515 episodes

Interviews with Scientists about their New Books
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    • Science
    • 4.5 • 10 Ratings

Interviews with Scientists about their New Books
Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/science

    Brendan Borrell, "The First Shots: The Epic Rivalries and Heroic Science Behind the Race to the Coronavirus Vaccine" (Mariner Books, 2021)

    Brendan Borrell, "The First Shots: The Epic Rivalries and Heroic Science Behind the Race to the Coronavirus Vaccine" (Mariner Books, 2021)

    Heroic science. Chaotic politics. Billionaire entrepreneurs. Award-winning journalist Brendan Borrell brings the defining story of our times alive through compulsively readable, first-time reporting on the players leading the fight against a vicious virus. The First Shots: The Epic Rivalries and Heroic Science Behind the Race to the Coronavirus Vaccine (Mariner Books, 2021), soon to be the subject of an HBO limited series with superstar director and producer Adam McKay (Succession, Vice, The Big Short), draws on exclusive, high-level access to weave together the intense vaccine-race conflicts among hard-driving, heroic scientists and the epic rivalries among Washington power players that shaped 18 months of fear, resolve, and triumph.
    From infectious disease expert Michael Callahan, an American doctor secretly on the ground in Wuhan in January 2020 to gauge the terrifying ravages of Disease X; to Robert (Dr. Bob) Kadlec, one of Operation Warp Speed’s architects, whose audacious plans for the American people run straight into the buzz saw of the Trump White House factions; to Stéphane Bancel of upstart Moderna Therapeutics going toe-to-toe with pharma behemoth Pfizer, The First Shots lays bare, in a way we have not seen, the full stunning story behind the medical science “moon shot” of our lifetimes.
    Galina Limorenko is a doctoral candidate in Neuroscience with a focus on biochemistry and molecular biology of neurodegenerative diseases at EPFL in Switzerland. To discuss and propose the book for an interview you can reach her at galina.limorenko@epfl.ch.
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    • 43 min
    Paul Halpern, "Flashes of Creation: George Gamow, Fred Hoyle, and the Great Big Bang Debate" (Basic Books, 2021)

    Paul Halpern, "Flashes of Creation: George Gamow, Fred Hoyle, and the Great Big Bang Debate" (Basic Books, 2021)

    Today, the Big Bang is so entrenched in our understanding of the cosmos that to doubt it would seem crazy. But as Paul Halpern shows in Flashes of Creation: George Gamow, Fred Hoyle, and the Great Big Bang Debate (Basic Books, 2021), just decades ago its mere mention caused sparks to fly. At the center of the debate were Russian American physicist George Gamow and British astrophysicist Fred Hoyle. Gamow insisted that a fiery explosion explained how the elements of the universe were created. Attacking the idea as half-baked, Hoyle countered that the universe was engaged in a never-ending process of creation. The battle was fierce. In the end, Gamow turned out to be right -- mostly -- and Hoyle, despite his many achievements, is remembered for giving the theory the silliest possible name: "The Big Bang." Halpern captures the brilliance of both thinkers and reminds us that even those proved wrong have much to teach us about boldness, imagination, and the universe itself.
    Galina Limorenko is a doctoral candidate in Neuroscience with a focus on biochemistry and molecular biology of neurodegenerative diseases at EPFL in Switzerland. To discuss and propose the book for an interview you can reach her at galina.limorenko@epfl.ch.
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    • 1 hr 7 min
    Karl Herrup, "How Not to Study a Disease: The Story of Alzheimer's" (MIT Press, 2021)

    Karl Herrup, "How Not to Study a Disease: The Story of Alzheimer's" (MIT Press, 2021)

    For decades, some of our best and brightest medical scientists have dedicated themselves to finding a cure for Alzheimer's disease. What happened? Where is the cure? The biggest breakthroughs occurred twenty-five years ago, with little progress since. In How Not to Study a Disease: The Story of Alzheimer's (MIT Press, 2021), neurobiologist Karl Herrup explains why the Alzheimer's discoveries of the 1990s didn't bear fruit and maps a direction for future research. Herrup describes the research, explains what's taking so long, and offers an approach for resetting future research.
    Herrup offers a unique insider's perspective, describing the red flags that science ignored in the rush to find a cure. He is unsparing in calling out the stubbornness, greed, and bad advice that has hamstrung the field, but his final message is a largely optimistic one. Herrup presents a new and sweeping vision of the field that includes a redefinition of the disease and a fresh conceptualization of aging and dementia that asks us to imagine the brain as a series of interconnected neighborhoods. He calls for changes in virtually every aspect of the Alzheimer's disease research effort, from the drug development process, to the mechanisms of support for basic research, to the often-overlooked role of the scientific media, and more. With How Not to Study a Disease, Herrup provides a roadmap that points us in a new direction in our journey to a cure for Alzheimer's.
    Galina Limorenko is a doctoral candidate in Neuroscience with a focus on biochemistry and molecular biology of neurodegenerative diseases at EPFL in Switzerland. To discuss and propose the book for an interview you can reach her at galina.limorenko@epfl.ch.
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    • 51 min
    Aro Velmet, "Pasteur's Empire: Bacteriology and Politics in France, Its Colonies, and the World" (Oxford UP, 2020)

    Aro Velmet, "Pasteur's Empire: Bacteriology and Politics in France, Its Colonies, and the World" (Oxford UP, 2020)

    Aro Velmet's Pasteur's Empire: Bacteriology in France, Its Colonies, and the World (Oxford UP, 2020) is a complex history of the Pasteur Institutes, a network of scientific laboratories established in France and throughout the French empire, beginning in the last decade of the nineteenth century. The book examines the crucial roles Pastorians and Pasteurization played in the imperial project in and between different locations, particularly in Southeast Asia and Africa. Participating in the "civilizing mission," helping to establish and maintain industrial monopolies, and the control of colonial bodies through public health regulation and disease management, the institutes had a tremendous political impact.  
    Attentive to the experiences and perspectives of the Vietnamese and African peoples in the sites the book focuses on, Pasteur's Empire examines a range of scientific responses and measures, from the study and containment of infectious and epidemic disease to the microbiological aspects of industry. The book's chapters move from "Indochina" to North and West Africa, tracing the way that Pastorians and Pasteurization worked with(in) and sometimes pushed against colonial structures and assumptions. French modernity and the "civilizing mission" had profound and practical biological dimensions. A history that pursues ideas about modernity and the meanings of scientific and other forms of mobility, Pasteur's Empire moves from the local to the global while bringing together science, medicine, and politics. Enjoy the episode!
    Roxanne Panchasi is an Associate Professor of History at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada who specializes in twentieth and twenty-first century France and its empire. If you have a recent title to suggest for the podcast, please send her an email (panchasi@sfu.ca).
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    • 1 hr 3 min
    Exploring Science Literacy and Public Engagement with Science

    Exploring Science Literacy and Public Engagement with Science

    Listen to this interview of Ayelet Baram-Tsabari. We talk about the accessibility of science using Google to scholars and students in languages beyond English and how scholars can de-jargonize their research to ensure increase their reach.
    Avi Staiman is the founder and CEO of Academic Language Experts
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    • 48 min
    David Sulzer, "Music, Math, and Mind: The Physics and Neuroscience of Music" (Columbia UP, 2021)

    David Sulzer, "Music, Math, and Mind: The Physics and Neuroscience of Music" (Columbia UP, 2021)

    Why does a clarinet play at lower pitches than a flute? What does it mean for sounds to be in or out of tune? How are emotions carried by music? Do other animals perceive sound like we do? How might a musician use math to come up with new ideas?
    This book offers a lively exploration of the mathematics, physics, and neuroscience that underlie music in a way that readers without scientific background can follow. David Sulzer, also known in the musical world as Dave Soldier, explains why the perception of music encompasses the physics of sound, the functions of the ear and deep-brain auditory pathways, and the physiology of emotion. He delves into topics such as the math by which musical scales, rhythms, tuning, and harmonies are derived, from the days of Pythagoras to technological manipulation of sound waves. Sulzer ranges from styles from around the world to canonical composers to hip-hop, the history of experimental music, and animal sound by songbirds, cetaceans, bats, and insects. He makes accessible a vast range of material, helping readers discover the universal principles behind the music they find meaningful.
    Written for musicians and music lovers with any level of science and math proficiency, including none, Music, Math, and Mind: The Physics and Neuroscience of Music (Columbia UP, 2021) demystifies how music works while testifying to its beauty and wonder.
    Galina Limorenko is a doctoral candidate in Neuroscience with a focus on biochemistry and molecular biology of neurodegenerative diseases at EPFL in Switzerland. To discuss and propose the book for an interview you can reach her at galina.limorenko@epfl.ch.
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    • 1 hr 16 min

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