August 19, 2016 – Overcomplicated Technology

My returning guest on this program is scientist and researcher Samuel Arbesman, and we’ll be talking about his new book, Overcomplicated: Technology at the Limits of Comprehension, in which he grapples with the mystery and wonder of 21st century technology and how we should relate to complex technological systems.

July 8, 2016 – Living in the World Beyond Your Head

My guest on this program is Matthew Crawford, senior fellow at the University of Virginia’s Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture. We’ll be talking today about his book, The World Beyond Your Head: On Becoming an Individual in an Age of Distraction, which was recently released in paperback, in which he investigates the challenge of mastering one’s own mind. He argues that our current crisis of attention cannot exclusively be attributed to digital technology, but can be better understood in light of some Western cultural assumptions that are profoundly at odds with human nature.

March 4, 2016 – The Way Forward

My guest on this program is social critic Curtis White, and author of the acclaimed The Science Delusion: Asking the Big Questions in a Culture of Easy Answers, and the bestselling The Middle Mind: Why Americans Don’t Think for Themselves. His most recent book is We, Robots: Staying Human in the Age of Big Data, which takes up the question, “Can technology really solve all of our problems?” to which he answers essentially, “No.” He offers us an insightful and incisive look into what it will take to alter course.

November 6, 2015 – Faith versus Fact

My guest today is Jerry Coyne, professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago, where he specializes in evolutionary genetics. New York Times bestselling author, his most recent book is Faith vs. Fact: Why Science and Religion Are Incompatible, In which he asserts that religion and science are not complementary, but rather compete with each other to understand the realities of our universe, but that only one area—science—has the means to actually discover the truth.

September 11, 2015 – Ecology, Ethics, and the Future of Humanity

My guest on this program is philosopher and environmental & human rights activist Adam Riggio. In his book, Ecology, Ethics, and the Future of Humanity, he argues that climate change and the ecological destruction it entails requires a complete reorientation of morality, politics, and human identity along ecological lines. Bringing together concepts from environmental activism, moral philosophy, biological and ecological sciences, and Continue reading

August 21, 2015 – Madness in Civilization

This program features a conversation with Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Science Studies at the University of California, San Diego Andrew Scull. He is the author most recently of Madness in Civilization: A Cultural History of Insanity from the Bible to Freud, from the Madhouse to Modern Medicine. Today, mental disturbance is most commonly viewed through a medical lens, but societies have also sought to make sense Continue reading

July 3, 2015 – History of Black Holes

My guest on this program is Marcia Bartusiak, Professor of the Practice, Graduate Program in Science Writing, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the award-winning author of five previous books. We’ll be talking about her most recent, Black Hole: How an Idea Abandoned by Newtonians, Hated by Einstein, and Gambled on by Hawking Became Loved. It examines the history of an idea, and tells the story of the fierce black Continue reading

June 19, 2015 – The Search for Justice in Science

My guest, Alice Dreger, is a professor of clinical medical humanities and bioethics at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, and the author of numerous books. Her work has been discussed in the New York Times, The New Yorker, Science, and on CNN, and her op-eds have appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal. We’ll be talking on this program about her Continue reading

June 5, 2015 – Are Human Beings Free?

My guest on this program is John Gray, author of many critically acclaimed books. He is a former professor of politics at Oxford, a visiting professor at Harvard and Yale, and a professor of European thought at the London School of Economics. We’re going to be talking about his most recent book, The Soul of the Marionette: A Short Inquiry into Human Freedom, in which he draws together the religious, philosophic, and fantastical traditions Continue reading

April 24, 2015: Mind & Media

My guest on this program is UCLA Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Director of the Children’s Digital Media Center, Patricia Greenfield. Her central theoretical and research interest is in the relationship between culture and human development and she sees media as a key component of modern culture. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and recipient of an Award for Distinguished Contributions to Cultural and Contextual Factors in Child Development from the Society for Research in Child Development. We’ll be talking about her classic book, Mind and Media: The Effects of Television, Video Games, and Computers.