Apocalypse Then: The First Crusade
How did the First Crusade happen? Jay Rubenstein is convinced that the primary contributing factor was the widespread belief in the Apocalypse and the consequent determination of so many crusaders to actively participate in the last stages of the divine plan.
Astrophysical Wonders, Part I – Solar System Astronomy
In part I of this 2-part issue with Scott, he focuses on planetary-level astronomy, discussing comets, Pluto, planetary rings, shepherding satellites, exoplanets, chaos theory and the formation, stability and uniqueness of our solar system.
Astrophysical Wonders, Part II – Galactic Astronomy
In the second of this 2-part issue, Scott turns to galactic-scale astronomy, discussing galaxy formation, dark matter, quasars, black holes, the large-scale structure of the universe and many outstanding open questions of contemporary astrophysics.
Autism: A Genetic Perspective (Part I)
In part 1 of this double-issue, Jay discusses the recent explosion in our genetic understanding and its implications for the future of medicine, together with the importance of understanding the underlying molecular mechanisms in order to successfully treat a wide range of genetic disorders.
Autism: A Genetic Perspective (Part II)
In part 2 of this double-issue, Jay focuses on autism, dispelling myths associated with the condition, advocating why a treatment should be actively pursued, and illustrating what we can learn from the recent breakthrough in cystic fibrosis research.
Babbling Barbarians: How Translators Keep Us Civilized
We sat down with David in his home in Princeton, New Jersey, to explore the many nuances of the art of translation and to learn why he believes that translation is nothing less than “a first step towards civilization”.
David discusses the considerable historical influence of Liberal Protestants in the United States, their rivalry with evangelical counterparts, secularization theory, and the general implications for contemporary American culture.
Believing Your Ears: Probing the Brain through Musical Illusions
Diana discusses a wide range of musical illusions and what it means for our understanding of auditory processing in the brain, together with explorations of perfect pitch, tone languages and the link between music and speech.
Beyond Mirror Neurons
Greg discusses how his expertise in the neuroscience in speech and language led him to eventually reject many aspects of the mirror neuron hypothesis, while giving his views on the mechanism behind imitation and what mirror neurons really do.
Byzantium: Beyond the Cliché
Maria talks passionately about the Byzantine Empire, which has repeatedly been undervalued by historians despite its having been a military and cultural powerhouse for more than a millennium.
China, Culturally Speaking
Michael discusses Chinese film, literature, the challenges and appeal of translation, censorship, the growing convergence between Hollywood and China, and the importance of staying true to one's values.
China: Up Close and Personal
Karl relays his personal and professional perspectives of China in a deliberate attempt to bring us a more nuanced and balanced picture of how the country has arrived at its present state and what the future might hold.
University of Pennsylvania physicist Justin Khoury discusses key issues in cosmology, together with general reflections on the sociology of the field, and speculations on the future.
Darrin charts the historical evolution of genius from Plato to Einstein, celebrating the exceptional while illuminating what our genius mythology reveals about the rest of us.
Democracy: Clarifying the Muddle
John Dunn has long been concerned with the historical development and current significance of democracy in different parts of the world. We discussed key aspects of what democracy is and is not.
Democratic Lessons: What the Greeks Can Teach Us (Part I)
In this first of a two-part issue with Josh, we discuss the serendipitous factors that led him to study the classical world, the insights that examining rhetoric reveal about ancient Athenian society and how social media might help us fruitfully recreate aspects of the past.
Democratic Lessons: What the Greeks Can Teach Us (Part II)
In this second of our two-part issue with Josh, we explore Aristotle's thoughts on political animals and their implication for democracy, California referenda, deliberative polling techniques, the importance of dignity, and how to generate real-world impact beyond the ivory tower of academia.
After discussing his personal background and scholarly motivations, David examines the societal role of historians while urging us to reject the simplifying distortions of the historical record that we are regularly presented with.
Enlightened Entrepreneurialism: Origins of the Industrial Revolution
Margaret discusses the importance of combining cultural, educational, scientific and economic factors to best appreciate the diverse origins of the Industrial Revolution.
Uta Frith, one of the world's leading researchers on autism, helps us explore what is both known and unknown about autism. Even the question "What is autism?" turns out to be a surprisingly difficult one to answer, Uta explains.
How can we use video technology to uniquely enhance the pedagogical experience? In this 30-minute video, Howard Burton details his pedagogical motivations in creating Ideas Roadshow, together with more general insights relevant to librarians, faculty and teachers.
We sat down with Andrew in The Museum of Classical Archeology at the University of Cambridge to discuss Herculaneum, Pompeii, the politics of excavation and life in the ancient Roman world.
How Social Science Creates the World
Mark discusses how the type of explanations we should be looking for in the social sciences are much different than those we find in the natural sciences, urging his colleagues to pay more attention to people's intentions, beliefs and desires.
Improving Human Rights
Emilie candidly examines the international human rights system and suggests concrete measures that could be taken to improve it.
In the Cards
Fred gives an inside glimpse at the world of professional bridge, the psychological stress of top-flight competition and how the human mind can compute amazing feats of memory.
What is intelligence? Where does it come from? Can it be measured? Can it be improved? Celebrated Cambridge cognitive scientist John Duncan discusses his research on what, precisely, intelligence amounts to.
Islam, Globalism and Religious Economies
Nile outlines how the model of religious economy can help us develop a deeper, global appreciation of the many faces of Islam in both the past and present.
Knowing One's Place: Spatial Processing in the Brain
Jennifer discusses her extensive research on how the brain combines various streams of sensory input to determine where things are, together with the corresponding implications for a wide range of issues, from neuroplasticity to evolutionary mechanisms.
Learning and Memory (Part I)
In the first of a special two-part discussion with Alcino, we discuss his epistemological motivations, how neuroscience works in the lab, the progress we've made towards understanding learning and memory on a molecular level and why neurons are just like teenagers.
Learning and Memory (Part II)
In this second part of the discussion with Alcino, we discuss "smart mice", implanting memories, Alcino's liberating discovery that cognitive deficits associated with developmental disorders can be reversed, the importance of "research maps" for the field and inspired optimism for the future.
Susan discusses her views on meaningfulness in keeping with her book, Meaning in Life and Why It Matters, elaborating on her belief that meaningful activities occur when "subjective attraction meets objective attractiveness."
Mental Health: Policies, Laws, and Attitudes
Elyn discusses the legal implications surrounding mental health and candidly shares her personal experiences with schizophrenia.
Mind Wandering and Meta-Awareness
Jonathan illustrates how the often-overlooked phenomenon of mind-wandering can serve as a window into the subjectively pre-eminent world of meta-awareness.
Minds and Machines
Miguel Nicolelis talks about his ever-deepening understanding of the way animal brains work as a direct product of his extensive experiments with rats, monkeys and humans, learning how to drive a wide variety of mechanical devices in the rapidly emerging field of brain-machine interfaces.
Carol details her long-standing work on mindsets: how these different ways of thinking influence social development, learning, motivation, and success.
Nita explores the growing impact of modern neuroscience on the law, deepening our understanding of a wide range of issues, from legal responsibility to the American Constitution's Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination.
Our wide-ranging conversation with Edie explores marine bioluminescence, high school education, environmental devastation and the intersection of all three through her innovative programs at ORCA.
On Atheists and Bonobos
Primatologist Frans de Waal gives us his take on "bottom-up morality", based on a lifetime's research of chimpanzees, bonobos and his fellow humans. We chat about morality, militant atheists and the role of religion.
Our Human Variability (Part I)
In part 1 of this double issue, Canadian geneticist Stephen Scherer discusses his lifelong passion for science that culminated in his groundbreaking discovery of copy-number variation.
Our Human Variability (Part II)
In part 2 of this double issue, Stephen talks about his exciting work in autism research, while more generally demonstrating how copy-number variation brings us a deeper understanding of both human variability and disease.
Pants on Fire: The Straight Goods on Lying
Martin embellishes upon his book, The Virtues of Mendacity: On Lying in Politics, detailing the motivations, insights and general conclusions that can arise when one carefully examines how lying can shed light on the nature of the political.
Perspectives on Mass Communication
Denis reflects on his prodigious career in the field of mass communications studies, highlighting both the benefits and dangers of mass communication to the individual and society.
Philosophy for the Masses
Angie Hobbs is quite likely the world's first Professor of the Public Understanding of Philosophy, and is thus ideally placed to discuss why philosophy is important in our everyday lives and how we can all become more philosophically aware.
Philosophy of Brain
Patricia rigorously explores the societal, scientific and psychological implications of fully appreciating that our minds are simply products of our brains.
Plato's Heaven: A User's Guide
What do mathematicians actually do? Just move symbols around or search to uncover undying truths? Most mathematicians shy away from addressing the question, but James Robert Brown plunges straight in to describe his implacable Platonist beliefs.
Psychology: From Theory to Practice
Stephen talks about his recently developed theory of cognitive modes, a framework to better understand the way we think and behave based upon modern neuroscience.
Pushing the Boundaries
Freeman Dyson looks back on his simultaneously transformative careers in theoretical physics, mathematics, biology, rocket ship design, nuclear disarmament and writing.
Quest for Freedom
Quentin gives a detailed description of how he came to appreciate the importance of the distinction between the modern view of freedom and the so-called neo-Roman view, together with what it implies for our current and future political understanding.
Rabbi With a Cause: Israel and Identity
Long a trenchant critic of Israeli policy towards the Palestinians, David boldly explores a number of themes that interweave religion, politics, culture and identity, boldly focusing on the thorny question, Who is a Jew? His answer might well surprise you.
Reinventing the University
Ben discusses his life-long passion for improving education that culminated in Minerva Schools at KGI, the new for-profit university that aspires to become the world's best.
SETI: Astronomy as a Contact Sport
SETI astronomer Jill Tarter discusses her life-long passion for the science of detecting signals of possible extra-terrestrial life.
Saving the World at Business School
The notions of ‘environmental sustainability’ and ‘big business’ sometimes seem as incompatible as oil and water. Andrew Hoffman, however, is certain that this synthesis is possible, but to move forwards successfully we have to rethink some of our most basic societal assumptions.
Science and Pseudoscience
Michael discusses the strange case of Immanuel Velikovsky - doctor, psychologist, self-proclaimed historian and would-be revolutionary - as a way of probing the often-problematic boundary between science and pseudoscience.
Sheathing the Bodkin: Combatting Suicide
Jennifer embellishes upon her bestselling book Stay: A History of Suicide and the Arguments Against It, highlighting secular arguments against suicide while concretely suggesting how society might better assist those who feel suicidal.
Sign Language Linguistics (Part I)
In part 1 of this double-issue with Carol, we discuss American Sign Language, identity, co-speech gesturing, embodiment and more.
Sign Language Linguistics (Part II)
In part 2 of this double-issue with Carol, we discuss the evolution of American Sign Language, humor, the inherently multi-modal nature of language, the importance of diversity, and much more.
Matt gives a clear and compelling picture of our recent understanding of sleep's essential role in our daily lives, from reinforcing memory to regulating emotion.
This short video serves as an introduction to our products for faculty, students, subject specialist librarians and others whose institution has recently subscribed to Ideas Roadshow.
The Consolation of History: A Teacher's Story
Teo talks captivatingly about his Cuban origins, becoming a professional historian, the challenges and excitement of teaching, and what the future might hold.
The Cyclic Universe
Roger Penrose is convinced that modern cosmology consistently overlooks one fundamental issue: why did our universe begin in such a unique state of extremely low entropy? His Conformal Cyclic Cosmology (CCC) is an attempt to directly address that question, and a good deal more besides.
The Derveni Papyrus
In 1962, a half-burnt scroll was discovered in an excavated grave in Derveni, Greece. Richard is convinced that its contents shed valuable light on the often-overlooked culture wars of ancient Athens, demonstrating a clear presence of old-fashioned religious fundamentalism.
The Epicurean Republic: America's Intellectual Scaffolding
Matthew Stewart traces the intellectual lineage of the ideals and religious beliefs of America's Founding Fathers and discovers some surprising and powerful insights.
The Joy of Mathematics
Ian Stewart, mathematician and highly prolific writer, strongly disagrees with the common view that mathematics is uninteresting, and believes that much of its bad popular reputation is simply based upon a lack of understanding as to what it's really all about.
The Limits of Consciousness
Martin describes how his innovative work with patients in the vegetative state has led to some surprising results that might well prove to be integral to our development of a deeper understanding of consciousness.
The Malleability of Memory
Elizabeth discusses her ground-breaking work and highly socially relevant work on the misinformation effect, false memories and her battles with "repressed memory" advocates.
The Mind-Body Problem
Former World No. 8 tennis pro Janko Tipsarevic shares some thoughtful and measured views about sports psychology, maximizing one's potential and the life of an elite athlete.
The Passionate Historian
In clear, candid and captivating tones, Sir John Elliott tells us how an undergraduate encounter with a 17th century painting led him on a lifelong odyssey that resulted in him becoming one of the greatest Spanish historians of our age.
The Passions of Logic: Appreciating Analytic Philosophy
Scott gives us a brief introduction to analytic philosophy, including both historical background and some examples of contemporary relevance to a wide range of other fields.
The Power of Principles: Physics Revealed
Nima Arkani-Hamed takes us inside the world of a working theoretical physicist, sharing his frustration at how physics is communicated to the general public, while revealing how he hopes to be steered towards the truth without experiment to guide him.
The Problems of Physics
In 1987, Tony Leggett penned The Problems of Physics, acutely highlighting the key foundational problems of the age. Tony discusses with Howard what has happened since then and what has changed.
The Psychology of Bilingualism
Ellen discusses her extensive research on the psychology of bilingualism, highlighting the many advances in our understanding of how becoming bilingual can significantly affect our brains on both a verbal and non-verbal level.
The Science of Emotions
Barbara discusses her work on the science of positive emotions, including broaden-and-build, the undoing effect and upward spirals, while highlighting relevant evolutionary-driven hypotheses together with measurement details of empirical studies.
The Science of Siren Songs: Stradivari Unveiled
Joseph reveals the art and science behind violins and violin-making, critically examining what, if anything, makes a Stradivarius or Guarneri different from a modern violin.
The Social World, Re-examined
Brian suggests that the solution to many problems of current economic, political, and social science models lies in re-examining our basic philosophic assumptions of the social world.
The Subtleties of Speech
Vic discusses some key experimental results that change our view of what is actually going on when two people talk to each other, giving us new insight into the structure of language.
The Two Cultures
Renowned Cambridge literary critic and intellectual historian Stefan Collini re-examines the celebrated battle between C.P. Snow and F.R. Leavis within the larger context of the value of public dialogue and the role of the modern university.
The Value of Voice
Nick conveys the importance of voice and the challenge posed by media institutions that order the social, political, cultural, economic, and ethical dimensions of our lives.
Turning the Mirror: A View From the East
Pankaj Mishra discusses the long-term impact of Western colonialism and agression on the lives of those in the East, set against the background of his own personal development.
Stephen carefully explains the facts and misunderstandings surrounding ADHD, in keeping with his recent book, The ADHD Explosion: Myths, Medication, Money, and Today’s Push for Performance.
This brief User's Guide video demonstrates how Ideas Roadshow videos, eBooks and MP3s can be combined for maximum pedagogical effectiveness both in and out of the classroom.
Vision and Perception
Kalanit reveals some startling results of her current research on how the human brain processes vision, in particular what is happening when we recognize faces.