards is that they go to scientific research that at first sounds trivial or laughable but then turns out to change the world. We tell the story of one of the latest winners: a lonely Filipino boy who picked up an ice cream cone that was actually a covert vampire assassin. Decades later, that discovery leads to an even bigger one: an entire pharmacy's worth of new drugs hidden just below the surface of the ocean.


Reported by - Latif Nasser and Maria Paz Gutiérrez
with help from - Ekedi Fausther-Keeys
Produced by - Maria Paz Gutiérrez and Matt Kielty
with help from Ekedi Fausther-Keeys

Original music and sound design contributed by Matt Kielty
with mixing help from Arianne Wack.
Fact-checking by Emily Krieger
Editing by Soren Wheeler, who thought the whole episode should have been a little shorter. 

Special thanks to Erin Heath, Haylie Swenson, Gwendolyn Bogard, Valeria Sabate and everyone else at AAAS who oversee the Golden Goose Awards. Also to Maggie Luddy, and former Congressman Jim Cooper, Terry Lee Merritt at University of Utah, Jim Tranquada, John McCormack, and the Cosman Shell Collection at Occidental College.


Videos -

Gorgeous slo mo video of cone snails hunting (https://zpr.io/uiWrS3J2BuZM).

A recent segment from our down-the-hall neighbors at On The Media (https://zpr.io/VZHSLPdkdAxH) about breakthrough science featuring the late Senator William Proxmire.

Check out dazzling documentary shorts on each of the Golden Goose Awards winners (https://zpr.io/Tpxxrzzuz6GS) on their website.

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Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

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