37 episodes

Circle of Willis is a podcast for and about the scientists, authors, journalists, and even a few mystics, who make and communicate science for all of us. Circle of Willis is brought to you by VQR, the Center for Media and Citizenship, and WTJU FM in Charlottesville, VA. We're also a proud member of the Virginia Audio Collective. Find out more at virginiaaudio.org.

Circle of Willis Jim Coan

    • Society & Culture
    • 5.0 • 28 Ratings

Circle of Willis is a podcast for and about the scientists, authors, journalists, and even a few mystics, who make and communicate science for all of us. Circle of Willis is brought to you by VQR, the Center for Media and Citizenship, and WTJU FM in Charlottesville, VA. We're also a proud member of the Virginia Audio Collective. Find out more at virginiaaudio.org.

    Tim Cunningham, Part 2

    Tim Cunningham, Part 2

    Episode Notes
    Welcome to Circle of Willis, my podcast about science and the scientists who do it, brought to you by generous folks at VQR, the Center for Media and Citizenship, and WTJU Radio at the University of Virginia here in Charlottesville.

    Folks, sometimes the chaos swirls and the lights dim. Sometimes things go very wrong and we don’t know what to do with ourselves. Sometimes those who’ve dedicated their lives to helping don’t know how to help, or, more likely these days, they don’t have the tools they need. And despite what you may have heard, laughter is not the best medicine.

    But in Part 2 of our conversation, my guest TIM CUNNINGHAM is here to remind us that sometimes laughter is the only medicine available, that laughter can catalyze the kinds of social connections we need most during our times of trial, and that laughter might even make those medicines that are the best more effective.

    Maybe that’s why Pablo Neruda once wrote,

    Take bread away from me, if you wish
    Take air away
    But do not take from me your laughter

    Humor has an almost mystical power to make life a little better, sometimes a LOT better.

    That’s why, in addition to being the VP for Practice and Innovation at Emory Healthcare, a Registered Nurse, and a Dr. of Public Health, Tim Cunningham is a professional Clown, trained at the Dell'Arte International School of Physical Theatre up in Northern California, and a board member of CLOWNS WITHOUT BORDERS, which you are going to hear all about in just a few moments.

    Tim is going to tell us how being a professional clown has informed his work, world view, and personal life, and how all of that converged in all too real moments of life and death in a time of pandemic.

    ————————

    Folks, the Music on Circle of Willis is written and performed by TOM STAUFFER and his band THE NEW DRAKES…

    For information about how to purchase their music, check the “Music if Circle of Willis” page at circleofwillispodcast.com

    Circle of Willis is Produced by SIVA VAIDHYANATHAN and brought to you by VQR and the Center for Media and Citizenship at the University of Virginia…

    And that Circle of Willis is a member of the VIRGINIA AUDIO COLLECTIVE! You can find out more about that at Virginiaaudio.org.

    Special thanks Circle of Willis Associate Producer GRACE BOYLE, NATHAN MOORE, General Manager and swell guy at WTJU FM in Charlottesville, VA, and tough as nails editor-in-chief PAUL REYES at VQR—otherwise known as the Virginia Quarterly Review, winner of the National Magazine Award for General Excellence, in 2019, and finalist for the same award right here in 2020.

    If you like this podcast, how about giving us a little review at iTunes and letting us know how we’re doing? It’s super easy and we like it!

    Or send us an email by going to circleofwillispodcast.com and clicking on the “contact” tab.

    Find out more at http://circleofwillispodcast.com

    This podcast is powered by Pinecast.

    • 27 min
    Tim Cunningham, Part 1

    Tim Cunningham, Part 1

    WELCOME BACK to CIRCLE OF WILLIS, my podcast about science and the scientists who do it. In this episode, I introduce you to TIM CUNNINGHAM, VP for Practice & Innovation at Emory Healthcare, super nice guy, and badass who's given more of himself than you have to the cause of health, well being, and even literal survival.

    Here in Part 1 of our interview, we talk about how caregivers and patients endure pandemics like the one we’re going through right now, from a guy who’s been through one before, as a pediatric nurse in Sierra Leone during the Ebola Crisis.

    Watch for Part 2, coming up in a couple of weeks, where Tim and I talk about the existential and life affirming practice of Clowning, and indeed about how Clowning dovetails with nursing and medicine, especially during times of crisis. Yes, I'm talking about being a literal professional clown. Tim is that, too.

    Folks, the Music on Circle of Willis is written and performed by TOM STAUFFER and his band THE NEW DRAKES…
    For information about how to purchase their music, check the “Music if Circle of Willis” page at circleofwillispodcast.com
    Circle of Willis is Produced by SIVA VAIDHYANATHAN and brought to you by VQR and the Center for Media and Citizenship at the University of Virginia…

    And that Circle of Willis is a member of the VIRGINIA AUDIO COLLECTIVE! You can find out more about that at Virginiaaudio.org.

    Special thanks Circle of Willis Associate Producer GRACE BOYLE, NATHAN MOORE, General Manager and swell guy at WTJU FM in Charlottesville, VA, and tough as nails editor-in-chief PAUL REYES at VQR—otherwise known as the Virginia Quarterly Review, winner of the National Magazine Award for General Excellence, in 2019, and finalist for the same award right here in 2020.

    If you like this podcast, how about giving us a little review at iTunes and letting us know how we’re doing? It’s super easy and we like it!

    Or send us an email by going to circleofwillispodcast.com and clicking on the “contact” tab.

    Find out more at http://circleofwillispodcast.com

    This podcast is powered by Pinecast.

    • 38 min
    Brian Nosek

    Brian Nosek

    Welcome to Circle of Willis!
    For this episode I'm sharing a conversation I had a while ago with BRIAN NOSEK, professor of Psychology here, with me, at the University of Virginia, as well as co-Founder and Executive Director of the CENTER FOR OPEN SCIENCE, also here in Charlottesville. Brian earned his PhD at Yale University way back in 2002, only about a year before I first met him here, when I was just a jittery job candidate.
    Brian has been in the public eye quite a lot in the past decade or so, not only due to his work with the Implicit Association Test, otherwise known as the IAT, but also and perhaps mainly for his more recent path breaking efforts to increase the transparency and reproducibility of the work scientists do.
    I think you'll find that in our conversation, Brian is relentlessly thoughtful about everything that comes up. And I want to say here, publicly, that I think he's absolutely right, at the very least, about the toxicity of the current system of incentives and rewards faced by academic scientists.
    Occasionally you'll hear that "science is broken." It's a great, click-baity phrase that thrives in our current social media ecosystem. But it's completely wrong.
    Science is not and has never been broken. Even now, science is our most precious, life affirming, life saving, human activity. Literally nothing humans have invented has done more than science has to improve our welfare, to increase our sensitivity to the natural world, or to reveal the forces and mechanisms that form and constrain our miraculous universe.
    But the institutional structures within which science is done are in bad shape.
    At the foundation, public funding for science is dismal, and that problem is yoked to the steadily declining public commitment to higher education in general. Our institutions have come to rely on bloated federal grants to just keep the lights on, and the responsibility for securing those federal dollars has fallen heavily on the shoulders of scientists who ought to be focused on making discoveries and solving the world's problems. And because that is a heavy burden, institutional structures have formed to incentivize -- some would say coerce -- scientists into striving for those federal dollars. Want to get tenure? Better bring in some big federal grants. Want 12 months of continuous salary? Better bring in some big federal grants. You get the idea.
    But there are other problems, too. Want to get a good raise? You'd better publish a lot.
    Note that I didn't say you'd better publish excellent work. No one would say that excellent work isn't valued -- it is -- but what you really want is good numbers, because numbers are easier to evaluate.
    And we love indices we can point to, that can help us evaluate each other as algorithmically as possible. So each individual scientist has an h-index associated with their name (Google Scholar thinks mine is 44). Journals come with impact factors. And all of these indices are relatively easy to game, so professional advancement and stability orients itself toward gaming the indices at least as much as doing high quality work.
    In the meantime, a profession -- a passion, and even an art, really -- can gradually transform into a cynical race for money and prestige.
    And though a scientist may well grow skilled at reeling in the money during their career, whatever level of prestige they attain will ultimately fail them.
    As John Cacioppo argued in a previous episode of this very podcast, you and your specific work are not likely to be remembered for long, if at all. Prestige and recognition are understandable but ultimately foolish goals. Far better, Cacioppo argued, to focus your attention on the process -- on the doing of your work.
    And your best shot at enjoying that work -- perhaps at enjoying your life -- is to make sure that the work that you do is aligned with your values.
    Brian Nosek a

    • 1 hr 1 min
    Preview: Brian Nosek

    Preview: Brian Nosek

    Hi Everyone!
    My conversation with BRIAN NOSEK is coming soon, but it isn't quite ready yet. In this preview we talk about how despite being the most successful endeavor in human history, science can be improved upon, not least through changing how we evaluate the success of individual scientists. Our current incentives might be encouraging us to make scientific “beauty out of mush.”
    This conversation is priceless. More soon!
    Jim

    • 4 min
    Susan Johnson, Part 2

    Susan Johnson, Part 2

    Welcome to Part 2 of my conversation with SUSAN JOHNSON, inventor of Emotionally Focused Therapy, or EFT, which is an evidence based therapy for couples that she's been developing and refining for more than30 years. How do you develop and refine a psychological intervention? Well, on the one hand, you spend a lot of time working with your intervention targets—in Sue's case, romantic couples in distress. On the other hand, you put a lot of time and energy into subjecting the intervention to scientific studies, not only to see whether it works, but to pick apart HOW it works, what the mechanisms are.
    Sue's work has influenced thousands of therapists and couples over the past several decades, and her work continues to this day, as professor emeritus at the University of Ottawa, as founder of the International Centre for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy, and as inductee into the very prestigious Order of Canada in recognition of her profound service to her adopted country.
    In the last episode, I mentioned her books HOLD ME TIGHT and LOVE SENSE. I advise you to check them out if you are interested in sprucing up your relationships and learning a little about what Sue calls the science of love.
    Sue is certainly passionate and committed to this work, but you'll also find that she's unusually thoughtful about it, too.
    Sue is a first generation college student who grew up working in a pub, in Chatham, Kent, southeast of London. I think you can hear that background in her, in the way she allows herself a sort of straight-talky candor and accessibility. But don't let that accessibility fool you. Sue is one of our deepest and most sophisticated thinkers.
    So here in Part 2, we dive a little deeper into the scientific side of Sue's life and into the development of EFT.
    And we talk a little bit about what life's all about, too.
    Wisdom, folks.
    * * * Music for this episode of Circle of Willis was written and performed by Tom Stauffer of Tucson, Arizona.
    For information about how to purchase Tom’s music, as well as the music of his band THE NEW DRAKES, visit his Amazon page.
    Circle of Willis is Produced by Siva Vaidhyanathan and brought brought to you by VQR and the Center for Media and Citizenship. Plus, we're a member of the TEEJ.FM podcast network. Special thanks to VQR Editor Paul Reyes, WTJU FM General Manager Nathan Moore, as well as NPR reporter and co-founder of the very popular podcast Invisibilia, Lulu Miller.

    • 44 min
    Susan Johnson, Part 1

    Susan Johnson, Part 1

    Welcome to Part 1 of my epic conversation with SUSAN JOHNSON, inventor of Emotionally Focused Therapy—EFT—which is an evidence-based therapy for couples, one focused on repairing and enhancing the kinds of emotional bonds that we all depend on for our health and well being. The author of numerous scientific articles, Sue has also written a bunch of books—some for practicing psychotherapists and some, notably HOLD ME TIGHT and LOVE SENSE, for the general public. In 2017, Sue was honored by the Canadian Government with membership in the Order of Canada, one of Canada's highest civilian honors, which recognizes outstanding achievement, dedication to the community, and service to the country.
    Sue is Professor Emeritus of Clinical Psychology at the University of Ottawa, and the founder of the International Centre for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy.
    * * * Music for this episode of Circle of Willis was written and performed by Tom Stauffer of Tucson, Arizona.
    For information about how to purchase Tom’s music, as well as the music of his band THE NEW DRAKES, visit his Amazon page.
    Circle of Willis is Produced by Siva Vaidhyanathan and brought brought to you by VQR and the Center for Media and Citizenship. Plus, we're a member of the TEEJ.FM podcast network. Special thanks to VQR Editor Paul Reyes, WTJU FM General Manager Nathan Moore, as well as NPR reporter and co-founder of the very popular podcast Invisibilia, Lulu Miller.

    • 44 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
28 Ratings

28 Ratings

SaveMoneyTravelWriteBooks ,

Gold standard for podcasts

Consistently brilliant, funny, inspiring, and heart warming.

Nikkisunside ,

Children at the Border episode ...

was really well done and powerful.

Animal lover29 ,

My favorite podcast, and I don't even like podcasts.

Each episode is full of rich insights and intriguing revelations as you peer under the hood of science with an accomplished guide at your side. The best part is Jim Coan's constant delight- - you can't help but be fascinated along with him. Warm, funny, full of curiosities.

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