BornCurious: Season 2

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Episode 208: Kindness—It’s Good for You!

  • The Biology of Kindness book cover

    GUESTS: IMMACULATA De VIVO and DANIEL LUMERA

    We’ve long known that our kindnesses benefit others, but did you know that they also benefit our own health? In this episode, our hosts sit down with the coauthors of a new book, The Biology of Kindness: Six Daily Choices for Health, Well-Being, and Longevity (MIT Press, 2024), that lays out the ways that science has shown prosocial behaviors to benefit us.


    This episode was recorded on February 29, 2024.
    Released on April 18, 2024.


    Episode 208 Details

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Episode 207: Let’s Talk about Climate Resilience

  • Portrait of Rob Verchick

    GUEST: ROB VERCHICK

    Heat waves, floods, droughts—catastrophes attributed to climate change seem to be happening more often. But is there reason for hope? In this episode, the climate change and disaster policy expert Rob Verchick outlines the challenges of climate change, especially when it comes to the law, along with why—despite the bad news—he remains hopeful.


    This episode was recorded on December 5, 2023.
    Released on April 11, 2024.


    Episode 207 Details

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Episode 206: Tackling Environmental Inequality across Academic Disciplines

  • GUESTS: SETH GERTZ-BILLINGSLEY and SONYA GUPTA

    Such environmental changes as pollution and climate change affect not only our ecosystem but also our people—those in low-income communities most of all. In this episode, our hosts talk to two recent Radcliffe Engaged Student Grant awardees from different disciplines—healthcare policy and the law—both of whom used the funds to study environmental inequality.


    This episode was recorded on November 30, 2023.
    Released on April 4, 2024.


    Episode 206 Details

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Episode 205: A Conversation with Ruth J. Simmons

  • Portrait of Ruth J. Simmons

    GUESTS: RUTH J. SIMMONS and TIYA MILES

    GUEST HOST: TOMIKO BROWN-NAGIN

    The scholars and university leaders Ruth J. Simmons and Tomiko Brown-Nagin discuss Simmons’s recent memoir, Up Home: One Girl’s Journey (Random House, 2023). Along the way, they consider her personal journey, her pioneering work researching and sharing publicly universities’ historical ties to slavery, and her perspectives on the future of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and higher education in light of recent Supreme Court rulings.


    This episode was recorded on November 14, 2023.
    Released on March 21, 2024.


    Episode 205 Details

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Episode 204: Math—It’s Not Just Numbers

  • Portrait of Laura Demarco

    GUEST: LAURA DeMARCO

    More than addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, mathematics is a “whole unexplored universe which has no boundaries,” says our guest, Laura DeMarco. In this episode, we reconsider not only what math is but also what it can do—and who can do it.


    This episode was recorded on November 9, 2023.
    Released on March 14, 2024.


    Episode 204 Details

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Episode 203: Is Losing an Hour of Sleep Really That Big a Deal?

  • A woman wearing glasses speaks into a microphone during a podcast recording.

    GUEST: ELIZABETH B. KLERMAN

    With daylight saving time coming up this weekend, one might wonder whether losing a single hour of sleep is that big of a deal. In this episode, we talk with a neurologist who specializes in daily rhythms about what might be lost along with that hour—and finally answer the question, Are you getting enough sleep?


    This episode was recorded on December 14, 2023.
    Released on March 7, 2024.


    Episode 203 Details

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Episode 202: A Conversation with Sherrilyn Ifill

  • Ifill sitting with her hands in her lap and smiling.

    GUESTS: SHERRILYN IFILL and GUY-URIL E. CHARLES

    GUEST HOST: TOMIKO BROWN-NAGIN

    In June 2023, a US Supreme Court ruling on two cases essentially ended affirmative action in higher education. In a 6–3 ruling, the court decided that accounting for race in admissions violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. In this deep dive into the ruling, the civil rights lawyer and legal scholar Sherrilyn Ifill and our dean, Tomiko Brown-Nagin—herself an award-winning legal historian and an expert in constitutional law—unpack the issues underpinning affirmative action and provide analysis of the decision for the layperson.


    This episode was recorded on October 18, 2023.
    Released on February 29, 2024.


    Episode 202 Details

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Episode 201: Riding the Radcliffe Wave

  • Computer model of the waving Radcliffe Wave

    GUESTS: JOÃO ALVES, ALYSSA A. GOODMAN, RALF KONIETZKA, and CATHERINE ZUCKER

    Today’s episode—released to coincide with the announcement of an astronomical discovery—brings us inside the exciting world of scientific inquiry. In 2020, a group of scientists discovered a star-producing cosmic ripple in the local arm of the Milky Way that changed scientists’ understanding of the galaxy that our solar system calls home. They named it the Radcliffe Wave after the generative environment that inspired the finding. And the discoveries keep coming: new research published in Nature confirms that the Radcliffe Wave is indeed in motion, as its name suggests. Today, we talk to four of the scientists who collaborated on this groundbreaking research about what it all means.


    This episode was recorded on February 6, 2024.
    Released on February 20, 2024.


    Episode 201 Details

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