Episode 75. Retrospective: Oliver Sacks
Science History Podcast
by Frank A. von Hippel
2w ago
In 1994, while attending graduate school at the University of California, Berkeley, I had the pleasure of seeing a lecture by Oliver Sacks in which he discussed his work on sleeping sickness and various other neurological disorders. He also discussed his thoughts on the economy of a life. Today's episode is that lecture in full, with all the insights and charm that was Oliver Sacks ..read more
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Episode 74. Novichok: Vil Mirzayanov
Science History Podcast
by Frank A. von Hippel
1M ago
Novichok is the most deadly chemical weapon ever developed. With us to discuss the history of Novichok is Vil Mirzayanov. Vil worked in the secret Soviet chemical weapons laboratory that developed Novichok. He revealed its existence to the world in 1991 and was then arrested by the Russian counterintelligence service and prosecuted in a secret trial. He won his freedom with the help of an international group of scientists, including three who have appeared as guests on this podcast. He then immigrated to the United States and published his story in the book State Secrets. An Insider's Chronicl ..read more
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Episode 73. Pascual Jordan's Duplicity: Ryan Dahn
Science History Podcast
by Frank A. von Hippel
2M ago
How could a brilliant scientist and mathematician, an innovator in quantum theory, who worked closely with Jewish colleagues, become an ardent Nazi? How did this man, who has a field of mathematics named after him, escape the scrutiny of his colleagues? And what happened to him upon the collapse of Nazi Germany? The scientist who straddled this strange world of physics and Nazism was Pascual Jordan. With us to explain the history of Pascual Jordan is Ryan Dahn. Ryan is a writer, editor, science historian, and translator. He is the books editor at Physics Today, the flagship physics magazine of ..read more
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Episode 70. Retrospective: James Franck
Science History Podcast
by Frank A. von Hippel
6M ago
A retrospective on James Franck, recipient of the 1925 Nobel Prize in Physics ..read more
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Episode 69. Ancient DNA: Maanasa Raghavan
Science History Podcast
by Frank A. von Hippel
7M ago
The ability to extract DNA from ancient fragments of biological material has revolutionized our understanding of recent evolutionary history, including human evolution and phylogeography. Analysis of ancient DNA in tandem with radiocarbon dating, along with traditional archeological techniques, has led to a flurry of discoveries. With us to discuss this research is Maanasa Raghavan. Maanasa is a Neubauer Family Assistant Professor of Human Genetics at the University of Chicago.  ..read more
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Episode 68. Pandemics: Leslie Reperant
Science History Podcast
by Frank A. von Hippel
8M ago
The world just experienced a devastating pandemic, yet in the context of historical pandemics, COVID-19 was a relatively minor event in the history of disease. What do we know about the history of pandemics, including before written records, and what can we learn from this history? With us to answer these and other questions about the origins of epidemics and pandemics is Leslie Reperant. Leslie graduated with a doctorate of veterinary medicine at the National Veterinary School of Lyon, France in 2004 and obtained a PhD at Princeton University in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biol ..read more
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Episode 67. Lazaretto: David Barnes
Science History Podcast
by Frank A. von Hippel
9M ago
Before the advent of the germ theory of disease in the 1870s, quarantine provided one of the few effective means to prevent or alleviate epidemics. The Lazaretto quarantine station in Philadelphia illustrates the history of quarantine both before and after the discovery of pathogenic microbes. With us to explore the history of 18th and 19th century quarantine in Philadelphia, and what it meant for public health, is David Barnes. David teaches the history of medicine and public health at the University of Pennsylvania, where he is an Associate Professor of History and Sociology of Science. Davi ..read more
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Episode 66. Climbing, Chemistry & Policy: Arlene Blum
Science History Podcast
by Frank A. von Hippel
10M ago
What are the commonalities between scaling the world's highest peaks and tackling the most challenging pollution problems? What was it like to enter the worlds of climbing and chemistry as a woman in the 1960s and 70s? With us to answer these questions is Arlene Blum. Arlene completed a bachelor's degree at Reed College in 1966 and a PhD in biophysical chemistry at Berkeley in 1971. She was a pioneering alpinist early in her career and a founder of the Green Science Policy Institute later in her career. She is the author of Annapurna - A Woman's Place, published by Counterpoint in 1980, and Br ..read more
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Episode 65. Ideology & Science: Lee Jussim
Science History Podcast
by Frank A. von Hippel
11M ago
Any intellectual endeavor runs the risk of bias. Today we explore ways in which political ideology interferes with scholarship, particularly in the social sciences, with a focus on social psychology. My guest is Lee Jussim, a distinguished professor of social psychology and the leader of the Social Perception Laboratory at Rutgers University. Lee is a prolific author and studies stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination; political radicalization; and other problems that impede science and society. Lee's books include Social Perception and Social Reality, which received the American Associatio ..read more
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Episode 63. Paleoanthropology: Evan Hadingham
Science History Podcast
by Frank A. von Hippel
1y ago
Certain fields of science attract broad interest because of what they tell us about humanity, and no field does this more directly than paleoanthropology. Today we explore the history of paleoanthropology with a focus on Louis and Mary Leakey, who made key discoveries at an inflection point of our understanding of human evolution. With us to discuss this history is Evan Hadingham. Evanis the Senior Science Editor of the award-winning PBS series NOVA. Today we discuss his new book, Discovering Us, Fifty Great Discoveries in Human Origins, published in partnership with the Leakey Foundation in 2 ..read more
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