Sean Carroll's Mindscape: Science, Society, Philosophy, Culture, Arts, and Ideas-logo

Sean Carroll's Mindscape: Science, Society, Philosophy, Culture, Arts, and Ideas

Science Podcasts

Ever wanted to know how music affects your brain, what quantum mechanics really is, or how black holes work? Do you wonder why you get emotional each time you see a certain movie, or how on earth video games are designed? Then you’ve come to the right place. Each week, Sean Carroll will host conversations with some of the most interesting thinkers in the world. From neuroscientists and engineers to authors and television producers, Sean and his guests talk about the biggest ideas in science, philosophy, culture and much more.

Ever wanted to know how music affects your brain, what quantum mechanics really is, or how black holes work? Do you wonder why you get emotional each time you see a certain movie, or how on earth video games are designed? Then you’ve come to the right place. Each week, Sean Carroll will host conversations with some of the most interesting thinkers in the world. From neuroscientists and engineers to authors and television producers, Sean and his guests talk about the biggest ideas in science, philosophy, culture and much more.

Location:

United States

Description:

Ever wanted to know how music affects your brain, what quantum mechanics really is, or how black holes work? Do you wonder why you get emotional each time you see a certain movie, or how on earth video games are designed? Then you’ve come to the right place. Each week, Sean Carroll will host conversations with some of the most interesting thinkers in the world. From neuroscientists and engineers to authors and television producers, Sean and his guests talk about the biggest ideas in science, philosophy, culture and much more.

Language:

English


Episodes

AMA | September 2021

9/16/2021
Welcome to the September 2021 Ask Me Anything episode of Mindscape! These monthly excursions are funded by Patreon supporters (who are also the ones asking the questions). I take the large number of questions asked by Patreons, whittle them down to a more manageable size — based primarily on whether I have anything interesting to say about them, not whether the questions themselves are good — and sometimes group them together if they are about a similar topic. Enjoy! See Privacy Policy at...

Duration:03:38:49

164 | Herbert Gintis on Game Theory, Evolution, and Social Rationality

9/13/2021
How human beings behave is, for fairly evident reasons, a topic of intense interest to human beings. And yet, not only is there much we don’t understand about human behavior, different academic disciplines seem to have developed completely incompatible models to try to explain it. And as today’s guest Herb Gintis complains, they don’t put nearly enough effort into talking to each other to try to reconcile their views. So that what he’s here to do. Using game theory and a model of rational...

Duration:01:29:42

Introducing: 9/12

9/8/2021
How did 9/11 the day become 9/11 the idea? That question drives award-winning host Dan Taberski (Missing Richard Simmons, Running From COPS, The Line) to shift his focus to what happened on 9/12, and every day after that. 9/12 is a poignant, surprising, and surprisingly funny seven episode series about people who wake up on 9/12 having to navigate a new, radically altered world. A teenager gets caught up in an out-of-control conspiracy theory that he helped start. A Pakistani business owner...

Duration:00:06:25

163 | Nigel Goldenfeld on Phase Transitions, Criticality, and Biology

9/6/2021
Physics is extremely good at describing simple systems with relatively few moving parts. Sadly, the world is not like that; many phenomena of interest are complex, with multiple interacting parts and interesting things happening at multiple scales of length and time. One area where the techniques of physics overlap with the multi-scale property of complex systems is in the study of phase transitions, when a composite system transitions from one phase to another. Nigel Goldenfeld has made...

Duration:01:31:35

162 | Leidy Klotz on Our Resistance to Subtractive Change

8/30/2021
There is no general theory of problem-solving, or even a reliable set of principles that will usually work. It’s therefore interesting to see how our brains actually go about solving problems. Here’s an interesting feature that you might not have guessed: when faced with an imperfect situation, our first move to improve it tends to involve adding new elements, rather than taking away. We are, in general, resistant to subtractive change. Leidy Klotz is an engineer and designer who has worked...

Duration:01:14:22

161 | W. Brian Arthur on Complexity Economics

8/23/2021
Economies in the modern world are incredibly complex systems. But when we sit down to think about them in quantitative ways, it’s natural to keep things simple at first. We look for reliable relations between small numbers of variables, seek equilibrium configurations, and so forth. But those approaches don’t always work in complex systems, and sometimes we have to use methods that are specifically adapted to the challenges of complexity. That’s the perspective of W. Brian Arthur, a pioneer...

Duration:01:36:29

160 | Edward Slingerland on Confucianism, Daoism, and Wu Wei

8/16/2021
Plato and Aristotle founded much of what we think of as Western philosophy during the fourth and fifth centuries BCE. Interestingly, that historical period also witnessed the foundation of some of the major schools of Chinese philosophy, especially Confucianism and Daoism. This is a long-overdue discussion of ancient Chinese ideas, featuring philosopher and religious-studies scholar Edward Slingerland. We talk about the relationship between these two schools of thought, and their differences...

Duration:01:25:30

AMA | August 2021

8/12/2021
Welcome to the August 2021 Ask Me Anything episode of Mindscape! These monthly excursions are funded by Patreon supporters (who are also the ones asking the questions). I take the large number of questions asked by Patreons, whittle them down to a more manageable size — based primarily on whether I have anything interesting to say about them, not whether the questions themselves are good — and sometimes group them together if they are about a similar topic. Enjoy! Support Mindscape on...

Duration:03:12:57

159 | Mari Ruti on Lack, Love, and Psychoanalysis

8/9/2021
Neuroscience has given us great insights into how our brains work. But there is still room for purely humanistic disciplines to help us think through our thoughts and emotions, not to mention the meaning of our lives. Mari Ruti is a professor of English literature, with expertise in critical theory, gender studies, and psychoanalysis, especially the work of French theorist Jacques Lacan. We talk about the psychological drive that is motivated by what Lacan calls “lack,” which is related to...

Duration:01:49:44

158 | David Wallace on the Arrow of Time

8/2/2021
The arrow of time — all the ways in which the past differs from the future — is a fascinating subject because it connects everyday phenomena (memory, aging, cause and effect) to deep questions in physics and philosophy. At its heart is the fact that entropy increases over time, which in turn can be traced to special conditions in the early universe. David Wallace is one of the world’s leading philosophers working on the foundations of physics, including space and time as well as quantum...

Duration:01:48:57

157 | Elizabeth Strychalski on Synthetic Cells and the Rules of Biology

7/26/2021
Natural selection has done a pretty good job at creating a wide variety of living species, but we humans can’t help but wonder whether we could do better. Using existing genomes as a starting point, biologists are getting increasingly skilled at designing organisms of our own imagination. But to do that, we need a better understanding of what different genes in our DNA actually do. Elizabeth Strychalski and collaborators recently announced the construction of a synthetic microbial organism...

Duration:01:19:22

156 | Catherine D’Ignazio on Data, Objectivity, and Bias

7/19/2021
How can data be biased? Isn’t it supposed to be an objective reflection of the real world? We all know that these are somewhat naive rhetorical questions, since data can easily inherit bias from the people who collect and analyze it, just as an algorithm can make biased suggestions if it’s trained on biased datasets. A better question is, how do biases creep in, and what can we do about them? Catherine D’Ignazio is an MIT professor who has studied how biases creep into our data and...

Duration:01:30:51

155 | Stephen Wolfram on Computation, Hypergraphs, and Fundamental Physics

7/12/2021
It’s not easy, figuring out the fundamental laws of physics. It’s even harder when your chosen methodology is to essentially start from scratch, positing a simple underlying system and a simple set of rules for it, and hope that everything we know about the world somehow pops out. That’s the project being undertaken by Stephen Wolfram and his collaborators, who are working with a kind of discrete system called “hypergraphs.” We talk about what the basic ideas are, why one would choose this...

Duration:02:44:09

AMA | July 2021

7/9/2021
Welcome to the July 2021 Ask Me Anything episode of Mindscape! These monthly excursions are funded by Patreon supporters (who are also the ones asking the questions). I take the large number of questions asked by Patreons, whittle them down to a more manageable size — based primarily on whether I have anything interesting to say about them, not whether the questions themselves are good — and sometimes group them together if they are about a similar topic. Enjoy! Support Mindscape on...

Duration:03:50:38

154 | Reza Aslan on Religion, Metaphor, and Meaning

7/5/2021
Religion is an important part of the lives of billions of people around the world, but what religious belief actually amounts to can vary considerably from person to person. Some believe in an anthropomorphic, judgmental God; others conceive of God as more transcendent and conceptual; some are animists who attribute spiritual essence to creatures and objects; and many more. I talk with writer and religious scholar Reza Aslan about his view of religion as a vocabulary constructed by human...

Duration:01:28:14

153 | John Preskill on Quantum Computers and What They’re Good For

6/28/2021
Depending on who you listen to, quantum computers are either the biggest technological change coming down the road or just another overhyped bubble. Today we’re talking with a good person to listen to: John Preskill, one of the leaders in modern quantum information science. We talk about what a quantum computer is and promising technologies for actually building them. John emphasizes that quantum computers are tailor-made for simulating the behavior of quantum systems like molecules and...

Duration:01:34:31

Introducing: One Hundred Percent with Marcus Lemonis

6/23/2021
One Hundred Percent with Marcus Lemonis is a little bit of a masterclass, a cocktail party and a Sunday drive all wrapped up into 30 minutes with an audience invited to listen in. Marcus values family, community, character and ethics and helps small business owners who need his guidance and investment. His process is very personal and provides valuable insight through his ability to identify both problems and solutions. For years he has transformed the trajectory of businesses and the lives...

Duration:00:05:21

152 | Charis Kubrin on Criminology, Incarceration, and Hip-Hop

6/21/2021
It’s all well and good to talk abstractly about morality and justice, but at some point you have to sit down and figure out what to do about people who break the rules. In our modern legal system, mostly that involves incarceration, especially for so-called “street crimes.” Here in the US, we’ve taken that strategy to extremes, leading the world in the number of incarcerated people per capita. How do we decide who goes to prison, and how should we decide? I talk with criminologist Charis...

Duration:01:21:18

151 | Jordan Ellenberg on the Mathematics of Political Boundaries

6/14/2021
Any system in which politicians represent geographical districts with boundaries chosen by the politicians themselves is vulnerable to gerrymandering: carving up districts to increase the amount of seats that a given party is expected to win. But even fairly-drawn boundaries can end up quite complex, so how do we know that a given map is unfairly skewed? Math comes to the rescue. We can ask whether the likely outcome of a given map is very unusual within the set of all possible reasonable...

Duration:01:25:05

AMA | June 2021

6/9/2021
Welcome to the June 2021 Ask Me Anything episode of Mindscape! These monthly excursions are funded by Patreon supporters (who are also the ones asking the questions). I take the large number of questions asked by Patreons, whittle them down to a more manageable size — based primarily on whether I have anything interesting to say about them, not whether the questions themselves are good — and sometimes group them together if they are about a similar topic. Enjoy! Support Mindscape on...

Duration:03:19:37