Overheard at National Geographic

Overheard at National Geographic

Come dive into one of the curiously delightful conversations overheard at National Geographic’s headquarters, as we follow explorers, photographers, and scientists to the edges of our big, weird, beautiful world. Hosted by Peter Gwin and Amy Briggs.

Episodes

January 18, 2022 32 min
National Geographic photographer Tomas van Houtryve documents the layered history and revival of one of the world’s most enduring landmarks, Notre-Dame de Paris. A reflection of the city and part of its soul, the cathedral has been ravaged, reimagined, and resurrected over the course of eight centuries. Badly damaged by fire in 2019, Notre-Dame is again in the hands of skilled artisans who are braving dizzying heights and dangerous...
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In 2022, we’ll journey into the Amazon to solve the mystery of a boiling river, to the South Pacific to search for the legendary aviator Amelia Earhart, and to K2, the world’s second-highest mountain, where a team of Nepalis has rewritten mountaineering history.  We’ll also venture into some of the world’s most isolated forests with an engineer who turns old cell phones into poacher-tracking devices. And we’ll join a team of climbe...
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December 14, 2021 28 min
We’ll sift through 2021 with Whitney Johnson, National Geographic’s director of visuals and immersive experiences, as she works on the “Year in Pictures” special issue and shares what makes an unforgettable image. And we’ll talk with photographers who documented the COVID-19 pandemic and the spread of California wildfires among other key moments of the year. For more information on this episode, visit nationalgeographic.com/overhea...
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December 7, 2021 30 min
How did people create Cahokia, an ancient American Indian metropolis near present-day St. Louis? And why did they abandon it? Archaeologists are piecing together the answers—but Cahokia’s story isn’t finished yet. Hear how an Osage anthropologist is protecting the remaining burial mounds and sacred shrines so the descendants of Cahokia’s founders can keep its legacy alive. For more information on this episode, visit natgeo.com/over...
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November 30, 2021 28 min
In the heart of the Serengeti, hippos bathe and hyenas snatch food from hungry lions. National Geographic Explorer of the Year Paula Kahumbu brings this world to life in her documentary series Wildlife Warriors, a nature show made by Kenyans for Kenyans. Host Peter Gwin meets up with Paula in the Serengeti to learn how she became an unlikely TV star, and why it’s up to local wildlife warriors—not foreign scientists or tourists—to p...
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November 23, 2021 30 min
When Jacques Cousteau was young, an accident sent him on a path that led him to invent scuba, opening up the underwater world to humans. Today, explorers David Doubilet and Laurent Ballesta follow in his footsteps, making discoveries on their own amazing and sometimes terrifying adventures. For more information on this episode, visit nationalgeographic.com/overheard.  Want more? Learn more about Jacques Cousteau. From National Geog...
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November 16, 2021 29 min
Sound on! From conch shells to bone flutes, humans have been making musical instruments for tens of thousands of years. What did prehistoric music sound like? Follow us on a journey to find the oldest musical instruments and combine them into one big orchestra of human history. For more information on this episode, visit natgeo.com/overheard  Want More? A conch is more than just a musical instrument. A mollusk lives in that shel...
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National Geographic photographer Diana Markosian tells us about her remarkable childhood and how her career as a photographer led her into the war in Chechnya—and eventually to her long-lost father’s doorstep in Armenia. For more info on this episode, visit natgeo.com/overheard Want More?   Check out Diana’s film Santa Barbara, which is showing at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art until Dec. 12 and the International Center of...
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November 2, 2021 29 min
There's a lost continent waiting to be explored, and it’s right below our feet. We’ll dig into the deep, human relationship to the underground, and why we understand it from an instinctive point of view — but not so much from a physical one. (Hint: we’re afraid of the dark.) National Geographic photographer, Tamara Merino, will take us subterranean in Utah, Australia, and Spain where modern-day cave dwellers teach us how to esc...
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October 26, 2021 29 min
Blood-sucking villains. Spooky specters of the night. Our views of bats are often based more on fiction than fact. Enter National Geographic Explorer at Large Rodrigo Medellín, aka the Bat Man of Mexico. For decades he’s waged a charm offensive to show the world how much we need bats, from the clothes we wear to a sip of tequila at the end of a long day. Now, as the COVID-19 pandemic causes even more harmful bat myths, the world mu...
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October 5, 2021 21 min
Social media is not just for modern folk. In this episode from the Overheard archives, we’ll look at how in ancient Pompeii, people also shared what they thought, who they met with, what they ate—just with different technology. For more information on this episode, visit nationalgeographic.com/overheard Want more? The new book Lost Cities, Ancient Tombs: A History of the World in 100 Discoveries details the story of Pompeii and oth...
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September 28, 2021 27 min
San Diego is home to the world’s first frozen zoo—a genetic library where scientists are racing to bank the tissues and stem cells of disappearing animals. As scientists begin to clone endangered species, we revisit an episode from our archives that delves into what conservation looks like, as we head into a period that some scientists believe is our next great extinction. Want more? More information about Elizabeth Ann, the clone...
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September 21, 2021 27 min
Tired of waiting for the local government to build more bike lanes, a group of cyclists in Mexico City, the largest city in North America, took matters into their own hands: they painted the lanes themselves.. As traffic and pollution continue to choke cities, bicycles can ease the pain. Yet cities around the world struggle to build biking infrastructure. Grassroots activism is finding creative ways to get the job done. For more in...
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September 14, 2021 26 min
While growing up, Hannah Reyes Morales wasn’t allowed to venture out into the rough streets of Manila, but later her work as a photographer would take her there. In the city’s dark corners, she shed light on the Philippine government’s violent war on drugs and the plight of some of the city’s most vulnerable citizens. For more information on this episode, visit nationalgeographic.com/overheard.  Want More? Hannah Reyes Morales’s L...
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Joel Sartore has been called a modern Noah for his work on the Photo Ark, a photography project with a simple mission: Get people to care that we could lose half of all species by the turn of the next century. He photographs animals on simple backgrounds, highlighting their power, their beauty, and often their cuteness. But while quarantining during the COVID-19 pandemic, he turned to the animals in his own backyard: creepy, crawly...
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Twenty years since the 9/11 attacks and the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, the Taliban have once again seized power of the country. In the months leading up to the fall of the nation’s capital, National Geographic photographer Kiana Hayeri and writer Jason Motlagh heard the stories of young Afghans struggling for a better future.  In the time since this reporting, some of the people featured have died or have become unreachable. F...
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August 24, 2021 29 min
How did the planets form? How did life happen? Where did Earth’s water come from? To answer questions like these, scientists used to go big—looking at planets, dwarf planets, and moons—but now small is the new big. Technology is zooming in on the pint-size stuff—asteroids, comets, meteors, and other chunks of space rock—that couldn’t be studied before, and Lucy, a spacecraft designed to visit eight asteroids near Jupiter, is poised...
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August 17, 2021 27 min
Cheetahs are in trouble. With just 7,000 left in the wild in Africa, populations have been in a continuous decline due to trophy hunting, habitat loss, retaliatory killings, and dealers looking to sell them to the wealthy. National Geographic editor Rachael Bale shares what she saw at the trial of a notorious cheetah smuggler and explores how Somaliland is battling the illegal cheetah trade. For more information on this episode, vi...
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August 10, 2021 32 min
August 1521: Spain’s victory over the Aztec launches colonization of Mexico, but Aztec culture will survive for centuries through preservation and practice. Aztec codices—16th-century Rosetta Stones that preserved Aztec language and deeds—laid a foundation that scholars are building on today as Aztec culture is woven into AI. For more information on this episode, visit nationalgeographic.com/overheard Want more? If you want to know...
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August 3, 2021 27 min
Trees provide much-needed shade for urban Americans on a hot day, but not everyone gets to enjoy it. New research illuminates how decades of U.S. housing policy created cities where prosperous, white neighborhoods are more likely to be lush, and low-income communities of color have little respite from the sun. National Geographic writer Alejandra Borunda explains how activists are trying to make Los Angeles greener and healthier fo...
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