Interviews By Topic

Desert at Dusk

Ethnobotanist Gary Paul Nabhan has been called the “father of the local food movement.” Many of his insights come from the farming practices of Indigenous people living near the U.S.-Mexico border, who’ve grown food in arid habitats for centuries.More

Ngugi wa Thiong’o

Ngugi wa Thiong’o — the renowned Kenyan author — believes African writers should write in their native language, not the colonial language of English or French. He says the best way to decolonize the mind is to reclaim native languages.More

glowing mushrooms

Mushrooms and other fungi are mind-bending. A fungal network can spread for miles, but genetically, it’s a single organism. As biologist Merlin Sheldrake says, “they are everywhere at once and nowhere in particular.”More

rings of water in a puddle

Anthropologist Enrique Salmon formulated the concept of “kincentricity,” a worldview that sees everything around us — plants, animals, rocks, wind — as our direct relative. As Salmon says, “the rain is us, and we are the rain.”More

tree roots

Forest ecologist Suzanne Simard talks about her pioneering research into “forest intelligence,” She also reflects on her childhood growing up in Canadian forests, how the timber industry can become sustainable, and why she talks to trees.More

 Practice dummy, Cryonics UK standby team training | Tim’s house, Sheffield, UK 2010

Photographer Murray Ballard says he expected a cryonics facility to look like something out of a sci-fi movie scene. But in visiting one, Ballard says he was intrigued by the contrast between such an ambitious endeavor and the somewhat unremarkable architecture and equipment.More

 Social gathering and sharing a meal during Russian Easter honoring the dead, Spring Valley, New Jersey, 1997

Between 1996 and 1998, Bastienne Schmidt and her husband Philippe Cheng traveled throughout the United States photographing the diverse services and ceremonies Americans use to mark the death of family members and friends. According to Cheng, one of the goals was to "show some of the poetry of death and dying in America."More

elderly woman

Nicholas Nixon has devoted a significant amount of his long career — which stretches back to the 1970s — to taking portraits of people who are sick and dying. He continues to work with people coming to the end of their lives, including those in palliative care and hospice.More

Half brothers Robert Lafayette Gee (right) and Henderson Gee (left)

Rev. Alex Gee is fascinated by genealogy. So he took a DNA test and discovered one of his ancestors was a white slave owner. Then he went down to New Orleans to meet his white relatives — and that meeting sparked a slew of complicated emotions.More

a son of Thomas Jefferson and his slave, Sally Hemings, is buried in a local cemetery.

Steve Paulson was surprised to discover that a son of Thomas Jefferson and his slave, Sally Hemings, is buried in a local cemetery. With the help of Erin Hoag of the Wisconsin Veterans Museum, he searches for the grave of Eston Hemings Jefferson.More

spirals

With help from Freud, neuropsychologist Mark Solms locates consciousness in choice.More

Malcolm Gladwell

Journalist Malcolm Gladwell is famous for mining behavioral science for his work, and when it comes to better understanding the intersection of crime, violence, and policing, he turns over and over to criminologist Frank Zimring.More

Children in Addis Ababa.

Dagmawi Woubshet and Julie Mehretu were both born in Addis Ababa and then moved to America. They wonder what the city's explosive growth will mean for its unique character — one rooted in Ethiopia's history as the only African nation never colonized.More

Prairie Fires of the Great West

Laura Ingalls Wilder insisted that every detail in her beloved "Little House" books was true. But Caroline Fraser, her biographer, says Wilder heavily edited the story of her family's life on the Great Plains. And in the process, created an American myth based on a lie or two.
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"Junebug"

Nathaniel Mary Quinn was abandoned as a child. Today, he’s a celebrated painter, exhibiting around the world. He tells Charles his remarkable story about talent and perseverance in the face of enormous odds.More

The creative mind

Novelist Siri Hustvedt knows how the creative process feels. Neuroscientist Heather Berlin knows what it looks like in the brain. Together with Steve, they explore the emerging science of creativity.More

The Sandman. Writer Neil Gaiman on the set of The Sandman.

Neil Gaiman's "Sandman" graphic novel is now a Netflix series. Gaiman has made a career out of tapping into our unconscious dreams and fears. In 2003, Steve Paulson traveled to Gaiman's home in Wisconsin to talk about where his story ideas come from.More

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