Inquiring Minds

Inquiring Minds

art19.com/shows/inquiring-minds
Each week Inquiring Minds brings you a new, in-depth exploration of the place where science, politics, and society collide. We’re committed to the idea that making an effort to understand the world around you though science and critical thinking can be


Quantum Worlds and the Emergence of Spacetime
Oct 8 • 34 min
We talk to theoretical physicist Sean Carroll about his new book Something Deeply Hidden: Quantum Worlds and the Emergence of Spacetime.
The Science of Behavior-Altering Parasites
Oct 1 • 36 min
We talk to parasitologist and co-author of Soonish: Ten Emerging Technologies That’ll Improve and/or Ruin Everything, Kelly Weinersmith.
Why We Need Insects
Sep 24 • 33 min
We talk to professor of conservation biology Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson about her new book Buzz, Sting, Bite: Why We Need Insects.
Kishore’s Send-Off!
Sep 16 • 12 min
After nearly 5 years of co-hosting Inquiring Minds, Kishore is heading off to conquer the rest of the science world. He has been an incredible friend to us at the show, and we’re sad to see him go, but excited to see what amazing things he does next.…
Why Smart People Make Dumb Mistakes
Sep 2 • 38 min
We talk to science journalist David Robson about his new book The Intelligence Trap: Why Smart People Make Dumb Mistakes.
Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World
Aug 13 • 50 min
We talk to sports and science writer David Epstein about his latest book Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World.
Sharks: The Ocean’s Most Mysterious, Most Misunderstood, and Most Important Guardians
Aug 7 • 44 min
We talk to ocean conservationist William McKeever about his new book Emperors of the Deep: Sharks—The Ocean’s Most Mysterious, Most Misunderstood, and Most Important Guardians.
A Brief Guide to the Fundamental Mystery of the Mind
Jul 30 • 33 min
We talk to author Annaka Harris about her new book Conscious: A Brief Guide to the Fundamental Mystery of the Mind.
The American Automobile: Past, Present, and Driverless
Jul 17 • 47 min
We talk to writer Dan Albert about his new book Are We There Yet?: The American Automobile Past, Present, and Driverless.
Neal Stephenson - Fall; or, Dodge in Hell
Jul 2 • 31 min
We talk to celebrated speculative fiction writer Neal Stephenson about his latest book Fall; or, Dodge in Hell: A Novel.
In Pain: A Bioethicist’s Personal Struggle with Opioids
Jun 24 • 60 min
We talk to bioethicist Travis Rieder about his new book In Pain: A Bioethicist’s Personal Struggle with Opioids.
Up To Date | Singing Mice; Six Fingered Hands; Dolphin Cliques
Jun 18 • 16 min
Neuroscientists found an on-off switch in mice brains that makes them sing; new research on the genetics of people who have six fingers on one hand and whether or not your brain could handle an extra robotic finger; and a look into how dolphins can be…
The Age of Living Machines
Jun 10 • 44 min
We talk to neuroscientist and former president of MIT Susan Hockfield about her new book The Age of Living Machines: How Biology Will Build the Next Technology Revolution.
A Life in Math and Football
Jun 4 • 44 min
We talk to mathematician and former NFL player John Urschel about his new book, co-written with Louisa Thomas, called Mind and Matter: A Life in Math and Football.
The State of the Art in Alzheimer’s Research
May 21 • 40 min
We talk to Katja Brose, neuroscientist and Science Program Officer at the Chan Zuckerberg Science Initiative about the latest, best prospects in neurodegenerative disease treatment.
BONUS: Introducing Science Rules! with Bill Nye
May 18 • 3 min
Former guest of Inquiring Minds, Bill Nye, is on a mission to change the world—one phone call at a time. On his new podcast, Science Rules!, he tackles the curliest questions on just about anything in the universe. Perhaps you’ve wondered: Should I stop…
Salty Erotica of the Deep
May 14 • 45 min
Indre talks to marine biologist Marah Hardt about her book Sex in the Sea: Our Intimate Connection with Sex-Changing Fish, Romantic Lobsters, Kinky Squid, and Other Salty Erotica of the Deep.
Up To Date | Bioprinting a Liver; Tasting with Genes; Stopping the World’s Worst Venom
May 7 • 20 min
New research on 3D printing vasculature around which organs could be created; recent work on the effects of genetics on the way you taste things; and a new way to stop the effects of the world’s worst venom.
Completing the Darwinian Revolution
Apr 30 • 47 min
We talk to influential evolutionary biologist David Sloan Wilson about his new book This View of Life: Completing the Darwinian Revolution.
How Cats Tamed Us and Took Over the World
Apr 22 • 40 min
Indre talks to science writer Abigail Tucker about her book The Lion in the Living Room: How House Cats Tamed Us and Took Over the World.
How Music Can Make You Better
Apr 16 • 48 min
Indre wrote a book! It’s called How Music Can Make You Better and this week we hear all about it.
Up To Date | Neurogenesis; Predicting Death with AI; Rethinking Nose Jobs
Apr 8 • 27 min
A careful look into research on whether or not we can generate new neurons as adults; new research into using machine learning to predict premature death; and a new technique to reshape cartilage by heating it.
A Cultural History of Humanity’s Search for Meaning
Mar 29 • 40 min
We talk to Jeremy Lent about his book The Patterning Instinct: A Cultural History of Humanity’s Search for Meaning.
The Strange Science of Recovery
Mar 25 • 21 min
We talk to Christie Aschwanden about her new book Good To Go: What the athlete in all of us can learn from the strange science of recovery.
The Extraordinary New Science of the Immune System
Mar 18 • 47 min
We talk to Matt Richtel about his new book An Elegant Defense: The Extraordinary New Science of the Immune System: A Tale in Four Lives.
Up To Date | Bug census, global warming, young blood, microwaving grapes
Feb 25 • 24 min
A study taking a deep look into insect populations and their decline; bad news about global warming four generations from now, new research showing why older mice benefit from receiving younger blood; and a new study on microwaving grapes.
2018’s Best Science Movies (and TV)
Feb 18 • 40 min
We talk to Jennifer Ouellette, science writer and former director of The Science & Entertainment Exchange, about last year’s best and the worst science movies and tv.
Oculus, Facebook, and the Revolution That Swept Virtual Reality
Feb 12 • 46 min
We talk to Blake J. Harris about his new book The History of the Future: Oculus, Facebook, and the Revolution That Swept Virtual Reality.
Up To Date | Polar Vortex Science, Brainwaves to Speech, Blowing Up the Brain
Feb 4 • 26 min
The science behind the polar vortex, a new study attempting to directly translate brain signals into speech, and an update on the incredible work of neuroscientist Ed Boyden.
Why We Fall for It Every Time
Jan 28 • 41 min
We talk to New York Times best-selling science writer Maria Konnikova about her book The Confidence Game: Why We Fall for It … Every Time.
The Science of How Art Works
Jan 22 • 46 min
We talk to psychologist Ellen Winner about her new book How Art Works: A Psychological Exploration.
The Science of Perfect Timing
Jan 14 • 38 min
We talk to bestselling author Daniel Pink about his latest book When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing.
Up To Date | New Horizons Finds BB-8; Defining Death; Differential Privacy
Jan 8 • 34 min
This week: The New Horizons spacecraft took pictures of an object in the Kuiper belt; a study that brings up questions about how to define death; there’s a major upcoming scientific study that the US conducts every 10 years: the US census; and a look into…
The Neuroscience of Prejudice
Jan 1 • 41 min
We talk to David Amodia, a social neuroscientist and psychology professor at NYU and the University of Amsterdam, about the science of prejudice.
Up To Date | Top 10 Science Stories of 2018
Dec 29, 2018 • 22 min
This week: Kishore looks back through 2018 and lays out his favorite science stories of the year.
Lessons from the Edge of the Universe
Dec 24, 2018 • 39 min
We talk to Dave Williams, a Canadian astronaut, neuroscientist, physician, and author of the new book Defying Limits: Lessons from the Edge of the Universe.
Up To Date | Hummingbird Divebombs; Collapsing Ice Sheets
Dec 21, 2018 • 10 min
This week: A study looking into how male hummingbirds divebomb fast enough that their tail feathers make high-pitched squeaks; and new evidence explaining why sea levels were 6-9 meters higher about 150,000 years ago (even though the climate was just…
The Laws of Human Nature
Dec 17, 2018 • 43 min
We talk to author Robert Greene, most known for the bestselling The 48 Laws of Power, about his new book The Laws of Human Nature.
Up To Date | Talking Viruses; Creativity Waves
Dec 14, 2018 • 14 min
This week: A look into quorum sensing, a field of research looking into if bacteria, particularly bacteria that are trying to invade another host, can communicate with each other—and new research suggesting viruses can exhibit the same behavior; new…
She Has Her Mother’s Laugh
Dec 10, 2018 • 34 min
Carl Zimmer is a New York Times columnist and author of 13 books about science. We talked to him about his latest book, She Has Her Mother’s Laugh: The Powers, Perversions, and Potential of Heredity, which was recently named The Guardian’s Best Science…
Up To Date | Migration Myths and Negative Mass
Dec 8, 2018 • 15 min
This week: The UCL–Lancet Commission on Migration and Heath released a new report that busts some common migration myths; and a scientist at Oxford University has come up with an alteration to Einstein’s general theory of relativity that could have some…
Music as Medicine
Dec 5, 2018 • 36 min
Dr. Concetta Tomaino is a pioneer in the field of music therapy and the executive director and co-founder of the Institute for Music and Neurologic Function. On the show this week we talk to Dr. Tomaino about her work treating individuals suffering the…
Up To Date | Ants with backpacks; Neuron DNA affects Alzheimer’s
Nov 30, 2018 • 13 min
This week: A study that tracked ants using little backpacks and a look at a new study suggesting a connection between differences in the DNA of our neurons and Alzheimer’s.
A New History of a Lost World
Nov 29, 2018 • 45 min
We follow up last week’s dino-episode by talking to paleontologist at University of Edinburgh Steve Brusatte about his new book The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs: A New History of a Lost World.
A Radical New History of Life
Nov 23, 2018 • 41 min
We talk to science writer David Quammen about his new book The Tangled Tree: A Radical New History of Life.
Up To Date | A Polio-Like Virus and Genes Deciding Your University
Nov 20, 2018 • 11 min
Up To Date: 10/19/2018
What It’s like to Discover a Dinosaur
Nov 20, 2018 • 41 min
We talk to paleontologist, professor, expeditioner, and science communicator Ken Lacovara about his book Why Dinosaurs Matter. Ken has unearthed some of the largest dinosaurs ever to walk our planet, including the super-massive Dreadnoughtus, which at 65…
Up To Date | Smelling Stingrays and a 16 Billion Scoville Cactus
Nov 17, 2018 • 9 min
This week: Stingrays are especially affected by oil spills because they’re so good at smelling; and research into using a spicy cactus to treat pain.
Life at the Extremes of Our Capacity
Nov 13, 2018 • 51 min
We talk to evolutionary biologist and managing editor at New Scientist Rowan Hooper about his new book Superhuman: Life at the Extremes of Our Capacity.
Up To Date | Election results, stealth moths, and a retired kilogram
Nov 10, 2018 • 11 min
This week: A look into what the midterm election results mean for science; moths developed a ‘stealth shield’ to hide from bats; and the kilogram is retiring.
The Beauty and Utility of Maps: A Cartographic Odyssey
Nov 6, 2018 • 32 min
We talk to journalist, geologist, and author Betsy Mason about her latest book, co-authored with Greg Miller, All Over the Map: A Cartographic Odyssey.
Up To Date | The Definitive Field Guide to Filthy Animal Facts
Nov 3, 2018 • 15 min
This week Kishore catches up with previous guests Nick Caruso and Dani Rabaiotti to talk about their new book True or Poo?: The Definitive Field Guide to Filthy Animal Facts and Falsehoods.
What Real-Life Zombies Reveal About Our World
Oct 30, 2018 • 40 min
We talk to science writer at Wired magazine Matt Simon about his new book Plight of the Living Dead: What Real-Life Zombies Reveal About Our World—and Ourselves.
Up To Date | Doubling worm lifespans; the recent failed Soyuz launch
Oct 27, 2018 • 13 min
This week: A new study attempts to extend the life of worms and what it might mean for us; and a detailed look into the recent failed Soyuz rocket launch.
The Remarkable History of Surgery
Oct 16, 2018 • 41 min
We talk to Arnold Van de Laar, a surgeon in the Slotervaart Hospital in Amsterdam, about his new book Under the Knife: A History of Surgery in 28 Remarkable Operations.
Up To Date | Nobel Prizes and Electrical Nerve Regeneration
Oct 13, 2018 • 12 min
This week: We recap the 2018 Nobel Prizes and look at a study exploring a new way to use electrical stimulation to regenerate nerves.
Being Human in the Age of Algorithms
Oct 12, 2018 • 28 min
We talk to mathematician and science writer Hannah Fry about her latest book Hello World: Being Human in the Age of Algorithms.
China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order
Oct 7, 2018 • 46 min
We talk to artificial intelligence expert and former president of Google China Kai-Fu Lee about his recent book AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order.
Steven Pinker: Enlightenment Now
Sep 27, 2018 • 69 min
We talk with cognitive psychologist Steven Pinker about his recent book Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress.
The Coyote Story
Sep 19, 2018 • 43 min
We talk to writer and historian Dan Flores about his book Coyote America: A Natural and Supernatural History.
Up To Date | Do Apple’s Health Claims Check Out?
Sep 18, 2018 • 12 min
This week: Kishore takes a closer look at some of the health claims made during the recent Apple Keynote.
How Sloppy Science Creates Worthless Cures, Crushes Hope, and Wastes Billions
Sep 12, 2018 • 30 min
We talk to celebrated science journalist Richard Harris about the “reproducibility crisis” in science and his new book Rigor Mortis: How Sloppy Science Creates Worthless Cures, Crushes Hope, and Wastes Billions.
How Intuition and Reason Divide Our Politics
Aug 28, 2018 • 28 min
We talk to political scientist Eric Oliver about the surprisingly high percentage of people who believe in conspiracy theories and the reasons behind those beliefs. His forthcoming book is Enchanted America: How Intuition and Reason Divide Our Politics.
Up To Date | Attention Is an Illusion; Ant Highways
Aug 25, 2018 • 14 min
This week: A new study shows we only focus on something a few milliseconds at a time, but we don’t notice because we’re pulsing that focus; and research on how ants avoid traffic jams so perfectly. Thanks to guest co-host Trace Dominguez!
A Pianist Rebuilds Her Brain
Aug 21, 2018 • 41 min
We talk to author Andrea J. Buchanan about her experience with a brain injury and how she used playing the piano to recover. Buchanan’s new book is The Beginning of Everything: The Year I Lost My Mind and Found Myself.
Up To Date | Monsanto Cancer Case and Kids Believe Lying Robots
Aug 19, 2018 • 12 min
This week: A jury decided that Monsanto’s Roundup caused a man’s cancer but the science is murky and a new study shows that children are susceptible to peer pressure by robots. Links:…
The Material That Will Revolutionize the World
Aug 14, 2018 • 45 min
We talk to chemist Joseph Meany about his book Graphene: The Superstrong, Superthin, and Superversatile Material That Will Revolutionize the World.
Up To Date | Google Glass Lives! and Breaking Dog Urine News
Aug 11, 2018 • 10 min
This week: A Standford study used Google Glass to help kids with autism understand others people’s emotions; and breaking news regarding the way dogs pee. Links:…
Up To Date | How Plants Tell Time, Lab-Grown Pig Lungs, Stolen Fields Medal
Aug 3, 2018 • 11 min
This week: A new study from the University of Bristol showing the way plants accumulate sugar helps them tell what time it is; scientists have successfully transplanted lab-grown lungs into pigs; and Caucher Birkar was awarded the Fields Medal—and then it…
The Surprising, Secret Life of Beavers
Jul 30, 2018 • 39 min
Ben Goldfarb is a writer covering wildlife conservation and fisheries management. We talk to him about his new book Eager: The Surprising, Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter.
Up To Date | A Lake on Mars, Dog Empathy, and TBI & the Military
Jul 28, 2018 • 14 min
This week: Italian scientists found a body of liquid water on mars using radar; a new study suggests that while dogs do feel empathy for us, training them to be therapy dogs doesn’t make them care more, it makes them more obedient; and research shows that…
Revisiting Flint: A Story of Crisis, Resistance, and Hope
Jul 24, 2018 • 29 min
We talk to Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, the pediatrician who first proved that Flint’s kids were exposed to lead about her new book What the Eyes Don’t See: A Story of Crisis, Resistance, and Hope in an American City. Links:…
Up To Date | GMO Acceptance, Elle Macpherson, and Friendly Fish
Jul 21, 2018 • 12 min
This week: New research suggests labeling can increase GMO acceptance; Elle Macpherson’s terrible new boyfriend (it’s relevant, I swear); and research looking into the personality of caught fish. Links mentioned:…
How Neuroscience Is Redefining Athletic Genius
Jul 17, 2018 • 52 min
We talk to sports and business journalist Zach Schonbrun about his new book The Performance Cortex: How Neuroscience Is Redefining Athletic Genius.
Up To Date - Killing Cancer Cells and Exploring the Sunk Cost Fallacy (In Rats)
Jul 14, 2018 • 13 min
This week: New research into using CRISPR to destroy cancer cells with other cancer cells and a study suggesting rodents aren’t immune to the sunk cost fallacy. Links: https://www.sciencenews.org/article/cancer-cells-engineered-crispr-slay-their-own-kin…
Nikola Tesla: Inventor of the Modern
Jul 10, 2018 • 36 min
We talk to author Richard Munson about his new Nikola Tesla biography Tesla: Inventor of the Modern.
Up To Date | Air Pollution and Diabetes, Large Scale Microbiome Studies, and Why Driving Makes You Sleepy
Jul 7, 2018 • 15 min
This week: New research exploring the link between air pollution and diabetes; the huge potential of doing large scale microbiome studies; and a look into why driving makes babies (and the rest of us) sleepy. Links mentioned:…
Aroused: The History of Hormones
Jul 2, 2018 • 38 min
We talk to Randi Hutter Epstein, M.D, lecturer at Yale university, writer in residence at Yale Medical School, and author of the new book Aroused: The History of Hormones and How They Control Just About Everything.
Up To Date | Longevity Pioneers, Leaky Methane, and Predicting Earthquakes
Jun 29, 2018 • 13 min
This week: New research shows mortality rates level off if you can reach a certain age; the problem of methane gas leaking from power plants; and a new likely candidate for where California’s next big earthquake will take place. Links mentioned:…
Motherhood in the Animal Kingdom
Jun 26, 2018 • 45 min
We talk to biologist and science writer Carin Bondar about her latest book Wild Moms: Motherhood in the Animal Kingdom.
Up To Date | Mind Controlling Robots, Viral Alzheimer’s Link, and Remembering Koko
Jun 23, 2018 • 13 min
This week: New research into controlling robot arms with your brain, a surprising link between a common virus and Alzheimer’s Disease, and remembering Koko the gorilla.
Intelligent Machines Are Changing Everything
Jun 18, 2018 • 41 min
How do we create artificial intelligence that isn’t bigoted? Can we teach machines to work exactly like our brains work? “You don’t program a machine to be smart,” says our guest this week, “you program the machine to get smarter using data.” We talk to…
Virtual Reality Is Changing Human Connection
Jun 12, 2018 • 53 min
We talk to Peter Rubin, editor at Wired and author of Future Presence: How Virtual Reality Is Changing Human Connection, Intimacy, and the Limits of Ordinary Life.
Up To Date | Don’t Eat Clay, Do Eat Dark Chocolate
Jun 9, 2018 • 19 min
This week: New research shows a 6-month treatment for breast cancer is nearly as successful as the previously-standard 12-month course; the surprising effects that clay can have on your body; and a look into new studies that give new reasons why dark…
The Powers, Perversions, and Potential of Heredity
Jun 4, 2018 • 39 min
We talk to Carl Zimmer, New York Times columnist and author of 13 books about science about his latest book She Has Her Mother’s Laugh: The Powers, Perversions, and Potential of Heredity.
Up To Date | Where Happiness Comes From, and Why
Jun 1, 2018 • 16 min
In this mini-episode, Kishore talks to neuroscientist and author Dean Burnett about his new book Happy Brain: Where Happiness Comes From, and Why.
Why We’re Addicted to Screens
May 28, 2018 • 34 min
We talk to Adam Alter, author and marketing and psychology professor at NYU’s Stern School of Business about his book Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked.
Inside the Epic First Mission to Pluto
May 22, 2018 • 53 min
We talk to planetary scientist and New Horizons’ mission leader Alan Stern and astrobiologist David Grinspoon about their new book Chasing New Horizons: Inside the Epic First Mission to Pluto.
Up To Date | Snail Memory Transplants, Eyes In The Back Of Your Head, and Treating Epilepsy with CBD
May 18, 2018 • 16 min
This week: There are reports that scientists have ‘transferred a memory’ in snails—what does the research actually say?; we examine a study that suggests people can form a “sphere a sensitivity” around their heads; and we look at new research on using…
The Rise and Fall of the Cephalopods
May 14, 2018 • 32 min
We talk to Danna Staaf, a science writer with a PhD in invertebrate biology from Stanford University, about her new book Squid Empire: The Rise and Fall of the Cephalopods.
Up To Date | Pre-pregnancy Genome Sequencing, Mass Prescribing Antibiotics, and the Trolley Problem
May 11, 2018 • 14 min
This week: A study looking at how much actionable information pre-pregnancy genome sequencing can actually give you; the benefits and consequences of mass mass prescribing antibiotics; and a new study looking at the trolley problem and how peoples’…
The Rise of Deep Brain Stimulation and Its Forgotten Inventor
May 7, 2018 • 46 min
We talk to science writer and neurobiologist Lone Frank about her latest book The Pleasure Shock: The Rise of Deep Brain Stimulation and Its Forgotten Inventor.
Up To Date | Genetically Editing Fat Tissue, A Turing Test For Water, and Another Mars Lander
May 5, 2018 • 9 min
University of Copenhagen scientists managed to genetically delete an enzyme in mice that made it impossible for them to get fat, even on a very fatty diet; Alan Turing wrote a paper in 1952 that is still having impacts on science today in ways you may not…
Losing the Nobel Prize
Apr 30, 2018 • 54 min
We talk to astrophysicist Brian Keating about new his book Losing the Nobel Prize: A Story of Cosmology, Ambition, and the Perils of Science’s Highest Honor.
Up To Date | Anonymous Study Subjects, Genetically Engineered Livestock, and Asteroids Delivering Water
Apr 28, 2018 • 11 min
This week: Scott Pruitt’s fight against anonymous study subjects, a debate on should be regulating genetically engineered livestock, and new research that shows asteroids could have delivered water to the early Earth.
How We Evolved to Have Free Will
Apr 23, 2018 • 42 min
We talk to biologist Kenneth R. Miller about his new book The Human Instinct: How We Evolved to Have Reason, Consciousness, and Free Will.
Up To Date | Night Owl Death, Space Launches, and Viagra’s Greater Purpose
Apr 20, 2018 • 13 min
This week: new research shows being a night owl might mean you’re at a greater risk of dying early, multiple interesting space launches are happening, and there’s new research into using phosphodiesterase 5 inhibitors like Viagra and Cialis to help other…
Creating Empathy With Immersive Virtual Reality
Apr 16, 2018 • 45 min
We talk to the founding director of Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab, Jeremy Bailenson. Bailenson’s lab studies how virtual reality can affect empathy—how it makes you feel to virtually embody someone else. VR offers the ability to be…
Up-To-Date | Does It Fart?: The Definitive Field Guide to Animal Flatulence
Apr 13, 2018 • 19 min
Kishore talks to Nick Caruso and Dani Rabaiotti, authors of Does It Fart?: The Definitive Field Guide to Animal Flatulence.
The Unfinished Quest for the Meaning of Quantum Physics
Apr 9, 2018 • 54 min
We talk to astrophysicist Adam Becker about his new book What Is Real? The Unfinished Quest for the Meaning of Quantum Physics.
Up-To-Date | James Webb, Shrimp, and Chilled-Out Monkeys
Apr 7, 2018 • 10 min
We’re introducing a new, additional weekly episode! Every Friday, listen to Indre and Kishore do a quick recap of some of the week’s most interesting science news. Today, we talk about why shrimp and lobster fishing might be worse for the environment than…
The Neuroscience of How We Think
Apr 2, 2018 • 47 min
We have a big announcement! After 220 episodes, we are striking out on our own. Thanks to Mother Jones for being our home for the past 5 years. Look for new segments and episodes as we expand creatively, while still bringing you in depth conversations…
Jellyfish Science
Mar 27, 2018 • 34 min
We talk to ocean scientist and science writer Juli Berwald about her new book Spineless: The Science of Jellyfish and the Art of Growing a Backbone.
The Politics of Rainforests
Mar 20, 2018 • 41 min
We talk to Rhett Butler, editor-in-chief and CEO of Mongabay, a nonprofit organization which seeks to raise interest in and appreciation of wild lands and wildlife, while examining the impact of emerging trends in climate, technology, economics, and…
What We Really Know About Gun Violence
Mar 13, 2018 • 35 min
We talk to Stanford law professor and economist John Donohue who for the better part of the last 20 years has been doing research into understanding gun violence.
100% Renewable Energy by 2050
Mar 5, 2018 • 43 min
We talk to Stanford professor of civil and environmental engineering Mark Jacobson about his research that shows it’s possible for the world to be using 100% clean, renewable energy by 2050.
The Broad Potential of Psychoactive Drugs
Feb 27, 2018 • 42 min
We talk to journalist and science writer Hamilton Morris about his Viceland docuseries “Hamilton’s Pharmacopeia” and the history and science of psychoactive drugs.
The Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance
Feb 19, 2018 • 46 min
We talk to Alex Hutchinson, author of Endure: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance.
It’s Time to Rethink Ocean Conservation
Feb 6, 2018 • 52 min
We talk to marine biologist, policy expert, and conservation strategist Ayana Elizabeth Johnson about why we need to rethink ocean conservation.
Science Got Women Wrong
Jan 23, 2018 • 51 min
We talk to science journalist and author Angela Saini about her latest book Inferior: How Science Got Women Wrong and the New Research That’s Rewriting the Story.
A Volcano Scientist Runs for Congress
Jan 15, 2018 • 37 min
We talk to Jess Phoenix, a volcanologist, geologist, and 2018 Democratic candidate seeking election to California’s 25th Congressional District.
Mapping Human Brains
Jan 9, 2018 • 41 min
We talk to neuroscientist Lucina Uddin about her work mapping human brains.
Losing Genes but Gaining Music | [BONUS EP] Cadence | S02 Episode 01
Jan 1, 2018 • 32 min
Happy new year! It’s a bonus podcast: episode one of the second season of Indre’s other podcast, Cadence. Subscribe to Cadence here: iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/cadence/id1207136496 RSS: http://feeds.feedburner.com/cadence-podcast This…
How One Emotion Connects Altruists and Psychopaths
Dec 25, 2017 • 44 min
We talk to professor of psychology & neuroscience Abigail Marsh about her new book The Fear Factor: How One Emotion Connects Altruists, Psychopaths, and Everyone In-Between.
Lessons in Investigating Death
Dec 19, 2017 • 48 min
We talk to Ken Holmes, who worked in the Marin County Coroner’s Office for thirty-six years, starting as a death investigator and ending as the three-term, elected coroner. A new book, The Education of a Coroner: Lessons in Investigating Death, chronicles…
Lost Einsteins: Left Behind by the Innovation Economy
Dec 12, 2017 • 30 min
We talk to celebrated Stanford economist Raj Chetty about his work focusing on using empirical evidence—often big data—to inform the design of more effective governmental policies.
Getting Politicians to Talk About Science
Dec 4, 2017 • 37 min
We talk to Sheril Kirshenbaum, executive director of Science Debate (sciencedebate.org), a nonpartisan organization that asks candidates, elected officials, the public and the media to focus more on science policy issues of vital importance to modern life.
Black Hole Blues
Nov 28, 2017 • 38 min
We talk to theoretical astrophysicist Janna Levin about her book Black Hole Blues and Other Songs from Outer Space.
Why Dinosaurs Matter
Nov 21, 2017 • 46 min
We talk to paleontologist, professor, expeditioner, and science communicator Ken Lacovara about his recent book Why Dinosaurs Matter.
What’s Going on in the Brain of a Fetus?
Nov 14, 2017 • 34 min
We talk to pediatric neuroscientist Moriah Thomason about her research into what we can learn by imaging the brains of fetuses before they’re born.
How Science Built One of the Greatest Basketball Teams in History
Nov 7, 2017 • 42 min
We talk to sports writer Erik Malinowski about his new book Betaball: How Silicon Valley and Science Built One of the Greatest Basketball Teams in History.
A Paid Climate Change Skeptic Switches Sides
Oct 30, 2017 • 45 min
In a joint production with Stevie Lepp and the Reckonings podcast we hear from Jerry Taylor, a former professional climate change skeptic who switched sides entirely.
Ten Emerging Technologies That’ll Improve and/or Ruin Everything
Oct 24, 2017 • 37 min
We talk to cartoonist and author Zach Weinersmith about his latest book, Soonish: Ten Emerging Technologies That’ll Improve and/or Ruin Everything, co-written with his wife, parasitologist Kelly Weinersmith.
A Psychiatrist Analyzes the Age of Trump
Oct 17, 2017 • 42 min
We talk to renowned psychiatrist Allen Frances about his latest book Twilight of American Sanity: A Psychiatrist Analyzes the Age of Trump.
Molecules From Caesar’s Last Breath Are Inside You
Oct 2, 2017 • 41 min
We talk to science writer Sam Kean about his latest book Caesar’s Last Breath: Decoding the Secrets of the Air Around Us.
Where the Animals Go: Tracking Wildlife with Technology
Sep 26, 2017 • 36 min
We talk to Oliver Uberti and James Cheshire, authors of the new book Where the Animals Go: Tracking Wildlife with Technology in 50 Maps and Graphics.
Why Buddhism is True
Sep 18, 2017 • 45 min
We talk to journalist, scholar, and prize-winning author Robert Wright about his latest book Why Buddhism is True: The Science and Philosophy of Meditation and Enlightenment.
The Psychology of Hate
Sep 11, 2017 • 54 min
We talk to clinical psychologist Ali Mattu about the psychology of dehumanization and hate.
Jonathan Lynn on Why US Healthcare Is Worthy of Ridicule
Aug 30, 2017 • 28 min
We talk to award winning writer and director Jonathan Lynn about his latest novel, Samaritans, which is a satirical look at the US healthcare system. His films as director include Clue, Nuns on the Run (both of which he wrote), My Cousin Vinny, The…
The Great American Solar Eclipse
Aug 14, 2017 • 30 min
We talk to astronomer Andrew Fraknoi about the upcoming total solar eclipse—the first total solar eclipse over North America in decades—on August 21st, 2017, and how you can best enjoy it.
The Science of Game of Thrones
Aug 7, 2017 • 36 min
We talk to English comedian and writer Helen Keen about her new book The Science of Game of Thrones: A myth-busting, mind-blowing, jaw-dropping and fun-filled expedition through the world of Game of Thrones.
Why Are We Curious?
Jul 31, 2017 • 45 min
We talk to acclaimed astrophysicist Mario Livio about his new book Why?: What Makes Us Curious.
We’ve Got to Start Eating Insects
Jul 24, 2017 • 50 min
We talk to entomologist Brian Fisher about his his research on ants in Mozambique and his new initiative to get entomologists more directly involved in conservation—a big part of which involves edible insects.
186 Jason Silva - Origins: The Journey of Humankind
Jul 17, 2017 • 38 min
We talk to Jason Silva, host of National Geographic Channel’s new show Origins: The Journey of Humankind.
185 Jennifer Latson - A True Story of Pathological Friendliness
Jul 3, 2017 • 44 min
We talk to journalist Jennifer Latson about Williams syndrome and her new book The Boy Who Loved Too Much: A True Story of Pathological Friendliness.
184 Zeynep Tufekci - Twitter and Tear Gas
Jun 26, 2017 • 42 min
We talk to Zeynep Tufekci, writer and associate professor at the University of North Carolina School of Information and Library Science, about her book Twitter and Tear Gas: The Power and Fragility of Networked Protest.
183 Dean Buonomano - The Neuroscience and Physics of Time
Jun 19, 2017 • 52 min
We talk to neuroscientist Dean Buonomano about his new book “Your Brain Is a Time Machine: The Neuroscience and Physics of Time.”
182 Ty Tashiro - The Science of Being Awkward
Jun 5, 2017 • 52 min
We talk to psychologist Ty Tashiro about his new book “Awkward: The Science of Why We’re Socially Awkward & Why That’s Awesome.”
181 Mike Drucker - How to Write Science Into Comedy
May 29, 2017 • 41 min
We talk to Mike Drucker, co-head writer for Bill Nye Saves the World, writer for Adam Ruins Everything, the Tonight Show, and much more about incorporating science into comedy writing.
180 The Unique Challenge of Being a Woman in Engineering [Collaboration with Cited]
May 22, 2017 • 48 min
In this second and final special collaborative episode with the Cited podcast, Indre and guest host Alexander B. Kim focus on women in engineering and the obstacles they face throughout their careers.
179 The Leaky Pipeline of Women in Science [Collaboration with Cited]
May 15, 2017 • 56 min
In this special collaborative episode with the Cited podcast, Indre and guest host Alexander B. Kim look into the “leaky pipeline” of women in science. There are many stages you go through from early school to a career in science and there are points…
178 Teresa Zimmers - The Murky Science of Lethal Injection
May 8, 2017 • 29 min
We talk to associate professor of surgery at Indiana University Teresa Zimmers about her work on whether or not lethal injection drugs actually provide a humane, painless death as promised.
177 Bill Nye - Let’s Change the World
May 4, 2017 • 27 min
We talk to Bill Nye about his approach to communicating climate change and what he hopes will change in the future.
176 Paul Doherty - The Actual Science Behind Outlandish Deaths
Apr 25, 2017 • 29 min
We talk to Paul Doherty, senior staff scientist at San Francisco’s famed Exploratorium Museum about his new book “And Then You’re Dead: What Really Happens If You Get Swallowed by a Whale, Are Shot from a Cannon, or Go Barreling over Niagara.”
175 Sharon Begley - Can’t Just Stop: An Investigation of Compulsions
Apr 17, 2017 • 46 min
We talk to science writer Sharon Begley about her new book “Can’t Just Stop: An Investigation of Compulsions.”
174 James Beacham - The Exciting World of Particle Hunters
Apr 10, 2017 • 45 min
We talk to James Beacham, particle physicist with the ATLAS Experiment at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN about what it’s like to hunt for strange new subatomic particles.
[BONUS EP] Cadence | Episode 01: What Is Music?
Apr 3, 2017 • 21 min
It’s the first episode of Indre’s new podcast, Cadence! (Don’t worry, she’s not leaving Inquiring Minds.) Cadence is a podcast about music and how it affects your mind. What is music? How would you define it? Does it defy definition? In this episode we…
173 Mary Roach - Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal
Apr 3, 2017 • 35 min
We talk to science writer Mary Roach about the science of your guts and her book “Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal.”
172 Dan Ariely - The Surprising Science of What Motivates Us
Mar 27, 2017 • 34 min
We talk to Dan Ariely, the James B Duke Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University about what actually motivates us to get things done—to finish that novel, to stick to a diet, or even to want to get up and go to work every day.
171 Siddhartha Roy - The Science Behind the Flint Water Crisis
Mar 20, 2017 • 44 min
We talk to Siddhartha Roy, a PhD student and graduate researcher in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Virginia Tech. Roy is a founding member of the Virginia Tech Flint Water Study and has worked on the ground in Flint applying his…
170 Steven Hatch - Inferno: A Doctor’s Ebola Story
Mar 13, 2017 • 45 min
We talk to Dr. Steven Hatch, a specialist in infectious diseases and immunology about his latest book “Inferno: A Doctor’s Ebola Story,” an account of his time in Liberia during the height of the ebola epidemic in 2014.
169 Daniel Levitin - The Emerging Epidemic of the Silent Home
Mar 6, 2017 • 44 min
We talk to neuroscientist, music producer, and best-selling author Daniel Levitin about his recent research into how playing music in the home affects us.
168 Alison Van Eenennaam - Gene Editing Livestock
Feb 27, 2017 • 33 min
We talk to researcher in Animal Genomics and Biotechnology at UC Davis Alison Van Eenennaam about the science of gene editing livestock.
167 Haider Warraich - Modern Death: How Medicine Changed the End of Life
Feb 20, 2017 • 41 min
We talk to physician, writer, and clinical researcher Haider Warraich about his most recent book “Modern Death: How Medicine Changed the End of Life.”
166 Alan Burdick - Why Time Flies: A Mostly Scientific Investigation
Feb 13, 2017 • 47 min
We talk to Alan Burdick, staff writer and former senior editor for The New Yorker, about his most recent book “Why Time Flies: A Mostly Scientific Investigation.”
165 Nate Allen - Why Science Is Huge on Reddit
Feb 6, 2017 • 34 min
We talk to Nate Allen, chemist and head moderator of one of the internet’s largest science communities: Reddit’s r/science subreddit.
164 Alexandra Wolfe - Valley of the Gods: A Silicon Valley Story
Jan 23, 2017 • 48 min
We talk to author and Wall Street Journal reporter Alexandra Wolfe about her new book Valley of the Gods: A Silicon Valley Story.
163 Dave Levitan - The Return Of “I’m Not a Scientist”
Jan 16, 2017 • 34 min
This week, as we near the inauguration of Donald Trump, we revisit a conversation with science journalist Dave Levitan about his book Not a Scientist: How Politicians Mistake, Misrepresent, and Utterly Mangle Science.
162 Paul Bloom - Against Empathy: The Case for Rational Compassion
Jan 9, 2017 • 40 min
We welcome back cognitive scientist Paul Bloom to talk about his new book Against Empathy: The Case for Rational Compassion.
161 Patrick Wolff - How to Become a Grandmaster Chess Champion
Dec 23, 2016 • 56 min
We talk to American chess Grandmaster Patrick Wolff.
160 Helen Czerski - The Little Bits of Physics in Everyday Life
Dec 16, 2016 • 36 min
We talk to physicist and oceanographer Helen Czerski about her new book Storm in a Teacup: The Physics of Everyday Life.
159 David Grinspoon - Earth in Human Hands: Shaping Our Planet’s Future
Dec 9, 2016 • 49 min
We talk to astrobiologist David Grinspoon about his latest book Earth in Human Hands: Shaping Our Planet’s Future.
158 Lee van der Voo - The Fish Market: Inside the Big-Money Battle for the Ocean and Your Dinner Plate
Dec 2, 2016 • 42 min
We talk to investigative journalist Lee van der Voo about her new book The Fish Market: Inside the Big-Money Battle for the Ocean and Your Dinner Plate.
157 Erik Vance - The Curious Science of Your Brain’s Ability to Deceive, Transform, and Heal
Nov 25, 2016 • 33 min
We talk to science writer Erik Vance about his new book Suggestible You: The Curious Science of Your Brain’s Ability to Deceive, Transform, and Heal.
156 Heather Hill - Taking a Second Look at SeaWorld
Nov 18, 2016 • 50 min
We talk to marine biologist and marine mammal specialist Heather Hill about her work on marine mammal training and why it might disagree with much of what we covered in episode #146 with John Hargrove.
155 Chris and Evan Hadfield - An Astronaut Explores the Arctic
Nov 11, 2016 • 36 min
We talk to Canadian astronaut Commander Chris Hadfield and his son Evan Hadfield about their recent exploration into the Arctic and Greenland on the legendary icebreaker, Kapitan Khlebnikov.
154 Changing Political Minds - The Deep Story With Arlie Hochschild and Reckonings
Nov 4, 2016 • 78 min
We team up with Stephanie Lepp from the Reckonings podcast and talk to sociologist Arlie Hochschild about whether or not this election is causing more people than usual to change their minds about politics. We then hear from two voters who did in fact…
153 Merlin Tuttle - The Secret Lives of Bats
Oct 28, 2016 • 45 min
We talk to ecologist, conservationist and wildlife photographer Merlin Tuttle about his book The Secret Lives of Bats: My Adventures with the World’s Most Misunderstood Mammals.
152 Abigail Tucker - How House Cats Tamed Us and Took Over the World
Oct 21, 2016 • 48 min
We talk to science writer Abigail Tucker about her new book The Lion in the Living Room: How House Cats Tamed Us and Took Over the World.
151 Irva Hertz-Picciotto - Should We Worry More About Toxic Environmental Chemicals?
Oct 14, 2016 • 51 min
We talk to Irva Hertz-Picciotto, Professor at the University of California Davis MIND Institute, Director of the NIH-funded UC Davis Environmental Health Sciences Center, and co-founder of Project TENDR, a collaborative effort of scientists, clinicians,…
150 Stuart Firestein - Why Science Needs to Fail
Sep 30, 2016 • 44 min
We talk to Stuart Firestein, chair of the Department of Biological Sciences at Columbia University, about his latest book Failure: Why Science Is So Successful.
149 Sarah Ballard / Jackie Speier - The Appalling Reality of Harassment in Science
Sep 23, 2016 • 59 min
We talk to exoplanetary astronomer Sarah Ballard and congresswoman Jackie Speier about sexual harassment within the scientific community.
148 Judith Schwartz - Hope for a Thirsty World
Sep 16, 2016 • 46 min
We talk to science journalist Judith Schwartz about her new book Water in Plain Sight: Hope for a Thirsty World.
147 Dave Levitan - How Politicians Mangle Science
Sep 9, 2016 • 39 min
We talk to science journalist Dave Levitan about his new book Not a Scientist: How Politicians Mistake, Misrepresent, and Utterly Mangle Science.
146 John Hargrove - Taking on SeaWorld
Aug 26, 2016 • 57 min
We talk to former Senior killer-whale trainer for SeaWorld and supervisor of Killer Whale Training for Marineland in the South of France about his book Beneath the Surface: Killer Whales, SeaWorld, and the Truth Beyond Blackfish.
145 Carin Bondar - Wild Sex
Aug 19, 2016 • 33 min
We talk to biologist Carin Bondar about her new book Wild Sex: The Science Behind Mating in the Animal Kingdom.
144 Ed Yong - I Contain Multitudes
Aug 12, 2016 • 44 min
We talk to award-winning British science writer Ed Yong about his recent book I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life.
143 The Stories That Collection Museums Hold
Aug 7, 2016 • 65 min
We talk about the significance of collection museums with Emily Grasile, Chief Curiosity Correspondent at the Field Museum; Shannon Bennett, Chief of Science at the California Academy of Sciences; and Jack Dumbacher, chairman and curator of the California…
142 Hank Greely - The End of Sex
Jul 22, 2016 • 52 min
We talk to Hank Greely, director of the Center for Law and the Biosciences at Stanford University’s School of Medicine about his new book The End of Sex and the Future of Human Reproduction.
141 Marek Glezerman - The Science of Gender Medicine
Jul 15, 2016 • 38 min
We talk to Marek Glezerman, professor emeritus of Obstetrics and Gynecology and currently chairman of the Ethics Committee at the Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University about his book Gender Medicine: The Groundbreaking New Science of Gender- and…
140 Janna Levin - This Is the Sound of Two Black Holes Colliding
Jul 8, 2016 • 40 min
We talk to Janna Levin, professor of physics and astronomy at Barnard College and author of Black Hole Blues and Other Songs from Outer Space.
139 Peter Willcox - Adventures in Protecting the Future of Our Planet
Jul 1, 2016 • 54 min
We talk to Peter Willcox, Captain for Greenpeace for over 30 years and author of Greenpeace Captain: My Adventures in Protecting the Future of Our Planet.
138 Mary Roach - The Curious Science of Humans at War
Jun 24, 2016 • 45 min
We welcome best-selling science writer Mary Roach back on the show to talk about her latest book Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War.
137 Jonah Berger - The Hidden Forces That Shape Behavior
Jun 17, 2016 • 44 min
We talk to professor of marketing and New York Times bestselling author Jonah Berger about his latest book Invisible Influence: The Hidden Forces That Shape Behavior.
136 Siddhartha Mukherjee - An Intimate History of the Gene
Jun 10, 2016 • 37 min
We talk to cancer physician and researcher Siddhartha Mukherjee about his latest book The Gene: An Intimate History.
135 Sean Carroll - Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself
Jun 3, 2016 • 51 min
We talk to theoretical physicist Sean Carroll about his latest book The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself.
134 Anders Ericsson - How to Do Everything Better
May 20, 2016 • 55 min
Does it take 10,000 hours to become an expert at something? Probably not, says our guest this week—who happens to be the author of the paper which was the basis for Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hour rule in the first place. We talk to psychologist Anders…
133 Ben Beard - How Global Warming Is Making Some Diseases Even Scarier
May 13, 2016 • 47 min
We talk to Ben Beard, associate director for climate change and chief of the bacterial diseases branch at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
132 Hope Jahren - The Joy and Otherness of Trees
May 6, 2016 • 54 min
This week we talk to geobiologist Hope Jahren about her recent book Lab Girl.
131 Josh Willis - Greenland Is Melting!
Apr 29, 2016 • 33 min
Evidence is mounting that Greenland is melting at a faster and faster rate. We talked to Josh Willis—senior scientist at NASA JPL’s Oceans Melting Greenland (OMG) project—about how changing water temperatures in our oceans are affecting the Greenland ice…
130 Bill Nye - Fighting Climate Denial
Apr 22, 2016 • 41 min
We talk to Bill Nye about climate change denial and what we can do to fight it.
129 Greg Marcus - Understanding Heart Disease With Big Data
Apr 15, 2016 • 49 min
We talk to Dr. Greg Marcus, the Director of Clinical Research for the UCSF Division of Cardiology about heart disease and how things like smart watches might help us learn more about it.
128 Sy Montgomery - The Soul of an Octopus
Apr 8, 2016 • 38 min
We talk to naturalist and author Sy Montgomery about her latest book The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness.
127 Carl Zimmer - The Mysterious World of Viruses
Apr 1, 2016 • 40 min
We talk to science writer and New York Times columnist Carl Zimmer about viruses. Viral fragments make up 8% of our entire genome—how much do we actually know about them?
126 Maria Konnikova - The Science of Why We Fall for Cons
Mar 25, 2016 • 57 min
We talk to Maria Konnikova about her new book The Confidence Game: Why We Fall for It … Every Time.
125 Anthony James - How Deadly Are Mosquitoes?
Mar 11, 2016 • 51 min
We talk to Anthony James, distinguished professor of molecular biology and biochemistry at UC Irvine about the most deadly animal to human beings: the mosquito.
124 Joanne Ruthsatz & Kimberly Stephens - Is There a Link Between Prodigy and Autism?
Mar 4, 2016 • 58 min
We talk to Joanne Ruthsatz and Kimberly Stephens, authors of The Prodigy’s Cousin: The Family Link Between Autism and Extraordinary Talent.
123 Kenji López-Alt - Better Home Cooking Through Science
Feb 26, 2016 • 38 min
On the show this week we talk to Kenji López-Alt, managing culinary director of Serious Eats and author of The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science.
122 Nancy Krieger - Police Involved Killings Are Public Health Data
Feb 19, 2016 • 40 min
On the show this week we talk to social epidemiologist Nancy Krieger about her research that suggests we should start tracking law enforcement involved deaths as public health data.
121 Marah Hardt - Sex in the Sea
Feb 12, 2016 • 56 min
On this special Valentine’s Day episode we talk to marine biologist Marah Hardt about 8-foot long whale penises, shark ejaculation systems, vagina mazes, fish orgies, and all the other crazy sex-stuff happening in our oceans. She’s the author of Sex in…
120 Eric Weiner - The Geography of Genius
Feb 5, 2016 • 58 min
On the show this week we talk to bestselling author Eric Weiner about his latest book The Geography of Genius: A Search for the World’s Most Creative Places from Ancient Athens to Silicon Valley.
119 Kara Platoni - Hacking Human Perception
Jan 29, 2016 • 69 min
On the show this week we talk to science reporter Kara Platoni about her new book We Have the Technology: How Biohackers, Foodies, Physicians, and Scientists Are Transforming Human Perception, One Sense at a Time.
118 Kim Cobb - The Evolution of El Niño
Jan 22, 2016 • 44 min
On the show this week we talk to climate scientist Kim Cobb about the science of El Niño and climate change—and how studying coral can help us understand both.
117 Douglas Fields - The Science of Rage and Why We Snap
Jan 15, 2016 • 66 min
On the show this week we talk to neurobiologist Douglas Fields about his new book Why We Snap: Understanding the Rage Circuit in Your Brain.
116 Indre and Kishore’s 2016 Science Predictions
Jan 8, 2016 • 38 min
On the show this week Indre and Kishore share their predictions for what some of the big science stories of 2016 will be. http://patreon.com/inquiringminds
115 Chris Ferguson - Violence in Video Games
Dec 18, 2015 • 70 min
On the show this week we return to the topic of violence in video games. We spoke to psychologist Chris Ferguson who offers a contrasting view on the subject. For more discussion, check out episodes 106 & 107. http://patreon.com/inquiringminds
114 Mark Schatzker - The Dorito Effect
Dec 11, 2015 • 55 min
On the show this week we talk to Mark Schatzker, author of The Dorito Effect: The Surprising New Truth About Food and Flavor, “a lively and important argument from an award-winning journalist proving that the key to reversing America’s health crisis lies…
113 Robert Sapolsky - Being Human
Dec 4, 2015 • 67 min
Robert Sapolsky is a MacArthur “Genius” Fellow, a professor of biology and neurology at Stanford University, and a research associate with the Institute of Primate Research at the National Museum of Kenya. We talked to Sapolsky about what it means to be…
112 Ed Lu - The Real Threat of Asteroids
Nov 27, 2015 • 57 min
Ed Lu is a former astronaut and current CEO of the B612 Foundation. On the show this week we talked to him about the threat of asteroids hitting our planet—and what we can do about it. http://patreon.com/inquiringminds
111 Steve Croft - The Feeding Habits of Supermassive Black Holes
Nov 20, 2015 • 43 min
On the show this week we talk to UC Berkeley astronomy researcher Steve Croft about the science of supermassive black holes. http://patreon.com/inquiringminds
110 Cady Coleman - Our Calling to Space
Nov 13, 2015 • 57 min
On the show this week we talk to astronaut Dr. Cady Coleman about the human side of space exploration. “Leaving the planet is just something people are going to do because we live off the planet as well as on—we live in the universe.”…
109 Dava Newman - The Future of Space Exploration
Nov 6, 2015 • 43 min
Dava Newman is the Deputy Administrator of NASA. On the show this week we talked to her about the future of space exploration. http://patreon.com/inquiringminds
108 Adam Galinsky & Maurice Schweitzer - The Science of Sex, Power, and Competition
Oct 30, 2015 • 49 min
On the show this week we talk to Adam Galinsky and Maurice Schweitzer about the research behind their new book Friend & Foe: When to Cooperate, When to Compete, and How to Succeed at Both. “A lot of what we call gender differences are really just power…
107 Ariel Waldman - Hacking Science
Oct 25, 2015 • 57 min
Ariel Waldman makes “massively multiplayer science”, instigating unusual collaborations that spark clever creations for science and space exploration. On the show this week we talk to her about Science Hack Day, Spacehack.org, how she ended up working for…
106 Brad Bushman - The Science of Gun Violence
Oct 16, 2015 • 52 min
On the show this week we talk to psychologist Brad Bushman about the science of gun violence. Brad Bushman is a professor of communication and psychology at The Ohio State University and a professor of communication science at the VU University Amsterdam.…
105 Brad Voytek - We Neuroscientists Don’t Really Know What Your Brain Is Doing
Oct 9, 2015 • 59 min
The website for neuroscientist Brad Voytek’s lab begins like this: “Do not buy into the false belief that neuroscientists actually know what the brain is doing.” On the show this week we talked to Voytek to find out what he actually means by that. Brad…
104 Justin Rubinstein - Humans Are Causing Earthquakes in Oklahoma
Oct 2, 2015 • 41 min
In 2014 there were 585 magnitude three or above earthquakes in Oklahoma. In 2013 that number was only 109. And it turns out we’re to blame for the increase. On the show this week we talk to Research Geophysicist and Deputy Chief of the USGS Induced…
103 M. R. O’Connor - Resurrection Science and the Precarious Future of Wild Things
Sep 25, 2015 • 58 min
On the show this week we talk to M. R. O’Connor about her book Resurrection Science: Conservation, De-Extinction and the Precarious Future of Wild Things.
102 Beth Shapiro - The Science of De-Extinction
Sep 18, 2015 • 58 min
How do you clone a mammoth? We asked Beth Shapiro. Shapiro is associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of California, Santa Cruz and the author of How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction.
101 Lucky Yates - The Science of Archer
Sep 11, 2015 • 59 min
This week we have an extra special episode: It was recorded live on stage in Atlanta for this year’s Dragon Con. We talk about the science of Archer—the hit FX series TV series created by Adam Reed. To do that, we welcome to the show Dr. Krieger himself,…
100 Steve Silberman - Remembering Oliver Sacks / The Legacy of Autism
Sep 4, 2015 • 65 min
This week, on our 100th episode, we remember Oliver Sacks, neurologist, author, and mentor to Indre. We talk to Steve Silberman—who was also close with Sacks, about his legacy and influence on, among many other things, Silberman’s latest book,…
99 Marc Lewis - Why Addiction Is Not a Disease
Aug 20, 2015 • 52 min
Marc Lewis is a neuroscientist, professor of developmental psychology, and author of the new book The Biology of Desire: Why Addiction Is Not a Disease. On the show this week we talk to Lewis about the biology of addiction—and what it does to our brains.
98 Fred Perlak - Inside the Mind of a Monsanto Scientist
Aug 14, 2015 • 59 min
The science behind genetically modified food is a very divisive issue for a lot of people. We’ve already talked about it a few times on the show, but this week we sought out a new perspective and talked to Fred Perlak, a Monsanto Distinguished Science…
97 Elizabeth Hellmuth Margulis - How Music Plays the Mind
Aug 7, 2015 • 49 min
Elizabeth Hellmuth Margulis was trained as a concert pianist and is now the director of the Music Cognition Lab at the University of Arkansas. On the show this week we talk to Margulis about her latest book On Repeat: How Music Plays the Mind.
96 David Casarett - A Doctor’s Case for Medical Marijuana
Jul 31, 2015 • 50 min
On the show this week we talk to David Casarett, M.D. about his latest book Stoned: A Doctor’s Case for Medical Marijuana. iTunes: itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/inquiring-minds/id711675943 RSS: feeds.feedburner.com/inquiring-minds Stitcher:…
95 Wade Roush - How Disasters Affect Science
Jul 24, 2015 • 60 min
On the show this week we talk to journalist and educator Wade Roush about how disasters can affect our appreciation of the science behind them—and what we can do to be sure the right story gets out. iTunes:…
94 Michael Hiltzik - The Invention That Launched the Military-Industrial Complex
Jul 17, 2015 • 54 min
On the show this week we talk to Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Michael Hiltzik about his new book Big Science: Ernest Lawrence and the Invention that Launched the Military-Industrial Complex. iTunes:…
93 Alvin Roth - The New Economics of Who Gets What—and Why
Jul 10, 2015 • 58 min
On the show this week we talk to Nobel Memorial Prize winning economist Alvin Roth about his latest book Who Gets What—and Why: The New Economics of Matchmaking and Market Design. iTunes: itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/inquiring-minds/id711675943 RSS:…
92 Will Walker & Kevin Czinger - The Future of 3D Printing
Jun 26, 2015 • 51 min
On the show this week we explore the future of 3D Printing. To do so, Indre goes to SolidCon—a conference about “Hardware, Software & the Internet of Things”—and talks to people from two companies in attendance: Will Walker, a sculptor, designer, and…
91 Rachel Kalmar - The Power of Wearable Technology
Jun 19, 2015 • 59 min
Rachel Kalmar is a neuroscientist, data scientist, and world record holder for number of wearable sensors worn daily. On the show this week we talk to Kalmar about the power of collecting data from yourself by wearing sensors directly on your body. We…
90 Will Smith & Norman Chan - Understanding Virtual Reality
Jun 12, 2015 • 55 min
On the show this week we talk all things virtual reality with Will Smith and Norman Chan from Tested.com. Did VR fail in the 90s?How many times does it have to fail to succeed? What’s it useful for besides video games and Lawnmower Men? If you’re confused…
89 Eric Cheng - The Science Behind Drones
Jun 5, 2015 • 46 min
Eric Cheng is an award-winning photographer and publisher, and is the Director of Aerial Imaging and General Manager of the San Francisco office at DJI, the makers of the popular Phantom aerial-imaging quadcopter. On the show this week we talk to Cheng…
88 Alan Levinovitz - The Gluten Lie
May 29, 2015 • 58 min
Alan Levinovitz is an assistant professor of Chinese philosophy and religion at James Madison University and author of The Gluten Lie: And Other Myths About What You Eat. On the show this week we talk to Levinovitz about gluten and gluten-free diets.…
87 Stephen Dubner - Freakonomics and the Danger of Certainty
May 22, 2015 • 56 min
On the show this week we talk to Stephen Dubner, award-winning author, journalist, and radio and TV personality. He is best-known for writing, along with the economist Steven D. Levitt, Freakonomics and SuperFreakonomics, which have sold more than 5…
86 Adam Rogers - The Science of Booze
May 15, 2015 • 53 min
Adam Rogers is an editor at Wired and the author of Proof: The Science of Booze. On the show this week we talk to Rogers about alcohol and the science behind it—from yeast, to bourbon, to Star Trek’s synthehol.
85 James Krupa - Teaching Evolution in Kentucky
May 8, 2015 • 57 min
James Krupa is a professor of biology at the University of Kentucky. On the show this week we talk to Krupa about a recent article he wrote for Orion magazine called Defending Darwin, in which he explains what it’s really like to teach evolution to…
84 Ivan Oransky - The Fetishization of Scientific Papers
May 1, 2015 • 65 min
Ivan Oransky is vice president and global editorial director of MedPage Today and co-founder of Retraction Watch. On the show this week we talk to Oransky about retractions and the gospel of the scientific paper. iTunes:…
83 Traci Mann - The Science of Weight Loss
Apr 24, 2015 • 68 min
On the show this week we talk to Traci Mann, professor of psychology at the University of Minnesota and author of the new book Secrets from the Eating Lab: The Science of Weight Loss, the Myth of Willpower, and Why You Should Never Diet Again. iTunes:…
82 Alex Garland - The Science of Ex Machina
Apr 17, 2015 • 62 min
Alex Garland is the writer and director of Ex Machina, a recently released film about what happens when someone is asked to interact with what might be the world’s first true artificial intelligence (as well as the writer of Dredd, Sunshine, and 28 Days…
81 Sanjoy Mahajan - Street-Fighting Mathematics
Apr 10, 2015 • 59 min
On the show this week we talk to Sanjoy Mahajan, Associate Professor of Applied Science and Engineering at Olin College of Engineering, Visiting Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT, and author of Street-Fighting…
80 Norman Doidge - How Plastic Is Your Brain?
Apr 3, 2015 • 57 min
Norman Doidge, M.D., is a psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, researcher, author, essayist and poet. He is on faculty at the University of Toronto’s Department of Psychiatry, and Research Faculty at Columbia University’s Center for Psychoanalytic Training and…
79 Ken Caldeira - Can Geoengineering Save the Planet?
Mar 27, 2015 • 64 min
On the show this week we talk to Ken Caldeira, a climate scientist working for the Carnegie Institution for Science, Department of Global Ecology at Stanford University. He investigates issues related to climate, carbon, and energy systems. In the…
78 Bill Gifford - Can Science Keep You Young Forever?
Mar 19, 2015 • 67 min
On the show this week we talk to Bill Gifford, author of the new book Spring Chicken: Stay Young Forever (or Die Trying). iTunes: itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/inquiring-minds/id711675943 RSS: feeds.feedburner.com/inquiring-minds Stitcher:…
77 Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo - Sugar Science
Mar 13, 2015 • 63 min
On the show this week, we talk to Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, Professor of Medicine and Director of the UCSF Center for Vulnerable Populations at San Francisco General Hospital. She’s part of a new project called Sugar Science, which focuses on…
76 Jonathan Eisen - The Tiny World of Microbes Inside You
Mar 6, 2015 • 64 min
On the show this week we talk to evolutionary biologist Jonathan Eisen, who studies the evolution and ecology of microbes and genomes. We delve into the tiny world of the microbiome—the thousands of microorganisms that live inside all of us. iTunes:…
75 Kevin Kelly - What Technology Wants
Feb 27, 2015 • 60 min
On the show this week we talk to Kevin Kelly, founding executive editor of Wired magazine and former editor of the incredibly influential Whole Earth Catalog. We talk about the agenda and biases of technology, why the internet really wants to track you,…
74 Kathleen Hall Jamieson - Fact Checking Science
Feb 20, 2015 • 59 min
On the show this week we talk to Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania. The APPC runs FactCheck.org, which now includes SciCheck, a program that “focuses exclusively on false and…
73 David J. Morris - The History and Science of PTSD
Feb 13, 2015 • 58 min
On the show this week we talk to David J Morris, former Marine infantry officer, war correspondent, and author of The Evil Hours: A Biography of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. We explore the history of PTSD and the science that surrounds it. iTunes:…
72 Andy Weir - The Science of The Martian
Feb 5, 2015 • 65 min
On the show this week we talk to author Andy Weir about The Martian, his hit science fiction novel about a man stranded on Mars—which is now being made into a film directed by Ridley Scott and starring Matt Damon. The Martian is not only packed full of…
71 Ed Boyden - Blowing Up the Brain
Jan 30, 2015 • 49 min
Ed Boyden is the head of the MIT Media Lab’s Synthetic Neurobiology research group and he wants blow up the brain. Sort of. He and his team have discovered a way to examine brain tissue by physically expanding it—a process that lets them look at tissue…
70 Brian Fisher - The Real Ant-Man
Jan 23, 2015 • 59 min
Brian Fisher is really into ants. And after listening to him talk about them on this week’s show, I suspect he might convince you to appreciate them more than you probably do right now. Fisher is an entomologist at the California Academy of Sciences and…
69 Katie Mack - Dark Matter: Invisible, and Probably Flying through You Right Now
Jan 16, 2015 • 49 min
Dark matter: it makes up 80 to 85 percent of the matter in the universe, it’s invisible, you can’t touch it, and according to this week’s guest astrophysicist Katie Mack, it’s probably passing through you right now. Dark matter is weird. On the show this…
68 Matt Walker - Why Did We Evolve to Sleep?
Jan 9, 2015 • 62 min
On the show this week we talk to Matt Walker, Principal Investigator at UC Berkeley’s Sleep and Neuroimaging Lab. Walker opens our eyes to exactly how important (and bizarre) sleep is—from the insane effects not sleeping enough can have on you both…
67 Gabriele Oettingen - Rethinking Positive Thinking
Jan 2, 2015 • 68 min
On the show this week we talk to Professor of Psychology Gabriele Oettingen about her new book Rethinking Positive Thinking: Inside the New Science of Motivation. Oettingen has over twenty years of research on the science of motivation under her belt and…
66 Adam Savage - The Joy of Being a Maker
Dec 26, 2014 • 33 min
On the show this week we talk to Mythbusters host and friend of the show Adam Savage. We caught up with Savage shortly after our live show with him (episode 58) at his workshop in San Francisco. Indre talks to Savage about the future of Mythbusters,…
65 Matt Parker - Things to Make and Do in the Fourth Dimension
Dec 19, 2014 • 65 min
On the show this week Indre talks to mathematician and comedian Matt Parker about how math is way more fascinating that you probably think—and how it’s connected to everything from credit card numbers to autocorrect. They talk about his new book, Things…
64 Sharman Apt Russell - Chasing Tiger Beetles as a Citizen Scientist
Dec 12, 2014 • 57 min
On the show this week we talk to nature and science writer Sharman Apt Russell about citizen science—real scientific research done by people who are not professional scientists. We talk about her latest book, Diary of a Citizen Scientist: Chasing Tiger…
63 Donald Johanson - Lucy’s Legacy, 40 Years Later
Dec 5, 2014 • 42 min
On the show this week guest host Cynthia Graber talks to paleoanthropologist Donald Johanson, most well known for discovering the fossil of a female hominid australopithecine, or “Lucy.” iTunes: itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/inquiring-minds/id711675943 RSS:…
62 Christine Kenneally - How DNA and History Shape Our Identities and Our Futures
Nov 28, 2014 • 55 min
On the show this week we talk to journalist and science writer Christine Kenneally about her latest book, The Invisible History of the Human Race: How DNA and History Shape Our Identities and Our Futures. And we’re joined again by guest host Cynthia…
61 George Church - Hacking Mosquitoes to Fight Malaria
Nov 20, 2014 • 48 min
On the show this week guest host Cynthia Graber talks to George Church—a professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School and the author of Regenesis: How Synthetic Biology Will Reinvent Nature and Ourselves. Church explains how, using cutting-edge genetic…
60 Paul Bloom - Babies and the Origins of Good and Evil
Nov 14, 2014 • 60 min
On the show this week we talk to cognitive scientist Paul Bloom about the morality of babies. Most of us think of babies as selfish, impulsive, and for the most part out of control. We tend to think of their morality as shaped by experience—by society, by…
59 David Grinspoon - The Science of Interstellar
Nov 7, 2014 • 53 min
On the show this week we welcome guest host David Corn, political journalist and Washington bureau chief for Mother Jones. Corn interviews astrobiologist David Grinspoon about the science behind Christopher Nolan’s new movie, Interstellar—what it gets…
58 Adam Savage - Live on Stage in San Francisco
Oct 31, 2014 • 36 min
On the show this week Indre talks to Adam Savage about the future of science communication (and why it’s terrifying TV networks), why he’s worried Elon Musk might become a Marvel supervillain, and why it’s so important to him that women be better…
57 William Gibson - The Future Will View Us as a Joke
Oct 23, 2014 • 57 min
On the show this week we talk to author William Gibson about time travel, cronuts, and his new 22nd century novel. We also talk to infectious disease doctor and co-founder of Wellbody Alliance, Dan Kelly, who is currently in Sierra Leone fighting the…
56 Steven Johnson - Innovations That Made the Modern World
Oct 16, 2014 • 52 min
On the show this week we talk to Steven Johnson, author of the new book How We Got to Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World. In it, Johnson argues that seemingly mundane scientific breakthroughs have changed our world in profound ways—impacting…
55 Daniel Levitin - The Organized Mind
Oct 10, 2014 • 69 min
On the show this week we talk to cognitive psychologist, neuroscientist, musician, and writer Daniel Levitin about his new book The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload. We also talk to microbiologist Siouxsie Wiles about…
54 Steven Pinker - The Science Behind Writing Well
Oct 2, 2014 • 48 min
San Francisco! Come see us interview Adam Savage live on Oct. 28! http://www.bayareascience.org/event/im-story-collider/ On the show this week we talk to celebrated Harvard cognitive scientist and psycholinguist Steven Pinker about his new book The Sense…
53 Naomi Klein - Climate Changes Everything
Sep 25, 2014 • 62 min
Come see us interview Adam Savage live in San Francisco on Oct. 28! http://www.bayareascience.org/event/im-story-collider/ On the show this week we talk to author and social activist Naomi Klein about her new book This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs.…
52 Al Gore - The Politics of Climate Change
Sep 17, 2014 • 34 min
On the show this week we talk to former Vice President Al Gore. He shares his thoughts on President Obama’s global warming record, the upcoming United Nations climate meeting, the impact of fracking, and China’s plans for a massive carbon market. This…
51 Brendan Nyhan - Will Facts Matter in the 2014 Election?
Sep 11, 2014 • 58 min
On the show this week we talk to Dartmouth political scientist Brendan Nyhan, who has focused much of his research on employing the tools of social science to study fact-checking—why it so often fails, and what can be done to make it work better. The…
50 William Poundstone - Understanding Randomness
Sep 5, 2014 • 52 min
On the show this week we talk about randomness with science writer William Poundstone, author of the new book Rock Breaks Scissors. Poundstone explains why we’re so terrible at trying to come up with random sequences ourselves—and how understanding these…
49 Arie Kruglanski - The Science of What Makes a Terrorist
Aug 28, 2014 • 47 min
“Its Islam over everything.” So read the Twitter bio of Douglas McAuthur McCain—or, as he reportedly called himself, “Duale Khalid”—the San Diego man who is apparently the first American to be killed while fighting for ISIS. According to NBC News, McCain…
48 K Clancy, R Nelson, J Rutherford, & K Hinde - The Epidemic of Harassment in Scientific Field Work
Aug 22, 2014 • 61 min
One of the most difficult parts of getting a Ph.D. is finishing your dissertation. Beyond the mountain of work a dissertation requires, graduate students also have to face feelings of inadequacy, disappointment, and anxiety about the looming job search.…
47 Anthony Ingraffea - The Science of Fracking
Aug 14, 2014 • 59 min
On the political right, it’s pretty popular these days to claim that the left exaggerates scientific worries about hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.” In a recent National Review article, for instance, a Hoover Institution researcher complains that 53…
46 David Casarett - The Science of Death
Aug 8, 2014 • 56 min
On the show this week we talk to University of Pennsylvania professor of medicine David Casarett about his book Shocked: Adventures in Bringing Back the Recently Dead. Casarett explains the science of resuscitation—and what exactly it means to be “dead.”…
45 Barb Oakley - The Science of Learning
Jul 31, 2014 • 54 min
Charles Dickens, perhaps the greatest of the Victorian novelists, was a man of strict routine. Every day, notes his biographer Claire Tomalin, Dickens would write from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm. After that, he would put his work away and go out for a long walk.…
44 David Epstein - The Science Behind the World’s Greatest Athletes
Jul 24, 2014 • 69 min
What makes a great athlete? Talent? Training? Or is mostly genetic? On the show this week we get some answers from sports writer David Epstein while discussing his new book The Sports Gene: Inside the Science of Extraordinary Athletic Performance. Epstein…
43 Naomi Oreskes - The Collapse of Western Civilization
Jul 17, 2014 • 54 min
You don’t know it yet. There’s no way that you could. But 400 years from now, a historian will write that the time in which you’re now living is the “Penumbral Age” of human history—meaning, the period when a dark shadow began to fall over us all. You’re…
42 Arthur I. Miller - How Science Is Revolutionizing Art
Jul 10, 2014 • 60 min
On the show this week we welcome Arthur I. Miller—physics Ph.D., science historian, philosopher—and an art aficionado to boot. We talked to Miller about his new book, Colliding Worlds: How Cutting-Edge Science is Redefining Contemporary Art, in which he…
41 Amy Stewart - The Science Behind the World’s Alcohol
Jul 3, 2014 • 48 min
It’s the 4th of July, and you love your country. Your likely next step: Fire off some small scale explosives, and drink a lot of beer. But that last word ought to trouble you a little. Beer? Is that really the best you can do? Isn’t it a little, er,…
40 Zach Weinersmith - Baby Catapulting and Other Great Terrible Hypotheses
Jun 26, 2014 • 57 min
There’s nothing quite as satisfying as a really good joke. Someone has made a clever new connection between two mundane things that we’ve all encountered—and suddenly we have a lovely “aha” moment. We find it funny. That sense of revelation accompanying a…
39 Jordan Ellenberg - Why Math Is The Ultimate BS Detector
Jun 19, 2014 • 48 min
Chances are that when you think about math—which, for most of us, happens pretty infrequently—you don’t think of it in anything like the way that Jordan Ellenberg does. Ellenberg is a rare scholar who is both a math professor (at the University of…
38 Sam Kean - These Brains Changed Neuroscience Forever
Jun 12, 2014 • 57 min
We’ve all been mesmerized by them—those beautiful brain scan images that make us feel like we’re on the cutting edge of scientifically decoding how we think. But as soon as one neuroscience study purports to show which brain region lights up when we are…
37 Raychelle Burks - Zombie Repellent and Other Awesome Uses for Chemistry
Jun 5, 2014 • 60 min
Remember those stick-figures of chemical compounds you were forced to memorize in high school? Remember how useless it seemed at the time? Can you still articulate the difference between a covalent bond and an ionic one (without checking Wikipedia)? If…
36 Harry Collins - Why Googling Doesn’t Make You a Scientific Expert
May 29, 2014 • 54 min
Remember “Climategate”? It was the 2009 non-scandal scandal in which a trove of climate scientists’ emails, pilfered from the University of East Anglia in the UK, were used to call all of modern climate research into question. Why? Largely because a…
35 Richard Alley - West Antarctica Is Melting and We Can’t Stop It
May 22, 2014 • 55 min
If you want to truly grasp the scale of the Earth’s polar ice sheets, you need some help from Isaac Newton. Newton taught us the universal law of gravitation, which states that all objects are attracted to one another in proportion to their masses (and…
34 John Oliver - This World Will Be a Ball of Fire Before It Stops Being Funny
May 15, 2014 • 46 min
In late April, former Daily Show correspondent John Oliver kicked off his HBO news-satire program, Last Week Tonight. Oliver, who spent nearly eight years at The Daily Show and has a solid background in political satire, is off to a good start. His weekly…
33 David Amodio - The Science of Prejudice
May 8, 2014 • 60 min
When the audio of LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling telling his girlfriend not to “bring black people” to his team’s games hit the Internet, the condemnations were immediate. It was clear to all that Sterling was a racist, and the punishment was swift:…
32 Katharine Hayhoe - Climate Science and Christianity
May 1, 2014 • 49 min
Climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe, an evangelical Christian, has had quite the run lately. A few weeks back, she was featured in the first episode of the Showtime series The Years of Living Dangerously, meeting with actor Don Cheadle in her home state of…
31 Mary Roach - The Science of Your Guts
Apr 24, 2014 • 48 min
Mary Roach has been called “America’s funniest science writer.” Master of the monosyllabically titled bestseller, she has explored sex in Bonk, corpses in Stiff, and the afterlife in Spook. Her latest book, now out in paperback, is Gulp: Adventures on the…
30 Jared Diamond - The Third Chimpanzee
Apr 17, 2014 • 51 min
Jared Diamond, author of a suite of massive, bestselling books about the precarious state of our civilization (including the Pulitzer-winning Guns, Germs, and Steel), calls himself “cautiously optimistic” about the future of humanity. What does that mean?…
29 Neil Shubin - Your Inner Fish
Apr 10, 2014 • 43 min
We all know the Darwin fish, the clever car-bumper parody of the Christian “ichthys” symbol, or Jesus fish. Unlike the Christian symbol, the Darwin fish has, you know, legs. Har har. But the Darwin fish isn’t merely a clever joke; in effect, it contains a…
28 John Hibbing - The Biology of Ideology
Apr 3, 2014 • 45 min
Thomas Jefferson was a smart dude. And in one of his letters to John Adams, dated June 27, 1813, Jefferson made an observation about the nature of politics that science is only now, two centuries later, beginning to confirm. “The same political parties…
27 Ethan Perlstein - Scenes from the Postdocalypse
Mar 27, 2014 • 54 min
How do you become a scientist? Ask anyone in the profession and you’ll probably hear some version of the following: get a Bachelor’s of Science degree, work in a lab, get into a PhD program, publish some papers, get a good post-doctoral position, publish…
26 Phil Plait - Just After the Big Bang
Mar 20, 2014 • 51 min
We all heard the cosmos-stretching news this week. On Monday, a team of researchers working with a special telescope at the South Pole confirmed that they had observed evidence of “inflation,” the sudden and rapid expansion of the universe that occurred…
25 Neil deGrasse Tyson - Finally, Science Is Cool
Mar 13, 2014 • 45 min
Last week, Fox’s and National Geographic’s new Cosmos series set a new milestone in television history. According to National Geographic, it was the largest global rollout of a TV series ever, appearing on 220 channels in 181 countries, and 45 languages.…
24 Jennifer Ouellette - Is The Self an Illusion, or Is There Really a “You” In There?
Mar 6, 2014 • 47 min
Who are you? The question may seem effortless to answer: You are the citizen of a country, the resident of a city, the child of particular parents, the sibling (or not) of brothers and sisters, the parent (or not) of children, and so on. And you might…
23 Edward Frenkel - What Your Teachers Never Told You About Math
Feb 27, 2014 • 57 min
As Edward Frenkel sees it, the way we teach math in schools today is about as exciting as watching paint dry. So it’s not surprising that when he brings up the fact that he’s a mathematician at dinner parties, the eyes quickly glaze over. “Most people,…
22 Jennifer Francis and Kevin Trenberth - Is Global Warming Driving Crazy Winters?
Feb 20, 2014 • 53 min
Just when weather weary Americans thought they’d found a reprieve, the latest forecasts suggest that the polar vortex will, again, descent into the heart of the country next week, bringing with it staggering cold. If so, it will be just the latest weather…
21 Steven Novella - No, GMOs Won’t Harm Your Health
Feb 13, 2014 • 51 min
With historic drought battering California’s produce and climate change expected to jeopardize the global food supply, there are few questions more important than what our agriculture system should look like in the future. And few agricultural issues are…
20 Maria Konnikova - How to Make Your Brain Work Better
Feb 6, 2014 • 54 min
You’re a busy person. Keeping up with your job, plus your life, is the very definition of multitasking. It doesn’t help that when working, you’re distracted not only by your mobile devices, but also by your computer. You average 10 tabs open in your…
19 Kari Byron - How to Safely Blow Stuff Up When You’re Pregnant
Jan 30, 2014 • 42 min
Most expecting women ask their doctors whether it’s okay to eat blue cheese, or have the odd glass of wine, while they’re pregnant. Or maybe whether to stay away from fish, because of the mercury. When she was pregnant with her daughter several years ago,…
18 Eugenie Scott & Ann Reid - The Assault on Science Education
Jan 23, 2014 • 49 min
In recent decades, there have been countless infringements, and attempted infringements, upon accurate science education across the country. The “war on science” in national politics has nothing on the war playing out every day in public schools, even if…
17 Michael Pollan - The Science of Eating Well (And Not Falling For Diet Fads)
Jan 16, 2014 • 57 min
The Paleo diet is hot. Those who follow it are attempting, they say, to mimic our ancient ancestors—minus the animal-skin fashions and the total lack of technology, of course. The adherents eschew what they believe comes from modern agriculture (wheat,…
16 Deborah Blum - The Science of Poisoning
Jan 9, 2014 • 44 min
As a writer, Deborah Blum says she has a “love of evil chemistry.” It seems that audiences do too: Her latest book, The Poisoner’s Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York, was not only a bestseller, but was just turned…
15 Mark Ruffalo - Our 100 Percent Clean Energy Future
Jan 2, 2014 • 56 min
For Mark Ruffalo, environmental activism started out with something to oppose, to be against: Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. It all began when the actor, perhaps best known for his role as Bruce Banner (The Hulk) in Marvel’s The Avengers, was raising…
14 Carolyn Porco - Why Seeing Earth From Space Matters
Dec 26, 2013 • 52 min
On Valentine’s Day 1990, from more than four billion miles away, the Voyager 1 spacecraft snapped our photo. From that distance, there wasn’t much to see; the resulting shot simply showed several light beams with a tiny speck in one of them. Earth. But…
13 Ara Norenzayan - Why Do Atheists Exist?
Dec 19, 2013 • 45 min
Americans don’t like atheists much. It’s something we get reminded of every December, as Fox News commentators decry a secularist “war on Christmas.” But the distrust spans seasons: Barely half of Americans say they would vote for an atheist for…
12 Joshua Greene – The New Science of Morality
Dec 12, 2013 • 49 min
It’s an old distinction: Science tells us what the world is like, but it can never tell us how we ought to behave in such a world. That’s the realm of morality, and here we consult ethicists or perhaps priests—but something other than just data. It’s…
11 Maryn McKenna - Our Scary Post-Antibiotic Future
Dec 5, 2013 • 55 min
It’s flu season. And we’re all about to crisscross the country to exchange hugs, kisses and germs. We’re going to get sick. And when we do, many of us will run to our doctors and, hoping to get better, demand antibiotics. And that’s the problem:…
10 Simon Singh - How the Simpsons Have Secretly Been Teaching You Math
Nov 21, 2013 • 45 min
Simon Singh isn’t exactly your average fan of Fox’s The Simpsons. He has a Ph.D. in particle physics from Cambridge, and made an award-winning documentary about Fermat’s Last Theorem. Let’s be frank: He’s a math geek. But then, so are a surprisingly large…
9 Michael Mann - From Computer Geek to Political Giant Slayer
Nov 14, 2013 • 45 min
On the show this week we talk to climate researcher Michael Mann about how he, as a self-described math and computer nerd working in an esoteric field known as paleoclimatology, wound up front and center in a nationally watched political campaign. His…
8 Alison Gopnik - We All Start Out as Scientists, But Some of Us Forget
Nov 7, 2013 • 40 min
This week we feature a conversation with psychologist Alison Gopnik, recorded live at the 2013 Bay Area Science Festival. Gopnik talks about her latest book, The Philosophical Baby: What Children’s Minds Tell Us About Truth, Love, and the Meaning of Life.…
7 George Johnson - Why Most of What You’ve Heard About Cancer is Wrong
Nov 1, 2013 • 57 min
This week, we speak with veteran science journalist George Johnson, whose new book The Cancer Chronicles: Unlocking Medicine’s Deepest Mystery helps turn much traditional thinking about cancer on its head. It’s a provocative and also a personal…
6 Jonathan Haidt - This is Why Your Political Opponents Hate You
Oct 25, 2013 • 39 min
Why is America so polarized? Why are our politicians so dysfunctional? Why do they sometimes even seem to downright hate each other? In this episode of Inquiring Minds, moral psychologist and bestselling The Righteous Mind author Jonathan Haidt explains…
5 Dan Kahan and Stephan Lewandowsky - How Do You Make People Give a Damn About Climate Change?
Oct 18, 2013 • 53 min
As two top researchers studying the science of science communication—a hot new field that combines psychology with public opinion research—Dan Kahan and Stephan Lewandowsky agree about most things. There’s just one problem. The little thing that they…
4 Randy Schekman - This 2013 Nobel Laureate Says College Is Way Too Expensive
Oct 11, 2013 • 48 min
This week we talk to Randy Schekman, the University of California-Berkeley cell biologist who was just awarded the 2013 Nobel Prize in medicine for his work on how cells regulate the protein “traffic” that is at the core of their communication with other…
3 Sylvia Earle - Why the Oceans Are Not Too Big to Fail
Oct 4, 2013 • 50 min
This week we talk to scientist and explorer Sylvia Earle, a woman who has spent almost a year of her life under water. She explains why the oceans are “not too big to fail.” But she also says that just maybe, we’re growing wise enough to save them. Earle…
2 Alan Weisman - Can We Finally Have a Serious Talk About Population?
Sep 27, 2013 • 49 min
This week, Chris Mooney talks to environmental journalist Alan Weisman, who explains why, following on his 2007 New York Times bestseller The World Without Us, he decided to centrally take on the issue of human population. For his just-published book…
1 Marsha Ivins - What It’s Like To Spend 55 Days in Space
Sep 20, 2013 • 58 min
There aren’t many people on Earth who have spent more of their life in space than Marsha Ivins. A veteran of five space shuttle missions, Ivins has spent a total of 55 days in orbit, on missions devoted to such diverse tasks as deploying satellites,…