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Northeastern University Library

An Exploration of New Ideas and Discoveries

All Episodes

https://repository.library.northeastern.edu/files/neu:ww72bc39w/audio.mp3 It’s been an entire year since the pandemic hit with full force, an anniversary that gives us a chance to reflect on what we have all experienced, and how the history of this difficult plague year will be written. Joining us is Jim McGrath, one of the curators of The Journal of the Plague […]

Mar 16

29 min 40 sec

In our fragmented and polarized world, we have few opportunities to talk to people beyond our immediate circle of family, friends, and work. And yet those rare conversations with others can have a positive impact on our society and ourselves. We’re joined by Cara Solomon, Executive Director and founder of Everyday Boston, to help us […]

Mar 2

27 min 38 sec

Since the dawn of the printing press, women have written and published works of prose, poetry, science, and philosophy, and yet these texts have almost always received less attention than books written by men. In the early years of the internet, one project sought to redress this imbalance, and to make women writers not only […]

Feb 16

32 min 38 sec

As listeners of popular music, we can’t help but wonder: What is it like to be up there on that stage, playing for thousands of fans? And what is the creative process like behind the scenes? We’re joined by a former reporter and editor at the Boston Herald, Larry Katz, who for decades interviewed some […]

Feb 2

33 min 25 sec

Our first episode of 2021 features the winners of the Three-Minute Thesis Contest at Northeastern University, sponsored by the Graduate Women in Science and Engineering and the Northeastern University Library. Our guests are Alicia Volmar, who discusses her work on a common protein and the origins of cancer; Theresa Davenport on how the shape of […]

Jan 19

26 min 40 sec

It is far too early to understand what happened in this historic year of 2020, but not too soon to grasp what we will write that history from: data—really big data. Dan was recently on an extremely relevant panel about Data Histories of Health, which aimed to understand what happened in 2020, and to see […]

Dec 2020

41 min 51 sec

There has been a notable change in the view of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and other queer people in the United States, with growing social acceptance. But there remain struggles with identity in the workplace, and for many young queer people, an uncertain pathway toward life and work fulfillment. Recently a new podcast has launched […]

Dec 2020

32 min 51 sec

The 2020 election is finally over in the United States, but the polarization of the country continues to grow. We used to be a nation that read the same papers and watched the same evening news programs; now many of us have completely separate sources of information, and news outlets have strayed far from the […]

Nov 2020

30 min 21 sec

We have long been told that this will be the Chinese century, as the most populous nation in the world achieves economic dominance and as it extends its political influence across the globe. But that still emerging future will also be an extension of China’s complex past, when other nations arrived on its shores with […]

Oct 2020

32 min 24 sec

This year, as the global pandemic rapidly spread, President Trump took the extraordinary step of withdrawing the United States from the World Health Organization. There was a fierce backlash to this development in medical and policy circles, both within the U.S. and internationally. But beyond doctors and healthcare advocates, few know exactly what the World […]

Oct 2020

24 min 5 sec

This summer saw the worst forest fires in American history, just the latest sign of extreme climate change. And at the same time, protests erupted across the country in response to horrific racist injustices, renewing the country’s focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion. We’re joined by Jennie C. Stephens, Director of the School of Public […]

Sep 2020

30 min 57 sec

Original broadcast: 4/24/2018. In the United States we are familiar with common illnesses like the cold and flu, but we only hear about many diseases from beyond our shores, like the Ebola virus, when a case unexpectedly appears here. How can we create drugs to cure these illnesses, which often affect the poorest countries first, […]

Aug 2020

28 min 54 sec

Original Broadcast: 11/28/2017. For over a hundred years, movies have been synonymous with entertainment. But outside of the film industry, few people really understand how they are made, and especially how the best movies engross us through careful attention to good storytelling, encoded in dialogue and images, and, less obviously, sound. Joining us in Episode Six […]

Jul 2020

31 min 8 sec

Original Broadcast: 2/5/2019. In the United States between 1930 and 1970 there were thousands of racially motivated homicides, a brutal continuation of the gruesome murders that African Americans had endured for decades before, even as the Civil Rights movement began to stir. Many of these homicide cases are cold cases, left unsolved and, too often, […]

Jun 2020

28 min 1 sec

Hashtags began as a simple way to categorize social media posts, but soon became a way for people across the world to connect around shared issues and identities, and from there, slowly grew into a potent new form of activism. Brooke Foucault Welles and Moya Bailey join us on this episode to discuss their research […]

Apr 2020

31 min

The world has been upended by a novel coronavirus, and all we want to do is to return to normal. But how can that happen, and when? Today on What’s New, an expert on the resilience of societies talks about the long road back after enormous tragedies. Northeastern University Global Resilience Institute’s Covid 19: How […]

Apr 2020

28 min 20 sec

Making a hit song involves inspiration, talent, and more than a little luck. How are songs created in today’s modern recording studios and streamed around the world? Joining us is Bonzai Caruso, a five-time Grammy-winning recording engineer and producer. Since the 1980s, Bonzai has worked with top reggae musicians as well as dozens of pop […]

Mar 2020

27 min 15 sec

This year is shaping up to be one of the warmest in history, just like last year and the year before that. Climate change is no longer a future worry, but a very present and growing challenge. We want to save our planet, but finding a coherent, ethical approach is hard. Ron Sandler, a professor […]

Mar 2020

26 min 31 sec

Because of President Trump, the United States and China have recently waged a tariff war that has altered the economies and politics of both countries. This push and pull between China and international trade has a long and often hidden history, as tariffs, and the inevitable black market they create, played an essential role in […]

Feb 2020

30 min 16 sec

Millions of people now wear devices to track their daily movements and to analyze and improve their health. But some people take this idea of self-improvement through data a giant, and perhaps troubling, step further. Can you reduce your sleep to two hours, live longer through strange diets, or optimize your work or leisure time […]

Feb 2020

29 min 5 sec

For centuries, philosophers and scientists have debated whether the human mind is born with ideas and concepts, or instead, as John Locke famously put it, arrives in the world like a blank slate. Now new experiments have uncovered something even more remarkable: that we not only have innate ideas, but that some of those ideas […]

Jan 2020

27 min 49 sec

For centuries, creative works and technical innovations have been protected by intellectual property laws, which grant exclusive rights to creators and innovators. But this system has been challenged by the internet, revealing many fundamental problems and tensions within IP law, leading us to ask whether the traditional concept of intellectual property truly benefits everyone in […]

Jan 2020

29 min 56 sec

On this episode we talk to Summer Harvey, Davoud Hejazi, and Theresa Fuller, the winners of Northeastern Graduate Women in Science and Engineering’s Three Minute Thesis Competition. These graduate students not only are doing incredible, creative work but they have been recognized in this competition for their ability to explain their research to a general […]

Dec 2019

26 min 52 sec

Americans now recognize inequality as one of the greatest challenges we face. While the news often focuses on the obvious aspects of inequality, such as large disparities in income and wealth, inequality has more hidden, but just as insidious, impacts on other critical aspects of the lives of millions. Although mental health and mental illness […]

Dec 2019

27 min 11 sec

Vision is a miraculous sense that most of us with sight take for granted, and yet it consists of an incredible array of perceptive skills that nearly instantaneously work together to present our mind with a sense of the world and the objects within it. On this episode, we deconstruct human vision and then reassemble […]

Nov 2019

28 min 46 sec

In the farmland at the border of France and Switzerland, the massive Large Hadron Collider smashes subatomic particles together at the speed of light, and physicists then interpret the wreckage of those high-speed collisions. This has led to discoveries both strange and wonderful about the building blocks of our universe. Now the Large Hadron Collider […]

Nov 2019

30 min 55 sec

Wearable technology like smartwatches and the related digital devices that now populate our homes and workplaces are starting to change the face of medicine, as they produce data that help us diagnose health issues, and capabilities to help treat them. On this episode, we look at the rise of personal health informatics and computational approaches […]

Oct 2019

28 min 13 sec

Factories and the global supply chain have become increasingly automated in the last few decades, changing the way billions of people work and live. But this process is largely hidden from us unless it is disrupted by the unexpected, by politics or weather—or by revelations about working conditions or the effects of massive corporations on […]

Oct 2019

30 min 16 sec

On The Magic of Human Motion, we give the question of how our brain controls our muscles a second and maybe even a third thought, looking at how we manage to move and acquire new skills. We’re joined by Dagmar Sternad, who is a Professor in the Departments of Biology, Electrical & Computer Engineering, and […]

Sep 2019

33 min 56 sec

Recently the hidden inner workings of internet giants like Facebook, Twitter, Google, and Amazon have been exposed to scrutiny by academics, the press, the public, and now legislators. Northeastern researchers have found clever ways to expose the major problems and biases that are encoded into these systems and are starting to think about how their […]

Sep 2019

29 min 46 sec

Original broadcast: 4/16/2019. Our last podcast of the spring of 2019 featured Mai’a Cross, an expert on European politics. We discussed the constant threats, really since its inception, to the unity of Europe, with Brexit being only the most recent example. Maia’s candid assessment was that Brexit was mostly a British, not a European, mess, […]

Jul 2019

30 min 59 sec

Original Broadcast: 9/10/2018. One of the first podcasts of the second season of What’s New featured David Herlihy, an intellectual property lawyer and rock musician, about the major shifts in how music is listened to and paid for over the last several decades. During that podcast, which was recorded in September of 2018, David mentioned […]

Jul 2019

35 min 45 sec

Original broadcast: 4/10/2018. Last year, professor Woody Hartzog was interviewed on What’s New about his new book related to digital privacy followed by a discussion about the then recent revelation of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, where a research firm got access to tens of millions of personal profiles through Facebook. If anything, the privacy issues […]

Jun 2019

31 min 27 sec

For the last two years, Brexit has threatened to sever one of Europe’s largest countries from the rest, a divorce that has now become a gigantic crisis. But it is far from the first existential crisis for Europe. The continent and its countries have regularly encountered discord and the threat of dissolution. This episode features […]

Apr 2019

31 min 2 sec

Science fiction is filled with examples of robots advancing in intelligence enough to become unrelenting killing machines, from the Terminator to Black Mirror’s metalhead. Now with advances in artificial intelligence that frightening imagined future is rapidly approaching, and we humans need to figure out right now how to prevent the worst from happening. Episode 30 […]

Apr 2019

30 min 42 sec

The World Wide Web just turned 30 years old, and so much has changed over those three decades because of this powerful new medium. Books, music, and video are beamed instantly around the globe, and authors, artists, and the giant industries around them have reacted in excited, complicated and sometimes fearful ways. Joining us on […]

Mar 2019

28 min 46 sec

Last year on this podcast, we told you about a large study of the news consumption habits of college students that had just gotten underway. Now the results of that study are in and on today’s What’s New you will discover the many often surprising channels, formats, and apps that inform today’s youth and shape […]

Mar 2019

34 min 14 sec

Two years after a presidential election that shocked so many, we are still trying to understand the role that fake news sources played, and how a swarm of propaganda clouded social media. Now a comprehensive study has looked carefully at the impact of untrustworthy online sources in the election, with some surprising results, and some […]

Feb 2019

34 min 2 sec

In the United States between 1930 and 1970 there were thousands of racially motivated homicides, a brutal continuation of the gruesome murders that African Americans had endured for decades before, even as the Civil Rights movement began to stir. Many of these homicide cases are cold cases, left unsolved and, too often, forgotten. We’re joined […]

Feb 2019

26 min 53 sec

Reading is one of the most profound things we humans do, a way for our minds to encounter new ideas, and our imaginations to run wild with stories. For many of us, reading means words in black ink on a white page, or pixels on a screen, but for some who have visual impairments, it […]

Jan 2019

31 min 13 sec

Everyone knows that 911 is the number to call in an emergency, but more recently, cities have set up 311, a number for citizens to call to highlight problems in their neighborhood and to request municipal services. Who calls these numbers and why? And what does the 311 system tell us about the way that […]

Jan 2019

30 min 49 sec

Every year, thousands of graduate students write theses on topics at the frontiers of research. Many of those topics remain obscure, but there’s a new movement to have students explain their complex and exciting research in plainspoken, succinct ways. Joining us on episode 23 are Anastasiya Yandulskaya, Brian Ruliffson, and Alex Lovely who are the […]

Dec 2018

29 min 27 sec

There is something unusual and powerful about hearing someone’s ideas vocalized in an unscripted way. Because informal speech communicates ambivalence, effort, and excitement much better than traditional academic writing and media coverage of research, podcasts present a unique opportunity to show the public how the expertise of the academy is relatable and valuable. This communication […]

Nov 2018

32 min 35 sec

Joining us on Episode 21 is three-term governor, presidential candidate, and public transportation advocate Michael Dukakis. Images of Michael Dukakis provided by FayFoto Collection, Northeastern University Library Archives and Special Collections (L) and Brooks Canaday, Northeastern University (R) https://repository.library.northeastern.edu/files/neu:cj82sw77j/audio.mp3 Michael Dukakis was born in Brookline, Massachusetts on November 3, 1933. His parents, Panos and Euterpe […]

Nov 2018

37 min 36 sec

Modern medicine has given us revolutionary ways of seeing inside our bodies, from the Xray to the MRI and CT scan. But the images they provide are of structures like arteries, bones, or tissue, rather than the very chemistry at the core of human life. We’re joined on this episode by Heather Clark, who is […]

Oct 2018

25 min 28 sec

In the past 30 years, the music industry has moved from vinyl records to cassettes to CDs, downloads, and streaming, all radical changes to the production, and consumption, of popular music. The recent passing of the Music Modernization Act will further alter the industry. This means an even more radical shift for musicians themselves, and […]

Oct 2018

35 min 17 sec

After decades of research, artificial intelligence is rapidly becoming a major force in our lives, uncannily understanding our language and our photographs, and even starting to take some of our jobs. Since this transformative technology is made by human beings, it has also exposed the biases of its creators and could reinforce those biases in […]

Sep 2018

29 min 55 sec

Newspapers used to an essential part of the daily lives of Americans, informing a shared consciousness of local, national and international events, shaping public opinion, and uncovering the worst abuses of the privileged and powerful. Consolidation in the industry and the rise of the internet sharply reduced the number, reach, and impact of those papers […]

Sep 2018

31 min 29 sec

Boston’s Big Dig was one of largest engineering projects in history. It created a massive system of tunnels where an elevated highway once stood in the heart of the city, and added a new tunnel to Logan Airport to the east and a stunning new bridge to Charlestown to the north. It completely transformed the […]

May 2018

28 min 5 sec

In the United States we are familiar with common illnesses like the cold and flu, but we only hear about many diseases from beyond our shores, like the Ebola virus, when a case unexpectedly appears here. How can we create drugs to cure these illnesses, which often affect the poorest countries first, when there is […]

Apr 2018

29 min 7 sec