David Pogue has a mission for his new podcast series “Unsung Science“: to make significant scientific achievements relatable.
The five-time Emmy winner and CBS News “Sunday Morning” correspondent delves into stories like efforts to reduce the spread of deadly mosquitoes, Deep Fake video and audio abuses, and how mRNA vaccines were created.
“The concept is each week we tell the story of the behind-the-scenes story of a breakthrough in science or technology, that is something that everyone’s familiar with, but doesn’t know who did it, who made it, what the hard parts were, and so on,” Pogue told CBS News chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett in this week’s episode of “The Takeout” podcast. “The best episodes are ones where it was not at all sure that the outcome would be a good one, you know, they thought it could flop.”
Pogue said that he aims to make the “unknown” familiar to his listeners, to try to ease the concerns of those who may be skeptical of science or who reject it.
“I think there’s two reasons that people reject science, whether it’s climate science or the vaccine or, you know, 5G. People are terrified of a lot of new things,” Pogue said, adding that through human history we have survived by being wary of the unknown. “You can’t see the virus. You can’t see the software in a self-driving car, you can’t see radio waves for 5G. So those two things — recent technologies that are invisible — are the ones that people are going to reject, are going to be suspicious of.”
“My job is to make these things not unfamiliar,” Pogue added.
In early 2021, Pogue published a book, How to Prepare for Climate Change, that offers advice on how humans can prepare for changing climates around the world.
“Unfortunately, the climate crisis did not take a year off during the pandemic. [In] 2020, we had the hottest temperature ever recorded on the planet — one hundred and thirty-one degrees. We had the greatest number of hurricanes, so many that they ran out of the alphabetical male and female names — had to start using Greek letters. We had record wildfires,” Pogue said. “So, I can’t predict when a climate crisis will hit you by name, but I know that you will be stuck with something. 25 million Americans a year get face-to-face with some kind of weather disaster. And so, if you know it’s coming, why wouldn’t you want to prepare for it?”
Pogue also had a take on Facebook’s recent corporate rebrand to “Meta.”
“The whole thing kind of cracks me up. I mean, Facebook is in dire public relations trouble right now, and it’s just the perfect misdirection. ‘Look over here! We’ve got a new name!'” Pogue said. “So they wanted to make their name “Meta” in the same way that Google made their name Alphabet… The Metaverse is just this goofy name for augmented reality.”
Listen to Pogue’s podcast “Unsung Science” here or listen wherever you get your podcasts.
Executive producer: Arden Farhi
Producers: Jamie Benson, Jacob Rosen, Sara Cook and Eleanor Watson