Welcome to Brains On! Universe, a collection of smart, funny shows for kids and curious adults from American Public Media.
Brains On! is an award-winning science podcast for kids and curious adults. Each week, a different kid co-host joins Molly Bloom in the studio to find answers to fascinating questions about the world. Our mission is to encourage kids’ natural curiosity and wonder using science and history… but there’s no age limit on curiosity. Episodes of Brains On! can be enjoyed by anyone! With over 100 episodes, you may be wondering “where do I start?” Check out our listeners’ favorite episodes here.
Smash Boom Best
Smash Boom Best is a debate show for kids and families from the makers of the award-winning podcast, Brains On! Every episode takes two cool things, smashes them together and lets you decide which is best. Cats versus Dogs. Pizza versus Tacos. Invisibility versus Flying. Who will be crowned the Smash Boom Best? Our debaters use facts and passion to make their case -- teaching listeners how to defend their opinions along the way.
Forever Ago® is a history show for the whole family! Every episode explores the surprising and fascinating history of things we think are ordinary, but aren’t -- like ice cream flavors, video games, baths and more. We make learning about the past fun while teaching listeners to think critically about history.
Moment of Um
Moment of Um answers those questions that make you go ummmm… Like, why flamingos are pink? Or… why are beaches sandy? Every weekday, you’ll hear a new question from a kid and an answer from an expert. Got a head-scratcher? Head to brainson.org/contact, record a voice memo and send it to us. We can’t wait to help you scratch that itch!
We love hearing from listeners. Adults can submit questions, ideas, mystery sounds, and Brains On inspired art from their kids through our submission form here or send snail mail to:
480 Cedar St.
St. Paul, MN 55101
Want to be a judge? Got an idea for a debate? Use this form to submit your wildest suggestions, artwork, and more.
Our shows are produced by a listener-supported not-for-profit organization called American Public Media. Contributions from people like you make our work possible. If you would like to support the Brains On! Universe please consider donating.
Brains On! is also supported in part by a grant from the National Science Foundation, where discoveries begin.
Molly Bloom is the co-creator and host of Brains On! and Smash Boom Best, and helps produce all the other APM Studios podcasts for kids and families. Molly loves finding out about the way things work — whether it’s a glass factory or our brains or molecular bonds. She likes playing piano, sings in a choir and wishes that people would break into song and dance like they do in the musicals that she loves. She was always the shortest one in her class and has worn glasses since the third grade.
Rachel Brees is a Post Production Associate Producer for the APM Kids team. She’s really excited that she gets to make fun sound effects and learn new things all day! When she’s not working in audio, she enjoys reading, riding her bike, and looking for four leaf clovers.
Joy Dolo is the Host of Forever Ago! She is an Actor, Teacher, Writer, and really good at word search puzzles. Joy loves when education and comedy are mashed together because learning shouldn’t be boring! Joy’s curiosity and imagination makes her a big kid at heart. Joy loves a lot of things, but here are the tops; swimming, cooking, driving and singing really loud in the car, eating cookies, traveling, hanging out with friends, hiking, and smothering her dog DD with kisses and doggy treats.
Rosie is a kids podcast producer for APM Studios. She helms the production of Smash Boom Best and contributes to Brains On!, Moment of Um, and other kids podcasts from APM Studios. When she’s not writing and producing, Rosie loves wiggling at the disco, voicing wacky characters, and flying around New York City on her bicycle, which is covered in gold stars. If you spot her around town, she hopes you’ll say hey!
Shahla Farzan is a podcast editor with APM Studios, where she helps produce shows for curious kids, like Brains On! and Forever Ago. Shahla loves to bake and has never met a cookie she didn’t like. She’s also an ecologist who appreciates creatures big and small and is always on the lookout for interesting insects. She lives in St. Louis with her very old dog, Lucy and hopes to have many more dogs in the future.
Anna Goldfield is the Science Fellow for Brains On! She loves nerding out about the lives of people in the past, and learning all about how the world works. Anna is an archaeologist who has traveled all over the world to dig a series of very careful holes. Anna also hosts The Dirt, a weekly podcast all about archaeology and human stories! When she’s not noodling on the guitar or sitting with her nose in a book, Anna loves hiking, drawing, and making elaborate, delicious meals (and giant kitchen messes).
Ruby Guthrie is the Associate Producer of Brains On! And Smash Boom Best. Prior to working at APM, Ruby studied journalism at the University of Minnesota and started as a Brains On intern. She likes learning about different cultures, music, and the environment–especially how we can take better care of it. When she's not writing or finding factoids, she enjoys biking, disco, and ratatouille (the film and the dish).
Beth Pearlman is the Executive Producer of APM Studios, and a former TV Producer who is having so much fun working with the Kids & Family team. Even though she’s a "grownup," Beth still loves playing with puppets and ventriloquist dolls, so watch out if you start hearing strange voices when she’s in the room. Beth is as curious as the kids who ask questions on the podcasts and learns something new every time she listens to Brains On, Smash Boom Best, Forever Ago and Moment of Um!
Marc Sanchez is the senior post production manager for kids podcasts at APM Studios. He gets a kick out of music, technology, and writing. If he’s not playing drums or concocting noises for Brains On!, you might see him in ridiculous, Day-Glo clothing, running around the lakes and rivers of Minnesota or scouring the city in search of the world’s best burrito. You have his permission to sneak up behind him and scream, “Brains On!” if you ever see him in a taqueria.
Sanden Totten is the senior editor for kids podcasts at APM Studios. His favorite subjects are obviously dinosaurs and space, but he really enjoys studying the brain and the environment too. He has a rad collection of comic books, he can jump a curb on a skateboard and his favorite food is sushi. If you see him around, say hi and ask for a high five.
Anna Weggel feels so lucky to be a producer on the fascinating podcasts Brains On!, Smash Boom Best, Forever Ago and her #1 pod-child Moment of Um. She loves hearing awesome questions from curious kids, and when she's not interviewing experts and sound designing episodes, she loves to play music, perform improv comedy and have dance parties with her husband, doggie and little baby Luna!
Nico is a producer on the APM Kids team. In the past, they’ve worked as a goat herder, a lifeguard, a dog trainer, and a middle school teacher, so their love for unpredictability and adventure is probably obvious! A short list of their favorite things would include planning road trips, finding swimming holes, receiving postcards, and the world’s best summer treat: Philadelphia water ice. They have always wanted a pony.
Aron Woldeslassie is an associate producer for Smash Boom Best and Smarty Pass. Prior to working on the APM Kids Team, Aron produced and directed the news at Minnesota Public Radio. When Aron's not at his computer he can be found performing stand-up, reading, and biking.
Menaka Wilhelm was a Brains On producer from 2019-2022. She's super into exploring the biology and technology that shape our world. Some of her favorite things are wacky jokes, fun socks, and ice cream cones with rainbow sprinkles. When she's not reading or writing, she's cooking, hiking, or working on a crafty project. She’s now communicating science at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and is a forever friend of the show.
Kristina was the Audience Engagement Editor for Brains On, Julie’s Library, Smash Boom Best, and more until September 2021. In 2017, she was an AIR New Voices scholar and in 2019, Kristina participated in Poynter's Leadership Academy for Women in Digital Media. And yes, she’s still as mischievous as she looks in this photo.