All posts by yalepodcasts

Mark Harris — Film Journalist, Writer, Biographer



One of the most brilliant writers, reporters, and commentators on film, Mark Harris joins Aaron for the hour. Mark’s book, Pictures at a Revolution, about the Best Picture nominees of 1968 as a lens through which to view a cultural revolution and shift in filmmaking, is one of Aaron’s all-time favorites. Mark’s follow-up, Five Came Back, about the iconoclastic directors whose work and lives were forever changed by their experiences in World War 2, became a Netflix series, narrated by Meryl Streep, and starring 5 of their filmmaking descendants: Coppola, del Toro, Greengrass, Kasdan, and Spielberg.

Mark’s upcoming book, the definitive biography of Mike Nichols, has Aaron counting the days till its release.


Ep. 4 – Dr. Irene Pepperberg on revolutionizing what humans think of bird brains



In 2007, Dr. Irene Pepperberg said goodnight to her avian research subject, Alex, an African Grey Parrot. “You be good,” he replied. “I love you.” “I love you, too,” Dr. Pepperberg said, to which Alex asked, “You’ll be in tomorrow?” “Yes, I’ll be in tomorrow.” Alex died the next morning, prompting an international outpouring of grief that included an obituary in the Economist. We speak with Dr. Pepperberg, whose pioneering experiments with Alex revolutionized the field of avian cognition, about how she used communication as a window into his mind.


Eleanor Bergstein – Dirty Dancing Screenwriter



Coming to you live and in person from the Upper West Side of New York, Aaron joins screenwriter Eleanor Bergstein for an intimate chat about one of the most beloved movies of all time, Dirty Dancing. Eleanor is the screenwriter, producer, and principal creative force behind that movie, which she has since adapted into an internationally successful stage show. Hear gripping behind-the-scenes stories about the screenplay and production.


Ep. 3 – Dr. Sue Savage-Rumbaugh on learning from humanity’s closest living relatives



Twenty minutes southeast of Des Moines, Iowa, you’ll find a large, unassuming cement complex with fenced in grounds. You’d never know it, but inside are five bonobos—including the world-famous Kanzi—thought to be the only remaining nonhuman apes capable of communicating verbally with humans. We speak with Dr. Sue Savage-Rumbaugh about what she’s learned from and about bonobos, humankind’s gentle cousins, during an extraordinarily ambitious, 30-year investigation into their minds.


Larry Karaszewski — Screenwriter, TV Creator (The People V. OJ, Ed Wood)



This week, Larry comes on the pod to talk about the craft of writing about real people. He and his partner Scott Alexander have written some of the biggest biopics in Hollywood, including Ed Wood, The People vs. Larry Flynt, Man on the Moon, The People V. OJ, and many others. They’ve written for Jim Carrey, John Travolta, Ed Norton, Amy Adams, Johnny Depp, Sarah Paulson, often giving that actor the best role of their career.


Ep. 2 – Peter Godfrey-Smith asks: what can the octopus teach us about consciousness?



Dr. Peter Godfrey-Smith is professor of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Sydney and the author of Other Minds: The Octopus, The Sea, and The Deep Origins of Consciousness. We discuss how our distant evolutionary cousins, cephalopods, are challenging ancient assumptions about the nature of consciousness. For more information about the episode and about Dr. Godfrey-Smith’s work, visit whenwetalkaboutanimals.org.


Ep. 1 – Natalie Kofler asks: What role should humans play in editing nature?



A few years ago, our guest, Dr. Natalie Kofler, was completing her postdoctoral training in molecular biology at Yale University. She was actively using CRISPR gene-editing technology to study the mammalian cardiovascular system to try to develop better tools to treat human vascular diseases. While attending talks on conservation biology at the Yale School of Forestry, she started to wonder: Could the invasive emerald ash borer be genetically edited with these same techniques to save American ash trees? Could coral reefs be genetically edited to be more resilient to warming waters? Should humans develop and use these technologies to change nature? If so, how? And who gets to decide?

Today Dr. Kofler is a leading thinker on these questions and an important voice on the potential environmental applications of gene-editing technologies — technologies that have the extraordinary potential to end malaria or to suppress Lyme disease, but also to change or delete entire species and to transform life in previously unimaginable ways. To think clearly about their use, she says, forces us to rethink who we are, to define what is important to us, and to reconsider how far our human knowledge of nature’s interconnectedness extends. Dr. Kofler serves as founding director of Editing Nature, a Yale University initiative that works to explore the potential environmental applications of newly developed and developing gene editing technologies, to promote public engagement around their use, and to strengthen the regulatory process to ensure these technologies are used responsibly. She is also the author of numerous scientific research papers, most recently as the lead author on a Science Magazine paper calling for a new global governance body to assure the just and informed evaluation of these technologies’ benefits and risks.


Medical Technology: Episode III



Listen as we are joined by Dr. Kristaps Keggi and Dr. Yetsa Tuakli-Wosornu in a conversation with our Editor-in-Chief about the importance of mentorship in medicine, the role looking back at the history of medicine has at its advancements, Yale’s surgical firsts and Yale’s role in technological innovations in orthopedics!


Ep. 0 – Coming soon: When We Talk About Animals



Conversations with thinkers whose work has challenged us to rethink our place in the animal kingdom. Subscribe on iTunes or Soundcloud.


Medical Technology: Episode II



The Yale Journal of Biology & Medicine Podcast hosts, John and Amelia, will interview Dr. Anjelica Gonzalez, an associate professor of biomedical engineering about medical technology for the second episode in our series on medical technology.