Interviews By Topic

Before John Muir and Charles Darwin, there was Alexander von Humboldt, the German scientist who shaped our understanding of nature. Now, he’s largely forgotten, but biographer Andrea Wulf says he was once the world's most famous scientist. More

Flint corn

Botanist Robin Wall Kimmerer says there is a reason so many around the world consider corn to be sacred. We give it life, and in return, it gives us life. She says the industrial-scale farming of America has lost control of that balance.More

Aerial roots.

There is an unusual, giant corn in southern Mexico that gets its own nitrogen from the air — no manufacturing required.More

Clockwise: Wheat in a field, flint corn, kamut grains, and the Svalbard Global Seed Vault.

Most of us get our food from the grocery store, not the fields where it grows. But if you really want to understand where our food comes from — and the potential threats to the food supply — you have to think about seeds.More

Paul Wendell Jr.

Rapper Tall Paul uses hip-hop to reclaim his Native language—and he's not the only musician remixing Native culture.More

A powwow in 2015 at the Institute for American Indian Arts.

Tommy Orange's debut novel “There There” was one of the big breakout books of 2018. He told Steve that with his novel, he hoped to better represent modern Native Americans that have grown up living in cities.More

Person at the Institute for American Indian Arts.

A wide range of writers — now celebrated with commercial and critical success — work to celebrate an evolving literary canon without limiting it. More

Wheat

Kamut is arguably the oldest grain in the world. Bob Quinn, who runs the multi-million dollar nonprofit Kamut International, argues that it's an example of what can be right in a very wrong American agricultural world.More

Svalbard Global Seed Vault

If a disaster wiped out our ability to grow crops, how would the survivors rebuild civilization? Back in the 1990’s Cary Fowler wondered the same thing. So he created the Svalbard Global Seed Vault – otherwise known as the Doomsday vault.More

bamboo graffitt

If climate change is the most urgent problem facing humanity, why are there so few novels about it? Acclaimed novelist Amitav Ghosh believes that’s a big problem. He says climate change is less a science problem than a crisis of imagination.More

Western hemisphere of the moon

The moon explodes and the earth is doomed. Neal Stephenson's 800-page novel "Seveneves" spans 5,000 years of human survival in outer space.More

Karl Ove Knaussgard

Norwegian novelist Karl Ove Knausgaard talks about his autobiographical novel, “My Struggle,” as well as his unorthodox approach to writing.More

punch the clock

When we talk about reforming work, fixing work, creating new kinds of work — author and historian James Livingston thinks perhaps we’re not going far enough. More

man walking to work

The anthropologist David Graeber says “BS jobs” are an epidemic. Especially in that circle of hell known as middle management.More

Studs Terkel in studio

Studs Terkel talked with people from of all walks of life about their work, from firefighters, to steel workers, to labor activist Cesar Chavez. As part of a whole radio hour examining work, we hear snippets of Terkel's wisdom on how life for blue collar workers has changed over the years.More

man moving steel

Alissa Quart spent the last few years traveling around the country, talking with all kinds of people about work. What she found is a lot of people with jobs that look good on paper but who feel — in a word — squeezed.More

Data streams

Yuval Noah Harari is the big-thinking historian who warns that whoever owns the data owns the future. He told Steve Paulson that it’s become the most important resource in the world.More

flee or stay our social media platforms?

A pioneering computer scientist thinks we should delete our accounts, while an internet ethicist argues we should fix the system rather than abandon it entirely.More

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