From the archives: The science — and joy — of sweat

The Joy of Sweat cover and author photo
Sarah Everts is a science journalist and the author of the new book "The Joy of Sweat: The Strange Science of Perspiration."
Courtesy W. W. Norton | Author photo by Joerg Emes

Why do we sweat? The science behind this primal bodily function is complicated, fascinating  and often just plain weird. 

In her delightful book, “The Joy of Sweat,” science journalist Sarah Everts makes the case that it’s time our species finds “serenity instead of shame” in perspiration. 

She traveled the world in pursuit of sweat’s history and sociological value — from saunas in Scandinavia to dating events in Russia where potential partners sniff each other’s sweat to determine attraction. 

What she found is that sweat is more than our body trying to stay cool. Trace amounts of drugs and disease can appear in our sweat. Perspiration can reveal what we eat. Even something as basic as our fingerprints are really just “sweat prints.” 

Enjoy this conversation from the sweltering July of 2021 when host Kerri Miller talked to Everts about the fascinating world of sweat. And let it build your anticipation for summer reading, with “Take it to the Lake” book recommendations coming on this Friday’s Big Books and Bold Ideas show.


To listen to the full conversation you can use the audio player above.

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