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On the Open In Indiana Podcast, we promote the people, places and events that make Indiana a great place to live, work and visit. Each week, we meet a new guest and learn about their journey into entrepreneurship and what they learned along the way.
 
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We have developed two distinct books, Indiana Steinhardt and the Quest for Quasicrystals, and Inflated Expectations: A Cosmological Tale, based on Howard Burton’s in-depth, filmed conversations with Paul Steinhardt, the Albert Einstein Professor of Science and Director of the Center for Theoretical Science at Princeton University. The first one is …
 
For a majority of African women, the “colonial encounter” occurred at the maternity ward, the health centre, or Maternal and Infant Welfare Centres. In Être mère en situation coloniale: Gold Coast (années 1910-1950) (Editions de la Sorbonne, 2020), Anne Hugon analyzes the consequences of colonialism on colonized women, through a history of maternal…
 
Critical Situations is based on an in-depth filmed conversation between Howard Burton and Philip Zimbardo, Professor Emeritus of Psychology at Stanford University. During this extensive conversation Philip Zimbardo relates his intriguing life history and the survival techniques that he developed from the particular dynamics of his upbringing in the…
 
The Enlightenment is often either praised as the wellspring of modern egalitarianism or condemned as the cradle of scientific racism. How should we make sense of this paradox? The Color of Equality: Race and Common Humanity in Enlightenment Thought (U Pennsylvania Press, 2021) is the first book to investigate both the inclusive language of common h…
 
Exposing ethical dilemmas of neuroscientific research on violence, this book warns against a dystopian future in which behavior is narrowly defined in relation to our biological makeup. Biological explanations for violence have existed for centuries, as has criticism of this kind of deterministic science, haunted by a long history of horrific abuse…
 
Today I talked to Brandy Schillace about her book Mr. Humble and Dr. Butcher: A Monkey's Head, the Pope's Neuroscientist, and the Quest to Transplant the Soul (Simon and Schuster, 2021). In the early days of the Cold War, a spirit of desperate scientific rivalry birthed a different kind of space race: not the race to outer space that we all know, b…
 
Students in twelfth-century Paris held slanging matches, branding the English drunkards, the Germans madmen and the French as arrogant. On Crusade, army recruits from different ethnic backgrounds taunted each other’s military skills. Men producing ethnography in monasteries and at court drafted derogatory descriptions of peoples dwelling in territo…
 
Astrophysical Wonders is based on an in-depth filmed conversation between Howard Burton and Scott Tremaine, Professor Emeritus of Astrophysics at the Institute for Advanced Study and an internationally renowned expert in both galactic-scale and planetary-scale astronomy. Topics that are part of this extensive conversation include the process of sci…
 
We interview Dr. Joel Whitebook, philosopher and psychoanalyst about his book Freud: An Intellectual Biography (Cambridge UP, 2017). Dr. Whitebook works in Critical Theory in the tradition of the Frankfurt School, developing that tradition with his clinical and philosophical knowledge of recent advances in psychoanalytic theory. The life and work o…
 
Do doctors really know what they are talking about when they tell us vaccines are safe? Should we take climate experts at their word when they warn us about the perils of global warming? Why should we trust science when our own politicians don’t? In this landmark book, Naomi Oreskes offers a bold and compelling defense of science, revealing why the…
 
With the opening of the Suez Canal, larger and faster steamships, plus dockside engineering to accommodate them – time shrunk in the British Empire. The movement of bodies between the U.K and colonial outposts quickened. In Kristen D. Hussey’s Imperial Bodies in London: Empire, Mobility, and the Making of British Medicine, 1880-1914 (U Pittsburgh P…
 
Appreciating Analytic Philosophy is based on an in-depth filmed conversation between Howard Burton and Scott Soames, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at University of Southern California. Scott Soames is specialized in the philosophy of language and the history of analytic philosophy. This detailed conversation provides a thoughtful introducti…
 
Edited by Diego Armus and Pablo Gómez, The Gray Zones of Medicine: Healers and History in Latin America (University of Pittsburgh Press 2021) tell the stories of health practitioners that thrived in a gray space between legality and criminality, the trajectories they followed, and the interstitial spaces they inhabited between official and unoffici…
 
Examining Time is based on an in-depth filmed conversation between Howard Burton and Lee Smolin who is a faculty member of Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. The basis of this wide-ranging conversation are Lee Smolin’s books Life of the Cosmos and Time Reborn. This detailed discussion offers an investigation of time, both what it is and h…
 
Islam's contributions to the natural sciences has long been recognized within the Euro-American academy, however, such studies tend to include one of a number of narrative tropes, either emphasizing the "Golden Age" model, focusing on scientific productions in Baghdad and other centers around the first millennium CE; emphasizing Islam's role in tra…
 
We are surrounded by more readily available information than ever before. And a huge percentage of it is inaccurate. Some of the bad info is well-meaning but ignorant. Some of it is deliberately deceptive. All of it is pernicious. With the internet always at our fingertips, what’s a teacher of history to do? In Why Learn History (When It’s Already …
 
In the last twenty years, cosmology has unexpectedly emerged as one of the most exciting and dynamic fields of modern science. From astoundingly precise measurements of the cosmic microwave background to the ongoing mysteries of dark energy and dark matter, modern cosmology is unquestionably in the midst of its Golden Age. And yet, one of the most …
 
In Healing Knowledge in Atlantic Africa (Cambridge UP, 2021), Kalle Kananoja tells the story of how pre-colonial communities throughout the west coast of Africa employed a wide range of medical and spiritual strategies to treat all kinds of diseases. In the sixteenth century, the arrival of European traders and colonists initiated an exchange of he…
 
Race, while drawn from the visual cues of human diversity, is an idea with a measurable past, an identifiable present, and an uncertain future. The concept of race has been at the center of both triumphs and tragedies in American history and has had a profound effect on the human experience. Race Unmasked: Biology and Race in the Twentieth Century …
 
From Country to Nation: Ethnographic Studies, Kokugaku, and Spirits in Nineteenth-Century Japan (Cornell UP, 2021) tracks the emergence of the modern Japanese nation in the nineteenth century through the history of some of its local aspirants. It explores how kokugaku (Japan studies) scholars envisioned their place within Japan and the globe, while…
 
How does colonialism still shape museums today? In Cataloguing Culture: Legacies of Colonialism in Museum Documentation (UBC Press, 2020), Hannah Turner, an assistant professor in the School of Information at the University of British Columbia, reveals the complex history of cataloguing museum collections. Using a case study of The Smithsonian, the…
 
Deconstructing Genius is based on an in-depth filmed conversation between Howard Burton and intellectual historian Darrin McMahon, Dartmouth College. The word “genius” evokes great figures like Einstein, Leonardo Da Vinci, and Mozart but what quintessential quality unites these individuals? Can we measure it? Can we create it? This thoughtful conve…
 
At first glance, medicine and poison might seem to be opposites. But in China’s formative era of pharmacy (200–800 CE), poisons were strategically deployed as healing agents to cure everything from chills to pains to epidemics. Healing with Poisons: Potent Medicines in Medieval China (U Washington Press, 2021) explores the ways physicians, religiou…
 
For most of our time on this planet, vermin were considered humanity's common inheritance. Fleas, lice, bedbugs, and rats were universal scourges, as pervasive as hunger or cold, at home in both palaces and hovels. But with the spread of microscopic close-ups of these creatures, the beginnings of sanitary standards, and the rising belief that clean…
 
Wonder how America's individual inventors persisted alongside corporate R&D labs as an important source of inventions beginning at the turn of the early twentieth century? American Independent Inventors in an Era of Corporate R&D (MIT Press, 2021) by Eric S. Hintz presents a candid look into the history behind the phenomenon. During the nineteenth …
 
Though trained as a medical doctor, chemist Harvey Wiley spent most of his professional life advocating for "pure food"—food free of both adulterants and preservatives. A strong proponent of the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906, still the basis of food safety legislation in the United States, Wiley gained fame for what became known as the Poison Squa…
 
Our universe might appear chaotic, but deep down it's simply a myriad of rules working independently to create patterns of action, force, and consequence. In Ten Patterns That Explain the Universe (MIT Press, 2021), Brian Clegg explores the phenomena that make up the very fabric of our world by examining ten essential sequenced systems. From diagra…
 
As algorithms become ever more significant to and embedded in our everyday lives, ever more accessible introductions to them are needed. While several excellent technical and critical treatments have emerged in recent years, i had not come across a book for the general public that would provide a deep sense for the intuitions and motivations behind…
 
In this episode I am in conversation with artist and author Vanilla Beer about her 2019 book Stafford Beer: The Father of Management Cybernetics. While he got is start in the academic world, it was in industry where Stafford Beer made is most recognized contributions. Beer is best known for being the first systems thinker to apply cybernetics to ma…
 
The Problems of Physics, Reconsidered is based on an in-depth filmed conversation between Howard Burton and Physics Nobel Laureate Tony Leggett. The basis of this conversation is Tony Leggett’s book The Problems of Physics and further explores the insightful plain-speaking itemization that he developed of the physics landscape according to four bas…
 
Big and Little Histories: Sizing Up Ethics in Historiography (Routledge, 2021) introduces students to ethics in historiography through an exploration of how historians in different times and places have explained how history ought to be written and how those views relate to different understandings of ethics. No two histories are the same. The book…
 
Over the past seventy years, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM, has evolved from a virtually unknown and little-used pamphlet to an imposing and comprehensive compendium of mental disorder. Its nearly 300 conditions have become the touchstones for the diagnoses that patients receive, students are taught, researchers …
 
A Matter of Energy: Biology From First Principles is based on an in-depth filmed conversation between Howard Burton and Nick Lane, Professor of Evolutionary Biochemistry at University College London and bestselling author. After an inspiring exploration of Nick Lane’s career path, this wide-ranging conversation covers his bioenergetic view of early…
 
Nature, it has been said, invites us to eat by appetite and rewards by flavor. But what exactly are flavors? Why are some so pleasing while others are not? Delicious is a supremely entertaining foray into the heart of such questions. With generous helpings of warmth and wit, Rob Dunn and Monica Sanchez offer bold new perspectives on why food is enj…
 
When we think of the forces driving cancer, we don’t necessarily think of evolution. But evolution and cancer are closely linked because the historical processes that created life also created cancer. The Cheating Cell: How Evolution Helps Us Understand and Treat Cancer (Princeton UP, 2020) delves into this extraordinary relationship, and shows tha…
 
Cosmological Conundrums is based on an in-depth filmed conversation between Howard Burton and Justin Khoury, Professor of Physics at the University of Pennsylvania. This thoughtful, extensive conversation gives a window into the world of a practicing cosmologist, the often-considerable gap between formal scientific positions and personal scientific…
 
Often seen as an outlier in science, Gaia has run a long and varied course since its formulation in the 1970s by atmospheric chemist James Lovelock and microbiologist Lynn Margulis. Gaian Systems: Lynn Margulis, Neocybernetics, and the End of the Anthropocene (U Minnesota Press, 2020) is a pioneering exploration of the dynamic and complex evolution…
 
Tracing Mead’s career as an ethnographer, as the early voice of public anthropology, and as a public figure, this elegantly written biography links the professional and personal sides of her career. Paul Shankman's Margaret Mead (Berghahn Books, 2021) looks at Mead’s early career through the end of World War II, when she produced her most important…
 
The scientists affiliated with the early Royal Society of London have long been regarded as forerunners of modern empiricism, rejecting the symbolic and moral goals of Renaissance natural history in favor of plainly representing the world as it really was. In Aesthetic Science, Alexander Wragge-Morley challenges this interpretation by arguing that …
 
The Derveni Papyrus is based on an in-depth filmed conversation between Howard Burton and Richard Janko, Gerald F. Else Distinguished University Professor of Classical Studies at the University of Michigan. This wide-ranging conversation covers Prof. Janko’s research on the Derveni Papyrus, Europe’s oldest surviving manuscript from the 4th century …
 
To envision and create the futures we want, society needs an appropriate understanding of the likely impact of alternative actions. Data models and visualizations offer a way to understand and intelligently manage complex, interlinked systems in science and technology, education, and policymaking. Atlas of Forecasts: Modeling and Mapping Desirable …
 
The Berlin Ethnological Museum is one of the world's largest and most important anthropological museums, housing more than a half million objects collected from around the globe. In Humboldt's Shadow tells the story of the German scientists and adventurers who, inspired by Alexander von Humboldt's inclusive vision of the world, traveled the earth i…
 
Stigma about mental illness makes life doubly hard for people suffering from mental or emotional distress. In addition to dealing with their conditions, they must also contend with social shame and secrecy. But by examining how mental illness is conceived of and treated in other cultures, we can improve our own perspectives in the Western world. In…
 
In this episode I spoke with Magnus Ramage, co-author of Systems Thinkers (Springer, 2020). This second edition provides an update to Ramage’s and co-author Karen Shipp’s earlier exploration, and presents an enlightening—often inspiring—biographical history of the field of systems thinking. Systems thinking is necessarily interdisciplinary; as such…
 
"On the outskirts of Havana lies Mazorra, an asylum known to--and at times feared by--ordinary Cubans for over a century. Since its founding in 1857, the island's first psychiatric hospital has been an object of persistent political attention. Drawing on hospital documents and government records, as well as the popular press, photographs, and oral …
 
Thomas O. Haakenson's book Grotesque Visions: The Science of Berlin Dada (Bloomsbury, 2021) focuses on the radical avant-garde interventions of Salomo Friedländer (aka Mynona), Til Brugman, and Hannah Höch as they challenged the questionable practices and evidentiary claims of late-19th- and early-20th-century science. Demonstrating the often exces…
 
Science and Pseudoscience is based on an in-depth filmed conversation between Howard Burton and Michael Gordin, Rosengarten Professor of Modern and Contemporary History at Princeton University. This thought-provoking, extensive conversation examines the strange case of Immanuel Velikovsky, author of the bestselling book “Worlds in Collision” that m…
 
Remapping empire, nature, and scientific enquiry beyond the simple binary exchange between periphery and metropole, Dr. Kirsten Greer demonstrates how ornithology, the study of birds, became entwined with tours of duty for British military officers shaping military strategy and developing ecological understanding. A critical historical geography of…
 
Statistical graphing was born in the seventeenth century as a scientific tool, but it quickly escaped all disciplinary bounds. Today graphics are ubiquitous in daily life. In their just-published A History of Data Visualization and Graphic Communication (Harvard UP, 2021), Michael Friendly and Howard Wainer detail the history of graphs and tables, …
 
Disturbing Spirits: Mental Illness, Trauma, and Treatment in Modern Syria and Lebanon by Beverly A. Tsacoyianis (University of Notre Dame Press, 2021) investigates the psychological toll of conflict in the Middle East during the twentieth century, including a discussion of how spiritual and religious frameworks influence practice and theory. Blendi…
 
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