Featured Podcast


What made us… us? Hear the stories that propelled us to the present day, through insights that lend perspective to our world with a nod to our own humanity. Britannica media editor Kurt Heintz heads a team on a mission to spotlight poignant and noteworthy events for every day of the year.

May 1

Kurt Heintz of Encyclopædia Britannica explores the significance of May 1 as a labour holiday, a celebration of spring’s return, and how we started crying “mayday” as a call for help.

May 2

Kurt Heintz of Encyclopædia Britannica visits May 2 throughout the years: Lou Gehrig’s ALS diagnosis and retirement, the publication of the King James Bible, and Edvard Munch’s The Scream selling at a record price. Plus, stick around for Fast Facts.

May 3

Kurt Heintz of Encyclopædia Britannica discusses Margaret Mitchell’s Pulitzer Prize, Margaret Thatcher’s election, and more from May 3. Plus, the birthdays of Bing Crosby and Golda Meir.

May 4

Kurt Heintz of Encyclopædia Britannica talks with author and historian Chris Mahin about the Haymarket Affair, an 1886 clash between police and labour protestors in Chicago. And that’s not all: the May 4 program also covers a tornado in Greensburg, Kansas, the first popularly-elected mayor of London, and much more.

May 8

Kurt Heintz of Encyclopædia Britannica celebrates the end of World War II in Europe, also known as VE Day, on May 8, 1945. Later, Son of Sam pleads guilty and the World Health Organization announces the eradication of smallpox.

May 9

Kurt Heintz of Encyclopædia Britannica tells the astonishing story of the Watergate scandal, visiting the day in history when a break-in revealed a web of political sabotage intended to ensure the reelection of U.S President Richard Nixon. Later, the approval of the birth control pill in the United States and Christopher Columbus’ fourth—and final—journey to the Americas.

May 10 -

Kurt Heintz of Encyclopædia Britannica describes the Russian plot, including accepted bribes for sharing sensitive information, that doomed American FBI agent Robert Hanssen to life in prison. Plus, John Wilkes Booth’s life before Lincoln and the day Nelson Mandela was sworn in as the president of South Africa.

May 11 -

Kurt Heintz of Encyclopædia Britannica visits a decade when humans were considered to be the ultimate match for computers—until IBM’s Deep Blue computer won a 1997 chess game against champion Garry Kasparov, foreshadowing just how much humanity’s relationship with technology would change. Stay tuned for the capture of Nazi official Adolf Eichmann, the launch of the H.M.S. Beagle, and the world’s first peacetime atomic-weapons test.

May 12

Kurt Heintz of Encyclopædia Britannica explores the career and activism of Florence Nightingale in honour of the prolific nurse’s birthday. Plus, the effect and cost of the Berlin air life, an earthquake in Sichuan, China, and Fast Facts.

May 13

Kurt Heintz of Encyclopædia Britannica tells the story of Pope John Paul II, whose attempted assassination in 1981 is suspected—though never proved—to have been an act of retaliation from the Soviets for the pope’s support of the Polish Solidarity movement. Later, a slew of celebrity birthdays, Dr. Joyce Brothers on The $64,000 Question, and “The Day the Music Died.”

May 14

Kurt Heintz of Encyclopædia Britannica explores the complicated legacy of Merriwether Lewis and William Clark on the anniversary of the day their cross-country expedition began. Later, he visits the launch of Skylab, the first U.S. space station; Fast Facts include the passing of B.B. King, the first smallpox vaccine, and the final episode of Seinfeld.

June 8

In June 8th’s program, Kurt Heintz of Encyclopædia Britannica checks in with a few household names: Serena Williams, Michaelangelo’s David, Anthony Bourdain, and RuPaul. Plus, even more famous figures pop up in Fast Facts.

June 9

In an episode for enthusiasts of horse racing and jazz guitar, Kurt Heintz of Encyclopædia Britannica runs through American Thoroughbred racehorse Secretariat’s win at the Belmont Stakes, making him the ninth winner of the U.S. Triple Crown. Other segments visit Les Paul, discuss Margaret Thatcher’s second term as Prime Minister of Great Britain, and wonder how a cartoon character celebrates his birthday.

June 10

Kurt Heintz of Encyclopædia Britannica tells the story of Jack Johnson, one of the greatest heavyweight boxers of all time. When Johnson’s skill as a Black boxer against white competitors offended white supremacists, he and his fans were targeted with outrage and violence. Later, we visit the Gaspee incident, the musical career of Ray Charles, and Marcus Garvey’s political organizing.

June 11

Kurt Heintz of Encyclopædia Britannica explores the life and legacy of Jeannette Rankin, who became the first woman to hold a seat in either chamber of Congress upon her election in 1916—four years before the 19th Amendment gave many women the right to vote for the first time. Plus, a peek into the life of Gene Wilder and the origin of China’s Hundred Days of Reform.

June 12

Kurt Heintz of Encyclopædia Britannica remembers the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting on the day’s devastating anniversary. June 12th’s program also recognizes Nelson Mandela’s life sentence in prison, Anne Frank’s birthday, the day the Philippines declared its independence from Spain.

June 27

In a journey to the 19th century, Kurt Heintz of Encyclopædia Britannica discusses Joseph Smith’s religious awakening, the creation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and the persecution Smith and his followers faced wherever they tried to settle. And that’s not all: June 27th’s program also covers Japan’s adoption of the yen, Jack Lemmon’s Hollywood career, and the amount of time it took to download a song from the internet way back in 1994.

July 4

Kurt Heintz of Encyclopædia Britannica visits one of the most jam-packed days in American history, covering U.S. Independence Day, the Statue of Liberty being gifted to the United States from France, and the days Alaska and Hawaii joined the union. Later, we reveal how the Rube Goldberg machines was created as a joke and dive into the baffling world of Alice in Wonderland.

July 5

Kurt Heintz of Encyclopædia Britannica explains how reconstructed embryos produced Dolly, the first cloned sheep. Then, a segment on the publication of Sir Isaac Newton’s Principia and the story of how tennis star Arthur Ashe won Wimbledon to become the first African American winner of a major men’s singles championship. Fast Facts include the bikini debut in Paris, Ted Williams’ batting average, and more.

July 6

Kurt Heintz of Encyclopædia Britannica checks in with this week’s second story about tennis: the day Althea Gibson defeated Darlene Hard to become the first Black person to win the Wimbledon singles’ championship. Plus, Marsha P. Johnson’s life as a trans activist, Louis Pasteur performing the first rabies vaccine, and the premier of Forrest Gump.

July 7

Kurt Heintz of Encyclopædia Britannica profiles American ice skater Michelle Kwan, following her path from young talent to world champion to State Department advisor. Plus, we discover that Sherlock Holmes author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle held a strong (and, when you think about his ultra-logical detective, incongruous) belief in fairies.

July 8

Kurt Heintz of Encyclopædia Britannica tells the story of Vasco de Gama’s journey from Lisbon to Calicut—and de Gama’s way of insulting Calicut’s ruler at every turn. Even worse, the explorer’s hasty retreat to Portugal a few months later left him sailing against the monsoon. July 8th’s program also includes discussion of William Jennings Bryan’s “Cross of Gold” speech, John D. Rockefeller’s birthday, and Kim Il-Sung’s rule over North Korea.

July 9

Kurt Heintz of Encyclopædia Britannica explores how Catherine the Great rose to power in Russia by staging a coup against her (deeply unpopular) husband. Later, visits to Nikola Tesla, O.J. Simpson, Courtney Love, and the 12th president of the United States.

July 10

Kurt Heintz of Encyclopædia Britannica profiles Mary McLeod Bethune, an educator, activist, and the founder of what is now Bethune-Cook University, a private historically Black university in Florida. Plus, uncovering the voice actor behind Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, and the Road Runner.

July 13

Kurt Heintz of Encyclopædia Britannica details a crime scene in July 13th’s program: the day French radical Jean-Paul Marat was found dead in his bathtub. Marat, his murderer, and a painting of the crime are accompanied by segments on the Live Aid benefit concert, Theresa May’s election as the U.K’s second female prime minister, and the origin of the Hollywood sign.

July 14

The controversial 1921 guilty verdict for Sacco and Vanzetti, two Italian immigrants to the United States convicted of a robbery and murder, begins today’s program with a case of anti-immigrant and anti-anarchist bias. Encyclopædia Britannica’s Kurt Heintz continues by celebrating Bastille Day, wishing Hank Aaron a happy 500th home run, and congratulating Maryam Mirzakhani for becoming the first woman and first Iranian to be awarded a Fields Medal.

July 15

Kurt Heintz of Encyclopædia Britannica covers the experimental career of Linda Ronstadt in celebration of her birthday. Later: Mariner 4, Twitter’s launch, and, ending the program the story of serial killer Andrew Cuanan’s last victim: fashion powerhouse Gianni Versace.

July 16

Kurt Heintz of Encyclopædia Britannica discusses the legacy of feminist and anti-lynching activist Ida B. Wells, accompanied by scholars Dr. Tara Betts and Ariadne Argyros. Plus, the explosion of the first atomic bomb, the opening of Chicago’s Millennium Park, and how to dance like Ginger Rogers.

July 17

Kurt Heintz of Encyclopædia Britannica takes the listener on a virtual vacation, going back in time to the chaotic opening day of Disneyland on July 17, 1955. Later, a mythbusting segment on Tsar Nicholas II and his family, fur magnate John Jacob Astor’s birthday, and the second tragedy of the year for Malaysia Airlines.

July 20

Humans walk on the moon for the first time ever in July 20th’s program, narrated by Encyclopædia Britannica’s Kurt Heintz. Plus: the only female print journalist to accompany President Richard Nixon on his historic trip to China, the first people to reach the top of Mount Everest, and Fast Facts.

July 21

Kurt Heintz of Encyclopædia Britannica explores two brutal genocides from the 20th century one conducted by Bosnian Serb forces in Bosnia in the 1990s, and another by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia beginning in the 1970s. Plus, a profile of Modernist author Ernest Hemingway with a reading from his 1952 novella The Old Man and the Sea.

Aug 3

Kurt Heintz of Encyclopædia Britannica profiles Martha Stewart as a host, lifestyle brand, convict, and friend of Snoop Dogg. Later, the complicated legacy of Christopher Columbus is evaluated under the lens of the explorer’s minimal success, rampant brutality, and status as one of the first modern European colonizers. Fast Facts cover Tom Brady, Anne Hathaway, the Nautilus, and more.

Aug 4

Kurt Heintz of Encyclopædia Britannica investigated what Barack Obama’s life looked like before he became the 44th president of the United States. Plus: the launch of the U.S. space probe Phoenix, how fame beckoned to jazz icon Louis Armstrong, and several celebrity birthdays.

Aug 5

Kurt Heintz of Encyclopædia Britannica details the rise and fall of Marilyn Monroe’s career as a Hollywood bombshell, and how her image as a dumb blonde was an expert career move that made her one of the most recognizable women in America. Later, the Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty and a cave-in at a Chilean mine that trapped 33 workers.

Aug 6

Kurt Heintz of Encyclopædia Britannica looks back on the day that NASA’s Curiosity rover landed on Mars and, hours later, began to transmit high-definition video from the surface of the Red Planet. Later, an exploration of the first use of an atomic weapon in wartime, with words from Hiroshima bombing witness Kaleria Palchikoff. Fast Facts highlight Lucille Ball, Andy Warhol, Jamaican independence, and more.

Aug 7

Kurt Heintz of Encyclopædia Britannica investigates what may have been the first murder of Jack the Ripper. Conspiracy theories abound, followed by the career trajectory of comedic icons Laurel & Hardy, Barry Bonds’ 756th career home run, the premier of Crazy Rich Asians, and Abebe Bikila’s birthday.

Aug 10

Kurt Heintz of Encyclopædia Britannica is joined by Meredith Malone, a curator at the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, to discuss 19th century artist Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida. Sorolla’s first great success, the painting Otra Margarita, has been in the Kemper Museum’s permanent collection since it was first displayed at the Chicago International Exhibition in 1893. Plus: Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s inauguration onto the Supreme Court, the arrest of Son of Sam, and the founding of the Smithsonian Institution.

Aug 11

Kurt Heintz of Encyclopædia Britannica explores the complicated events of the Watts Rebellion of 1965, one of many active responses to police brutality and racism in the United States. Plus, the art of Jackson Pollock and a labour strike within the Major League Baseball Players Association that led to many a player wishing they always had the summer off. Fast Facts highlight the first civilian prisoners of Alcatraz and a few celebrity birthdays.

Aug 12

John Lennon says the Beatles are “more popular than Jesus” in August 12th’s program, narrated by Encyclopædia Britannica’s Kurt Heintz. We cover the blowback from that careless comment, plus the discovery of Sue the T. Rex and what Thomas Edison sounded like using a phonograph.

Aug 13

Kurt Heintz of Encyclopædia Britannica tries to master the art of French cooking with Julia Child on the anniversary of the great chef’s death in 2004. Later, Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés’ brutal colonization tactics and the true story of the “MacGuffin.” Fast Facts check in on the birthdays of Annie Oakley and Fidel Castro.

Aug 14

Kurt Heintz of Encyclopædia Britannica visits August 14 through the years. Magic Johnson announces his diagnoses with HIV; the Cologne Cathedral is completed after nearly 800 years of construction; and Paul McCartney regrets giving a musical collaborator some helpful advice. Fast Facts cover the end of British rule in India and the birthday of overwrought romance novelist Danielle Steel.