May 26, 2017 – Learning to Learn

My guest on this program is best-selling author Ulrich Boser, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress. Before the Center, he was a contributing editor for U.S. News & World Report. His work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post. His recent book is Learn Better: Mastering the Skills for Success in Life, Business, and School, or, How to Become an Expert in Just About Anything, in which he shows that how we learn can matter just as much as what we learn.

January 6, 2017 – A Paradigm Shift in Education

Larry Geni (pronounced JEE-nee) is a career-long, passionate educator and founder of Geni Consulting, a firm dedicated to transforming classrooms into dynamic communities of self-directed learners. In his more than 25 years as a high school science teacher, he developed a unique approach to education that teaches students to take ownership of the learning process and creates a classroom culture grounded in the personal growth and academic success for every student. His two books on this are available for free on his website.

December 9, 2016 – Job Listing: Philosopher Wanted

My guest on this program is Justin E.H. Smith, university professor of the history and philosophy of science at Université Paris Diderot. He writes frequently for the New York Times, Harper’s Magazine, and other publications, and has authored and edited numerous books. His most recent is The Philosopher: A History in Six Types, in which he brings to life six kinds of figures who have occupied the role of philosopher in a wide range of societies around the world over the millennia—the Natural Philosopher, the Sage, the Gadfly, the Ascetic, the Mandarin, and the Courtier.

October 14, 2016 – The Wisdom of Frugality & Simple Living

My guest on this program is Professor Emrys Westacott, author most recently of The Wisdom of Frugality: Why Less Is More—More or Less. The book examines why, for more than two millennia, so many philosophers and people with a reputation for wisdom have been advocating frugality and simple living as the key to a good life. They have been mostly ignored, but he argues that in a world facing environmental crisis, it may finally be time to listen to the advocates of a simpler way of life.

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.

June 10, 2016 – Helping Children Succeed in School

My returning guest on this program is Paul Tough. We last spoke to him in 2012 for his book, How Children Succeed, which talked about the role character traits like grit and curiosity play in children’s learning. His new book is Helping Children Succeed: What Works and Why, in which he tackles pressing questions like, “What does growing up in poverty do to children’s mental and physical development?” “How does adversity at home affect their success in the classroom, from preschool to high school?” “And what practical steps can the adults who are responsible for them—from parents and teachers to policy makers and philanthropists—take to improve their chances for a positive future?”

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.

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

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