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The “New Biology” with Steven Pinker, Noga Arikha & Melvin Konner

Brave New World? The Center for the Humanities at Tufts University recently held a panel discussion on “The New Biology and the Self”, an apt topic for the likes of Steven Pinker, the Harvard College Professor and Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology at Harvard University,  Noga Arikha, a historian of ideas and the author of Passions and Tempers: A History of the Humours, and  Melvin Konner, a professor of anthropology and assoc. professor of psychiatry and neurology at Emory University. The panel was moderated by Tufts professor Kevin Dunn.
Click here to listen (73 minutes.)

And to listen to a talk by Steven Pinker on the Forum Network, click here!

Posted on November 27, 2009 in Philosophy, Science
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Jonah Lehrer on Emotional Hijacking and “How We Decide”

This entry is part 6 of 10 in the series Talks@Harvard Book Store

Note: this interview was broadcast on WGBH in Boston as well as on the WGBH Cape and Islands affiliate WCAI/WNAN!
Jonah Lehrer
Jonah Lehrer, the precocious author of Proust Was a Neuroscientist, has come out with a new book called How We Decide. He spoke at the Harvard Book Store, in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Click here to listen (28 minutes.)

After his talk, ThoughtCast spoke with Lehrer briefly about the value of emotion in rational decision making, the power of wishful thinking to hijack our reason, and the potential to retrain the brain via the mind. According to Lehrer, we’d generally be better off sticking to our instincts, our initial reaction or impulse, rather than over-think things. Calm, cool deliberation, it turns out, doesn’t always lead to the best results. Jonah Lehrer is a Contributing Editor at Wired Magazine, and has written for The New Yorker, Nature, Seed, The Washington Post and The Boston Globe.
Click here to listen to this rather noisy interview (8:50 minutes.)

Posted on July 20, 2009 in Economics, Ideas, Philosophy, Psychology, Science
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Art & Science with Alan Lightman

Note: This program was broadcast on WCAI, the Cape and Islands affiliate of WGBH.
Alan Lightman, the MIT physicist and best-selling author of Einstein’s Dreams, is a man of unusual ability. Talented in both the sciences and the arts, he’s both left- and right-brained, a condition that confers challenges as well as benefits.
Lightman has recently come out with a new book which explores these two realms – and it’s called Ghost! It deals with the permeable boundary between hard science and the paranormal — and asks, where does science fail us, and what, if anything, can take its place? Does mystery take over? And can it step in where science falls short?
Click here: to listen (28:30 minutes) on ThoughtCast!

And to listen Alan Lightman on WGBH’s Forum Network, click here — and here!

Posted on August 1, 2007 in Literature, MIT, Science
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The End of Our Universe among other timely topics…

Note: this program was broadcast on WGBH‘s sister stations WCAI & WNAN, on Sept. 9, 2007, and picked up by KPVL, a Pacifica station, on July 2, 2013!

Want to know how the world is going to end? Just ask Russian cosmologist Alex Vilenkin. If it’s our own universe you’re talking about, well, it’s called the big crunch, and it’s going to be hot hot hot! But if it’s the multiverse, that infinitely expanding, infinitely varied and infinitely populated sea of universes, well, guess what — there is no end. Isn’t that reassuring??
Vilenkin is Professor of Physics and Director of the Institute of Cosmology at Tufts University, and also the author of a new book, called Many Worlds in One: The Search for Other Universes. He’s also a former zookeeper. And – lest I forget – he was blacklisted by the KGB
Click here: to listen. (29:45 minutes)

Posted on July 1, 2007 in Science
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Astrophysics in Cambridge — at the Planetarium!

As part of the Cambridge Science Festival, Noreen Grice, the operations coordinator of the Charles Hayden Planetarium at the Museum of Science in Boston, hosted a series of presentations that feature new research in astrophysics taking place in Cambridge. Specifically, she highlighted the work of the Chandra X-Ray Observatory, in Kendall Square, as well as scientists at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and MIT.

Click here: for Noreen Grice’s presentation at the planetarium (30 minutes)
Click here: for an interview with Noreen Grice (15 minutes)

Posted on April 26, 2007 in Science
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Marc Hauser on “Moral Minds”

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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