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The promise of tissue engineering and wound closure technology

Note: this interview was broadcast by the WGBH affiliate WCAI, the Cape and Islands NPR station.
In this Faculty Insight interview, Sujata Bhatia, a lecturer on biomedical engineering at Harvard, and the assistant director for undergraduate studies in biomedical engineering at Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, talks with Jenny Attiyeh of ThoughtCast about the science behind tissue engineering.

(This video features only part of the interview — to hear it in its entirety, click on the mike symbol below.)

Dr. Bhatia is also the thesis adviser to Suneil Seetharam, an Extension School biotechnology graduate student, who is working on an artificial tissue glue, which, down the line, could be used by doctors to close wounds.
He does much of his research at the Wyss Institute at Harvard. And this is where he and Dr. Bhatia meet, to take a look at a sample, and assess its strength.

Click here: (7:30 minutes).

Posted on December 19, 2013 in Faculty Insight, Front Page, Harvard Luminaries, Ideas, Science
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Cosmic Evolution’s Predilection for Constant Change

Note: an audio version of this interview was broadcast by the WGBH affiliate WCAI, the Cape and Islands NPR station.

The theory of cosmic evolution is a relatively new addition to the field of cosmology, and attempts to answer the questions of who we are, where we are, and how we came to exist, among others, by taking the long view — from the big bang, to the present day.
Here’s another definition for you: “Cosmic evolution is the study of the many varied changes in the assembly and composition of energy, matter and life in the thinning and cooling Universe.”

This explanation comes from Eric Chaisson, a vigorous champion of the cosmic evolutionary theory. He’s an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, and a lecturer at Harvard Extension School, who is also the subject of this Faculty Insight interview, conducted by ThoughtCast’s Jenny Attiyeh.
And while it might leave more questions asked than answered, we hope it will give you the chance to stick your toe into deep astrophysic waters, and feel the tug of the cosmic tide…

Note:  Images of galaxies and other cosmic phenomena courtesy of Eric Chaisson. Thank you very much for their use!

Posted on November 7, 2013 in Faculty Insight, Front Page, Harvard Luminaries, Ideas, Science
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Online Education at Harvard – a new advance for democracy?

Distance education. Online learning. We’ve been hearing a lot these days about this new tool for teaching, this new way of leveraging technology to spread access to education as widely as possible, with as little effort – it must be said – as possible.
Harvard Extension School has been one of the pioneers in using the Internet to reach its ideal audience – adult learners who might not have been able to attend an Ivy League college, but who have the intelligence and curiosity to benefit from top-notch instruction, albeit virtually.

This Faculty Insight interview, produced in partnership with ThoughtCast and Harvard Extension School, is with Henry Leitner, the associate dean for Information Technology and Chief Technology Officer at Harvard’s Division of Continuing Education, and a senior lecturer on computer science at Harvard. Leitner also oversees the Distance Education initiative at the Extension School, and we spoke in a control room there, where many of these online courses are recorded.
What’s more, Leitner’s played a role in launching edX, a Harvard-MIT venture in online learning that’s gathering steam. It represents the MOOC  or massive open online course model, which can reach even greater numbers across the globe. These free online classes have the potential to penetrate closed societies and break down barriers, be they physical, psychological, cultural or – yes, educational.

Posted on August 9, 2013 in Faculty Insight, Harvard Luminaries, Ideas, Internet, Public Media
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Islam and its Coat of Many Colors – with Ali Asani

Can a multi-faceted Islam be whatever you want it to be?
All things to all people?

To listen to the renowned Harvard Professor Ali Asani tell it, Islam is a religion of multiple dimensions, interpretations, and perspectives. It’s almost like an all-encompassing religion, whose core beliefs can serve to unite widely diverse cultural groups, which eventually combine to form a dazzling coat of many colors.
But with such a cornucopia of rules and rituals, might the basic tenets of Islam get lost? Could they become confused with ancient tribal codes, which existed prior to Islam, and are difficult to puzzle out, to separate from the Muslim doctrines of today?
This Faculty Insight interview, produced in partnership with ThoughtCast and Harvard Extension School, asks — but perhaps does not always answer — many of these questions. So take a look, see for yourself, and join Ali Asani, Harvard’s Professor of Indo-Muslim and Islamic Religion and Cultures,  in the debate!

Posted on January 30, 2013 in Faculty Insight, Harvard Luminaries, History, Ideas, Politics, Religion
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The history and future of the New England Forest

Note: an audio version of this interview was broadcast by the WGBH affiliate WCAI, the Cape and Islands NPR station.

The forests of New England are, remarkably, a success story. They’ve recovered from attack after attack. The early settlers hacked them down, by hand, for houses, fences and firewood. Later on, the insatiable sawmills of a more industrial age ate up the lumber needed for our expansion.
Today, the forests contend with acid rain, invasive plants and exotic beetle infestations — evidence of our ever more global economy. And the future of these forests? Going forward, that’s a story that’s largely ours to shape, and narrate.

If only these trees could talk … Well, we have the next best thing – Donald Pfister, the Dean of Harvard Summer School, curator of the Farlow Library and Herbarium, a fungologist (the more erudite word is mycologist), and the Asa Gray Professor of Systematic Botany at Harvard University.
In this Faculty Insight interview, produced in partnership with ThoughtCast and Harvard Extension School, he tells the tale of the New England forest from as far back as the glacial Pleistocene era.
To help illustrate this tale, we’ve made grateful use of high resolution images of some dramatic landscape dioramas, which are on display at Harvard’s Fisher Museum, in Petersham, Massachusetts.

Posted on September 3, 2012 in Economics, Environment, Faculty Insight, Harvard Luminaries, History, Science
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The Mau Mau rebellion — a revisionist history

How does history get rewritten? How do victimizers become victims, and the valiant turn into villains? As Harvard history professor Caroline Elkins has learned, this process can be a hazardous one. The Pulitzer prize-winning author of Imperial Reckoning: The Untold Story of Britain’s Gulag in Kenya devoted many years to the study of the Mau Mau uprising in the early 1950s, and the British response,  a model of counter-insurgency technique — or so she thought.

The Mau Mau were a group of native Kenyans who turned to violence and terror to drive out their colonial British masters, but as Elkins discovered, they weren’t the only ones to use such tactics.  Now a court case will decide where the truth actually lies, as you will hear in this Faculty Insight interview, produced in partnership with ThoughtCast and  Harvard Extension School.

Posted on March 27, 2012 in Faculty Insight, Front Page, Harvard Luminaries, History
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Louis Menand, John Summers and Dan Aaron take on Dwight MacDonald

Louis Menand
Louis Menand
Back in the day when Dwight MacDonald was a household name (on the Upper West Side, at least) his critique of “middlebrow” American culture, and its inflated self-regard, singed eyebrows. Today, do his arguments still sting? After listening to three academics discuss MacDonald’s Masscult and Midcult: Essays Against the American Grain, recently released by New York Review Books Classics, the audience at the Harvard Book Store might say ‘yes’. But then they might not agree on what exactly MacDonald’s message is.
The conversation, with New Yorker staff writer and Harvard literature professor Louis Menand, the author and Baffler magazine editor John Summers, and the longtime scholar and critic Daniel Aaron, lasts 30 minutes.

Click here: to listen, and judge for yourself!

Posted on October 24, 2011 in Harvard Luminaries, Literature
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Is WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange a hero, or a villain?

In this sixth installment of Faculty Insight, produced in partnership with Harvard University Extension School, ThoughtCast speaks with Allan Ryan, the director of intellectual property at Harvard Business School Publishing, a member of the American Bar Association’s Committee on the First Amendment and Media Litigation, and an instructor at Harvard Extension School.

The subject is a sensitive one for journalists: Is Julian Assange one of us? Does WikiLeaks serve a legitimate news-gathering purpose, or is it a dangerous, possibly illegal website that spreads official secrets without due diligence or consideration of the consequences?
Let us know what you think!

Posted on August 14, 2011 in Faculty Insight, Harvard Luminaries, Politics, Public Media
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Talks@Harvard Book Store: Sean Dorrance Kelly

This entry is part 10 of 10 in the series Talks@Harvard Book Store
Sean Dorrance Kelly

(photo by Jenny Attiyeh)

Sean Dorrance Kelly, a voluble, high-octane philosopher and Harvard professor, spoke at the Harvard Book Store recently about his latest creation: All Things Shining: Reading the Western Classics to Find Meaning in a Secular Age,  which he co-wrote with Hubert Dreyfus, another professor of philosophy, this time at Berkeley.

ThoughtCast was there, and made this recording. (28 minutes.)
So take a listen, and let us know what you think!

Posted on August 10, 2011 in Harvard Luminaries, Literature, Philosophy
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Honor and Fair Play in Homer’s Iliad

Note: the audio version of this interview was broadcast on the WGBH sister stations WCAI/WNAN, and also on KUT in Austin, Texas!

In this fifth installment of Faculty Insight, produced in partnership with Harvard University Extension School, ThoughtCast speaks with the esteemed Harvard classicist Gregory Nagy about one of the earliest and greatest legends of all time: Homer’s epic story of the siege of Troy, called The Iliad. It’s a story of god-like heroes and blood-soaked battles; honor, pride, shame and defeat.
In this interview, we dissect a key scene in The Iliad, where Hector and Achilles are about to meet in battle. Athena is also on hand, and she plays a crucial if underhanded role, with the grudging approval of her father, Zeus.
And Nagy is of course the perfect guide to this classic tale. He’s the director of Harvard’s Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington DC, as well as the Francis Jones Professor of Classical Greek Literature and Professor of Comparative Literature at Harvard.

We spoke in his office at Widener Library.

Click here: to listen to a longer audio version of this interview! (9 minutes)

Posted on July 12, 2011 in Faculty Insight, Harvard Luminaries, History, Literature, Poetry
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Harvard Critic Helen Vendler on Emily Dickinson

Note: This interview was broadcast on the WGBH sister stations WCAI/WNAN, Prairie Public Radio, and on KUT in Austin, Texas.

Emily Dickinson
Emily Dickinson
When Helen Vendler was only 13, the future poetry critic and Harvard professor memorized several of Emily Dickinson’s more famous poems. They’ve stayed with her over the years, and today, she talks with ThoughtCast’s Jenny Attiyeh about one poem in particular that’s haunted her all this time.  It’s called I cannot live with You-
According to Vendler, whose authoritative Dickinson: Selected Poems and Commentaries has recently been published, it’s a heartbreaking poem of an unresolvable dilemma, and ensuing despair.
Click here (18 minutes) to listen!

This interview is the first in a new ThoughtCast series which examines a specific piece of writing — be it a poem, play, novel, short story, work of non-fiction or scrap of papyrus — that’s had a significant influence on the interviewee, that’s shaped and moved them.

Up next – esteemed novelist and short story writer Tom Perrotta discusses Good Country People,  a short story by Flannery O’Connor that’s particularly meaningful to him.

Posted on February 3, 2011 in Front Page, Harvard Luminaries, Literature, Poetry
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Faculty Insight: Islam in the West – a clash of civilizations?

Note: This interview was broadcast on WGBH radio, Boston’s NPR station for news and culture, on April 17, 2011!

Faculty Insight is produced in partnership with ThoughtCast and Harvard University Extension School. This third interview of the series is with Jocelyne Cesari, a level-headed yet astute specialist in contemporary Islamic society. Muslims who live in the Western world today face multiple challenges — suspicion, isolation, ignorance, fear. And post-9/11, of course, they carry the weight of that violent attack. So how are we to move forward, in an enlightened, inclusive manner? How ought we to apply our secular, humanist and individualistic values at such a time?

For starters, let’s listen to Jocelyne Cesari. She might not have all the answers, but as the director of the inter-faculty Islam in the West Program, she’s clearly the right person to ask. She is also an associate at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies and the Center for European Studies at Harvard, and teaches in Harvard’s Department of Government, its Divinity School and its Extension School. This video of our interview is only an introduction, so….
Click here to hear the entire conversation! (16 minutes)

Posted on December 17, 2010 in Faculty Insight, Harvard Luminaries, History, Politics, Religion
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Faculty Insight: Nuclear strategy in the post-cold war world

Note: This interview was broadcast on WGBH radio, Boston’s NPR station for news and culture, on April 17, 2011!

Faculty Insight is produced in partnership with Harvard University Extension School. This second interview of the series is with nuclear strategist Thomas Nichols, who is a professor at the US Naval War College in Rhode Island, a fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and a lecturer at Harvard Extension School. He speaks with ThoughtCast’s Jenny Attiyeh about the conflict with North Korea, the potential for nuclear terrorism, and the reduction of nuclear stockpiles in the post-cold war world.

Posted on September 23, 2010 in Faculty Insight, Harvard Luminaries, Politics
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Is Addiction a Choice? Harvard’s Gene Heyman says yes!

Note: This interview was broadcast on WGBH radio, Boston’s NPR station for news and culture, on April 17, 2011!

Faculty Insight is produced in partnership with ThoughtCast and Harvard University Extension School. This first interview of the series is with Gene Heyman, a faculty member at the Extension School and a lecturer on psychology at Harvard Medical School. Professor Heyman’s controversial new book, called Addiction: A Disorder of Choice, asks if addiction is a disease, and anwers: no!

Posted on June 5, 2010 in Faculty Insight, Harvard Luminaries, Psychology
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Samuel Huntington — on Immigration and the American Identity

Note: Sadly, Sam Huntington died in late December of 2008, so I’ve re-posted this 2005 interview, which was broadcast twice on WGBH, in Boston.

Sam Huntington
The eminent and provocative political scientist and prolific author, talks with ThoughtCast about what he sees as the threat to America’s national identity (and its founding ‘Anglo-Protestant’ culture) posed by large numbers of unassimilated Hispanics, legal or otherwise, living in the United States. His most recent book: “Who Are We? The Challenges to America’s National Identity” has caused quite a stir. Huntington is also famous for an earlier work called “The Clash of Civilizations.” In this book, he argues that civilizations, not nations or ideologies, form the basic building blocks of future cooperation — and conflict.

Huntington, a longtime professor of political science at Harvard, is also a member of the editorial board of a new magazine chaired by Huntington’s former student, Francis Fukuyama, called “The American Interest.”

We discuss these topics in a half-hour interview while seated in the back yard of his home on Martha’s Vineyard — hence all those birds chirping away cheerily…

Click here: to listen (30 mins).

Posted on January 21, 2009 in Harvard Luminaries, Ideas, Politics
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How Fiction Works — with James Wood

This entry is part 9 of 10 in the series Talks@Harvard Book Store
jameswood
James Wood, the sincere, somewhat old-fashioned, unpretentious yet high-minded New Yorker literary critic, spoke at the Harvard Book Store recently about his new book, How Fiction Works.
Click here: to listen (30 minutes).
Also… ThoughtCast will be interviewing Wood shortly – hooray! – and we’re interested in your input! We’d like to discuss, among other topics, different kinds of literary creativity. What makes a great critic, rather than, say, a great novelist, or poet? What does the critic look for? How personal is the art of criticism, and how much a matter of taste – or instinct? Just how ‘creative’ is it?

Please add your thoughts in the comments section below, or email them to feedback at thoughtcast dot org!

Posted on November 2, 2008 in Harvard Luminaries, Literature
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Our American “Empire” with Niall Ferguson

Note: This interview has been picked up by the public radio stations WGBH, in Boston, its affiliates WCAI and WNAN, and WCVE in Richmond, VA.

Niall Ferguson
In some ways, the Scottish historian Niall Ferguson is the Russell Crowe of the academic world: charismatic, unconventional, and definitely controversial. He’s also a big fan of the British Empire — and wants the United States to follow in its footsteps. That means it’s our job to form colonies in hot climates, for years on end.
But are we up for this? While Niall would like that to be the case, he doesn’t really think so, because, he says, we’re an empire “in denial”
Click here: to listen to a 4 minute excerpt.
Click here: to listen to the entire interview (15:30 minutes).

And to listen to an interview with Niall Ferguson on the WGBH Forum Network, click here!

Posted on July 23, 2008 in Economics, Front Page, Harvard Luminaries, History, Politics
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“The Future of the Internet – And How to Stop It”!!!

Note: This program was broadcast on the public radio station WCVE.

bookcover
Cyber law expert Jonathan Zittrain is one of the canniest thinkers out there, pondering the wide world of the web, and his new book is called The Future of the Internet – And How to Stop It. It’s a call to arms. Before it’s too late, he says, we must make sure the Internet stays in our hands – not in those of industries like Verizon, or Apple, seductive as their services might seem at times. Anybody say iPhone??
Click here: to listen (5 1/2 minutes).
For those to whom Jonathan is a new phenomenon, he is the co-founder of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard, a professor at Harvard Law School, and also the Chair in Internet Governance and Regulation at Oxford University. He’s an expert on Internet law.

Posted on July 19, 2008 in Harvard Luminaries, Public Media
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Griefer, Google Cooking and other Neologisms

This entry is part 1 of 7 in the series Neologisms

Note: This piece was broadcast on Word of Mouth on New Hampshire Public Radio and on WCVE in Richmond VA.

been there - done that
Today’s online world is in overdrive. Think of it as a novelty factory – spewing out new ideas, products, and neologisms – new words, or phrases. Take the word blog, for example, or broadband. These are now old-hat neologisms even my mother would recognize. But neologisms can also be existing words that acquire new meaning, like the term spam. Or the word friend – that’s now a verb! People friend each other on social networking sites like Facebook all the time!
So what better place to look for neologisms than at a conference devoted to the “Future of the Internet”, held by the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University.
Click here: to listen to Esther Dyson, Jimmy Wales, Tim Wu and Judith Donath (4 minutes). Or check out this 1 minute video with MIT Media Lab assoc. professor and Harvard fellow Judith Donath

Posted on July 19, 2008 in Harvard Luminaries, Ideas, MIT, Public Media, Words@Work
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The Future of Europe – with Alberto Alesina

Note: a portion of this interview was broadcast on the WGBH public radio affiliates WCAI/WNAN!

Alberto Alesina
Whither the European Union? This is not a question we (in America) often ask ourselves. But perhaps we should. As we now live in an era of borderless commerce – and threats – it might be wise for us to know a bit more about how our key ally, Europe, is faring. Is the EU more than just a powerful economic bloc? Does it have political clout as well? What about a common foreign policy, and the means to back it up?

Harvard economist Alberto Alesina has devoted himself to these questions. In a book he co-authored with Francesco Giavazzi, he asks: The Future of Europe: Reform or Decline??
Click here: to listen. (27 minutes)

Posted on September 2, 2007 in Economics, Harvard Luminaries, Politics
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Faith and Philosophy with Harvey Cox and Simon Blackburn

Note: this program was broadcast on the WGBH public radio sister stations WCAI/WNAN, on the Cape and Islands, and on WRNC-LP!

Harvey Cox
Simon Blackburn
In this half-hour, ThoughtCast talks with two very different men, with one thing in common — a belief in humanism. Harvey Cox, the renowned Harvard Divinity School Professor and author of The Secular City and When Jesus Came to Harvard, talks with ThoughtCast about his faith, and the religious resurgence taking place here in America and abroad. Cox has a unique take on Christianity — while he doubts the Resurrection, he celebrates the life of Jesus, and urges us all to follow in his footsteps, and take his teachings to the streets, to enact them in our flawed, real, and secular world.
Simon Blackburn on the other hand rejects religion but embraces the wisdom of philosophy. He too is an author — of Truth: A Guide, Think and Being Good, among others — and he teaches philosophy at the University of Cambridge, in England. What he offers is a philosophy that’s not just for the educated elite, but for the rest of us!

Click here: to listen (29 minutes)

And to listen to a WGBH Forum Network lecture moderated by Harvey Cox, on the Boston civil rights movement, click here!

Posted on June 8, 2007 in Harvard Luminaries, Ideas, Philosophy, Religion
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Marc Hauser on “Moral Minds”

Marc Hauser
Note: This interview was broadcast on WCAI/WNAN, and is also featured on WGBH’s Science Luminaries series, as part of WGBH Science City.
The provocative Harvard psychologist Marc Hauser recently spoke about “The Evolution of Our Moral Intuitions” at the Harvard Museum of Natural History, as part of the Cambridge Science Festival. This ThoughtCast interview with Hauser serves as a good “first course” — but to get to the meat and potatoes, check out his book Moral Minds.
Click here: to listen. (17:40 minutes)
And to listen to Marc Hauser on the WGBH Forum Network, click here!

Posted on April 20, 2007 in Harvard Luminaries, Ideas, Psychology, Science
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Economist Amartya Sen on “Identity and Violence”

Note: this interview was broadcast on WGBH Radio.  And here’s a PRX review of the program!

Amartya Sen
Amartya Sen, the distinguished economist, philosopher, Nobel laureate and Harvard professor, talks with ThoughtCast about “Identity and Violence: The Illusion of Destiny.”

This new book examines the unfortunate connection between violence and our tendency to identify with one key trait — our ethnicity, or religion, for example — to the exclusion of all others. Sen argues that we can combat this tendency by rejecting this narrowly defined, limited sense of identity, and embracing a broader, richer and more complex understanding of ourselves.
Amartya Sen was born in West Bengal, India (now Bangladesh) and teaches economics at Harvard University. He is known in the wider world for his work on the causes of famines.
Note: Susan Wennemyr served as associate producer on this program.
Click here: to listen (28:30 minutes).
To listen to a panel on “Combating Global Poverty” that includes Sen, click here to access WGBH’s Forum Network.

Posted on November 19, 2006 in Economics, Harvard Luminaries, Ideas, Philosophy
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Alan Dershowitz on Preemption and the Hezbollah

Note: this interview was rebroadcast Jan. 21 at 10 pm on WGBH.
It has also aired on WCAI/WNAN, WNED, KXOT and KYOU. And here are 2 reviews of this interview on PRX.

Alan Dershowitz
The controversial Harvard Law professor, author and celebrity lawyer Alan Dershowitz talks with ThoughtCast about his latest book, “Preemption: A Knife That Cuts Both Ways”, as well as his views on the Israeli-Palestinian-Hezbollah conflict, torture, human rights and our ‘war on terror.’ His premise: the world has changed, and international law must change with it. We need more tools, he argues, in the fight against terror networks whose recruits hold no fear of death or retribution.

Note: Although the subjects we discuss are controversial, my goal is not to argue with Alan, but to find out what he’s thinking. My hope is that our conversation will provoke further discussion on these hot-button issues.

Click here: (30 minutes) to listen to the interview.

Click here: to listen to the hour-long version.

And click here to listen to Dershowitz debate Harvey Silverglate on ‘civil liberties’ on the WGBH Forum Network.

Please join the conversation by leaving a comment!

Posted on August 10, 2006 in Front Page, Harvard Luminaries, Politics
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Lisa Randall, Harvard physicist

WGBH broadcast this ThoughtCast interview, and also features it on their “Science Luminaries” series, as part of “WGBH Science City.” It was also broadcast on WCAI/WNAN, public radio stations for the Cape and Islands.

Lisa Randall
Professor Randall is a theoretical particle physicist who sees past the rest of us to a world of extra dimensions and parallel universes. Hers is a world of warped geometry, sink-holes and branes — a world that fills glaring gaps in current thinking, and can finally explain why gravity is so ‘weak’!

Now while this might sound like so much Greek — just wait. Randall’s latest book, written for the layman, is called “Warped Passages: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Universe’s Hidden Dimensions” — so she’s had plenty of practice explaining these high-flying ideas to English majors.

Click here: to listen (28:30 mins).

Click here to listen to Lisa Randall’s lecture at IDEAS Boston on the WGBH Forum Network.

Posted on April 11, 2006 in Front Page, Harvard Luminaries, Science
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Harvard Book Store author talks: Alan Dershowitz

This entry is part 5 of 10 in the series Talks@Harvard Book Store

Click here: (25 minutes) to listen to Alan Dershowitz’s talk on “Preemption: A Knife that Cuts Both Ways” at Harvard Hillel, presented by the Harvard Book Store. Among other subjects, Dershowitz discusses the doctrine of preemption, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, torture, and our ‘war on terror’.
And to hear a ThoughtCast interview with Alan, click here!

Posted on March 20, 2006 in Harvard Luminaries, Politics
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Virgil’s Georgics with Poet David Ferry

Note: This program was broadcast on April 8th 2007 on WGBH.

Click here to read a review of the interview on PRX.

David Ferry
Noted Cambridge poet David Ferry has recently translated Virgil’s Georgics, and on ThoughtCast he joins Virgil scholar Richard Thomas, the chair of Harvard’s Classics Dept., for a detailed examination of this beautiful and insufficiently known poem. It is said to have taken Virgil 7 years to write, from about 36 to 29 B.C.

 

Richard Thomas
As such, the Georgics was written during a period of political instability and chronic civil war, and inevitably reflects Virgil’s dark, often pessimistic outlook on human nature. But at the same time, The Georgics — which means “agriculture” in Greek — is a celebration of nature and its ceaseless beauty. As Virgil describes the cycles of crops, the seasons, the weather — the birth, death and rebirth that mark the natural world, he provides us with a complex, realistic, painful but enduringly uplifting poem.
Click here: to listen (29 minutes).


Click here
to listen to a lecture by David Ferry on “The Art and Practice of Literary Translation” on the WGBH Forum Network.

Posted on September 1, 2005 in Harvard Luminaries, History, Literature, Poetry
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