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Programming Archive

Wednesday, July 13, 2011 - 6:00pm

Bassist and singer Esperanza Spalding took the jazz world by storm with her grooving bass lines and neo-soul inspired vocals, and she has since broken into the mainstream with a surprise win for Best New Artist at the 2011 Grammys. She shows off her dual talents on Lionel Hampton's "Midnight Sun" and joins in with her pianist, Leo Genovese, to sing a tune that seems to be her motto - "Jazz Ain't Nothing But Soul."

Wednesday, July 13, 2011 - 11:00am

There is a real passion for the writing of Jane Austen today. There are also the many movies and television series of Jane Austen novels, Jane Austen paper dolls, action figures and numerous Jane Austen “spin off” novels, one that even combines Pride and Prejudice and zombies. It is a veritable Jane-o-mania! But what is it about her novels, written long ago in Regency England that appeals to audiences today? Tonight’s guest on Inquiry is RACHEL M. BROWNSTEIN, Professor of English at Brooklyn College and the City University of New York Graduate Center. Her new witty and insightful book, WHY JANE AUSTEN?,  answers what is uniquely special about Jane Austen’s writing and why she is such an easy author to fall in love with. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011 - 11:00am

In the spring of 1975, a group of diverse physicists gathered in Berkeley and formed The Fundamental Fysiks Group to investigate and ponder some of the wild and wooly philosophical and metaphysical questions posed by quantum physics. They were interested in psychic phenomena, so-called Eastern Mysticism and new ways of looking at reality. What followed was a tale involving some of the leading physicists of the day as well as such controversial figures as Uri Geller and Werner Erhard founder of EST. At the legendary Esalen Institute, numerous physics seminars were held among the hot tubs, psychedelic drugs, and free love. But what came out of all this New Age craziness were some of the best-known popular books on quantum theory and, eventually, the foundation for quantum encryption. Join us on Inquiry tonight for our conversation with DAVID KAISER, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he teaches in the Program in Science, Technology and Society. His book, which tells this whole crazy story, is titled HOW THE HIPPIES SAVED PHYSICS: SCIENCE, COUNTERCULTURE, AND THE QUANTUM REVIVAL. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011 - 6:00pm

Even Simon Cowell was wowed by vocalist Melinda Doolittle, on the sixth season of American Idol, and although he said she should have won, she placed third in the competition. Melinda discusses what her music education and career as a back up singer brings to the solo career she enjoys now.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011 - 11:30am

Every bird’s nest is a wonderful example of non-human architecture. Imagine trying to weave and intricate tight cup of moss, lichen and spider’s webs using only your mouth and sometimes your feet! Yet birds do this every breeding season. Tonight on Inquiry, we welcome PETER GOODFELLOW, retired English teacher and lifelong birder, who has written one of the most beautiful books on the nests that birds create and how they build them: AVIAN ARCHITECTURE: HOW BIRDS DESIGN, ENGINEER AND BUILD. From simple scrapes in the ground, to monumental platforms high in trees, from enormous mounds of sand to mind-boggling complex hanging woven baskets, birds create structures of stunning complexity and variety. If you have ever  marveled at the nest of a robin or oriole, be sure to tune in. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011 - 11:00am

Everyone knows how  critical mathematics is to the hard sciences like physics. But how important is math to biology? Tonight’s returning guest is IAN STEWART, Emeritus Professor of Mathematics and active researcher at Warwick University in England. Professor Stewart believes that we are now seeing a dramatic change in the role importance of mathematics; logic and topology plays in genetics; studying viruses and even looking for extraterrestrial; life. His latest book, THE MATHEMATICS OF LIFE, wonderfully illustrates this new “biomathematics” and declares it to be the next major revolution in the Life Sciences. Tune in for a surprising and thought provoking discussion on the maths of life. 

Monday, July 11, 2011 - 6:00pm

At the age of 85, drummer Roy Haynes hasn't lost any of his percussive force. He made his marks ---playing with Charlie Parker, Pat Metheny, the Allman Brothers and even as DJ on the video game Grand Theft Auto IV. Now Haynes brings his vibrant Fountain of Youth Band to Rose Theater. Wendell Pierce hosts. Check out Roy Haynes' JazzStories podcast, available June 27; also on iTunes.

Sunday, July 10, 2011 - 10:30pm

This week Al speaks with author and investigative journalist Jason Berry. His new book, Render Unto Rome" gives us a first hand account of the financial missteps of the Catholic Church. Who should be accountable is the key question here. So tune in this Sunday evening at 10:30 PM.

Sunday, July 10, 2011 - 10:00pm

Our guest, John Brooks III, a well-known leader in the life-sciences industry, is the new president and CEO of Joslin Diabetes Center.

John became chairman of Joslin's board in May 2010 and is leaving that role to take the chief executive position. He is replacing Dr. Kenneth Quickel, who retired as Joslin's president and CEO in October 2010.

John has co-founded three life sciences companies, including Insulet, which offers an insulin-pump system for people with type 1 diabetes.

He has been principal of Healthcare Capital Consulting, which advises early-stage life-sciences companies, and a founder of Prism VentureWorks, which raised more than $1.25 billion in capital.

John is CEO of Reflectance Medical, which offers technology for non-invasive monitoring of critically ill patients.

Before moving fully into his new role, John will be transitioning out of his industry positions.

In the spirit of full disclosure, host Steve D'Agostino does social-media work for Joslin Diabetes Center.

Sunday, July 10, 2011 - 9:00pm

Today we often talk about the exhaustion, the surfeit and the pressure from the vast amount of electronic and digital information that is always swirling around us. But it is important to keep in mind that this has all been seen before when inventions like the telegraph and telephone threatened to eliminate time and space in their ages. Tonight on Inquiry we welcome the leading chronicler of science and technology JAMES GLEICK. His new book THE INFORMATION: A HISTORY. A THEORY. A FLOOD is an amazing account of the evolution of information technology, from talking drums to print to computers and Twitter and Facebook. Tonight we focus on one small part of that history, but a critical one.
Claude Shannon worked at Bell Labs in the 1940s as a cryptologist. From those studies he developed “a mathematical theory of communication” and was the first to use the term “a bit” to describe a piece of information. His ideas changed communications technology forever.

“The world doesn’t matter to us the way it used to.” So begins one of the most unique and thought provoking books on literature and philosophy: ALL THINGS SHINING: READING THE WESTERN CLASSICS TO FIND MEANING IN A SECULAR AGE. Authors HUBERT DREYFUS, a leading interpreter of existential philosophy and SEAN DORRANCE KELLY, Professor and Chair of the Department of Philosophy at Harvard, believe that we no longer lead the intense meaningful lives like the Greeks did at Homer’s time or the Italians did at the time of Dante. They believe that the Enlightenment’s metaphysical embrace of the individual leads not just to a boring life, but inevitably to a nearly unlivable one. Can we once again find meaning in the secular 21st Century by looking to the history of Western literature? Is the answer to today’s nihilism to be found in
Homer, Dante or Melville? Tune in tonight for the first part of a intense and lively discussion of philosophy and literature.

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