Interviews By Topic

From the Codex Seraphinianus

The "Codex Seraphinianus" has a magical air to it, full of bizarre illustrations and beautiful calligraphy in a made-up language. Publisher Charles Miers told Charles why he published the book, and why trying to understand it isn't really the point.More

people

Social scientists are finding that generating happiness in your life may have less to do with an arbitrary number — like your bank account or how many Instagram followers you have — and more to do with how well you connect with the people around you.More

Adam Kucharski virus graphic

The COVID-19 pandemic was some epidemiologist’s nightmare when Adam Kucharski was writing "Rules of Contagion." The book, which includes brief mentions of the encroaching COVID-19 storm, draws on ideas from “outbreak science” to illuminate how and why viruses spread. Kucharski believes we’re still in the early stages—not even the mid-point—of this global pandemic.More

ipad reading

Are we losing the ability to read difficult books? Cognitive scientist Maryanne Wolf says we need to develop a "bi-literate reading brain" so that we can switch back and forth between the deep reading of print and the skimming of electronic texts.More

Ross Gay

In a dark world, poet Ross Gay recommends "stacking delights." Share what you love, he says — not what you hate.More

trumpet

Political repression and censorship forced a generation of Black jazz musicians out of South Africa and into clubs in Europe and the US. But jazz critic Gwen Ansell says some musicians remained, and they left a legacy of unforgettable music.More

During their visit to Addis Ababa, Anne and Steve caught a show put on by a household name in Ethiopia — the boundary-crossing, border-hopping jazz virtuoso Meklit Hadero.More

A show at Fendika in Addis Ababa.

To unpack the history of African musical migration, you have to go back to European colonization, says musicologist Ron Radano. He's been rewriting the history of race and Black music, and he says, "We are all African when we listen."More

listening

Valmont Layne grew up under apartheid in South Africa. Music, along with protest movements, radicalized him. He tells Anne and Steve that South African jazz became a musical current that’s traveled across oceans, spreading ideas about freedom.More

man playing guitar

Famous for his stories of people with brain disorders, Oliver Sacks wrote a lot about neurological mysteries, like the way a song can activate parts of the brain that language can’t even touch.More

Oakwood residents and singers

"To the Best of Our Knowledge" producer Shannon Henry Kleiber shares a story about her mother, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease two years ago, and the power of music.More

cello player

After a 40 year career as a psychologist, Francine Toder decided to start playing the cello. The experience convinced her that music – and in fact all the arts – may be the best way to stimulate the brain and improve well-being late in life.More

man reviewing photograph

Anne Basting has found asking people with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia open-ended queries, rather than pointed yes or no questions that require remembering something specific, can create powerful connections.More

bars

"Just Mercy" author Bryan Stevenson believes in creating incentives to reduce the country's prison population.More

Demonstrators protest police brutality at a June 2 event in front of the White House.

At the heart of many Americans' fear of Black men is an ugly stereotype — the stereotype of the Black criminal. Historian Khalil Gibran Muhammad traces some of our current attitudes about race and crime to the late 19th century, when sociologists first began looking at crime statistics.More

Malcolm Gladwell

The narrative that police brutality is a question of a few "bad apples" is precisely the wrong way to think about police brutality, says journalist Malcolm Gladwell. 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

Empty prison

Scholar and activist Ruth Wilson Gilmore says when you put mass incarceration in a larger context, it's pretty clear — you don't solve a problem by repeating the kind of behavior that brought you the problem in the first place.More

Pages