Interviews By Topic

Vaccine tubes

In her book "On Immunity," social critic Eula Biss explores the metaphors and myths hidden within the current vaccine debate.More

Monster Dogs

Kirsten Bakis first wrote her story of biomechanically-enhanced, hyper-intelligent dogs 20 years ago, and it’s been a cult favorite ever since. So why create a post-modern Frankenstein story with dogs at the heart of the tale?More

Carolyn Smith

Could you trade the convenience of instant-purchase online clothing stores for a wardrobe you made yourself? Carolyn Smith went for an even bigger challenge: only wearing clothing she made by hand for a full year.More

Anne Strainchamps and Susan Orlean at the National Writers Series

Anne recently interviewed author Susan Orlean on stage at the National Writers Series in Traverse City, Michigan.More

Ma Dukes and J Dilla

James Dewitt Yancey – also known as J Dilla — was a hip hop super-producer and pioneering beat-maker. J Dilla died at just 32 years old, and worked right up until the end, making music and creating beats from his hospital bed. His mother was there for every bit of it.More

British writer Martin Amis is 68 years old. He’s written 14 novels, hundreds of essays, memoirs, even a screen play. But he has strong feelings about writers who work past their prime. So he feels the clock ticking — is it time to pack it in? When will he know?More

kisses

Kathryn Bond Stockton is an English professor and queer theorist and a self-professed lover of kissing. She wrote a whole book just to make out what kissing means in our lives.More

people on the horizon

Psychologist Laurie Santos created a college course to teach students how to use what scientific research has discovered about what makes us happy and why. It became the most popular class in the 300 year history of Yale.More

sunny protest

Lynne Segal, the British feminist icon, has a theory about happiness: it's both personal and political. She advocates radical happiness — finding joy in collective action.More

The amazing brain, without a horn.

Gavin Francis is fascinated by the complexity and beauty of the human body, which is so finely engineered that it can seem almost miraculous.More

The Maraniss family in 1952, shortly after Elliott went before the House Un-American Activities Committee.

There’s a word that’s popping up a lot lately — McCarthyism. Are there really parallels today to the censorship that dominated America during that period? To find out, journalist and historian David Maraniss decided to dig up his own family history.More

College students on the left are demanding protection from words and ideas they consider harmful. Social psychologist Jonathan Haidt worries that the end result will be a generation that doesn’t know how to have real debates or constructive arguments.More

medieval knight

Medievalist Dorothy Kim argues that colleagues in her field need to speak out against hate speech being cloaked in iconography of the Middle Ages. An argument that has earned her harassment, hate, and violent threats from the self-described "alt-right."More

"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 many Alma Mahlers

Alma Mahler inspired symphonies, poems and paintings. She was lover and muse to some of the most celebrated artists of the early 20th century. Novelist Mary Sharratt thinks she would have been a great artist in her own right – if she hadn’t been born a woman. 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

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

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