Twitter: @QuantaMagazine • @stevenstrogatz (@QuantaMagazine followed by 98 science writers)
Average episode: 38 minutes
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Categories: Interview-Style • Math • Multidisciplinary
Podcaster's summary: "The Joy of Why" is a Quanta Magazine podcast about curiosity and the pursuit of knowledge. The acclaimed mathematician and author Steven Strogatz interviews leading researchers about the great scientific and mathematical questions of our time.
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|2022-Aug-24 • 45 minutes|
Why and How Do We Dream?
Dreams are so personal, subjective and fleeting, they might seem impossible to study directly and with scientific objectivity. But in recent decades, laboratories around the world have developed sophisticated techniques for getting into the minds of people while they are dreaming. In the process, they are learning more about why we need these strange nightly experiences and how our brains generate them. In this episode, Steven Strogatz speaks with sleep researcher Antonio Zadra about how new experimental me...
|2022-Aug-10 • 42 minutes|
What Is Quantum Field Theory and Why Is It Incomplete?
Quantum field theory may be the most successful scientific theory of all time, predicting experimental results with stunning accuracy and advancing the study of higher dimensional mathematics. Yet, there’s also reason to believe that it is missing something. Steven Strogatz speaks with David Tong, a theoretical physicist at the University of Cambridge, to explore the open questions of this enigmatic theory. | “The Joy of Why” is a podcast from Quanta Magazine, an editorially independent publication support...
|2022-Jul-27 • 38 minutes|
Why Do We Get Old, and Can Aging Be Reversed?
Everybody gets older, but not everyone ages in the same way. For many people, late life includes a deterioration of health brought on by age-related disease. But that’s not true for everyone, and around the world, women typically live longer than men. Why is that? In this episode, Steven Strogatz speaks with Judith Campisi and Dena Dubal, two biomedical researchers who study the causes and outcomes of aging to understand how it works — and what scientists know about postponing or even reversing the aging pr...
|2022-Jul-13 • 28 minutes|
How Do Mathematicians Know Their Proofs Are Correct?
How can anyone say something with certainty about infinity? What can we really know about the mysterious prime numbers without knowing all of them? Just as scientists need data to assess their hypotheses, mathematicians need evidence to prove or disprove conjectures. But what counts as evidence in the intangible realm of number theory? In this episode, Steven Strogatz speaks with Melanie Matchett Wood, a professor of mathematics at Harvard University, to learn how probability and randomness can help establi...
|2022-Jun-29 • 33 minutes|
Can Computers Be Mathematicians?
How do you teach mathematics to an artificial intelligence? AI has already bested humans at various problem-solving tasks, including games like chess and Go. But before any task can be tackled by a machine, it must be reinterpreted as directions in language that computers can understand. For the last few years, researchers and amateurs all over the world have worked together to translate the essential axioms of mathematics into a programming language called Lean. Armed with this knowledge, theorem-proving ...
|2022-Jun-15 • 42 minutes|
What Is Life?
Scientists don’t really agree on a definition for life. We may recognize life instinctively most of the time, but any time we try to nail it down with set criteria, some stubborn counterexample spoils the effort. Still, can we really search for life on other worlds, or understand the earliest stages of life on this planet, if we don’t know what to look for? On this episode, Steven Strogatz speaks with Robert Hazen, a mineralogist, astrobiologist and senior staff scientist at the Carnegie Institution’s Earth...
|2022-Jun-01 • 39 minutes|
How Could Life Evolve From Cyanide?
How did life begin on Earth? It’s one of the greatest and most ancient mysteries in all of science — and the clues to solving it are all around us. Biologists have sometimes imagined evolutionary history as a recorded “tape of life” that might turn out differently if it were replayed again and again. In this episode, Steven Strogatz speaks with two researchers inspecting different parts of the tape. First, hear from the Nobel Prize-winning biologist Jack Szostak, who explores how a boiling pool laced with c...
|2022-May-18 • 50 minutes|
Will the James Webb Space Telescope Reveal Another Earth?
The space telescope is one of the most ambitious scientific projects ever undertaken. Marcia Rieke and Nikole Lewis, two of the scientists leading JWST investigations, talk to Steven Strogatz about how it may transform our understanding of the universe. The post Will the James Webb Space Telescope Reveal Another Earth? first appeared on Quanta Magazine
|2022-May-04 • 42 minutes|
Where Do Space, Time and Gravity Come From?
Einstein’s description of curved space-time doesn’t easily mesh with a universe made up of quantum wavefunctions. Theoretical physicist Sean Carroll discusses the quest for quantum gravity with host Steven Strogatz. The post Where Do Space, Time and Gravity Come From? first appeared on Quanta Magazine
|2022-Apr-20 • 40 minutes|
Why Is Inflammation a Dangerous Necessity?
The immune system protects us from a full spectrum of pathogens, but without balance, it can end up hurting us over time, too. The immunologist Shruti Naik explains how our defenses can turn on us. The post Why Is Inflammation a Dangerous Necessity? first appeared on Quanta Magazine
|2022-Apr-06 • 44 minutes|
Untangling Why Knots Are Important
Everyone knows what a knot is. But they have special significance in math and science because their properties can help unlock hidden secrets like the biochemistry of DNA or the geometry of three-dimensional spaces. In this episode, Steven Strogatz explores the mysteries of knots with the mathematicians Colin Adams and Lisa Piccirillo.
|2022-Mar-23 • 44 minutes|
Why Do We Die Without Sleep?
Why do we need sleep? In the search for answers, scientists have uncovered more thought-provoking mysteries central to what sleep is, how it evolved and the benefits that it provides. In this episode, the mathematician and science communicator Steven Strogatz speaks with Dragana Rogulja, an assistant professor of neurobiology at Harvard Medical School who recently discovered how sleep deprivation causes death in fruit flies, and Alex Keene, a neurogeneticist at Texas A and M University studying cave fish to...
|2022-Mar-17 • 3 minutes|
Trailer: The Joy of Why
An introduction to the new Quanta Magazine podcast The Joy of Why, in which noted mathematician and author Steven Strogatz talks with experts about some of the greatest scientific questions of all time.