Inquiring Minds

Inquiring Minds


Each week Inquiring Minds brings you a new, in-depth exploration of the place where science, politics, and society collide. We’re committed to the idea that making an effort to understand the world around you though science and critical thinking can benefit everyone—and lead to better decisions. We endeavor to find out what’s true, what’s left to discover, and why it all matters with weekly coverage of the latest headlines and probing discussions with leading scientists and thinkers. Produced in partnership with Climate Desk, a journalistic collaboration dedicated to exploring the impact of a changing climate and consisting of The Atlantic, Center for Investigative Reporting, Grist, The Guardian, Mother Jones, Slate, and Wired.


176 Paul Doherty - The Actual Science Behind Outlandish Deaths  

We talk to Paul Doherty, senior staff scientist at San Francisco’s famed Exploratorium Museum about his new book “And Then You're Dead: What Really Happens If You Get Swallowed by a Whale, Are Shot from a Cannon, or Go Barreling over Niagara.”

175 Sharon Begley - Can't Just Stop: An Investigation of Compulsions  

We talk to science writer Sharon Begley about her new book “Can't Just Stop: An Investigation of Compulsions.”

174 James Beacham - The Exciting World of Particle Hunters  

We talk to James Beacham, particle physicist with the ATLAS Experiment at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN about what it’s like to hunt for strange new subatomic particles.

[BONUS EP] Cadence | Episode 01: What Is Music?  

It's the first episode of Indre's new podcast, Cadence! (Don’t worry, she’s not leaving Inquiring Minds.) Cadence is a podcast about music and how it affects your mind. What is music? How would you define it? Does it defy definition? In this episode we try to get answers to those questions from from a pioneer in music cognition research, a musicologist, and an otolaryngologist who surgically restores hearing and studies the brain basis of musical improvisation. If you like this first episode and want to hear more, subscribe to Cadence here: iTunes: RSS:

173 Mary Roach - Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal  

We talk to science writer Mary Roach about the science of your guts and her book “Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal.”

172 Dan Ariely - The Surprising Science of What Motivates Us  

We talk to Dan Ariely, the James B Duke Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University about what actually motivates us to get things done—to finish that novel, to stick to a diet, or even to want to get up and go to work every day.

171 Siddhartha Roy - The Science Behind the Flint Water Crisis  

We talk to Siddhartha Roy, a PhD student and graduate researcher in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Virginia Tech. Roy is a founding member of the Virginia Tech Flint Water Study and has worked on the ground in Flint applying his research on corrosion and plumbing to the crisis.

170 Steven Hatch - Inferno: A Doctor's Ebola Story  

We talk to Dr. Steven Hatch, a specialist in infectious diseases and immunology about his latest book “Inferno: A Doctor's Ebola Story,” an account of his time in Liberia during the height of the ebola epidemic in 2014.

169 Daniel Levitin - The Emerging Epidemic of the Silent Home  

We talk to neuroscientist, music producer, and best-selling author Daniel Levitin about his recent research into how playing music in the home affects us.

168 Alison Van Eenennaam - Gene Editing Livestock  

We talk to researcher in Animal Genomics and Biotechnology at UC Davis Alison Van Eenennaam about the science of gene editing livestock.

167 Haider Warraich - Modern Death: How Medicine Changed the End of Life  

We talk to physician, writer, and clinical researcher Haider Warraich about his most recent book "Modern Death: How Medicine Changed the End of Life."

166 Alan Burdick - Why Time Flies: A Mostly Scientific Investigation  

We talk to Alan Burdick, staff writer and former senior editor for The New Yorker, about his most recent book "Why Time Flies: A Mostly Scientific Investigation.”

165 Nate Allen - Why Science Is Huge on Reddit  

We talk to Nate Allen, chemist and head moderator of one of the internet’s largest science communities: Reddit’s r/science subreddit.

164 Alexandra Wolfe - Valley of the Gods: A Silicon Valley Story  

We talk to author and Wall Street Journal reporter Alexandra Wolfe about her new book Valley of the Gods: A Silicon Valley Story.

163 Dave Levitan - The Return Of "I'm Not a Scientist”  

This week, as we near the inauguration of Donald Trump, we revisit a conversation with science journalist Dave Levitan about his book Not a Scientist: How Politicians Mistake, Misrepresent, and Utterly Mangle Science.

162 Paul Bloom - Against Empathy: The Case for Rational Compassion  

We welcome back cognitive scientist Paul Bloom to talk about his new book Against Empathy: The Case for Rational Compassion.

161 Patrick Wolff - How to Become a Grandmaster Chess Champion  

We talk to American chess Grandmaster Patrick Wolff.

160 Helen Czerski - The Little Bits of Physics in Everyday Life  

We talk to physicist and oceanographer Helen Czerski about her new book Storm in a Teacup: The Physics of Everyday Life.

159 David Grinspoon - Earth in Human Hands: Shaping Our Planet's Future  

We talk to astrobiologist David Grinspoon about his latest book Earth in Human Hands: Shaping Our Planet's Future.

158 Lee van der Voo - The Fish Market: Inside the Big-Money Battle for the Ocean and Your Dinner Plate  

We talk to investigative journalist Lee van der Voo about her new book The Fish Market: Inside the Big-Money Battle for the Ocean and Your Dinner Plate.

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