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Breakthrough of the Year, our favorite online news stories, and the year in books

Science Podcast
Craig Cloutier/Flickr

As the year comes to a close, we review the best science, the best stories, and the best books from 2019. Our end-of-the-year episode kicks off with Host Sarah Crespi and Online News Editor David Grimm talking about the top online stories on things like human self-domestication, the “wood wide web,” and more.

News Editor Tim Appenzeller joins Sarah to discuss Science’s 2019 Breakthrough of the Year, some of the contenders for breakthrough, also known as runners-up, and a breakdown—when science and politics just didn’t seem to mix this year.

Finally, Science books editor Valerie Thompson brings her favorites from the world of science-inflected media. She and Sarah talk about some of the best books reviewed in Science this year, a food extinction book we should have reviewed, a pair of science-centric films, and even an award-winning birding board game.

For more science books, films, and games, visit the books et al blog at

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

Ads on this week’s show: Bayer; Lightstream; KiwiCo

Download a transcript (PDF).

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[Image: Craig Cloutier/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook]