Innovation Hub Innovation Hub features today's most creative thinkers - from authors to researchers to business leaders. It explores new avenues in education, science, medicine, transportation, and more. Guests have included Michael Pollan, Sal Khan, Marissa Mayer, Clayton Christensen, Jared Diamond, Paul Farmer, Sherry Turkle, and Brian Greene.
Innovation Hub

Innovation Hub

From WGBH Radio

Innovation Hub features today's most creative thinkers - from authors to researchers to business leaders. It explores new avenues in education, science, medicine, transportation, and more. Guests have included Michael Pollan, Sal Khan, Marissa Mayer, Clayton Christensen, Jared Diamond, Paul Farmer, Sherry Turkle, and Brian Greene.

Most Recent Episodes

Is Race Science Coming Back?

With the European intellectual movement, there was a heightened interest to interpret the world around us. Scientists of the 18th century sought a way to categorize and objectively understand the multitude of species inhabiting earth. Unfortunately, humans were not spared in this scientific venture and the idea of superior and inferior human races were born, which went on to influence our social understanding of one another. Angela Saini, a science journalist and the author of "Superior: The Return of Race Science", looks at how racial prejudice in the past was justified through science, and why she fears this 'rationality' is making a comeback with the current, global nationalist rhetoric.

Is Meritocracy Damaging Our Economy?

Those in the highest paying jobs are working longer hours than ever before. Meanwhile, the middle class is falling behind, as employers demand more qualifications from employees. America is supposed to be a meritocracy, but perhaps meritocracies - which aim for fairness - aren't all they're cracked up to be.

To Understand Risk - Play Poker

These days, it feels like everyone is thinking about risk. Is it a good idea to travel by airplane? Is it OK to visit parents? Is it safe to go to a park? But if you want to truly understand risk, it might be a good idea to turn to an unlikely source... poker. That's according to Maria Konnikova, a journalist and author of the book The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned To Pay Attention, Master Myself, and Win. In writing the book, Konnikova set out to discover what poker can teach us about psychology, probability, and, yes, risk. She certainly didn't set out to win over $300,000 playing professional poker... but sometimes a bet really pays off.

Tipping the Scales: When America Started Moralizing Food

It was once a virtue to have some excess weight, kids weren't considered picky eaters, and the term "overweight" didn't even exist. What changed? Helen Zoe Veit, an associate professor of history at Michigan State University, and author of "Modern Food, Moral Food: Self-Control, Science, and the Rise of Modern American Eating in the Early Twentieth Century," joined us to talk about how America began to moralize the food that we eat — or don't eat.

COVID-19's Crisis of Care Costs Working Mothers

COVID-19 has dramatically changed the lives of millions of families, with some parents losing their jobs while others struggle to keep them. For working parents, careers are competing now, more than ever, with another pressing responsibility—caring for their children. Betsey Stevenson, a professor of economics and public policy at the University of Michigan, explains how the burden of childcare during COVID-19 has had a disproportionate impact on women and why the pandemic could have a lasting effect on gender equality in the workplace for years to come.

The World Behind Wikipedia

"Don't believe everything you read on the internet." The urgency behind this sentiment is stronger than ever at a time when misinformation is everywhere. So how has Wikipedia, famous for allowing anyone to edit, become a paragon for truth? Andrew Lih, author of "The Wikipedia Revolution: How a Bunch of Nobodies Created the World's Greatest Encyclopedia" and the Wikimedia Strategist for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, breaks down where Wikipedia came from, how it works, and where it could be headed.

The Future of Our Pandemic

The U.S. loosened its lockdown measures far too early, even as cases of COVID-19 were on the rise, and now we are paying the price. That's the verdict of Dr. Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, who back in May called the rush to reopen a "hodgepodge" because several states ignored important health and safety guidelines. As the pandemic rages on, Osterholm discusses the steps that are needed to control the spread of the virus, advances in testing and treatment, and what the future could hold.

The Culture of COVID-19

The United States' disjointed and detrimental response to the COVID-19 pandemic stands in stark contrast to the actions we've seen in other countries. While some people elsewhere seem more than willing to wear masks and avoid close contact with others, many Americans have balked at measures that they see as encroaching on personal freedoms, even as COVID-19 cases begin to spiral out of control once more. There are several factors at play, including what some have described as a failure of leadership at the national level. But, according to Michele Gelfand, a psychology professor at the University of Maryland and author of "Rule Makers, Rule Breakers: How Tight and Loose Cultures Wire Our World," we can also look to cultural and social norms.

A Surprising, Gross, and Utterly Fascinating Look at the Birth of Science

Science in the 1600s wasn't an especially safe endeavor. People were burned at the stake for saying that the Earth revolved around the Sun. Galileo Galilei narrowly avoided that particular fate, but was placed under house arrest. That's... pretty different from our modern world, where we're all relying on scientists to understand the nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, and, hopefully, come up with a vaccine. How did we get to this point? Well, part of the reason is that, in 1660, a group of natural philosophers and thinkers came together to found what would become known as The Royal Society. That's according to Adrian Tinniswood, author of The Royal Society: And the Invention of Modern Science. He walks us through the important legacy of the oldest scientific institution in the world, and how it helped shape evidence-based science.

A Surprising, Gross, and Utterly Fascinating Look at the Birth of Science

A Compulsion to Be Good

There is a famous quote from French existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre: "Hell is other people." While some may agree with that sentiment and crave solitude, there's a lot of evidence that people are drawn to each other. We form friendships, sports teams, knitting circles and complex societies, unlike any other species on Earth. Nicholas Christakis, a doctor, sociologist, and author of "Blueprint: The Evolutionary Origins of a Good Society," has spent years trying to understand why people often feel compelled to connect to - and help - each other. The answer he arrived at was that, although humans are capable of a lot of bad things, it turns out being good has long been coded into our biology

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