A while ago I helped fund a kickstarter project to start a podcast called ‘Relatively Prime’, which is a sort of Radio Lab-like podcast focussed on math-related stories.
The first couple of episodes were good, but I wasn’t entirely convinced that they would captivate someone who wasn’t already interested in math. However, I found the most recent episode completely engrossing; on one level it’s the story of the attempt to make a checkers-playing computer program that can beat (or draw) the best human player in the world — but along the way the abstract mathematics of checkers runs into basic problems of programming errors, broken air conditioning, and most of all the personalities of the human checkers champion Marion Tinsley and the program’s lead programmer Jonathan Schaeffer.
I’m not really doing it justice here, but it really is reminiscent of one of the really good This American Life or Radio Lab episodes, where a topic you had never really thought about and maybe holds no intrinsic interest for you is brought to life through the voices of the people involved in it.
The episode is online here: <http://relprime.com/chinook/> or you can get it through iTunes here: <https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/relatively-prime/id560923828>
(And maybe if you like it you will go back and listen to the earlier episodes, which I do think are good — I just think this one really knocks it out of the ballpark.)