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.

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

225 | Michael Tomasello on The Social Origins of Cognition and Agency

1/30/2023
Human beings have developed wondrous capacities to take in information about the world, mull it over, think about a suite of future implications, and decide on a course of action based on those deliberations. These abilities developed over evolutionary history for a variety of reasons and under a number of different pressures. But one crucially important aspect of their development is their social function. According to Michael Tomasello, we developed agency and cognition and even morality...

Duration:01:22:00

Wondery Presents: Frozen Head

1/24/2023
Hosted by Ash Kelley and Alaina Urquhart from the hit show Morbid. When 90-year-old Laurence Pilgeram drops dead on the sidewalk outside his condo, you might think that’s the end of his story. But, really, it’s just the beginning. Because Laurence and others like him have signed up to be frozen and brought back to life in the future. And that belief will pull multiple generations of the Pilgeram family into a cryonics soap opera filled with dead pets, gold coins, grenades, fist fights,...

Duration:00:03:46

224 | Edward Tufte on Data, Design, and Truth

1/23/2023
So you have some information — how are you going to share it with and present it to the rest of the world? There has been a long history of organizing and displaying information without putting too much thought into it, but Edward Tufte has done an enormous amount to change that. Beginning with The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, and continuing to his new book Seeing With Fresh Eyes: Meaning, Space, Data, Truth, Tufte’s works have shaped how we think about charts, graphs, and...

Duration:01:16:19

223 | Tania Lombrozo on What Explanations Are

1/16/2023
There are few human impulses more primal than the desire for explanations. We have expectations concerning what happens, and when what we experience differs from those expectations, we want to know the reason why. There are obvious philosophy questions here: What is an explanation? Do explanations bottom out, or go forever? But there are also psychology questions: What precisely is it that we seek when we demand an explanation? What makes us satisfied with one? Tania Lombrozo is a...

Duration:01:11:25

Introducing SUSPECT: Vanished in the Snow

1/10/2023
For more than three and a half decades, the disappearance of 12-year-old Jonelle Matthews was a mystery – a riddle neither authorities nor her family members could solve. The residents of her cloistered Colorado hometown had scoured every inch of prairie. Jonelle’s face had been on milk cartons nationwide. Even the President of the United States had appealed to the public for help. Still, every lead had fizzled. Every person of interest had turned out to be a dead end. Then, in 2019,...

Duration:00:06:21

222 | Andrew Strominger on Quantum Gravity and the Real World

1/9/2023
Quantum gravity research is inspired by experiment — all of the experimental data that supports quantum mechanics, and supports general relativity — but it’s only inspiration, not detailed guidance. So it’s easy to “do research on quantum gravity” and get lost in a world of toy models and mathematical abstraction. Today’s guest, Andrew Strominger, is a leading researcher in string theory and quantum gravity, and one who has always kept his eyes on the prize: connecting to the real world. We...

Duration:01:26:14

221 | Adam Bulley on How Mental Time Travel Makes Us Human

1/2/2023
One of the most powerful of all human capacities is the ability to imagine ourselves in hypothetical situations at different times. We can remember the past, but also conjure up possible futures that haven’t yet happened. This simple ability underlies our capability to organize socially and make contracts with other people. Today’s guest, psychologist Adam Bulley, argues that it’s the primary feature that makes us recognizably human, as he argues in the new book The Invention of Tomorrow: A...

Duration:01:22:19

Holiday Message 2022: Thinking Really Slowly

12/19/2022
Welcome to that beloved Mindscape annual tradition, the Holiday Message. An opportunity for a quicker and less-well-thought-out solo episode to round off another year. Ironically, this year the theme is the importance of slowing down and thinking things out really well! Illustrated by two things that have been on my mind: a couple of internet/tech kerfuffles (Elon Musk buying Twitter, Sam Bankman-Fried and the collapse of FTX), and the distinction between foundations of physics and “regular”...

Duration:00:49:29

220 | Lara Buchak on Risk and Rationality

12/12/2022
Life is rich with moments of uncertainty, where we’re not exactly sure what’s going to happen next. We often find ourselves in situations where we have to choose between different kinds of uncertainty; maybe one option is very likely to have a “pretty good” outcome, while another has some probability for “great” and some for “truly awful.” In such circumstances, what’s the rational way to choose? Is it rational to go to great lengths to avoid choices where the worst outcome is very bad? Lara...

Duration:01:14:23

AMA | December 2022

12/5/2022
Welcome to the December 2022 Ask Me Anything episode of Mindscape! These monthly excursions are funded by Patreon supporters (who are also the ones asking the questions). We take questions asked by Patreons, whittle them down to a more manageable number — 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! Remember that I take a holiday break at...

Duration:03:17:09

219 | Dani Bassett and Perry Zurn on the Neuroscience and Philosophy of Curiosity

11/28/2022
It’s easy enough to proclaim that we are curious creatures, but what does that really mean? What kinds of curiosity are there? And how does curiosity arise in our brains? Perry Zurn and Dani Bassett are a philosopher and neuroscientist, respectively (as well as twins), whose new book Curious Minds: The Power of Connection explores these questions through an interdisciplinary lens. We break down the different ways that curiosity can manifest — collecting and creating loose knowledge networks,...

Duration:01:04:57

218 | Raphael Bousso on Black Holes and the Holographic Universe

11/21/2022
Stephen Hawking’s discoveries of black hole radiation, entropy, and the information-loss problem have both taught us an enormous amount about the relationship between quantum mechanics and gravity, and also left us with some knotty puzzles. One major insight is the holographic principle: the information describing a black hole can be thought of as living on the event horizon (the two-dimensional boundary of the hole), rather than distributed throughout its volume, as normal physics would...

Duration:01:24:06

217 | Margaret Levi on Moral Political Economy

11/14/2022
Why do people voluntarily hand over authority to a government? Under what conditions should they do so? These questions are both timeless and extremely timely, as modern democratic governments struggle with stability and legitimacy. They also bring questions from moral and political philosophy into conversations with empirically-minded social science. Margaret Levi is a leading political scientist who has focused on political economy and the nature of trust in government and other...

Duration:01:21:16

AMA | November 2022

11/7/2022
Welcome to the November 2022 Ask Me Anything episode of Mindscape! These monthly excursions are funded by Patreon supporters (who are also the ones asking the questions). We take questions asked by Patreons, whittle them down to a more manageable number — 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 Patreon. See...

Duration:03:00:13

Introducing - The Vanished

11/1/2022
The Vanished is a true crime podcast that explores the stories of those who have gone missing. The Vanished goes beyond conventional news reports to take a deep dive into the story of a different missing person each week. Host Marissa Jones brings you exclusive interviews with family members, friends, law enforcement and experts on mainstream cases, as well as little known ones. Listen in, to hear what The Vanished will uncover next: wondery.fm/M_TheVanished See Privacy Policy at...

Duration:00:05:50

216 | John Allen Paulos on Numbers, Narratives, and Numeracy

10/31/2022
People have a complicated relationship to mathematics. We all use it in our everyday lives, from calculating a tip at a restaurant to estimating the probability of some future event. But many people find the subject intimidating, if not off-putting. John Allen Paulos has long been working to make mathematics more approachable and encourage people to become more numerate. We talk about how people think about math, what kinds of math they should know, and the role of stories and narrative to...

Duration:01:10:34

215 | Barry Loewer on Physics, Counterfactuals, and the Macroworld

10/24/2022
The founders of statistical mechanics in the 19th century faced an uphill battle to convince their fellow physicists that the laws of thermodynamics could be derived from the random motions of microscopic atoms. This insight turns out to be even more important than they realized: the emergence of patterns characterizing our macroscopic world relies crucially on the increase of entropy over time. Barry Loewer has (in collaboration with David Albert) been developing a theory of the Mentaculus...

Duration:01:34:29

214 | Antonio Padilla on Large Numbers and the Scope of the Universe

10/17/2022
It’s a big universe we live in, so it comes as no surprise that big numbers are needed to describe it. There are roughly 10^22 stars in the observable universe, and about 10^88 particles altogether. But these numbers are nothing compared to some of the truly ginormous quantities that mathematicians have found to talk about, with inscrutable names like Graham’s Number and TREE(3). Could such immense numbers have any meaningful relationship with the physical world? In his recent book Fantastic...

Duration:01:15:50

AMA | October 2022

10/10/2022
Welcome to the October 2022 Ask Me Anything episode of Mindscape! These monthly excursions are funded by Patreon supporters (who are also the ones asking the questions). We take questions asked by Patreons, whittle them down to a more manageable number — 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 Patreon. See Privacy...

Duration:03:01:16

Introducing - The ReWatcher: Buffy The Vampire Slayer

10/3/2022
Welcome to the Hellmouth Weirdos! Your favorite Morbid hosts Ash and Alaina are branching out from true crime and heading to Sunnydale for the ultimate Buffy the Vampire Slayer Rewatch podcast! Alaina is a Buffy superfan and Ash has never watched a single episode, so whether you’re Team Angel, Team Spike, or have no clue who those people are…they’ve got you covered! Join them each week as they slay their way through the series, episode by episode, re-watching, and watching for the very first...