Big Brains

By UChicago Podcast Network

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Description

Some of the biggest discoveries and insights changing our world for the better have happened at the University of Chicago. Meet the pioneering thinkers behind those big ideas on "Big Brains." Their stories will change how you see the world.

Episode Date
Special University of Chicago Convocation Podcast featuring Valerie Jarrett and Marianne Bertrand
41:30

A special Convocation edition podcast from the UChicago Podcast Network, featuring the full speeches given by Class Day speaker Valerie Jarrett, distinguished senior fellow in the University of Chicago Law School former senior adviser to President Obama; and Marianne Bertrand, the Chris P. Dialynas Distinguished Service Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.   

Jun 12, 2018
Special University of Chicago Convocation Podcast with Student Speaker Andrea Popova
22:37

A special Convocation edition podcast from the UChicago Podcast Network, featuring an interview with student speaker Andrea Popova, followed by the complete speeches from Andrea and fellow graduates Mark Meyer and Priscilla Daboni.

Jun 12, 2018
Ep. 7 – Richard Thaler
44:24

Richard Thaler has been dubbed one of the "founding fathers" of behavioral economics, bridging the gap between psychology and economics, and in 2017 he received the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for his work. 

It has been a long and unusual journey for Thaler, who has made a career out of disrupting economic assumptions, as well as writing two best-selling books and appearing in the 2015 Oscar-nominated film "The Big Short."

On this episode of Big Brains, Thaler discusses how a bowl of cashews inspired his early research, how psychologists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky influenced his career, and what it’s like to get (and miss) a 4 a.m. Nobel wake-up call from Sweden.  

Subscribe to Big Brains on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, and learn more at news.uchicago.edu.

Jun 04, 2018
Ep. 6 – Michael Polsky
23:27

When UChicago alumnus Michael Polsky first ventured into the field of renewable energy in 2003 with his company Invenergy, he thought they had missed the boat.

“When we got into renewables in earnest, I thought we were too late,” said Polsky, MBA’87, believing people were well ahead of him in building clean energy projects. Today, he said we’re barely in “the third inning” of the renewables game.

The founder and CEO of Invenergy, one of the largest renewables company in North America, Polsky, believes it’s not a question of if but when the United States becomes completely energy independent of fossil fuels.

It’s a seemingly unexpected turn for the former power plant engineer who arrived in the U.S. from the Soviet Ukraine in the 1970s and began his career designing power plants.

On this episode of Big Brains, Polsky discusses his early days in the energy field, his current project to build one of the largest wind farms in the world, and why he believes in the power of innovation.   

Subscribe to Big Brains on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, and Google Play, and learn more at news.uchicago.edu.

May 21, 2018
Ep. 5 – Wendy Freedman
23:03

Wendy Freedman spent part of her career measuring the age of the universe. Now she’s working on a project that may very well give scientists a chance to glimpse into its birth.  

Freedman, the John & Marion Sullivan University Professor of Astronomy & Astrophysics, works in the field of observational cosmology, measuring the expansion rate of the universe. In 2001, she and a team of scientists found that the universe is around 13.7 billion years old—far more precise than the previous estimate in the 10- to 20-billion-year-old range.

Freedman was the founding leader from 2003 until 2015 of an international consortium of researchers and universities (including UChicago) to build the world’s largest telescope high in the mountains of Chile. The Giant Magellan Telescope will be as tall as the Statue of Liberty when complete, and ten times more powerful than the Hubble Space Telescope—with the ability to look back at the dawn of the cosmos.

On this episode of Big Brains, Freedman discusses her research on measuring the age of the universe, her leadership of the Giant Magellan Telescope and the search for life outside our solar system.   

Subscribe to Big Brains on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, and Google Play, and learn more at news.uchicago.edu

May 14, 2018
Ep. 4 – Rama Ranganathan
25:13

From the smallest proteins of cells to entire ecosystems, nature might be the most sophisticated engineer on earth.

Researchers like UChicago molecular biologist Rama Ranganathan are trying to uncover the basic design principles that govern biology and apply them to human engineering. He calls the field “evolutionary physics,” and the goal is to unlock the secrets of evolutionary history.      

On this episode of Big Brains, Ranganathan shares his pioneering research on evolutionary physics, and explains why he believes biology is at a similar point today as engineering was two centuries ago during the Industrial Revolution. 

Subscribe to Big Brains on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, and RadioPublic. Learn more at news.uchicago.edu

May 07, 2018
Ep. 3 – Augusta Read Thomas
25:35

To say Augusta Read Thomas is prolific is an understatement.

A past Grammy Award winner and finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Music, Thomas has been hailed as “a true virtuoso composer” by The New Yorker, and her work has been performed more than almost any other living composer.

Thomas, the University Professor of Composition in the Department of Music and the College, champions classical music as co-curator of the Chicago Ear Taxi Festival and works with new musicians as founder and director of the UChicago Center for Contemporary Composition.    

On this episode of Big Brains, Thomas gives a glimpse into the creative process of a world-class composer, discusses the state of classical music today and how she helps train the next generation of composers.  

Subscribe to Big Brains on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, and RadioPublic, and learn more at news.uchicago.edu

Apr 30, 2018
Ep. 2 – Katherine Baicker
26:59

Health care expansion. It's one of the most contentious issues in American politics. Katherine Baicker is Dean of the Harris School at the University of Chicago and one of the leading scholars on the economics of health care. Her research from the groundbreaking Oregon Medicaid Experiment has helped uncover the true costs and benefits of health care expansion.

On this episode of Big Brains, Baicker shares the findings from the Oregon Experiment, and provides insights into how to improve health care for all. 

Big Brains is available on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, and Google Play. Learn more at news.uchicago.edu

Apr 23, 2018
Ep. 1 – Neil Shubin
27:41

Evolutionary biologist Neil Shubin spent six years in the Arctic searching for a fossil that could be a missing link between sea and land animals. In 2004, Shubin discovered Tiktaalik roseae, a 375-million-year old creature that was part fish, part land-living animal.

On this episode of Big Brains, Shubin shares the story behind his discovery of Tiktaalik, what it has meant for the understanding of human evolution, and how it has impacted the future of genetic research.

Subscribe to Big Brains on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, and Google Play, and learn more at news.uchicago.edu.

Apr 16, 2018
Big Brains Trailer
01:21

Meet the pioneering thinkers at the University of Chicago as they discuss their most groundbreaking ideas. The story behind their discoveries will change how you see the world. Big Brains begins April 9. Part of the UChicago Podcast Network.  

Apr 05, 2018