Big Brains

A Society, Culture and Education podcast
Good podcast? Give it some love!

Episodes of Big Brains

Why is it so hard for us to form good habits—and so easy to form bad ones? Most people turn to the self-help section to find answers, but this is really a question for behavior science. Katy Milkman is a professor at The Wharton School of Busi
Most people think they know humanity’s history of space exploration, from Sputnik to NASA to our recent shift toward privatized space travel. But what if there was a lost history of our origins with space science that would make us rethink the
By 2050 humanity is going to have to produce 50% more food in order to feed a growing population. That’s a lot, especially given that we currently have trouble feeding the current global population, and that food production is already responsib
The University of Chicago Podcast Network is excited to announce the launch of a new show, it’s called "Entitled" and it’s about human rights. Co-hosted by lawyers and UChicago Law School Professors, Claudia Flores and Tom Ginsburg, Entitled ex
Many of the most important moments in our lives rely on the judgment of others. We expect doctors to diagnose our illnesses correctly, and judges to hand out rulings fairly. But there’s a massive flaw in human judgment that we’re just beginning
Even if you’ve never eaten an Impossible Burger, you’ve probably heard of them. But you may not know the science and story behind those meatless products. Pat Brown is a University of Chicago alum, the founder and CEO of Impossible Foods, and a
When was the last time you heard a positive story about climate change, a story about someone with a new idea or innovative solution to help reduce our carbon footprint? This is that story. Michael Greenstone is a Professor of Economics at the
Why does our universe work the way it does? What are its laws? How did it start with the Big Bang‚ and how will it end? Scientists like Prof. Dan Hooper from the University of Chicago use something called the Standard Model of Physics to explai
When’s the last time you thought about property taxes? We mostly accept them as a part of society, and assume that they’re being calculated fairly. But a leading University of Chicago scholar says that assumption is wrong. A breakthrough study
The possibility of alien life has captivated the human imagination for decades and has been at the center of some of our most popular fictional stories. But one scientist has made a controversial claim that aliens are no long a fiction but a re
The so-called “Big Tech” industry has dramatically improved our daily lives, but at what cost? Few people have gotten a closer look at these companies than Kara Swisher, writer for The New York Times and podcast host—and she says we need to wre
The solutions to global poverty can appear obvious, even if they’re difficult to implement. But, as University of Chicago economist Michael Kremer has discovered, interventions that may seem like common sense can actually be wrong. In 2019, Kre
For the more than 20 million people with a felony record, incarceration doesn’t end at the prison gate. They enter what University of Chicago scholar Reuben Jonathan Miller calls the “afterlife” of mass incarceration. Miller, an assistant profe
Anthony Fauci has spent the past year trying to curb the worst health crisis the world has seen in a century.  In a recent University of Chicago event, Fauci reflected on how the COVID-19 pandemic has been a “painful learning experience” for he
The coronavirus pandemic has raised countless ethical questions: How do we balance restricting freedoms with protecting others, how do we ethically distribute vaccines, should we force people to get vaccinated—or should we ask healthy people to
The Doomsday Clock has been set at 100 seconds to midnight—as close to total destruction as we were in 2020. But after a year of increasingly dangerous weather and wildfires, not to mention the COVID-19 pandemic, why didn’t the clock move? Rach
What are the biggest questions in science today: Can we cure cancer, solve the climate crisis, make it to Mars? For Nobel laureate Jack Szostak, the biggest question is still much more fundamental: What is the origin of life? A professor of gen
Our podcast is all about research. Every episode we investigate what scholars have discovered and why it matters. But we’re going to get meta on this episode and look at what makes this research possible—and the dangers of taking it for granted
Our team is taking some time off to be with their families for the holidays. But, just in case you have a long flight, car ride, or maybe need something to do in-between Zoom calls, we’re re-sharing one of the most enlightening and engaging con
What is the most popular form of media today: Movies? Music? Books? Nope, it’s video games. With 2.5 billion gamers today, games are set to be the type of media that most defines our world. And two scholars at the University of Chicago are re-t
With so many contentious issues in our deeply polarized world, the real or virtual Thanksgiving dinner table may be a hard place to find a lot of empathy this year. As we take a week off to reconnect with our families, we wanted to re-share thi
This week, we’re featuring another University of Chicago Podcast Network show. It’s called Capitalisn’t. Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court has many focusing on question about how the new court will judge cases on social issues
It’s hard to think of a presidential election that has raised as many questions as 2020. What do these results tell us about the views and desires of the American public, what the polls got right and wrong, and how all of this will affect our e
When should a government choose to reveal a secret—or conceal it? Your knee-jerk reaction may be to say they should never hide anything from the public. But political scientist Austin Carson of the University of Chicago says his research compli
The Supreme Court today may be more politicized than any other time in U.S. history. With the expected confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Trump will have appointed three justices in less than four years, and the American public
Rate Podcast
Do you host or manage this podcast?
Claim and edit this page to your liking.
Are we missing an episode or update?
Use this to check the RSS feed immediately.