Podcasts by Scientists: Neuroverse

Podcasts by Scientists: Neuroverse
10 months ago

Podcasts by Scientists: Neuroverse

We love a science-themed podcast, and this week we’ve been listening non-stop to the brilliant Neuroverse podcast! Created by young neuroscientists Carolina Soares and Clara Lenherr, the podcast was created as a way to explore and share ideas both within and beyond neuroscience in a way that is accessible and interesting to both scientists and non-scientists alike.

Since launching in early 2022, the podcasting duo have had more than 5,000 streams from over 60 countries around the world. They have shared discussions with some fascinating STEM experts on a wide variety of topics including reductionism, sleep deprivation, mycelium, inequality in women’s health, the hippocampus, and lots more!

We spoke to Carolina and Clara to find out more about the creation of the podcast, the challenges they have faced, and their plans for 100+ more episodes!


Hi Carolina & Clara! Can you tell us a little bit about your background as neuroscientists?

We’re both neuroscientists in training. We started with undergraduate degrees in different scientific subjects (Clara in neuroscience, Carolina in biochemistry) and then both went on to do a research-based Master’s in neuroscience at the University of Edinburgh, which is where we met. Our Master’s projects utilised circuit-mapping optogenetic tools to uncover neural circuitry related to spatial learning and cognition. Now, Clara is carrying out a PhD in neurodevelopmental disorders at King’s College London, where she is focusing on activity-dependent mechanisms of synapse development. Carolina is currently working as a research technician at the Sainsbury Wellcome Centre at UCL, focusing on the neural circuits of decision-making and will soon commence a PhD at King’s College London.


Where did the idea for the podcast come from?

We noticed that we kept having fascinating conversations with each other, because we were both really interested in the links between science and philosophy, and really enjoyed linking what we were learning with more abstract concepts. So, once Carolina suggested the idea of a podcast, it did not take long before we really kicked off with it!


Who is the podcast aimed at?

Neuroverse is aimed at fellow scientists as well as interested non-scientists. We felt that there was a gap in the science podcast world, with existing podcasts either being catered towards experts, or kept very simple for a lay audience. We aim to bridge that gap by discussing science in a more abstract way that can spark curiosity in everyone, regardless of their background.


Is this the first podcast you’ve been involved with?

Yes! Neither of us had any previous experience with podcasting. Neuroverse was a big step for us into the podcast world, but we’ve always had a “we’ll figure it out” kind of attitude, which we feel is characteristic of most scientists when challenged with a problem.


What makes this podcast different from other science-based podcasts?

We try to make Neuroverse less technical, less about facts, and more about questioning the world and what we know about it. We believe we cover a greater range of topics than most other science-based podcasts as we don’t want to limit ourselves to just neuroscience or even science. The point is to showcase how different areas of knowledge, from physics to biology, epistemology, anthropology, psychology, and beyond are connected to one another.


STEM podcasts in general are hugely popular at the moment - why do you think this is?

We think that as science begins to play an even bigger role in society, with the continuous emergence of new technologies, especially those related to artificial intelligence, the global population is becoming increasingly interested in what is going on behind the scenes. Science is also being valued more as a tool to inform how to live a happier and healthier life. And we do believe that two-way communication between scientists and the public is absolutely crucial for benefitting society as a whole, by keeping the public informed and encouraging trust and confidence in how science is being done and being utilised.


What do you enjoy most about making this podcast?

For us, the podcast is such a great learning experience. Not only do we get to research unique topics that we find interesting in preparation for our episodes, but we also get to meet and talk to amazing guest speakers who are always so insightful and knowledgeable!


What’s been the most challenging aspect of starting a podcast?

The greatest challenge for us is probably reaching the audience that we aim to reach. Being in the world of neuroscience research, our social networks were quite restricted to fellow scientists initially, making it challenging to reach a more lay audience beyond word of mouth. Over time, gaining exposure through various forms of social media has definitely helped with that.


Which has been your favourite episode of the podcast so far?

There are too many to choose just one! But some of our favourites would have to be the more unique and creative topics, like when we argued about whether Oxygen is good or bad in “13. Oxygen- Friend or Foe: a Debate”, when we debated whether memory equals consciousness in “37. Does Memory Equal Consciousness?”, and bonded over the great challenge of crossing scales in neuroscience in “25. Scientific Planes of Understanding”.

Some of our guest episodes have also been absolutely illuminating, especially “17. Understanding the World Through Physics (with Liza Rozenberg)”, “27. Science Art (with TakT)”, and “43. In Conversation with Dr. Àlex Gómez-Marín”.


What topics do you have planned for future episodes?

We have a list of over 100 episodes waiting to be recorded! Some topics we’d love to include that we haven’t yet touched on are: what makes life, neurolinguistics, and computational models in biology.


If you could interview absolutely anybody, who would be your dream podcast guest?

If time was not a limit, then a dream guest of ours would be Santiago Ramon y Cajal, who made some astonishingly accurate predictions about how the brain works. It would be so interesting to see what his reasoning behind those predictions were. Another amazing neuroscientist we would love to interview is Eric Kandel, who played a major role in inspiring both of us to pursue neuroscience. To hear about his multitude of experiences in the world of neuroscience would be a dream!


How do you see the podcast growing/what are your plans for it long-term?

We are mainly working towards growing the Neuroverse community so that the podcast can become more interactive. We try our best to post questions related to each episode on Spotify, and make interactive posts on Twitter and Instagram, but getting even more feedback from listeners would be a lot of fun to work with.


What advice would you give to other scientists who are keen to get into podcasting?

We’d recommend trying to let genuine curiosity and enthusiasm guide your podcasting to get people interested! Not everyone is easily enthused by science, so it’s really important to make it as engaging, passion-driven, and fun as possible.


Aside from Neuroverse, which other science-themed podcasts would you recommend?

Some science podcasts we enjoy listening to and would recommend are: Brain Science with Ginger Campbell (who we had as a guest speaker on one of our episodes!); Science Vs; The Science of Everything (with James Fodor); Brain Inspired (with Paul Middlebrooks); WIRED Science.


How can our readers listen to the podcast?

You can find our podcast directory on Anchor: https://anchor.fm/neuroverse9

We also have a website where you can find our episodes, and links to listen to our podcast on Spotify, Apple, Google or Amazon: https://neuroversecc.wixsite.com/podcast


Where can we find you on social media?

We’re active on Twitter (@neuroverse_pod), Instagram (@Neuroverse_pod), and LinkedIn.


Anything else you would like to tell us?

You can help us improve our podcast by giving us feedback: https://forms.gle/PuEMC1BCWXdAqCRQA

And contribute a monthly donation to help keep our podcast going, for the price of a cup of coffee: http://ko-fi.com/neuroverse/tiers


Thank you for speaking to us Carolina & Clara! We love what you are doing - keep up the great work!


Discover more great Podcasts by Scientists...

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