402 episodes

Each week we bring you a new, in-depth exploration of the space where science and society collide. We’re committed to the idea that making an effort to understand the world around you though science and critical thinking can benefit everyone—and lead to better decisions. We want to find out what’s true, what’s left to discover, and why it all matters.

Inquiring Minds Indre Viskontas

    • Science
    • 4.4 • 815 Ratings

Each week we bring you a new, in-depth exploration of the space where science and society collide. We’re committed to the idea that making an effort to understand the world around you though science and critical thinking can benefit everyone—and lead to better decisions. We want to find out what’s true, what’s left to discover, and why it all matters.

    Updates from the Past and the Future

    Updates from the Past and the Future

    In today's up to date episode, Adam Bristol is back to highlight three scientific papers that have caught his eye lately. The first two are about our evolutionary history of life on this planet, filling in some of the holes in the fossil record, and making some unexpected discoveries along the way. The third paper has us looking at potential biosecurity concerns in the distant future, which may actually arise earlier than expected given humans' exploration of planets. From the distant past to the possibly not too distant future, Adam’s got the news for you here today.

     

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    Fossil evidence unveils an early Cambrian origin for Bryozoa

    Crab in amber reveals an early colonization of nonmarine environments during the Cretaceous

    Planetary Biosecurity: Applying Invasion Science to Prevent Biological Contamination from Space Travel

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    • 22 min
    Inside the Race to the Coronavirus Vaccine with Brendan Borrell

    Inside the Race to the Coronavirus Vaccine with Brendan Borrell

    In early 2020, experts predicted the development of the COVID-19 vaccine would take 12 to 18 months. Fast forward to today and there are at least five vaccines approved by the World Health Organization. Joining Indre today is Brendan Borrell, a health scientist and business journalist who’s written for The Atlantic, National Geographic, Wired, and The New York Times. He also happens to be the author of a new book, The First Shots: The Epic Rivalries and Heroic Science Behind the Race to the Coronavirus Vaccine, and in today’s show, he discusses his book, providing valuable insights into the early days of the virus, the political football and money plays involved, and other enthralling details surrounding the race to the COVID-19 vaccine.

                                                      

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    The First Shots: The Epic Rivalries and Heroic Science Behind the Race to the Coronavirus Vaccine





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    • 44 min
    Moving Your Way Through Cancer with Dr. Kathryn Schmitz

    Moving Your Way Through Cancer with Dr. Kathryn Schmitz

    The topic of cancer is one that has been addressed more than once before on Inquiring Minds, and today Indre visits it once again, this time looking at the impact that exercise can have on those undergoing cancer treatment. Joining her for this revelatory discussion is Dr. Kathryn Schmitz, whose many, many accomplishments include holding the position of Distinguished Professor of Public Health Sciences at Penn State’s College of Medicine and Penn State Cancer Institute, and as a past president of the American College of Sports Medicine. A tireless researcher and advocate in the field of exercise oncology, Dr. Schmitz has recently authored Moving Through Cancer: An Exercise and Strength-Training Program for the Fight of Your Life - Empowers Patients and Caregivers in 5 Steps. It is essentially a thoroughly science-based guide to how to strategically use exercise and strength training to help people fight cancer and recover from it, and Dr. Schmitz discusses it and so much more in today’s highly informative and thought provoking episode.

     

    Show Links:

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    Moving Through Cancer Homepage

     

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    • 36 min
    Making Sense of Self with Anil Seth

    Making Sense of Self with Anil Seth

    Indre continues to pursue her fascination with the neural basis of consciousness in this week’s episode. In her never ending quest to understand how the biology of the brain gives rise to every experience we’ve ever had, ever will have, and everything in between, she has picked the brains of a number of experts in the field over the years. Today is no exception as she revisits this favorite topic by welcoming to the podcast Anil Seth, Professor of Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience at the University of Sussex, and Co-Director of the Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science, for a discussion about his new book Being You: A New Science of Consciousness.

      

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    Being You: A New Science of Consciousness

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    • 46 min
    Updates from the Microscopic to the Astronomic

    Updates from the Microscopic to the Astronomic

    It seems like it’s been a couple months since the last ‘up to date’ segment of the podcast, so Adam Bristol is back to share just what exactly has been on his mind lately. From genetically modified mosquitoes to NASA knocking asteroids off course, it turns out there’s quite a lot occupying his thoughts. Not to be outdone, Indre counters with some protein-fuelled musical composition news of her own, so you know this is yet another wide ranging and thoroughly intriguing episode tailor made for inquiring minds.

     

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    Protein music of enhanced musicality by music style guided exploration of diverse amino acid propertie

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    • 22 min
    A Matter of Life, Death or Maybe Somewhere in Between with John and Lois Crowe

    A Matter of Life, Death or Maybe Somewhere in Between with John and Lois Crowe

    If there’s one thing we can probably all agree on, it’s that water is a necessary component for life, right? Well, here to muddy up that argument is the adorable tardigrade which, it turns out, can survive extreme drying or dehydration, and can be revived by simply adding water. Much of what is known about these remarkable creatures comes courtesy of John and Lois Crowe, two retired UC Davis scientists who devoted much of their lengthy careers to the study of this phenomenon, and Indre’s very special guests on the podcast today.

      

    Show Links:

    Inquiring Minds Podcast Homepage

    Support the show: https://www.patreon.com/inquiringminds

    See https://omnystudio.com/policies/listener for privacy information.

    Support the show: https://www.patreon.com/inquiringminds

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 26 min

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5
815 Ratings

815 Ratings

Flatbushpoppop ,

Offspring of Elevatorgate

“Inquiring Minds” began in 2013 when Chris Mooney and Indre Viscontas quit their jobs as hosts of the Center for Inquiry podcast “Point of Inquiry” in protest over remarks by CFI chief Ron Lindsey that were critical of skeptic personality Rebecca Watson, the central figure of the “Elevatorgate” brouhaha that marked the beginning of the end of the New Atheist movement of the aughts. After leaving PoI at the behest of the show’s producer—who was Watson’s boyfriend—Mooney and Viscontas started this podcast. Mooney didn’t stick around for long, but Viscontas has kept the show going for eight years. The show currently consists primarily of interviews with the authors of popular science books. Viscontas is a decent interviewer. I sort of wish that she and Mooney hadn’t dropped the religious skepticism aspect of the “Point of Inquiry” show when they started this show, but that decision probably helped the show last this long.

Mack019 ,

Light and largely data free

One of my top 3 podcasts several years ago. Then they went full on social justice and it became just another NPR show showing only half the data; so I dropped out for a year or so. Came back recently and was hopeful. Listened to recent shows on food, dating and where AI came from. Just ok. Lots of opinions without backing and very little that's new or not obvious.

One last chance with a favorite topic of mine "future of work". Indres, couldn't you find someone better than Jamie Merisotis? Hard to keep track of all the vague buzzword and platitudes. I got one interesting fact out of it; community college enrollment is dropping off and that's it. What amazes me is Jamie was described as a CEO; that's hard to believe.

I dropped out after 30 minutes so maybe it got better. At least the social justice stuff bias has been dropped, so maybe you're attempting to regain some scientific credibility. I'll try again next year. It's really too bad. Indres is too gifted to be just another NPR talking head.

Theeban Thavanandam ,

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