In the debate between scientific fact and religious faith, the author wonders if we, as skeptical people living in an age of science, have the capability believing in myth. Or, do we prefer living in a meaningless world.
This week provided some sage words on writing from Parker Palmer, a photo essay on "thin places" that take our breath away, a marvelous TED talk from a Nigerian writer, and a picture of the cosmos that stirs our origins.
Happiness. A word that gets bandied about quite a bit lately, and for good reason. An infographic that jogs a host of questions and insights.
Geneticist and Anglican priest Lindon Eaves offers insight on how he's able to take comfort in what he does not know, in both science and religion — something we could all learn from.
Would the Higgs boson exist without our thinking it existed in the first place. Is it possible that by thinking differently – about ourselves, about others, about our universe – we might begin to see things differently?
When you believe strongly in an idea, how do you shepherd it into being? As senior editor Trent Gilliss explains, sometimes it takes years of perseverance and framing.
Watch this fabulous talk on Hubble and Rembrandt, Casablanca in psychological terms, how stars actually "evolve," and why Malala Yousafzai's bravery is "the best example of the power of curiosity."
Feelings of guilt, normally shunned or discouraged, can actually signal a capacity for leadership. What does this say about people who never feel guilt?
Audio clips of the Pulitzer Prize-winning author on how we humans need to accept our role as an exceptional species and encountering the sacred in others through Calvinist thought.
An illustration of Xavier Le Pichon’s analogies between the “rigidity” and what he calls “ductility” of the earth, and human communities he's witnessed from India to France.
“Every single thing that religion provides, rationality, empiricism, and science can provide. And not only that — they can provide it better.” ~Dr. Lawrence Krauss
The physicist and atheist talks with Krista Tippett about what science may reveal about the origins of life and human consciousness.
With the important news about the the Higgs boson particle, this excellent video explainer with comic sketches may even help us understand it one day!
We captured highlights of Krista's live interview via Twitter.
What’s the line between utter brilliance and incalculable madness? Maybe it’s not a line but a shifting spectrum. Video from the World Science Festival with leading researchers James Fallon, Kay Redfield Jamison, Susan McKeown, and Elyn Saks discussing new studies showing that people with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia tend to possess higher creativity and intelligence.
Janna Levin launches a new film about Alan Turing at the World Science Festival.
Researchers are finding that students who show signs of depression clearly have different patterns of Internet use.
by Trent Gilliss, senior editor
Today the 2012 World Science Festival kicks off in venues across New York City. Two memories that jump out at me from past events are Bobby McFerrin’s demonstration of the universality of the pentatonic scale and string theorist Jim Gates’ story about encountering “God” on an Icelandic mountaintop.
And, in attendance will be our former senior producer Colleen Scheck will be doing a bit of moonlighting forOn Being. During the next several days, she and Peter Clowney will be scouting potential voices for future interviews with Krista and blogging + tweeting some of the highlights and provocative ideas.
I first began to gain a kind of respect for the revenge impulse in human life when we worked, in the early days of this program, on a show about the death penalty. I came to understand that revenge was the original “criminal justice system.” For most of human history, prior to the rule of law, prior to structures of justice that transcend the messiness of human interaction, the threat of retaliation has been a primary tool humans possessed to pursue justice and also to deter cycles of violence. I’ll never forget Sister Helen Prejean, a great campaigner against the death penalty, describing anger as a moral response. The question, of course, is where we let that anger take us.
Listen to these sounds of black holes merging and falling into one another and the "white noise" of the Big Bang. A TED Talk with Janna Levin that stirs the mind.
In this lecture for Westmont College’s series titled “Beyond Two Cultures: The Sciences as Liberal Arts,” string theorist Jim Gates offers his thoughts on the complementary natures of science and the liberal arts — and how the human mind formulates “systems of belief” in both disciplines.
This is the first time, in a formal structured way, I’ve been asked to speak before a group of academicians on this set of issues. It is a great honor to be invited to speak on behalf of one of the two “cultures” mentioned in the commentary by C.P. Snow (1905-1980) in New Statesman. It is also a great challenge to be so called upon to speak for an entire “culture.” Of necessity, my comments were created from the vantage point of thirty or so years of working embedded within the academic/scientific culture, and specifically within the field of physics. My views have been molded by this experience.
“The trade of chemist (fortified, in my case, by the experience of Auschwitz), teaches you to overcome, indeed to ignore, certain revulsions that are neither necessary nor congenital: matter is matter, neither noble nor vile, infinitely transformable, and its proximate origin is of no importance whatsoever. Nitrogen is nitrogen, it passes miraculously from the air into plants, from these into animals, and from animals into us; when its function in our body is exhausted, we eliminate it, but it still remains nitrogen, aseptic, innocent.”
—Primo Levi, The Periodic Table
The Holocaust represented a contradiction in perception: ordered, regimented evil and unrestrained, billowing pain. For decades, artists have sought to capture the ineffable destruction that befell the Jewish people.
Physicists have long sought to describe the universe in terms of equations. Now, James Gates explains how research on a class of geometric symbols known as adinkras could lead to fresh insights into the theory of supersymmetry — and perhaps even the very nature of reality.