To The Best Of Our Knowledge "To The Best Of Our Knowledge" is a nationally-syndicated, Peabody award-winning public radio show that dives headlong into the deeper end of ideas. We have conversations with novelists and poets, scientists and software engineers, journalists and historians, filmmakers and philosophers, artists and activists — people with big ideas and a passion to share them.
To The Best Of Our Knowledge

To The Best Of Our Knowledge

From Wisconsin Public Radio

"To The Best Of Our Knowledge" is a nationally-syndicated, Peabody award-winning public radio show that dives headlong into the deeper end of ideas. We have conversations with novelists and poets, scientists and software engineers, journalists and historians, filmmakers and philosophers, artists and activists — people with big ideas and a passion to share them.

Most Recent Episodes

Our Time of Mourning

Is there a better way to talk about death? And to grieve? So many people have died during the pandemic — 4.8 million and counting — that we're living through a period of global mourning. And some people — and certain cultures — seem to be better prepared to handle it than others. Original Air Date: June 12, 2021 Guests: Heather Swan — Gillian O'Brien — Charles Monroe-Kane — Gabe Joyner — Rafael Campo Interviews In This Hour: The Barred Owl Who Came To Visit — How The Irish Talk About Death — How To Remember A Beloved Brother? A Memorial Tattoo — A Physician-Poet Bears Witness to the Pandemic's Lost Voices

The Resilient Brain

New experiences actually rewire the brain. So after all we've been through this year, you have to wonder — are we different? We consider the "COVID brain" from the perspective of both neuroscience and the arts. Also, we go to Cavendish, Vermont to hear the remarkable story of Phineas Gage, the railroad worker whose traumatic brain injury changed the history of neuroscience. Original Air Date: October 10, 2020 Guests: Margo Caulfield — David Eagleman — llan Stavans Interviews In This Hour: How Phineas Gage's Freak Accident Changed Brain Science — 'COVID Brain' and the New Frontiers of Neuroplasticity — The Pandemic and the Poets

Secrets of Alchemy

Once upon a time, science and magic were two sides of the same coin. Today, we learn science in school and save magic for children's books. What if it were different? What would it be like to see the world as an alchemist? Original Air Date: September 19, 2020 Guests: Sarah Durn — Pamela Smith — William Newman — Charles Monroe-Kane — Jason Pine Interviews In This Hour: Transmutation Of The Spirit — The Historical Lessons Embedded in Alchemical Recipes — Was Sir Isaac Newton 'The Last of the Magicians'? — The Buried Secrets of Czech Alchemy — Drug Store Alchemy in the Ozarks Further Reading: Maier: Atalanta Fugiens

Why Do We Have So Much Stuff?

If you wrote a list of all the things you own in your house, how long would it be? We surround ourselves with possessions, but at what point do they start to possess us? Original Air Date: September 05, 2020 Guests: Angelo Bautista — Eula Biss — Adam Minter — Giles Slade — Clare Dolan Interviews In This Hour: The Magnum Opus Of Pointless Stuff — 'A $400K Container For A Washing Machine': An Author Grapples With The Inherent Ickiness Of Homeownership — The Global Garage Sale — Why Stuff Doesn't Last Anymore — A Museum Of The Mundane

A Parenting Revolution

The pandemic has made it clear that parents are walking a tightrope with no safety net. We talk to parents about how they want to change the system, what it's like to raise black boys in a time of racial injustice, and how we might learn from ancient cultures to improve our parenting skills. Original Air Date: May 22, 2021 Guests: Alissa Quart — Brittany Powell — Michaeleen Doucleff — Amaud Jamaul Johnson — Cherene Sherrard Interviews In This Hour: A Parenting Movement Emerges From the Pandemic — Modern Parenting Tips From Ancient Civilizations — Two Poets On Raising Black Teenage Boys In America Further Reading: Economic Hardship Reporting Project

Growing Justice

A new generation of Black farmers are working to reclaim land, hoping to grow justice along with vegetables and plants. Original Air Date: August 22, 2020 Guests: Leah Penniman — Savi Horne — Venice Williams — Marcia Chatelain Interviews In This Hour: How Black Farmers Lost 14 Million Acres of Farmland — And How They're Taking It Back — 'When You Hold Land You Have to Keep It' — My Garden Is An Outdoor Parish — Cooking Greens: A Delicious Family History Lesson — The First Job, The Polling Place, The Community Space: How McDonald's Became 'The Closest Thing To Home' For Black Communities

The Weird, Wild World of Mushrooms

We owe our past and future existence on Earth to fungi. Some can heal you, some can kill you, and some can change you forever. And the people who love them are convinced that mushrooms explain the world. Original Air Date: June 08, 2019 Guests: Lawrence Millman — Paul Stamets — Eugenia Bone — Michael Pollan — Dennis McKenna — Robin Carhart-Harris Interviews In This Hour: Humanity? It All Started With The Raven and Fungus Man — The Soil-Cleaning, Insect-Warding, Smallpox-Curing Power of Mushrooms — From Candy Caps To Morels: Notes From A Mushroom Hunter's Cookbook — John Cage, Vaclav Halek and the Marvels of Mushroom Music — Did Magic Mushrooms Shape Human Consciousness? — 'Fantastic Fungi' And How To Film Them

Reading While Young

Remember when reading still felt magical? When a book could sweep you off your feet into another world? It might be that the best way to find your way back the magic is through a kid's book. We talk to authors about Wonderland, magic wands, unicorns and other children's stories that inspire. Original Air Date: May 01, 2021 Guests: Katherine Rundell — Quan Barry — Enrique Salmon — Ebony Thomas — LL McKinney — Lulu Miller Interviews In This Hour: Why A Pandemic Is The Perfect Time To Read Children's Literature — Quan Barry on 'White Fang' — Enrique Salmon on 'The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn' — Is Hermione Black? The Answer Depends On How Old You Are — Alice The Doomslayer Rises In L.L. McKinney's Reimagining of 'Alice In Wonderland' — Lulu Miller on 'The Search for Delicious' Further Reading: Bookmarks Hub

Searching for Order in the Universe

When things don't go the way they're supposed to — viruses, star systems, presidents, even fish — we're often desperate to explain the chaos. In this episode, we search for order in the universe. Original Air Date: August 08, 2020 Guests: Patrik Svensson — Lulu Miller — Alexander Boxer — Margaret Wertheim — S. James Gates Jr. Interviews In This Hour: The Weird World Of Eels — We Call Them Fish. Evolution Says They're Something Else. — The Original Algorithm Was Written In The Stars — Seeing The World With A Mathematician's Eyes Further Reading: Nautilus: Eels Don't Have Sex Until the Last Year of Their Life—NYAS: The Mystery of Our Mathematical Universe

The Power of Pleasure and Joy

What if the most unselfish thing you could do was to pursue pleasure? To look for delight? To feel joy? We make the case for the transformative power of joy, pleasure and delight. Original Air Date: October 12, 2019 Guests: Ross Gay — Kathryn Bond Stockton — Laurie Santos — Lynne Segal Interviews In This Hour: 365 Days Of Delight: A Poet's Guide To Finding Joy — A Queer Theorist On Ecstatic Kissing — Laboratory of Joy: A Psychologist On The Science of Feeling Good — The Revolution Will Be Joyful: Feminist Lynne Segal On Fighting Power With Pleasure — The People Power Of Happiness

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