Some types of lab work can be done safely and accurately while listening to music, audiobooks, or podcasts. In a laboratory, this should only be done using speakers, not headphones or earbuds. Many universities prohibit the use of headphones or earbuds in laboratories, for safety reasons.
Here are some podcast episodes that at least one of us really enjoyed. This list is a work in progress — suggestions very welcome! For more listening ideas, visit this post on the Dynamic Ecology blog.
[July 2018: List is being curated, please check back again soon.]