PRI: To the Best of Our Knowledge

PRI: To the Best of Our Knowledge

United States

To the Best of Our Knowledge cracks open the world and the ideas that fuel it through interviews with the world's luminaries, from experts to cultural icons. Each show revolves around a theme where we explore these ideas and the people who consider them.


Repeat When Necessary  

Whether it’s nail biting or handwashing, most of us have a compulsion we can’t give up. Maybe that’s a good thing? The Psychology of Why You Can’t Stop Checking Your Phone; Tracing the Patterns of an Obsessive Mind; When Obsessive Thoughts Take Control Of Your Life; How Obsession and Compulsion Powered American Genius.

The News From Poems: “Ode To the Dead of Bowling Green”  

Poet Nick Lantz has been thinking about political spin and how his poems can play off the language of politics. 

Extra: "Fargo" Showrunner Noah Hawley  

Noah Hawley talks about turning the Coen Brothers' film, "Fargo," into a critically-acclaimed TV series

How To Think Like a Scientist  

Do scientists see the world in a different way? Not really, as long as you have insatiable curiosity and a passion to experiment. The World Is Your Lab; Could a 50 Cent Microscope Change the World?; Cooking With Neil deGrasse Tyson; Freeman Dyson, at 93, Looks Back on a Legendary Career in Science.

The News From Poems: “Brush With Cymbals”  

In his new poem, Fady Joudah explores questions about exile, suffering and the language of nation states.

The Revenge of Analog  

Maybe it’s nostalgia. Maybe it’s something more. But analog is back in style. The Analog and The Digital, A Harmonious Double Life; The Unmistakable Pop and Hiss of a Good Record; The World Isn’t Perfect, And The One In Our Ears Shouldn’t Be Either; Recovering the Lossiness of “Tom’s Diner”; Could the Internet Be The World’s Greatest Piece of Collaborative Art?.

Extra: Nick Offerman on the Craft and Wisdom of Wendell Berry  

The former “Parks and Recreation” star has an unlikely hero: the Kentucky writer and champion of rural culture.

The Poem is You: New Voices in American Poetry  

In this hour, we see how poetry can show us new ways to think about place and personal identity. In a “Post-Truth” Era, Should You Get Your News From Poems?; American Poetry Has Never Been So Diverse; A Young Artist Reclaims Ojibwe Language Through Hip-Hop; Setting Sandburg’s City of Broad Shoulders to Music.

The News From Poems: “Inaugural”  

Quan Barry is writing a new poem each week in response to current events.  And she’s invited other poets to join in. 

Mad As Hell  

Wherever you turn, it seems like someone’s angry -- on Facebook and cable news, in street marches and congressional town halls. It would seem that we’ve entered a new era of increased hostility. But how did we, as a nation, get here? Is it possible we’re addicted to outrage? This hour, we explore the advantages and perils of getting mad as hell. A Lovely Day For A Tea Party; Want To Be More Understanding? Get Angry; How 18th Century Philosophers Created Our Age of Anger; The Fury And The Calm of Harvey Milk’s Memory; Addicted to Indignation; Michael Eric Dyson's Message to White America: Get Angry.

Extra: Every Time You Troll Me, A Scientist Gets Her Due  

Every time this medical student gets harassed online, she writes a new Wikipedia bio of a female scientist.

Why Is The Internet Toxic For Women?  

Why do women have to put up with this? And how do they fight back? Abused Game Developers Can’t ‘Just Go Offline’ to Escape; When You’re Under Siege Online, How Can the Law Help?; Facing Fox News and Reddit Trolls, Journalist Lauren Duca Persisted; Writer’s Advice from Roxane Gay: Write Truth and Get Uncomfortable, Online Or Off; A Broad History of Sexism, As Witnessed By A Feminist Scholar.

Extra: Building Better Rocket Engines with Empathy  

We talk to two experts —Chuck Pezeshski and Indi Young— who think about the role empathy can play in tackling massive design and engineering problems.

The Mind of a Terrorist  

When suicide bombers blow up crowded marketplaces, or a lone shooter attacks a nightclub, one question we’re always left with is why. What ideology or belief or loyalty would compel someone to do something so horrific? This hour, a look at the underlying psychology of political violence. The Reformed Radical; The Psychology of Terrorism; What Can Americans Learn from a Norwegian Massacre?; Let's Change the Way We Think About Thinking; The Buddhist Master Who Went On A Four Year Wandering Retreat.

Could Psychedelic Drugs Save Your Life?  

psychedelic science is back — and the early results are extraordinary. A single dose of psilocybin can help people with addictions, PTSD and end-of-life anxiety. We’ll examine this revolution in medicine, and explore the connections between psychedelics a Mother’s Little Helper: LSD?; How Psychedelic Drugs Will Revolutionize Psychiatry; Lessons from a Psychedelic Guide; On A Mountain Top, With Ayahuasca And Frog Poison; Psychedelics and God.

Love + Evolution: Live in Madison  

There’s arguably no greater mystery than who we fall for. Why do some romances fizzle out, while others flourish, and grow into lifelong companionship?  What can science reveal about lust, romance, and compassion? In a live show recorded onstage from the Majestic Theater in Madison, To the Best of Our Knowledge, in partnership with the Center for Humans and Nature, explored the science of love. How do you sustain love in your own life? If the live show inspired you in any way, send us a note at   The Wild World of Animal Sex; The Joy of ‘Catching Flies’; Finding Love With 36 Simple Questions (web extra); The New Science of Sexual Fluidity; Comedian Esteban Touma on Love, Marriage and Squirrels; What’s Love Got To Do With Evolution?; A Single Throat and Four Appendages Attempting to Multiply like Cells .

Extra: What If Richard Dawkins Had It All Wrong?  

Forty years ago Richard Dawkins wrote the landmark book “The Selfish Gene,” where he argued that the gene is what drives evolution. But what if he got it all wrong?


In this show, we explore the fictional universes that continue to enchant us.  How to Build Fantastical Fictional Universes; The Secret History of Twin Peaks; A Haunting Story of Lincoln, Love and Loss.

Extra: Neil Gaiman Brings Us to the End of the World  

Chaotic headlines out of Washington, ice melting in Antarctica, world temps rising and global conflict on the rise… it could be worse.  It could be Ragnarok.  

How To Be Alone  

If you've ever been alone on Valentine's Day, you probably know how isolating it can be to feel like the only single person in a world full of happy couples. But being alone doesn't have to be shameful. This hour, we're changing the script and making the case for the lovelorn, the loners, the bachelors and spinsters that there's nothing wrong with being alone. Why Some Breakups Are More Painful Than Others; Battling Loneliness In The Big City; A Loners' Manifesto; The Value Of Solitude; A Solo Walk Halfway Across the Globe; Getting Wild In the Suburbs.

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