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.
The Psychology of Getting Conned
The show this week features an interview with science writer Maria Konnikova about her book The Confidence Game: Why We Fall for It . . . Every Time. We recorded this interview back when the book first came in out in 2016, but it is, perhaps depressingly, still as relevant as ever. While it hasn’t always involved pillow salesmen and crypto billionaires, there have always been people trying to con you. So there’s no better time than right now to brush up on all the ways people get conned, the psychology of why it works, and what you can do to avoid it.
Understanding the Biggest Ideas in the Universe Without Being a Physicist
This week we welcome back theoretical physicist and philosopher Sean Carroll to talk about how his most recent book, The Biggest Ideas in the Universe: Space, Time, and Motion, attempts to bridge the gap between how scientists talk about physics and how they usually go about explaining it to non-scientists. The goal is to help you understand what physicists are talking about—equations and all—without needing to know much more than some algebra.
The Overlooked Gifts of Visual Thinkers with Temple Grandin
This week we’re joined by returning guest, animal behavior scientist, and autism rights advocate Temple Grandin to talk about her latest book Visual Thinking: The Hidden Gifts of People Who Think in Pictures, Patterns, and Abstractions.
Up to Date | Nanoparticle toothbrushes and a promising Alzheimer's drug
This week: new research into using nanoparticles and programmable magnets to clean your teeth; a potentially breakthrough study on a drug for Alzheimer's disease featuring the first positive trial ever for a disease of aging; recapping NASA’s recent Double Asteroid Redirection Test mission; and a look into how much control you actually have over what Youtube decides to show you.
These Numbers Explain the Nature of Reality
This week we talk to theoretical physicist and cosmologist Antonio Padilla about his new book Fantastic Numbers and Where to Find Them. It’s a book about nine unusual numbers that, once understood, can help you grasp how the universe actually works—from black holes, to gravity, to the passing of time itself.
The Science of How Your Dog’s Brain Works
This week we talk to Alexandra Horowitz from the Dog Cognition Lab at Barnard College about her new book The Year of the Puppy: How Dogs Become Themselves.
Horowitz’s book examines how a dog’s brain works and develops—how it dramatically changes during their first 12 months of life, her shifting perspective on dog cognition, and the vast differences between humans and dogs that we tend to overlook.Support the show: https://www.patreon.com/inquiringminds
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.
Love the Topics and Guests!
As a practicing therapists specializing in Addiction and Trauma, I’ve loved every episode I’ve listened to so far! You marry psychology, neuroscience, and anthropology/ cultural influence in such a seamless beautiful way to present oversimplified topics with the breadth and depth they deserve.
I particularly appreciate your episode on Addiction with Carl Erik Fisher (The Urge is phenomenal!) and the Science of Opinion. They both bring to mind Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs which is something I use a lot in my practice… may be a good topic at some point.
Thank you for such a great podcast, I’ve been looking for this for a long time!
This show has been one of my favorites for a long time. Science, research based material is what the world needs more of. Indre does an amazing job.