Steven Strogatz Bonus - What to Do When Things Keep Changing!
Alan Alda wanted to get off the island quickly. Steven Strogatz explains how an 18th century British clergyman could have helped. In this short bonus episode, Steven helps Alan understand something that he’s wondered about for years.
Steven Strogatz Says You Can Understand Math
Steven Strogatz possesses a special ability to see into the unseen. How does he do it? Steve is a world class mathematician, who sees through the window of math. But, lucky for us, he’s also a world class communicator. An award-winning professor, researcher, author, and creative thinker, Steve can help anyone (even Alan Alda) understand some of the unseen world of numbers. In this episode, Alan and Steven start from zero, not the number, but from a place of not knowing anything. He emerges from the darkness for a moment as Steve actually gets Alan to understand something that’s always mystified him.
Jonathan Haidt on Why We're So Divided and What to Do About It
How do we get beyond Right versus Left, "Us" versus "Them," and even "Me" versus "You"? Jonathan Haidt has a few theories about this all too-familiar tribalism and the seemingly endless culture wars of our time. As someone who studies morality and emotion, Jonathan has deep insight into the moral foundation of our politics and his research in moral psychology has revealed new ways for us to engage in more civil forms of politics, which can help make us all more cooperative and decent. In this conversation, Alan Alda talks with Jonathan about what makes us happy and how we can overcome our natural tendency toward self-righteousness, in order to respect and learn from those whose morality (and politics) differs from our own.
Michael Tomasello On the Surprising Origins of Communication and Cooperation
How do we actually learn to communicate? How is it different from how other animals learn it? Michael Tomasello explores what may be at the very heart of relating and communicating: shared attention. Alan Alda first met Michael when he interviewed him a few years ago in Leipzig, Germany. Michael was already doing experiments that studied the differences between how human children and chimps learn to communicate. He’s tracked the fascinating path humans take in learning to connect with one another – and we can learn a lot from it. Michael Tomasello heads up the world renowned Tomasello Lab at Duke University. His latest book, “Becoming Human: A Theory of Ontogeny” offers a radical reconsideration of how we develop the qualities that make us human, based on Michael’s decades of cutting-edge experimental work when he was the head of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.
Sarah Vowell on Writing with Clarity (and Shenanigans)
Sarah Vowell is not short on facets. She’s writer, a historian, a satirist, a radio star and an actor. While he writing voice can be satirical, you might recognize her speaking voice as that of Violet in the Pixar animated series “The Incredibles.” She's a contributor to the public radio show This American Life, and has written seven New York Times ’ bestselling books on culture and American history — all from a number of strange and interesting angles. In this conversation, Alan Alda and Sarah explore writing for different kinds of audiences— and her irresistible attraction to verbal shenanigans.