Robert Lamb

Senior Writer and Co-host of Stuff to Blow Your Mind

Robert Lamb spent his childhood reading books and staring into the woods — first in Newfoundland, Canada and then in rural Tennessee. There was also a long stretch in which he was terrified of alien abduction. He earned a degree in creative writing. He taught high school and then attended journalism school. He wrote for the smallest of small-town newspapers before finally becoming a full-time science writer and podcaster. He’s currently a senior writer at HowStuffWorks and has co-hosted the science podcast Stuff to Blow Your Mind since its inception in 2010. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling with his wife Bonnie, discussing dinosaurs with his son Bastian and crafting the occasional work of fiction.

RECENT CONTRIBUTIONS


Idolized by some and reviled by others, Timothy Leary remains an icon of 1960s counterculture and psychedelic self-exploration. But who was this rebel, psychologist and celebrity? What did he reveal about LSD’s power and potential? Join Robert and Christian for a special two-part look at the man, the time and the drug he championed. Turn on, tune in, drop out...

With another season of “Stranger Things” just around the corner, the Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast explores the mind-rending science and pseudoscience behind government psychic research, sensory deprivation tanks, interdimensional travel and the real-life researcher lurking behind the fictional Dr. Brenner. Join hosts Robert, Joe and Christian as they take your scientific understanding of reality deep into the upsidedown.

Join Robert, Joe and Christian for another listener mail extravaganza! They'll read your feedback on human memory, science communication, Chinese culture, history and more. Plus is Karny the Mailbot in love? Tune in to find out.

Can a chalice made of rhino horn detect poison? Can its ground powder serve as an aphrodisiac? The science is at best sketchy on both fronts, but such beliefs continue to endanger the world’s remaining rhinoceros species. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe explore the magical beliefs surrounding rhino horn and exactly what science has to say about the matter.

Do you have a tattoo? If so, you probably have an interesting story to go with it, or some personal insight into just what the design and the experience mean to you. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Christian discuss the science of tattoos and the psychology behind why we get them and how the world sees us afterwards.

It’s easy to assume that spinning, ring-shaped blades are weapons best left to Hindu gods and TV warrior princesses. But long before humans invented the peaceful Aerobie, ancient Indian warriors unleashed spinning chakram against their enemies -- and Sikh warriors continued to use them in combat up into the 19th century. Join Robert and Christian as they explore the mythic power, military history and aerodynamics of this marvelous flying halo.

Join Robert and Joe as they explore the world of green beard genes and their role in biological altruism. The Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast takes you from the writings of William D. Hamilton and Richard Dawkins to laboratory results entailing ants, slime molds and rodent sperm trains.

If you’ve ever reminisced with friends about movies that never existed or historical details that never came to pass, then you’ve experienced the weirdness of shared false memories. Also known as the Mandela Effect, it’s led some to interpret erroneous memories of 90s Sinbad movies as paranormal events. But as Robert and Christian explore in this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, it all boils down to the complex, amazing and fallible way our memory works.

Philosopher George Santayana said that 'Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.' If that’s true, then can an extensive understanding of past events help human civilization avoid future catastrophes? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Christian turn to the field of cliodynamics and its attempts to identify the cycles of social unrest and violence. Can we avoid the terror of history?

To engage the ships of Byzantine Empire was to risk the horrors of Greek fire, a medieval weapons system that empowered ships to spew forth flaming liquid on enemy ships and crew members. The secrets of Greek fire are lost to history, but historians and scientists continue to theorize its formula and deployment details. Join Robert and Joe as they discuss the weapon’s history, predominant theories on its specifics and the risks and rewards of secret keeping.

The renowned string quartet will improvise live music to accompany 'space sounds' created by sonification of the total solar eclipse.

Deadly elixirs in tiny bottles play into the cruelest machinations of history, fiction and myth. In this episode of the Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast, join Robert and Christian as they sneak six of these deadly concoctions from the poisoner’s chest and explore each one’s power and place in human history.

There’s a total solar eclipse sweeping across the center of the United States on Monday, August 21, 2017, so here’s a special Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast episode to enhance the experience! Join Robert and Joe for practical viewing tips and a rundown on the celestial mechanics at work in the sky above.

What are we to make of alien abduction experiences? Scientific investigation points to a barrage of logical explanations for abnormal sensory experience, from sleep paralysis and temporal lobe anomalies to false memory encoding. Interpret it all within the confines of a sci-fi narrative and you have a revealing, kaleidoscopic view of the 20th century zeitgeist in all its wonder, hope, anxiety and yearning. Join Robert and Christian for this Stuff to Blow Your Mind two-part examination of paranormal experience in the space age.

What are we to make of alien abduction experiences? Scientific investigation points to a barrage of logical explanations for abnormal sensory experience, from sleep paralysis and temporal lobe anomalies to false memory encoding. Interpret it all within the confines of a sci-fi narrative and you have a revealing, kaleidoscopic view of the 20th century zeitgeist in all its wonder, hope, anxiety and yearning. Join Robert and Christian for this Stuff to Blow Your Mind two-part examination of paranormal experience in the space age.

Can you keep a secret? If so, what's the psychic weight of that secret? How does secret keeping fit into human evolution and the modern shape of human society? Join Robert and Joe as they discuss the science of secrets and secret keeping in this episode of the Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast.

One of the largest historical statues in the world, China’s Lèshān Grand Buddha has overlooked the Dàdù river for 1200 years. Carved from the side of a mountain, this serene titan is a testament to human artistry and the Anthropocene Epoch. Join Robert and Joe for a discussion of the Buddha’s history, meaning and the overarching theme of humanity’s remaking of the natural world.

If you watch enough 'Jaws' and Shark Week, you’re bound to see sharks as ravenous death machines. But is it really more appropriate to think of these ancient creatures as LIFE machines? In this episode of the Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast, Robert and Christian welcome 'Sex in the Sea' author Marah Hardt back on the podcast for a discussion of embryonic cannibalism, virgin shark birth, conservation efforts and more.

The Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard has it all: glaciers, polar bears, scientific researchers and an epic seed vault built to survive the apocalypse. Join Robert and Christian as they discuss this frigid environment and the human activities that have come to define it.

It's time once again for Robert, Joe and Christian to share a selection of fiction, nonfiction and comic book reads to enhance your summer travels -- or simply boost your reading list. Join your Stuff to Blow Your Mind hosts as they discuss volumes about alien worlds, space vampires, nuclear war, content creation, cocktails and more.