New Books In Science



Interviews with Scientists about their New Books


  • Oliver Rollins, "Conviction: The Making and Unmaking of the Violent Brain" (Stanford UP, 2021)

    26/11/2021 Duración: 01h15min

    Exposing ethical dilemmas of neuroscientific research on violence, this book warns against a dystopian future in which behavior is narrowly defined in relation to our biological makeup. Biological explanations for violence have existed for centuries, as has criticism of this kind of deterministic science, haunted by a long history of horrific abuse. Yet, this program has endured because of, and not despite, its notorious legacy. Today's scientists are well beyond the nature versus nurture debate. Instead, they contend that scientific progress has led to a natureandnurture, biological and social, stance that allows it to avoid the pitfalls of the past.  In Conviction: The Making and Unmaking of the Violent Brain (Stanford UP, 2021), Oliver Rollins cautions against this optimism, arguing that the way these categories are imagined belies a dangerous continuity between past and present. The late 80s ushered in a wave of techno-scientific advancements in the genetic and brain sciences. Rollins focuses on an often-

  • Shaking the World: How Geology Can Help Us Address the Big Challenges of the 21st Century

    26/11/2021 Duración: 15min

    Southeast Asia is the most tectonically and geologically active region on Earth. These processes have enriched the mountains and basins with world-famous mineral and energy resources, fresh water, and highly productive soils. However, the same geological processes are responsible for incredible destruction – from the 1991 Mount Pinatubo volcanic eruption in the Philippines to the devastating 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. These natural hazards, coupled with the effects of human-induced climate change, are driving significant change. To talk us through these changes, Dr Sabin Zahirovic joins Dr Natali Pearson on SSEAC Stories, exposing how climate change is amplifying existing vulnerabilities in Southeast Asia. He explains how understanding past and current geological process can help us reduce risks from natural hazards like earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunamis, but also address the huge challenges faced by growing populations and increased vulnerabilities resulting from climate change. About Sabin Zahirovic: Dr S

  • Nina Kraus, "Of Sound Mind: How Our Brain Constructs a Meaningful Sonic World" (MIT Press, 2021)

    26/11/2021 Duración: 01h04min

    Making sense of sound is one of the hardest jobs we ask our brains to do. In Of Sound Mind: How Our Brain Constructs a Meaningful Sonic World (MIT Press, 2021), Nina Kraus examines the partnership of sound and brain, showing for the first time that the processing of sound drives many of the brain's core functions. Our hearing is always on—we can't close our ears the way we close our eyes—and yet we can ignore sounds that are unimportant. We don't just hear; we engage with sounds. Kraus explores what goes on in our brains when we hear a word—or a chord, or a meow, or a screech. Our hearing brain, Kraus tells us, is vast. It interacts with what we know, with our emotions, with how we think, with our movements, and with our other senses. Auditory neurons make calculations at one-thousandth of a second; hearing is the speediest of our senses. Sound plays an unrecognized role in both healthy and hurting brains. Kraus explores the power of music for healing as well as the destructive power of noise on the nervous s

  • Nolan Gasser, "Why You Like It: The Science and Culture of Musical Taste" (Flatiron Books, 2019)

    24/11/2021 Duración: 57min

    Why do we love the music we love? In Why You Like IT: The Science & Culture of Musical Taste (Flatiron Books, 2019) musicologist Nolan Gasser, architect of Pandora Radio’s Music Genome Project, discusses how psychology, anthropology, history, sociology, and culture combine to define our musical tastes—what he calls “inculturing.” From the Northern California Redwoods to Paris to Africa, from Nashville to New York City, and from medieval music to Phillip Glass to Led Zeppelin to Taylor Swift, Dr. Gasser takes us on a ride through our minds and how they process, understand and, yes, like music. David Hamilton Golland is professor of history and immediate past president of the faculty senate at Governors State University in Chicago's southland. @DHGolland. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

  • Edie Widder, “Ocean Enlightenment” (Open Agenda, 2021)

    24/11/2021 Duración: 01h07min

    Ocean Enlightenment is based on an in-depth filmed conversation between Howard Burton and Edie Widder, Founder, CEO and Senior Scientist at Ocean Research & Conservation Association (ORCA). After an inspiring story about how Edie Widder became a seagoing marine biologist and deep-sea diver, this conversation covers topics such as bioluminescence which is a fascinating scientific phenomenon that provides us with a deeper understanding of fundamental biological processes and the development of new programs designed to equip a new generation with the tools they need to deal with the environmental devastation we’re facing. Howard Burton is the founder of the Ideas Roadshow, Ideas on Film and host of the Ideas Roadshow Podcast. He can be reached at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

  • Robin Ince, "The Importance of Being Interested: Adventures in Scientific Curiosity" (Atlantic Books, 2021)

    23/11/2021 Duración: 01h46min

    Comedian Robin Ince quickly abandoned science at school, bored by a fog of dull lessons and intimidated by the barrage of equations. But, twenty years later, he fell in love and he now presents one of the world's most popular science podcasts. Every year he meets hundreds of the world's greatest thinkers. In this erudite and witty book, Robin reveals why scientific wonder isn't just for the professionals. Filled with interviews featuring astronauts, comedians, teachers, quantum physicists, neuroscientists and more - as well as charting Robin's own journey with science - The Importance of Being Interested: Adventures in Scientific Curiosity (Atlantic Books, 2021) explores why many wrongly think of the discipline as distant and difficult. From the glorious appeal of the stars above to why scientific curiosity can encourage much needed intellectual humility, this optimistic and profound book will leave you filled with a thirst for intellectual adventure. John Weston teaches academic communication at Tampere Univ

  • Brandy Schillace, "Mr. Humble and Dr. Butcher: A Monkey's Head, the Pope's Neuroscientist, and the Quest to Transplant the Soul" (Simon and Schuster, 2021)

    19/11/2021 Duración: 59min

    Today I talked to Brandy Schillace about her book Mr. Humble and Dr. Butcher: A Monkey's Head, the Pope's Neuroscientist, and the Quest to Transplant the Soul (Simon and Schuster, 2021). In the early days of the Cold War, a spirit of desperate scientific rivalry birthed a different kind of space race: not the race to outer space that we all know, but a race to master the inner space of the human body. While surgeons on either side of the Iron Curtain competed to become the first to transplant organs like the kidney and heart, a young American neurosurgeon had an even more ambitious thought: Why not transplant the brain? Dr. Robert White was a friend to two popes and a founder of the Vatican's Commission on Bioethics. He developed lifesaving neurosurgical techniques still used in hospitals today and was nominated for the Nobel Prize. But like Dr. Jekyll before him, Dr. White had another identity. In his lab, he was waging a battle against the limits of science and against mortality itself--working to perfect a

  • Frans de Waal, “On Atheists and Bonobos” (Open Agenda, 2021)

    19/11/2021 Duración: 01h12min

    On Atheists and Bonobos is based on an in-depth filmed conversation between Howard Burton and primatologist Frans de Waal, Emory University, who is renowned for his work on the behaviour and social intelligence of primates. This thought-provoking conversation examines fascinating questions such as: Are we born with an innate sense of “the good”? Do we learn from others what is “wrong”? Does religion determine, or is it a result of, morality? Howard Burton is the founder of the Ideas Roadshow, Ideas on Film and host of the Ideas Roadshow Podcast. He can be reached at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

  • Scott Tremaine, “Astrophysical Wonders” (Open Agenda, 2021)

    18/11/2021 Duración: 02h17min

    Astrophysical Wonders is based on an in-depth filmed conversation between Howard Burton and Scott Tremaine, Professor Emeritus of Astrophysics at the Institute for Advanced Study and an internationally renowned expert in both galactic-scale and planetary-scale astronomy. Topics that are part of this extensive conversation include the process of scientific discovery, in particular related to comets, Pluto, planetary rings, shepherding satellites, exoplanets, chaos theory and the formation, stability and uniqueness of our solar system. Further topics include galactic-scale astronomy, galaxy formation, dark matter, quasars, black holes, the large-scale structure of the universe and many outstanding open questions of contemporary astrophysics. Howard Burton is the founder of the Ideas Roadshow, Ideas on Film and host of the Ideas Roadshow Podcast. He can be reached at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://new

  • Jill Tartar, “SETI: Astronomy as a Contact Sport” (Open Agenda, 2021)

    16/11/2021 Duración: 01h28min

    SETI: Astronomy as a Contact Sport is based on an in-depth filmed conversation between Howard Burton and Jill Tarter, Chair Emeritus for SETI Research at SETI Institute and Former Director of the Center for SETI Research. Astronomer Jill Tarter has spent the majority of her professional life driving forward the science and technology of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, rigorously scanning the sky for the signs of some signal sent to us from outer space. This wide-ranging conversation explores the history of the scientific search for extraterrestrial intelligence, what the present state is of our quest for signals from other planets, what those signals might look like and how we can interpret them, how SETI research has a surprisingly positive effect on other technologies, how citizens can get involved with astronomy and much more. Howard Burton is the founder of the Ideas Roadshow, Ideas on Film and host of the Ideas Roadshow Podcast. He can be reached at Learn more abou

  • John S. Tregoning, "Infectious: Pathogens and How We Fight Them" (Oneworld, 2021)

    16/11/2021 Duración: 47min

    Nature wants you dead. Not just you, but your children and everyone you have ever met and everyone they have ever met; in fact, everyone. It wants you to cough and sneeze and poop yourself into an early grave. It wants your blood vessels to burst and pustules to explode all over your body. And - until recently - it was really good at doing this... Covid-19 may be only the first of many modern pandemics. The subject of infection and how to fight it grows more urgent every day. How do pathogens cause disease? And what tools can we give our bodies to do battle? Dr John S. Tregoning has dedicated his career to answering these questions. Infectious: Pathogens and How We Fight Them (Oneworld, 2021) uncovers fascinating success stories in immunology and virology, making this book not only a vital overview of infection, but also a hopeful story of ongoing human ingenuity. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcas

  • Nancy Langston, "Climate Ghosts: Migratory Species in the Anthropocene" (Brandeis UP, 2021)

    15/11/2021 Duración: 42min

    In her new book Climate Ghosts: Migratory Species in the Anthropocene (Brandeis UP, 2021), environmental historian Nancy Langston explores three “ghost species” in the Great Lakes watershed—woodland caribou, common loons, and lake sturgeon. Ghost species are those that have not gone completely extinct, although they may be extirpated from a particular area. Their traces are still present, whether in DNA, in small fragmented populations, in lone individuals roaming a desolate landscape in search of a mate. We can still restore them if we make the hard choices necessary for them to survive. In this meticulously researched book, Langston delves into how climate change and human impact affected these now ghost species. Climate Ghosts covers one of the key issues of our time. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

  • Robert Brooks, "Artificial Intimacy: Virtual Friends, Digital Lovers, and Algorithmic Matchmakers" (Columbia UP, 2021)

    15/11/2021 Duración: 01h03min

    What happens when the human brain, which evolved over eons, collides with twenty-first-century technology? Machines can now push psychological buttons, stimulating and sometimes exploiting the ways people make friends, gossip with neighbors, and grow intimate with lovers. Sex robots present the humanoid face of this technological revolution―yet although it is easy to gawk at their uncanniness, more familiar technologies based in artificial intelligence and virtual reality are insinuating themselves into human interactions. Digital lovers, virtual friends, and algorithmic matchmakers help us manage our feelings in a world of cognitive overload. Will these machines, fueled by masses of user data and powered by algorithms that learn all the time, transform the quality of human life? Robert Brooks, Artificial Intimacy: Virtual Friends, Digital Lovers, and Algorithmic Matchmakers (Columbia UP, 2021) offers an innovative perspective on the possibilities of the present and near future. The evolutionary biologist Rob

  • Naomi Oreskes, "Why Trust Science?" (Princeton UP, 2021)

    15/11/2021 Duración: 33min

    Do doctors really know what they are talking about when they tell us vaccines are safe? Should we take climate experts at their word when they warn us about the perils of global warming? Why should we trust science when our own politicians don’t? In this landmark book, Naomi Oreskes offers a bold and compelling defense of science, revealing why the social character of scientific knowledge is its greatest strength—and the greatest reason we can trust it. Tracing the history and philosophy of science from the late nineteenth century to today, Oreskes explains that, contrary to popular belief, there is no single scientific method. Rather, the trustworthiness of scientific claims derives from the social process by which they are rigorously vetted. This process is not perfect—nothing ever is when humans are involved—but she draws vital lessons from cases where scientists got it wrong. Oreskes shows how consensus is a crucial indicator of when a scientific matter has been settled, and when the knowledge produced is

  • Ian Stewart, “The Joy of Mathematics” (Open Agenda, 2021)

    12/11/2021 Duración: 01h25min

    The Joy of Mathematics is based on an in-depth filmed conversation between Howard Burton and Ian Stewart, Emeritus Professor of Mathematics at the University of Warwick and bestselling science and science fiction writer. For Ian Stewart, mathematics is far more than dreary arithmetic, while mathematical thinking is one of the most important—and overlooked—aspects of contemporary society. This wide-ranging conversation explores what mathematics is and why it’s worth doing, symmetry, networks and patterns, the relationship between logic and proof, the role of beauty in mathematical thinking, the future of mathematics, linking mathematical oscillations to animal gaits, how to deal with the peculiarities of the mathematical community, and much more. Howard Burton is the founder of the Ideas Roadshow, Ideas on Film and host of the Ideas Roadshow Podcast. He can be reached at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member! https

  • Paul Steinhardt, “Indiana Steinhardt and the Quest for Quasicrystals” (Open Agenda, 2021)

    11/11/2021 Duración: 02h12min

    We have developed two distinct books, Indiana Steinhardt and the Quest for Quasicrystals, and Inflated Expectations: A Cosmological Tale, based on Howard Burton’s in-depth, filmed conversations with Paul Steinhardt, the Albert Einstein Professor of Science and Director of the Center for Theoretical Science at Princeton University. The first one is called Indiana Steinhardt and the Quest for Quasicrystals. This extensive conversation provides a comprehensive account of a marvellous scientific adventure story in the quest for a natural quasicrystal. You will be taken on a fascinating ride through the physics of materials, from theory, to the laboratory, to the discovery of a new state of matter, that culminated in Paul Steinhardt’s dramatic Siberian expedition. Inflated Expectations: A Cosmological Tale is based on a second in-depth filmed conversation between Howard Burton and Paul Steinhardt. He is one of the originators of the theory of cosmic inflation and has become one of its fiercest critics. This fascin

  • Andrew Leigh, "What's the Worst That Could Happen?: Existential Risk and Extreme Politics" (MIT Press, 2021)

    10/11/2021 Duración: 41min

    Did you know that you're more likely to die from a catastrophe than in a car crash? The odds that a typical US resident will die from a catastrophic event—for example, nuclear war, bioterrorism, or out-of-control artificial intelligence—have been estimated at 1 in 6. That's fifteen times more likely than a fatal car crash and thirty-one times more likely than being murdered. In What's the Worst That Could Happen?: Existential Risk and Extreme Politics (MIT Press, 2021), Andrew Leigh looks at catastrophic risks and how to mitigate them, arguing provocatively that the rise of populist politics makes catastrophe more likely. Leigh explains that pervasive short-term thinking leaves us unprepared for long-term risks. Politicians sweat the small stuff—granular policy details of legislation and regulation—but rarely devote much attention to reducing long-term risks. Populist movements thrive on short-termism because they focus on their followers' immediate grievances. Leigh argues that we should be long-termers: bro

  • Vinciane Despret, "Living as a Bird" (Polity Press, 2021)

    10/11/2021 Duración: 01h08min

    Birds sing to set up a territory, but the relationships between the bird, the song, the territory, and the bird’s community are highly complex and individually variable. In Living as a Bird (English translation by Helen Morrison, Polity Press, 2021), Vinciane Despret explores the concept of territory from a perspective that situates philosophical work on human conceptions of other animals within historical and contemporary empirical research into bird song and territorial behavior. Following recent theorizing by ornithologists and ethologists, Despret – an associate professor of philosophy at the University of Liege in Belgium – critiques the popular view of territories as private property and birds as petit bourgeois who gain property rights, a conception grounded in European social upheavals starting in the 17th century. Instead, territories are zones of social interaction with one’s “dear enemies” at the peripheries, where male and female birds alike are active participants in the shaping, reshaping and sh

  • How to Be Wrong: An Introduction to the Podcast

    10/11/2021 Duración: 01h18min

    "How To Be Wrong" is a podcast series hosted by John J. Kaag, Professor and Chair of Philosophy at the University of Massachusetts Lowell and John W. Traphagan, Professor of Religious Studies and in the Program in Human Dimensions of Organizations at the University of Texas at Austin. The series explores mistakes, errors, and the importance of embracing intellectual humility in a world that seems increasingly dominated by dualistic an uncritically oppositional thinking, argument, and debate. We talk with scholars, artists, authors, and others about their ideas and stories related to things that have gone wrong and ask them to discuss the ways this has influenced their lives and work and influenced their ideas about certainty and humility. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

  • Edward Slingerland, "Drunk: How We Sipped, Danced, and Stumbled Our Way to Civilization" (Hachette, 2021)

    10/11/2021 Duración: 01h35s

    Ever since Noah exited the ark, human beings have been wanting to get drunk and high. Why? Drunk: How We Sipped, Danced, and Stumbled Our Way to Civilization (Hachette, 2021) is the latest attempt to answer that question. Drunk elegantly cuts through the tangle of urban legends and anecdotal impressions that surround our notions of intoxication to provide the first rigorous, scientifically-grounded explanation for our love of alcohol. Drawing on evidence from archaeology, history, cognitive neuroscience, psychopharmacology, social psychology, literature, and genetics, Slingerland shows that our taste for chemical intoxicants is not an evolutionary mistake, as we are so often told. In fact, intoxication helps solve several distinctively human challenges: enhancing creativity, alleviating stress, building trust, and pulling off the miracle of getting fiercely tribal primates to cooperate with strangers. Our desire to get drunk, along with the individual and social benefits provided by drunkenness, played a cru

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