Episodes
In the beginning was the Big Bang: an unimaginably hot fire almost fourteen billion years ago in which the first elements were forged. The physical theory of the hot nascent universe--the Big Bang--was one of the most consequential developments in twentieth-century science. And yet it leaves many questions unanswered: Why is the universe so big? Why is it so old? What is the origin of structure in the cosmos? In An Infinity of Worlds: Cosmic Inflation and the Beginning of the Universe (MIT...
Published 05/16/22
In this Pandemic Perspectives Podcast, Ideas Roadshow founder and host Howard Burton talks to John Tregoning, Imperial College respiratory infections researcher and author of the acclaimed book Infectious: Pathogens and How We Fight Them. Ideas Roadshow's Pandemic Perspectives Project consists of three distinct, reinforcing elements: a documentary film (Pandemic Perspectives), book (Pandemic Perspectives: A filmmaker's journey in 10 essays) and a series of 24 detailed podcasts with many of...
Published 05/11/22
Published 05/11/22
In this Pandemic Perspectives Podcast, Ideas Roadshow founder and host Howard Burton talks to bestselling author and University of Oxford law professor Charles Foster on how the coronavirus pandemic reveals how so many of us—including so many scientists—have replaced rigorous scientific skepticism with an alarming cult of "scientism." Ideas Roadshow's Pandemic Perspectives Project consists of three distinct, reinforcing elements: a documentary film (Pandemic Perspectives), book (Pandemic...
Published 05/04/22
Carbon Queen: The Remarkable Life of Nanoscience Pioneer Mildred Dresselhaus (MIT Press, 2022) follows Mildred Dresselhaus (or Millie, as everyone calls her) from her childhood in New York City to her final years in Cambridge. It focuses on her scientific achievements, but also rightfully presents her as a multi-hyphenate: being a resilient student, an adaptive researcher, a professor, an administrator, an advocate, a fundraiser, a patent owner, a book author. The accolades are plentiful and...
Published 04/29/22
In this Pandemic Perspectives Podcast, Ideas Roadshow founder and host Howard Burton talks to renowned UC San Diego neurophilosopher Patricia Churchland about the importance of communicating science, the wonders of the biological world and the dangers of wishful thinking. Ideas Roadshow's Pandemic Perspectives Project consists of three distinct, reinforcing elements: a documentary film (Pandemic Perspectives), book (Pandemic Perspectives: A filmmaker's journey in 10 essays) and a series of 24...
Published 04/27/22
In this Pandemic Perspectives Podcast, Ideas Roadshow founder and host Howard Burton talks to Portuguese Member of Parliament and internationally renowned biologist Alexandre Quintanilha about the many valuable lessons Portugal's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic could teach all of us, if only we'd take the time to pay attention. Ideas Roadshow's Pandemic Perspectives Project consists of three distinct, reinforcing elements: a documentary film (Pandemic Perspectives), book (Pandemic...
Published 04/20/22
Listen to this interview of John Measey, Associate Professor of Biological Sciences at Stellenbosch University, South Africa, and author of How to Write a PhD in Biological Sciences: A Guide for the Uninitiated (CRC Press, 2021). We talk about how the communication of science is changing, and we talk about how you can keep up and produce the research you want to produce. John Measey : "We're in an extremely interesting time, because the potential that we have to not just publish what we've...
Published 04/20/22
In 2020, COVID-19, the Australia bushfires, and other global threats served as vivid reminders that human and nonhuman fates are increasingly linked. Human use of nonhuman animals contributes to pandemics, climate change, and other global threats which, in turn, contribute to biodiversity loss, ecosystem collapse, and nonhuman suffering. Jeff Sebo argues that humans have a moral responsibility to include animals in global health and environmental policy. In particular, we should reduce our...
Published 04/18/22
Listen to this interview of Dashun Wang, Professor at the Kellogg School of Management and McCormick School of Engineering at Northwestern University, and also with Albert-László Barabási, Robert Gray Dodge Professor of Network Science and Distinguished University Professor at Northeastern University. We talk about their new book The Science of Science" (Cambridge UP, 2021) and science, squared. Albert-László Barabási : "There is, of course, the need that you grow professionally. If you're a...
Published 04/13/22
The human brain undergoes massive changes during its development, from early childhood and the teenage years to adulthood and old age. Across a wide range of species, from C. elegans and fruit flies to mice, monkeys, and humans, information about brain connectivity (connectomes) at different stages is now becoming available. New approaches in network neuroscience can be used to analyze the topological, spatial, and dynamical organization of such connectomes. In Changing Connectomes:...
Published 04/08/22
Our ability to act on some of the most pressing issues of our time, from pandemics and climate change to artificial intelligence and nuclear weapons, depends on knowledge provided by scientists and other experts. Meanwhile, contemporary political life is increasingly characterized by problematic responses to expertise, with denials of science on the one hand and complaints about the ignorance of the citizenry on the other. Politics and Expertise: How to Use Science in a Democratic...
Published 04/05/22
Listen to this interview of Daniel Bolnick, Editor in Chief of The American Naturalist and Professor of evolution and ecology at the University of Connecticut. We talk about the role of research journals today and we talk about the location of research journals in the big endeavor that is called science. Daniel Bolnick : "Ultimately, research articles are technical. Articles have to deal with the mathematics or with the details of the physiology or the neurobiology that they're dealing with....
Published 04/05/22
The accusation “you’re deluded” is often used as something of a cheap shot intended to silence an opponent in debate. But what is the nature of a delusion and how can we assess rationality and irrationality? In this podcast, Owen Bennett-Jones talks to Professor Lisa Bortolotti who studies the philosophy of psychology and psychiatry at Birmingham University and is the author of among many other things, Delusions and Other Irrational Beliefs (Oxford UP, 2010) and most recently edited Delusions...
Published 04/05/22
The All About Birds Regional Field-Guide Series brings birding enthusiasts the best information from the renowned Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s website, AllAboutBirds.org, used by more than 21 million people each year. These definitive books provide the most up-to-date resources and expert coverage on bird species throughout North America. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/science
Published 04/01/22
Listen to this interview of Hilary Glasman-Deal, teacher of STEMM communication at the Centre for Academic English, Imperial College London, and author ofScience Research Writing For Native and Non-Native Speakers of English (World Scientific Publishing Europe, 2020). We talk about researching, reading, and writing. Hilary Glasman-Deal : "One of the things I'm very often saying, particularly with early-career researchers, is this: 'Look, your reading is clearly effective, because you...
Published 03/31/22
A camera obscura reflects the world back but dimmer and inverted. Similarly, science has long viewed woman through a warped lens, one focused narrowly on her capacity for reproduction. As a result, there exists a vast knowledge gap when it comes to what we know about half of the bodies on the planet. That is finally changing. Today, a new generation of researchers is turning its gaze to the organs traditionally bound up in baby-making—the uterus, ovaries, and vagina—and illuminating them as...
Published 03/30/22
In this Pandemic Perspectives Podcast, Ideas Roadshow founder and host Howard Burton talks to Lorraine Daston, director emerita of the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin about a number of hugely relevant issues at the intriguing overlap between science and societal values. Ideas Roadshow's Pandemic Perspectives Project consists of three distinct, reinforcing elements: a documentary film (Pandemic Perspectives), book (Pandemic Perspectives: A filmmaker's journey in 10...
Published 03/30/22
I spoke with Hannah Star Rogers, one of the editors of the Routledge Handbook of Art, Science, and Technology Studies (Routledge, 2021). Art and science work is experiencing a dramatic rise coincident with burgeoning Science and Technology Studies (STS) interest in this area. Science has played the role of muse for the arts, inspiring imaginative reconfigurations of scientific themes and exploring their cultural resonance. Conversely, the arts are often deployed in the service of science...
Published 03/30/22
Bitch: On the Female of the Species (Basic Books, 2022) is a fierce, funny, and revolutionary look at the queens of the animal kingdom. Studying zoology made Lucy Cooke feel like a sad freak. Not because she loved spiders or would root around in animal feces: all her friends shared the same curious kinks. The problem was her sex. Being female meant she was, by nature, a loser. Since Charles Darwin, evolutionary biologists have been convinced that the males of the animal kingdom are the...
Published 03/24/22
Nick Enfield’s book, Language vs. Reality: Why Language is Good for Lawyers and Bad for Scientists (MIT Press, 2022), argues that language is primarily for social coordination, not precisely transferring thoughts from one person to another. Drawing on empirical research, Enfield shows that human lexicons the world over are far more coarse-grained than our perceptual faculties. Yet, at the same time, languages vary in the structure and sophistication of their representations. This means that,...
Published 03/23/22
Howard Burton has been talking to very wise people for decades--scientists, historians, political thinkers, philosophers, etc. When Covid "hit" he was, like many of us, puzzled. Where did it come from? How should we respond to it? What does it say about us? So he did what he does: Had conversations with 32 very wise people about Covid. He filmed the discussions, and you can watch them here. Some of them will be released as podcasts on the Ideas Roadshow Podcast, which you can find here. He...
Published 03/22/22
Listen to this interview of Stephen Heard, Professor of Biology at the University of New Brunswick. We talk about his book The Scientist’s Guide to Writing: How to Write More Easily and Effectively Throughout Your Scientific Career, 2nd ed. (Princeton UP, 2022), we talk about writing when it's a verb, we talk about writing when it's a choice, and we talk about writing when it's the science. Stephen Heard : "Especially for early-career scientists there's a risk of their writing entering into a...
Published 03/21/22
What happens when artificial intelligence saturates political life and depletes the planet? How is AI shaping our understanding of ourselves and our societies? In The Atlas of AI: Power, Politics, and the Planetary Costs of Artificial Intelligence (Yale University Press, 2021), Kate Crawford reveals how this planetary network is fuelling a shift toward undemocratic governance and increased racial, gender, and economic inequality. Drawing on more than a decade of research, award‑winning...
Published 03/21/22
The Constitution of Algorithms: Ground-Truthing, Programming, Formulating (MIT Press, 2021) is a laboratory study that investigates how algorithms come into existence. Algorithms--often associated with the terms big data, machine learning, or artificial intelligence--underlie the technologies we use every day, and disputes over the consequences, actual or potential, of new algorithms arise regularly. In this book, Florian Jaton offers a new way to study computerized methods, providing an...
Published 03/16/22