You Won Science: An Orphan Black Podcast

A podcast about Orphan Black, molecular biology, the history of science and some of the social and political underpinnings of the show from BBC America. Liz Tracey is your host, and a real live scientist type.
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You Won Science: An Orphan Black Podcast



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Apr 15, 2016

Orphan Black has been telling us we have to go we're reviewing the science of Seasons 1 & 2: Neolutionism, stem cells, and more. This is the first of three parts, and we'll be releasing them while covering Season 4.




Crib notes for Season 4:

Read about Donna Haraway, and Cosima Herter's essay about how Haraway's work influences Orphan Black Me/Drink Me and the Trouble with Cyborgs

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Twitter: @You_Won_Science



Mar 1, 2016

We're talking about S1E3: How do you solve a problem like Dead Katja? What's the best approach for babysitting? And how hard is self-surgery post-rebar impalement?

Also, we'll give a brief history of fingerprints, and answer the question of whether clones would indeed have identical ones.


Show Notes

The History of Fingerprints

Beavan, Colin. 2001. Fingerprints: The Origins of Crime Detection and the Murder Case that Launched Forensic Science. New York: Hyperion. (Book that emphasizes Faulds’ role, and really hates Galton.) Victorian polymath: geographer, meteorologist, tropical explorer, founder of differential psychology, inventor of fingerprint identification, pioneer of statistical correlation and regression, convinced hereditarian, eugenicist, proto-geneticist, half-cousin of Charles Darwin and best-selling author. (Contains all of Galton’s work on fingerprinting, as well as scans of the Nature letters from Herschel, Faulds and Galton. Thinks Faulds was a nobody whiner.)


The forgotten pioneers of fingerprint science, G. S. Sodhi and Jasjeet Kaur, Current Science, 2005. (PDF)
(Tells the stories of Haque’s and Bose’s contributions to the fingerprint classification system commonly known as the Henry System.)


Adermatoglyphia: The Genetic Disorder Of People Born Without Fingerprints, Joseph Stromberg,, January 14, 2014.


The Claim: Identical Twins Have Identical Fingerprints. By ANAHAD O'CONNORNOV. 2, 2004, The New York Times



The Sepoy Rebellion/Indian Rebellion of 1857


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Jan 29, 2016

Episode 2 of our Spoiler Free Rewatch ramps up the drama, and brings Sarah Manning within striking distance of the answers she's been seeking. Little does she know, it just gets weirder from here.



Jan 27, 2016

Now that the Season 4 teasers have come out, it's time to rewatch Orphan Black until the April premiere! Join us for our Spoiler Free Episodes to tide you over until then. 

This episode covers Season 1, Episode 1: Natural Selection, or Welcome Home, Sarah Manning!


Show Notes

Charles Darwin Online:

On the Origin of Species By Means of Natural Selection, &c.:

EvoWiki: Discussion of Darwin and Racism

Wikipedia: Scientific Racism Racism


Twitter: @you_won_science



Jul 28, 2015

Waiting for the return of Orphan Black is hard. We want to help.

This is the first part of our survival series, offering shows to watch when you're not rewatching (Orphan Black.)

NOTE: Episode 10B will be the first in our Rewatch series, covering Season 1, Episode 1: Natural Selection.

Show Notes:

Wired: Is Sense8 Too Radical For Critics?

Dark Angel — Official FOX Trailer (2000)


Utopia Trailer Channel 4 UK (2013)


Sense8 Trailer — Netflix (2015)


Mr Robot Trailer — USA


Humans Trailer — AMC



Jul 11, 2015

In which we deal with our sadness at the end of Season 3, discuss the etymology of "neolution", talk about what our plans for the off-season are (hint: biweekly episodes, a rewatch of the series and the science never stops) and give a few more candidates for Season 4 episode title sources.



Things we mention in the episode:

Anti-Intellectualism in American Life : Richard Hofstadter

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks : Rebecca Skloot

The Tuskegee Syphillis Experiment




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Jun 20, 2015

In which we wonder about why John Sadler had to die, discuss how hard it was to watch S03E09, and then explain mosaicism, chimerism and why mothers always have their children close to their internal organs.

Also: Shout outs to Tatiana is Everyone and Science Vs. Hollywood.

Enjoy the finale!


CSI Chimera Episode and Blaschko’s Lines:



Chimeras, Mosaics and Other Fun Stuff:



Blood Group Chimerism In Human Multiple Births Is Not Rare: (PDF File)

“Pregnancy may thus establish a long-term, low-grade chimeric state in the human female.”

Male fetal progenitor cells persist in maternal blood for as long as 27 years postpartum.


Y-chromosome DNA Is Present in the Blood of Female Dogs Suggesting the Presence of Fetal Microchimerism: (open access)

Tatiana is Everyone: An Orphan Black Podcast

Science Vs Hollywood




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Jun 13, 2015

In which we briefly consider why Cosima hates to be the patient and whether the next faction hails from Cambridge, MA, then give you a crash course in proteins, prions and biochemistry. There will not be a test, but there are some handouts if you want them:

Conspiracy Maps: Leda Clones & Castor Clones


Proteins and Prions: UCSF Medical Center


Prions: On The Trail of Killer Proteins


Wikipedia: Prion


Stanley Pruisner's Nobel Lecture on Prions


Also, if you have a suggestion for the source of next season's episode titles, let us know. The poll will be available on our website and Facebook Page on Monday June 15th.

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Jun 6, 2015

Episode 005 - Chekhov's Uterus

In which we review Season 3, Episode 7 Community of Dreadful Fear and Hate and use Chekhov's Gun as a somewhat strained device to link Donnie's menstrual flow monitoring, Cosima's relapse, Shay's (possibly triggering) smoothies, and why you don't want to check your urine for misfolded proteins.

Next episode: Misfolded Proteins and Prions, Oh My.


Learn more about histology and epithelium at: 

More advanced information at:

Excellent overview of endometriosis:


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Jun 2, 2015

Episode 004: Paul is Dead Now, Miss Him, Etc.

Show Notes

This episode is brought to you by Mercury Retrograde. Drive one today!

In which we miss Paul, wonder aloud about clones and dominant handedness, and begin a longer conversation (to be picked up in the next non-episode episode) about proteins, prions and disease.

Alchemical symbols (as seen in The Island of Dr. Moreau and the Blue Period paintings of Rachel Duncan):

Genes and Handedness


If you’re interested in boning up before Episode 6 - Misfolded Proteins and Prions, Oh My! here is an article to start reading. It’s a good overview with introductory material.

Protein Misfolding and Neurodegenerative Diseases


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May 27, 2015

In which I recap how Dyad's Rachel got where she is, both morally and physically, look at whether it could really happen like that, her prognosis (fictional and otherwise) and some bonus related scientific history. 

(If you're not current with Orphan Black, you should go away and please come back so you don't hate me.)

You can subscribe in iTunes here if you'd like.


Show Notes: Episode 003 – They Saved Rachel’s Brain?


Force Diagrams with Measurements used can be found at
Projectile Motion Equations:

Projectile Motion Simulation (with bonus Buick and Michelangelo statue)

Inelastic Collision Calculator:

Transorbital Intracranial Injuries:

Transorbital penetrating Brain Injury images
S Matsumoto, K Hasuo, A Mizushima, F Mihara, M Fukui, T Shirouzu, and K Masuda
Intracranial penetrating injuries via the optic canal.
Am J Neuroradiol 1998 19: 1163-5
Daniel M. Bursick, Robert G. Selker.
Intracranial pencil injuries.
Surgical Neurology, Volume 16, Issue 6, December 1981
(NOTE:Article is paywalled: boo.)
Frontal Lobe: Functions and Injuries
The Centre for Neuro Skills | Brain Injury | Frontal Lobes

Neuropsychology (For samples of graded naming tests)
Phineas Gage

Phineas Gage: Neuroscience's Most Famous Patient

Isaac Newton Sticking Things in His Eye (from his notebook) (if you want to see a bodkin)

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May 20, 2015

In which we introduce our approximately 90 second audio summary, discuss the many questions raised by the episode, the few answers given, speculate wildly and deal with how lesbians get over breakups.

(Spoilers, obvs. So if you haven't seen "Scarred By Many Past Frustrations" go away and come back when you have.)

Episode 3 out on Thursday: We Saved Rachel’s Brain! or Take Me to the Cyclops.

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Liz Tracey: @liztracey



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Thank you, as always, for listening!



May 13, 2015

In which I briefly discuss the mythology of the Leda/Zeus family, then conjecture wildly about what I'm calling the Helen Hypothesis, using relevant sound clips.

Show Notes: Episode 1 Leda and the Swan(Man)

Bullfinch’s Mythology: Full Text:

Theseus-Daedelus-Castor and Pollux:

The Trojan War:

Classical Source Material on Leda, Queen of Sparta

Leda and the Swan:

Castor and Pollux:

Size of the Human Genome:

Short Tandem Repeats and Familial Relationships:
(This is a PDF of a PowerPoint presentation explaining how one assesses familial relationships via STR testing)



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May 10, 2015

In episode 0 of You Won Science: An Orphan Black Podcast, I introduce myself and tell you a bit about why I'll be hopping the already moving bandwagon to talk about Orphan Black.

The TL;DL version: I've been in a PhD program studying genetics and am pretty much the East Coast butch Cosima. I feel strongly that Orphan Black is not just great, smart entertainment, but an opportunity for people to discuss the larger issues in play, as well as learn more about molecular biology (i.e., it's a science gateway drug.)

New episodes Mondays and Thursdays during the season, then moving to weekly after the finale.

You can follow us at:

Twitter: @You_Won_Science

Questions/concerns/suggestions can be sent to us at

Thanks for listening!