Popular science 

Neuroscience for life, summarized and explained word-for-word: that’s what you get from the Huberman Lab Podcast. Apart from learning a whole lot about the way your brain works, you get research-backed advice on improving nearly every aspect of your life through care about your well-being. Most of the time, the info is coming straight from the horse’s mouth, too, as renowned researchers explain each topic in detail and with personal insights. For instance, my worlds collided when Sam Harris, a researcher and creator of my favorite meditation app (Waking Up) came to the podcast to talk about mindfulness and meditation (duh). As a neuroscientist, I also appreciate the keynotes provided with every episode with references to the mentioned scientific publications – it feels like you attend actual lectures by world-class scientists. – Catherine


I have to admit, I’m not much of a podcast girlie. However, not too long ago, I got riveted by the art-focused podcast Картина Маслом (“An Oil Painting”), binge-listening to its episodes on the daily. Funnily enough, the first episode in the series that drew my interest was titled “Why is there so much suffering in Russian art?,” after which I went from their oldest to the most recent ones in a hot minute. What I like about this podcast is its host (she’s an art historian and works at Erarta Museum), the diversity of topics (from why to attend exhibitions to the art of post-war Germany) and guests (both art-related and not), and a balance of smarts and laughs that it exudes. Better still, it doesn’t overwhelm the listener with a barrage of terminology, which makes it perfect for those outside the field. – Marina


I discovered this one through recommendations of “podcasts for productive cleaning,” so it's my turn to pass the torch. Sweet Bobby investigates one of the most sophisticated catfishing scams. After years of being in a long-distance relationship, Kirath finds out that her partner, a nice cardiac surgeon called Bobby, never actually existed. The intricate web of lies and psychological tricks gave me chills that could rival any true-crime series. Telling a real story, the authors manage to end each episode with cliffhangers that leave you craving for more. And as the primary source of this recommendation suggests, the time doing household chores while listening to it really flies by. – Elizaveta

Picture this: it’s the early 00s and a young aspiring actor has just landed a role in an HBO series – only to be fired weeks later, supposedly by Tom Hanks himself, for having “dead eyes.” Almost twenty years later, he’s still haunted by that story – and now, he wants to get to the truth. Dead Eyes is an investigative podcast, but not the kind you’ve ever seen. Over the course of 30 episodes, one simple inquiry turns into the journey of a lifetime, complete with surprise twists, celebrity cameos, and moments of genuine awe. It’s not just the tale of one man’s career in entertainment – it’s an epic story about serendipity, self-acceptance, and finding yourself. I kid you not, when I listened to the whole thing, I felt changed. And I bet you will, too. – Vadim


I have to be honest, there are times when I think the hosts of Никакого правильно (“No Such Thing As Normal”) are the sole causes of my giggles – but they truly make jokes and laugh like no one else. However, this is only one reason why I love them; the other is that they talk about “uncomfortable” truths, including but not limited to struggles with mental health, dealing with envy or gossip, limiting stereotypes, and grounds yet to be covered by feminism. Every episode comes with a selection of facts from recent scientific publications and social studies, as well as personal stories from the hosts and their listeners. Once you complete an episode, you feel seen, heard, and understood (and you’ve also had a mighty laugh). I don’t know an exact alternative in English, but I also listen to Not Alone by Valeria Lipovetsky, which, too, features in-depth conversations and oftentimes uncomfortable truths. – Catherine


“1 phone call. 1 hour. No names. No holds barred” – goes the premise of Beautiful/Anonymous, a podcast that’s all about people. To fans of underground comedy, host Chris Gethard is familiar as the host of a groundbreaking, cult-status, low-budget comedy show. But here, he takes on the role of a skilled-yet-caring interviewer. For 8 years now, he has maintained the same simple format: a single anonymous guest, a strict one-hour limit, and honest conversation. 

The guests come from all walks of life: astrophysicists and ex-cons, D&D players and teachers, 3D modelers and pirate cosplayers. Even Australians! Some of these chats are utterly hilarious, while some are deeply heartbreaking; most of the time, it’s both. But always, they’re a great reminder that there’s a rich universe within each and every individual that’s waiting to be uncovered. As of now, there are 400+ episodes out there, but you can start with this essential playlist and then go where your heart takes you. – Vadim