77 episodes

We tell the stories behind the pioneering research and pivotal breakthroughs reshaping our world. Change how you see the world. Produced out of The University of Chicago. Adweek's "Best Branded Podcast" of 2020.

Big Brain‪s‬ UCPN

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.7 • 235 Ratings

We tell the stories behind the pioneering research and pivotal breakthroughs reshaping our world. Change how you see the world. Produced out of The University of Chicago. Adweek's "Best Branded Podcast" of 2020.

    The Ethics of COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution, with Laurie Zoloth

    The Ethics of COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution, with Laurie Zoloth

    The coronavirus pandemic has raised countless ethical questions: How do we balance restricting freedoms with protecting others, how do we ethically distribute vaccines, should we ask healthy people to get infected in the name of science?

    There’s no one better to discuss these dilemmas with than Laurie Zoloth. She’s a Professor of Religion and Ethics at the University of Chicago, one of the leading thinkers on bioethics, and serves on committees and advisory boards with organizations like the CDC and

    • 32 min
    The Doomsday Clock’s ‘Historic Wake-Up Call,’ With Rachel Bronson

    The Doomsday Clock’s ‘Historic Wake-Up Call,’ With Rachel Bronson

    The Doomsday Clock has been set at 100 seconds to midnight—as close to total destruction as we were in 2020. But after a year of increasingly dangerous weather and wildfires, not to mention the COVID-19 pandemic, why didn’t the clock move?

    Rachel Bronson is the president and CEO of the Bulletin of The Atomic Scientists, the organization that sets the clock. We sit down with her to talk about the thinking behind this year’s clock, climate change, pandemics and the ever-increasing threat of nuclear w

    • 34 min
    Unraveling the Mystery of Life’s Origins on Earth, with Jack Szostak

    Unraveling the Mystery of Life’s Origins on Earth, with Jack Szostak

    What are the biggest questions in science: Can we cure cancer, solve the climate crisis, make it to Mars? For Nobel laureate Jack Szostak, the biggest question is much more fundamental: What is the origin of life?

    A professor of genetics at Harvard University, Szostak has dedicated his lab to the complex puzzle of life’s origins on Earth. The story takes us back billions of years and may provide answers to some of our most mysterious questions: Where did we come from—and are we alone in the univer

    • 21 min
    The Urgent Need to Reinvest in American Research, with Barbara Snyder

    The Urgent Need to Reinvest in American Research, with Barbara Snyder

    Our podcast is all about research. Every episode we investigate what scholars have discovered and why it matters. But we’re going to get meta on this episode and look at what makes this research possible—and the dangers of taking it for granted, especially during crises like the COVID-19 pandemic.
    Barbara Snyder, JD’80, is president of the Association of American Universities (AAU), an organization composed of America’s leading research universities. On this episode, she lays out the case for investing more in academic research, and what we may lose if we don’t.

    • 26 min
    Getting Out Of The Lab With John List

    Getting Out Of The Lab With John List

    Our team is taking some time off to be with their families for the holidays. But, just in case you have a long flight, car ride, or maybe need something to do in-between Zoom calls, we’re re-sharing one of the most enlightening and engaging conversations we've ever had on this show to get you through it. Please enjoy, and we’ll see you with all-new episodes after the holidays.

    • 27 min
    How Alternate Reality Games Are Changing The Real World with Patrick Jagoda and Kristen Schilt

    How Alternate Reality Games Are Changing The Real World with Patrick Jagoda and Kristen Schilt

    What is the most popular form of media today: Movies? Music? Books? Nope, it’s video games. And two scholars at the University of Chicago are re-thinking how to use them to address some of the world’s biggest issues.

    Prof. Patrick Jagoda and Assoc. Prof. Kristen Schilt are designing alternate reality games that allow players to become active participants. These games educate users about climate change, marginalization and public health, while investigating how crafting "ARG"s can reshape the real wor

    • 33 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
235 Ratings

235 Ratings

Bellow Chicago ,

Great Podcast

I always learn something new.

MCCMEX ,

Great podcast

Love this podcast; I never miss an episode

Clarisse Gomez ,

Awesome Podcast!!!

The host of the Big Brains podcast, highlights all aspects of society & culture and more in this can’t miss podcast! The host and expert guests offer insightful advice and information that is helpful to anyone that listens!

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