Patricia Fara on Newton, Scientific Progress, and the Benefits of Unhistoric Acts

Conversations with Tyler | 24 February 2021 | 0h 57m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Patricia Fara about her book Life After Gravity: Isaac Newton’s London Career. Discusses why Newton left Cambridge to run The Royal Mint, why he was so productive during the Great Plague, why the “Scientific Revolution” should be understood as a gradual process, what the Antikythera device tells us about science in the ancient world, the influence of Erasmus Darwin on his grandson, sex-segregated schooling, the reasons she considers Madame Lavoisier to be the greatest female science illustrator, and more.

Avi Loeb on Taking Aliens Seriously

Sean Carroll’s Mindscape | 25 January 2021 | 1h 40m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Avi Loeb about his book Extraterrestrial: The First Sign of Intelligent Life Beyond. Discusses the possible existence of technologically advanced extraterrestrial civilizations; the need to take seriously the possibility that the recent interstellar interloper Oumuamua might be a spaceship; the attitude we should have towards more dramatic ideas; and the nature of science.

Richard Holmes – The Age of Wonder

Bookclub | 9 April 2019 | 0h 34m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Richard Holmes about his book The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science. Describes the scientific ferment that swept through Britain in the late-18th century and tells stories of the celebrated innovators and their great scientific discoveries: from telescopic sight and the discovery of Uranus to Humphrey Davy’s invention of the miner’s safety lamp, and from the first balloon flight to African exploration.

This is one of my wife’s favourite books.

A Tale of Two Evolutionary Processes with Rita Colwell

This View of Life | 25 August 2020 | 1h 15m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Rita Colwell about her book A Lab of Her Own: One Woman’s Personal Journey Through Sexism in Science. Tells two evolutionary stories. The first is the story of her career studying microbial genetic evolution, including diseases such as cholera and anthrax, and serving as Director of the National Science Foundation. The second is the story of cultural evolution and the lack thereof, such as entrenched sexism in science and the reluctance of the medical establishment to embrace new ideas.

The Principia by Isaac Newton

The Great Books | 15 December 2020 | 0h 33m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Rob Iliffe about Isaac Newton’s The Principia. Describes how the Principia transformed natural philosophy, introduced the concept of universal gravitation, put mathematics and measurement at the heart of science, and laid the foundations for classical physics.

Michael Blastland on the Hidden Half

EconTalk | 28 December 2020 | 1h 14m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Michael Blastland about his book The Hidden Half: How the World Conceals its Secrets. Argues that the deeper you delve into science, medicine, astrophysics – pick a topic – the more you realize there is a lot we don’t understand and can’t explain. Suggests we would all do well to stop pretending that everything is knowable and every problem solvable.

Tom Levenson on Money for Nothing

Versus History Podcast | 11 September 2020 | 0h 51m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Thomas Levenson about his book Money for Nothing: The South Sea Bubble and the Invention of Modern Capitalism. Backgrounds the South Sea Bubble and how it lead to the birth of modern financial capitalism – the idea that you can invest in future prosperity and that governments can borrow money to make things happen. Also explores how the scientific revolution extended to the idea that empiricism and maths could make sense of everyday life; and how the invention of modern ideas about money both made the world rich and exposed us to predictable hazards that we fail to fully prepare for.

Len Mlodinow – The Life of Stephen Hawking

How to Academy | 23 November 2020 | 1h 01m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Leonard Mlodinow about his book Stephen Hawking: A Memoir of Friendship and Physics. Backgrounds his work co-writing A Briefer History of Time and The Grand Design with Hawking. Discusses Hawking’s work, philosophy, daily life and struggles, compassion, and humour.