Episodes Archive

Coffee Table Science #332

August 28, 2015

This week, we'll meet the authors of three big books that use stunning images to tell intriguing stories about the history of science. We'll discuss evolution and the building of the fossil record with invertebrate palaeontologist Paul Taylor, author of "A History of Life in 100 Fossils". Archivist Julie Halls shares stories of unheralded ingenuity from her book "Inventions that Didn't Change the World." And we'll learn about attempts to map the world in three dimensions from independent conservator Sylvia Sumira, author of "Globes: 400 Years of Exploration, Navigation, and Power." Read More

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The Birth of The Pill REBROADCAST #331

August 21, 2015

This week we're listening back to an episode exploring the intersection of science, society and sex, and the origin story of the birth control pill. We'll speak to author Jonathan Eig about his book "The Birth of the Pill: How Four Crusaders Reinvented Sex and Launched a Revolution." And writer Rose Eveleth returns to talk about the history and design of the vaginal speculum. Read More

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Animal Weapons #330

August 14, 2015

This week, we're talking about weapons: both the ones that evolve in nature, and those created by humanity. We'll talk about the arms races that spur the development of horns and claws, warships and nuclear weapons, with Doug Emlen, Professor in the Division of Biological Sciences at the University of Montana, and author of "Animal Weapons: The Evolution of Battle." Don't forget to fill out our Listener Feedback Survey! Read More

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Coal Wars #329

August 07, 2015

This week we're learning more about the fossil fuel that powered humanity's first industrial age, and helped set us on a course for a looming climate crisis. We'll speak to Richard Martin, energy editor at the MIT Technology Review, about his book "Coal Wars: The Future of Energy and the Fate of the Planet." And we'll explore the environmental impact of coal with Jeff Deyette, assistant director of energy research in the Climate and Energy program at the Union of Concerned Scientists. Read More

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Sex, Drugs and Rock 'N' Roll #328

July 31, 2015

This week we're looking at the science - and surprising sophistication - of the instincts we serve in the pursuit of pleasure. We're joined by science writer and journalist Zoe Cormier to talk about her book "Sex, Drugs and Rock n’ Roll: The Science of Hedonism and the Hedonism of Science." And we'll indulge our passion for nerdy gift giving with Simon Saval, co-founder of GeekWrapped. Read More

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Research, Regulation, and Ethics #327

July 24, 2015

This week we're learning about the regulatory frameworks that try to balance scientific progress with the safety of research subjects. We'll speak to Holly Fernandez Lynch and I. Glenn Cohen of the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School about their book "Human Subjects Research Regulation: Perspectives on the Future." And we'll speak to health journalist and editor Hilda Bastian about research, journalism, ethics and "The Chocolate Hoax." Read More

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Bruno Pontecorvo #326

July 17, 2015

This week, we're digging into a tale of intrigue that may have changed the course of physics research in the 20th century. We'll spend the hour with Frank Close, Professor of Physics at the University of Oxford and Fellow of Exeter College, Oxford, talking about his book "Half-Life: The Divided Life of Bruno Pontecorvo, Physicist or Spy." We'll learn about Pontecorvo's groundbreaking career in particle physics, his defection to the Soviet Union, and the accusations that he traded nuclear secrets at the height of the Cold War. Read More

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Happy People #325

July 10, 2015

This week we're exploring what science can tell us about happiness. We'll speak to John Helliwell, Co-Director of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) Programme on Social Interactions, Identity, and Well-Being, about the World Happiness Report, a global project that uses tools from economics, psychology, health statistics and more to study the happiness of people and nations. And we'll speak to journalist  Michael Booth about his book "The Almost Nearly Perfect People: Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia." Read More

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High Price (REBROADCAST) #324

July 03, 2015

This week we're revisiting an episode about the science and policy of treating drug addiction. We're joined by psychology professor and researcher Carl Hart to talk about his book "High Price: A Neuroscientist's Journey of Self-Discovery That Challenges Everything You Know About Drugs and Society." And we'll speak to Donald MacPherson, Director of the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition, about harm reduction strategies to reduce the negative consequences of drug use. Read More

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Alzheimer's #323

June 26, 2015

This week we're learning more about Alzheimer's disease, from the perspective of a researcher and a patient. We'll discuss Alzheimer's and brain degeneration with Dr. Lili-Naz Hazrati, neurobiologist and researcher at the Tanz Centre for Research in Neurodegenerative Diseases at the University of Toronto. And we'll get a first hand account of living with the disease from journalist Greg O'Brien, author of "On Pluto: Inside the Mind of Alzheimer's." Read More

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Biohacking #322

June 19, 2015

This week we're talking about do-it-yourself biology, and the community labs that are changing the biotech landscape from the grassroots up. We'll discuss open-source genetics and biohacking spaces with Will Canine of Brooklyn lab Genspace, and Tito Jankowski, co-founder of Silicon Valley's BioCurious. And we'll talk to transdisciplinary artist and educator Heather Dewey-Hagborg about her art projects exploring our relationship with genetics and privacy. Read More

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Galileo's Middle Finger #321

June 12, 2015

This week, we're talking about justice, truth and social activism, and how they influence scientists and their research. We'll spend the hour with Alice Dreger, professor of clinical medical humanities and bioethics at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. We'll discuss her experience as a scientist and activist, and her book "Galileo's Middle Finger: Heretics, Activists, and the Search for Justice in Science."  Read More

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Dataclysm #320

June 05, 2015

This week we're looking at how powerful computers and massive data sets are changing the we study each other, scientifically and socially. We're joined by machine learning researcher Hanna Wallach, to talk about the definition of "big data," and social science research techniques that use data about individual people to model patterns in human behavior. And we'll speak to Christian Rudder, co-founder of OkCupid and author of the OkTrends blog, about his book "Dataclysm: Who We Are (When We Think No One's Looking)." Read More

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A Special Hell #319

May 29, 2015

This week we're talking about the use - and appalling misuse - of genetics in pursuit of human perfection. We'll speak to Claudia Malacrida, sociology professor and eugenics researcher, about her book "A Special Hell: Institutional Life in Alberta's Eugenic Years." And we'll talk to Hannah Brown, postdoctoral researcher at the University of Adelaide, about the ethical issues raised by the creation of a genetically modified human embryo. Read More

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Come As You Are #318

May 22, 2015

This week we're looking at the intersection of human sexuality, research and education. We're joined by sexuality educator and blogger Emily Nagoski, to talk about her book "Come as You Are: The Surprising New Science that Will Transform Your Sex Life." And we'll speak to medical humanities and bioethics professor Alice Dreger, about her experience live-tweeting her son's abstinence-focused sex-ed class. Read More

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Secure Communications #317

May 15, 2015

This week, we're looking at technology for keeping secrets safe from prying eyes and ears. We're joined by Dan Younger, professor emeritus of mathematics at the University of Waterloo, to discuss the remarkable work of his colleague Bill Tutte, who broke the German Lorenz Code during World War II And we'll discuss the cutting edge of quantum security with Physics and Computer Science Professor Shohini Ghose. Read More

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Sports Science #316

May 08, 2015

This week we're exploring the ways that science and technology are changing sports, on and off the playing field. We'll speak to journalist Mark McClusky about his book "Faster, Higher, Stronger: How Sports Science Is Creating a New Generation of Superathletes – and What We Can Learn from Them." And we'll get the scientific perspective on sports supplements with Dr. Bryan Chung, founder of Evidence Based Fitness. Read More

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Pests in the City #315

May 01, 2015

This week, we're exploring the ways human-made environments support - and shape - the lives of many species we think of as vermin. We'll talk to Geography and Environmental Studies Professor Dawn Day Biehler about her book "Pests in the City: Flies, Bedbugs, Cockroaches, and Rats." And we'll speak to postdoctoral researcher Clint Penick about his research on the junk food diets of urban ants. Read More

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Severed #314

April 24, 2015

This week we're looking at our scientific curiosity - and morbid fascination - about the human body and its amazing anatomy. We'll speak to anthropologist and author Frances Larson about her book "Severed: A History of Heads Lost and Heads Found." And we'll discuss the experience of learning anatomy through human dissection, with Laboratory Supervisor Haley Linklater, and masters student Noah Mintz, from the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology at Western University. Read More

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Heavy Metal Birds #313

April 17, 2015

This week we're learning about the impact that the byproducts of our industrial societies have on avian populations. We'll speak to filmmaker Matthew Podolsky about his documentary "Scavenger Hunt," that looks at the effects of lead on the California Condor. And we'll talk to conservation scientist Alexander Bond about his research on mercury poisoning in the endangered Arctic Ivory Gull. Read More

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