Interviews By Topic

Math of the universe

For centuries, people have considered mathematics the purest form of knowledge — and our best bet for deciphering the universe's hidden order. Steve spoke with two people who love math: physicist James Gates and science writer Margaret Wertheim.More

Eel

Eels are philosophically and scientifically slippery — they're still some of the most mysterious creatures on the planet. Journalist Patrik Svensson has been obsessed with them, and wound up writing a surprise bestseller — “The Book of Eels.”More

fish

Lulu Miller's book “Why Fish Don’t Exist” — which examines ichthyologist David Starr Jordan — is a meditation on the shadow side of scientific classification, and the dangers of trying too hard to impose order on chaos.More

Putting aside the question of whether there's any validity to it, the ancient science of astrology has a lot in common with contemporary data science. In fact, data scientist Alexander Boxer calls astrology humanity’s very first set of algorithms.More

A bee's communication infrastructure

Tania Munz recently wrote a biography of Karl von Frisch — the German scientist who cracked the mystery of the honeybee’s waggle dance, which shows the rest of the hive precisely where to find a new food source miles away.More

Detroit Hives

In many parts of Detroit, there are blighted, abandoned patches of land. Instead of looking the other way, Timothy Paule and Nicole Lindsey started buying up vacant lots and building bee hives as an act of urban renewal.More

many bees

Christof Koch, a leading neuroscientist in the field of consciousness, says bees are smarter than we ever imagined.More

Where Heather and the bees converse

A single empty yellow chair sits next to Heather Swan’s tall, buzzing beehive in her backyard in Madison, Wisconsin. Swan keeps it there to sit next to the bees — some 60,000 insects —and talk with them.More

Opening the hive

Heather Swan is a beekeeper and author — she tells Steve Paulson about what it's meant for her to be "chosen by the bees."More

Greg Dixon (Photo copyright gregdixonphoto.com)

Thousands of sandhill cranes gather each fall on the banks of the Wisconsin River before they head south for the winter. Anne and Steve visited the Aldo Leopold Foundation in Baraboo, Wisconsin to witness this migration firsthand, along with their guide: wildlife ecologist Stan Temple.More

Photos courtesy of the Aldo Leopold Foundation

David Barrie is fascinated by how animals find their way. How do they travel thousands of miles across oceans or continents, to a place they've never been, without any other creature to show them the way?More

We came over one hill and saw hundreds of zebras.

Imagine driving over a hill and seeing hundreds of zebras or a thousand wildebeest. Anne and Steve were lucky enough to witness this spectacle in the Serengeti. Their expert guide, Moses Augustino Kumburu, describes the Great Migration.More

The Maasai have lived alongside the Serengeti wildlife for generations.

Science journalist Sonia Shah, herself the child of Indian immigrants, has long been fascinated with the way animals, people and even microbes move. Speaking with "To The Best Of Our Knowledge," she says migration is both a crisis and an opportunity.More

"The Tradition" book cover design by Phil Kovacevich and art by Ralphi Burgess. (Copper Canyon Press)

Jericho Brown is an award-winning poet who has been working with religious language for a long time. His poems have titles like "1 Corinthians 13:11" and "Hebrews 13." His book "The Tradition" continues to mine Brown's childhood in the church.More

divers

Jill Heinerth nearly died when she was trapped by ocean currents inside an Antarctic iceberg. She's one of the world's most accomplished underwater cave divers, often exploring caves no one's ever been in, which show her "the veins of the Earth."More

Elizabeth Krohn says she left her body, went somewhere else, met and talked to God. And then came back to dream the future. What does her experience tell us about where religion comes from?More

Underground

Robert Macfarlane spent a decade exploring caves, mines, catacombs and sewers, on a quest to discover the deep underground. He found a subterranean world of wonder and horror.More

 A herd of topi.

The fact that so many animals migrate — sometimes thousands of miles — has puzzled people over the ages. Why do they take such risky journeys? Conservation biologist David Wilcove studies migration, and he says the scale of migration is staggering.More

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