History of Science

(Note: This interview first aired earlier this year.) Our guest is Shankar Vedantam, the bestselling author and host of the popular "Hidden Brain" podcast and public-radio show. He joins us to discuss his book, "Useful Delusions: The Power and Paradox of the Self-Deceiving Brain." This book takes a detailed, research-driven look at the fundamental role of self-deception in human life -- that is, its positive as well as its negative aspects. As was noted by The Washington Post: "Powerful....

Our guest is Kate Biberdorf, a scientist and chemistry professor at The University of Texas who -- as "Kate the Chemist" -- has written a series of very popular books on science for young readers. Now comes her first book for adults, which she tells us about -- it's a fun, wide-ranging, easy-to-read work called "It's Elemental: The Hidden Chemistry in Everything." Ever wondered what makes dough rise? Or how exactly coffee gives us that all-important energy boost? Or why shampoo can sometimes make hair look greasy?

Our guest on ST is Viktor Mayer-Schönberger, a professor of internet governance and regulation at the Oxford Internet Institute at the University of Oxford. He's also a faculty affiliate of the Belfer Center of Science and International Affairs at Harvard. Mayer-Schönberger joins us to talk about "Framers: Human Advantage in an Age of Technology and Turmoil," a new book for which he's a co-author.

The well-regarded historian Niall Ferguson is our guest; his many books include "Civilization," "The Great Degeneration," and "The Ascent of Money." He joins us to discuss his newest book, "Doom: The Politics of Catastrophe," which seems especially timely in the wake of the annus horribilis that was 2020. Ferguson's book sets out to show why human beings are getting worse, not better, at handling disasters -- despite advancements in medicine, science, technology, etc.

Our guest is Shankar Vedantam, the bestselling author and host of the popular "Hidden Brain" podcast and public-radio show. He joins us to discuss his new book, "Useful Delusions: The Power and Paradox of the Self-Deceiving Brain." This book takes a detailed, research-driven look at the fundamental role of self-deception in human life -- that is, its positive as well as its negative aspects. As was noted of this work by The Washington Post: "Powerful....

Our guest on ST Medical Monday is Bret Stetka, an editorial director at Medscape.com, which is the professional division of WebMD.com. A non-practicing physician and active freelance health/science journalist, Stetka joins us to discuss his fascinating new book, "A History of the Human Brain: From the Sea Sponge to CRISPR, How Our Brain Evolved." It's a readable and engaging history of how our most mysterious organ developed over time...from the brain's improbable and watery beginnings to the super-complex marvel that's found within the head of Homo sapiens today.

Yes, the climate is warming, and yes, we human beings are causing this warming. And yes, things look very bad. But what can be done...and what can **we** do...right now? Our guest has some answers; she is Dr. Kimberly Nicholas, Associate Professor of Sustainability Science at the well-regarded Lund University in Sweden. Born and raised on a vineyard in Sonoma, California, Nicholas studied the effect of climate change on the California wine industry for her PhD at Stanford.

Our guest is Dr. Ina Park, who's an associate professor at the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine, a Medical Consultant at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Division of STD Prevention), and the Medical Director of the California Prevention Training Center.

(Note: This interview first aired last fall.) Our guest is Harold McGee, who writes about the science of food and cooking. He joins us to discuss his new book, "Nose Dive: A Field Guide to the World's Smells." As was noted of this work by Booklist: "In his detailed survey of scents, food writer and cooking scientist McGee elegantly explains olfaction.... His exploration of our smelly world includes the odors of flora and fauna, soil and smoke, food and fragrances, but also the unexpected: primordial earth, rain, and the whiff of old books.

(Note: This interview originally aired back in June.) Our guest is Sonia Shah, a science journalist who's long covered the intersection of science, politics, culture, and human rights for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and other outlets. Her latest book, which she tells us about, takes on many of our centuries-long assumptions about migration. That book is "The Next Great Migration: The Beauty and Terror of Life on the Move." Per The New York Times Book Review, it focuses "with compassion and insight a deeply complex and challenging subject....

Our guest on this edition of ST Medical Monday is Dr. Jonathan M. Berman, who tells us about his important new book. That book is "Anti-vaxxers: How to Challenge a Misinformed Movement." As was noted of this work by Publishers Weekly: "Science professor Berman debuts with a useful guide for readers concerned about the opposition to vaccinations.... The book's greatest value comes from its insights into how common cognitive errors can lead even the well-informed to see false correlations between vaccination and health problems.

Our guest on ST Medical Monday is the science writer Riley Black, who writes under the pen name of Brian Switek. Black tells us about her newest book, which is just out in paperback, "Skeleton Keys: The Secret Life of Bone." It offers, per The Wall Street Journal, "a provocative and entertaining magical mineral tour through the life and afterlife of bone." And further, per the journal Nature: "A thoughtful, engaging meditation on the origins of the human skeleton, how it functions (or malfunctions), and how we come to terms with our essential but unsettling osseous framework."

Our guest is Zach St. George, a science reporter who has written for The Atlantic, Scientific American, and Outside, among other publications. He joins us to discuss his new book, "The Journeys of Trees: A Story about Forests, People, and the Future." The book offers an up-close examination of forest migration, and moreover presents a sort of "group portrait" of the people studying the forests of the past, those protecting the forests of the present, and those planting the forests of the future.

Our guest is Sonia Shah, a science journalist who's long covered the intersection of science, politics, culture, and human rights for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Foreign Affairs, Scientific American, and other outlets. Her new book, which she tells us about, takes on many of our centuries-long assumptions about migration. The book is called "The Next Great Migration: The Beauty and Terror of Life on the Move." This work, per The New York Times Book Review, focuses "with compassion and insight a deeply complex and challenging subject....