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Sean Carroll's Mindscape

Sean Carroll's Mindscape

Podcast Sean Carroll's Mindscape
Podcast Sean Carroll's Mindscape

Sean Carroll's Mindscape


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  • 198 | Nick Lane on Powering Biology
    The origin of life here on Earth was an important and fascinating event, but it was also a long time ago and hasn’t left many pieces of direct evidence concerning what actually happened. One set of clues we have comes from processes in current living organisms, especially those processes that seem extremely common. The Krebs cycle, the sequence of reactions that functions as a pathway for energy distribution in aerobic organisms, is such an example. I talk with biochemist about the importance of the Krebs cycle to contemporary biology, as well as its possible significance in understanding the origin of life.Support Mindscape on Patreon.Nick Lane received his PhD from the Royal Free Hospital Medical School. He is currently a professor of Evolutionary Biochemistry at University College London. He was a founding member of the UCL Consortium for Mitochondrial Research, and is Co-Director of the UCL Centre for Life’s Origin and Evolution. He was awarded the 2009 UCL Provost’s Venture Research Prize, the 2011 BMC Research Award for Genetics, Genomics, Bioinformatics and Evolution, the 2015 Biochemical Society Award, and the 2016 Royal Society Michael Faraday Prize and Lecture. His new book is Transformer: The Deep Chemistry of Life and Death.Web siteUCL web pageGoogle Scholar publicationsAmazon author pageWikipediaSee Privacy Policy at and California Privacy Notice at
  • 197 | Catherine Brinkley on the Science of Cities
    The concept of the city is a crucial one for human civilization: people living in proximity, bringing in resources from outside, separated from the labors of subsistence so they can engage in the trade of goods and ideas. But we are still learning how cities grow and adapt to new conditions, as well as how we can best guide them to be livable as well as functional. I talk with urban scientist Catherine Brinkley about the structure of cities, including the fractal nature of their shapes, as well as what we can do to make cities thrive as much as possible.Support Mindscape on Patreon.Catherine Brinkley received a Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning as well as a degree in Veterinary Medicine from the University of Pennsylvania. She is currently Associate Professor of Human Ecology and Faculty Director at the Center for Regional Change at the University of California, Davis. She has been awarded fellowships from the Fulbright Foundation, the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity, and the Santa Fe Institute.Web siteUC Davis web pageGoogle Scholar publicationsBrinkley and Raj (2022), “Perfusion and Urban Thickness: The Shape of Cities”TwitterSee Privacy Policy at and California Privacy Notice at
  • AMA | May 2022
    Welcome to the May 2022 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 Patreon.See Privacy Policy at and California Privacy Notice at
  • 196 | Judea Pearl on Cause and Effect
    To say that event A causes event B is to not only make a claim about our actual world, but about other possible worlds — in worlds where A didn’t happen but everything else was the same, B would not have happened. This leads to an obvious difficulty if we want to infer causes from sets of data — we generally only have data about the actual world. Happily, there are ways around this difficulty, and the study of causal relations is of central importance in modern social science and artificial intelligence research. Judea Pearl has been the leader of the “causal revolution,” and we talk about what that means and what questions remain unanswered.Support Mindscape on Patreon.Judea Pearl received a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn. He is currently a professor of computer science and statistics and director of the Cognitive Systems Laboratory at UCLA. He is a founding editor of the Journal of Causal Inference. Among his awards are the Lakatos Award in the philosophy of science, The Allen Newell Award from the Association for Computing Machinery, the Benjamin Franklin Medal, the Rumelhart Prize from the Cognitive Science Society, the ACM Turing Award, and the Grenander Prize from the American Mathematical Society. He is the co-author (with Dana MacKenzie) of The Book of Why: The New Science of Cause and Effect.Web siteGoogle Scholar publicationsWikipediaAmazon author pageTwitterSee Privacy Policy at and California Privacy Notice at
  • 195 | Richard Dawkins on Flight and Other Evolutionary Achievements
    Evolution has equipped species with a variety of ways to travel through the air — flapping, gliding, floating, not to mention jumping really high. But it hasn’t invented jet engines. What are the different ways that heavier-than-air objects might be made to fly, and why does natural selection produce some of them but not others? Richard Dawkins has a new book on the subject, Flights of Fancy: Defying Gravity by Design and Evolution. We take the opportunity to talk about other central issues in evolution: levels of selection, the extended phenotype, the role of adaptation, and how genes relate to organisms.Support Mindscape on Patreon.Richard Dawkins received his Ph.D. in zoology from the University of Oxford. He is an emeritus fellow of New College, Oxford, where he was previously the Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science. He is an internationally best-selling author, whose books include The Selfish Gene, The Blind Watchmaker, and The God Delusion. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society and the Royal Society of Literature.Web siteRichard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and ScienceWikipediaTwitterAmazon author pageSee Privacy Policy at and California Privacy Notice at

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