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But Why

  • Where is the border between sky and space? What about between sky and land? And why we can't hold air? The answers to these questions are scientific but it turns out they’re also philosophical and a little bit mysterious! In this episode from 2020, we’re joined by anthropologist Hugh Raffles, an author and professor at The New School, and astronomer John O'Meara, chief scientist at the Keck Observatory. And we have special scoring by cellist Zoë Keating.
  • Join Vermont Public's kids podcast But Why? and Kellogg-Hubbard Library at North Branch Nature Center for a FREE live event.
  • That’s a question a lot of people have, honestly. But a kid named Rosie was bold enough to ask us to investigate why. So, in the latest episode, we dig in on why cockroaches get such a bad rap and why you might want to reconsider if you’re not a fan.We dig deep into insects with Jessica Ware, an entomologist and curator at the American Museum of Natural History. She’s also the host of the PBS digital series Insectarium. Answers to your questions about cockroaches, termites, dragonflies, praying mantises and more!
  • Why do lizards have scales? Why are reptiles cold-blooded? Why do lizards have long tongues? How do lizards grow their tails back? Are crocodiles dinosaurs? What’s the difference between an alligator and a crocodile? Why do crocodile eyes look like they have mirrors in the back? How do crocodiles chomp? Why do crocodile teeth stay sharp? Why are crocodiles green? Why do crocodiles swim? Answers to all of your crocodile and alligator questions with Venetia Briggs-Gonzalez, one of the researchers known as the Croc Docs at the University of Florida.
  • Why do people dance? Where did ballet come from? How do you make pointe shoes for ballet? How does practice make you better at things? But Why visited Dance Theatre of Harlem to get answers to these questions with company artists Derek Brockington and Lindsey Donnell.
  • A solar eclipse is coming to North America on April 8, 2024. The moon will line up perfectly between the earth and the sun, blocking out the sun’s light and casting a shadow that will pass over parts of Mexico, the United States and Canada. People in the path of totality will experience a few minutes of darkness during the day as the moon perfectly covers the sun. Those not in the path of totality in those countries will still experience a partial solar eclipse. In this episode, we’re answering questions about the eclipse and talking about how to keep your eyes safe if you’re watching it! We speak with Bridgewater State University solar physicist Martina Arndt, Fairbanks Museum planetarium director Mark Breen and Thomas A. Hockey, author of America’s First Eclipse Chasers.
  • Why are there Burmese pythons and chameleons in the Florida Everglades? We might not know how those animals arrived but they are causing damage to the natural ecosystem. An invasive species outcompetes native plants and animals in an ecosystem. So how does this happen? But Why travels to the Everglades to learn more about how and why species end up in places they shouldn’t. Plus, why are we sometimes told to kill invasive insects like the spotted lanternfly?
  • How is snow made and what’s it made out of? Why is it white and sparkly? Why do snowflakes look different? Can snowstorms have thunder? Why do some places, like mountains, get more snow than others? Answers to all of your questions about snow, with Seth Linden, who works for the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado. Plus we hear what it’s like to live at the top of Mount Washington, famous for its extreme weather, from Alexandra Branton, a meteorologist who works at the observatory at the top of the mountain, even during the frigid winter.
  • How do glasses work? Why do some people need glasses and other people don’t? Why do we have different eye colors? We answer your questions about glasses and eyes in the second of two episodes with Dr. Sujata Singh, a pediatric ophthalmologist at the University of Vermont Medical Center. And we hear from Maggie, a kid with low vision, about what it’s like to need glasses.
  • What shape are our eyes? What are they made of? How do they work? What’s the point of having two eyes if we only see one image? Why do we blink? What’s the point of tears and why are they salty? We answer your questions about eyes in the first of two episodes with Dr. Sujata Singh, a pediatric ophthalmologist at the University of Vermont Medical Center.