Conversations host Harry Kreisler welcomes Professor Jennifer Doudna of UC Berkeley for a discussion of her intellectual odyssey that led to the discovery of CRISPR-Cas9, a revolutionary tool for gene editing. In the conversation, they explore the implications of CRISPR-Cas9 for agriculture, biotechnology and biomedicine. They also discuss how education and public advocacy can broaden insight into the ethical and policy dimensions of the biological revolution that is upon us.
Conversations host Harry Kreisler welcomes Deborah Tannen, University Professor, Georgetown University, for a discussion of her intellectual odyssey. Topics covered include: formative experiences; the concept of conversational style; the skills and temperament desirable for work in linguistics; the examples of applying concepts in her work in understanding communication between men and women and in her work in understanding the erosion of civic discourse; and using linguistics to understand the 2016 Presidential campaign.
Conversations host Harry Kreisler welcomes Marion Nestle Goddard Professor in the Department of Nutrition at New York University. Professor Nestle reflects on the evolution of her thinking on the interplay between nutrition studies and the politics of food. She discusses the environment of the food industry emphasizing its dilemma of producing too much food in an environment in which profits are paramount and the competition with other food producers is intense. She analyzes the arsenal of tools at its service—advertising and lobbying and talks about the role of food activism in creating a structure of choice in which health, the environment and social justice are determining factors in what is produced and what we eat. Finally, she identifies the role of government in entrenching the status quo and the possibilities of it assuming a different kind of role. Finally, she offers advice to students preparing for the future.
Conversations host Harry Kreisler welcomes Harvard Professor Annette Gordon-Reed for a discussion of her work as a lawyer/historian focusing on the contradictions of the life of Thomas Jefferson. Recalling her intellectual odyssey. Professor Gordon-Reed elucidates her contribution to Jeffersonian scholarship including her most recent book “The Most Blessed of Patriarchs”: Thomas Jefferson and the Empire of Imagination(written with Peter S. Onuf). Topics covered in the conversation include how her training as a lawyer empowered her to overturn the conventional historical view of the relationship between Jefferson and Sally Hemings. Professor Gordon-Reed highlights the structural intellectual racism at the heart of Jeffersonian historiography which ignored the factual evidence which pointed to Jefferson as the father of Sally Heming’s children.
Conversations host Harry Kreisler welcomes Ralph J. Cicerone, President of the National Academy of Sciences for a discussion of the challenges facing the scientific community. Dr. Cicerone describes his research interests and explains the qualities of a scientist and what makes science a unique enterprise. He also focuses on leadership in science discussing his work at UC Irvine to establish a department of geosciences and his goals as President of the National Academy of Science and Chair of the National Research Council. He reflects on his work on,“Climate Change Science: An Analysis on Some Key Questions,” which he chaired-and delivered in one month-in 2001. Dr. Cicerone also considers the problem of the politicization of the Climate Change debate and concludes with positive signs that over time the international community will confront the challenges posed by climate change.
Conversations host Harry Kreisler welcomes Gro Harlem Brundtland, Mimi and Peter E. Haas Distinguished Visitor at Stanford, for a discussion of her lifelong commitment to public service at the national and international level. She traces her intellectual odyssey and recalls her many roles--Norwegian Prime Minister, Chair of Global Commission on Environment and Development, and Director General of the World Health Organization. She also describes the attributes of her leadership: the combination of political skills and scientific training that she developed as she worked to implement a vision of a just society in which women's rights, global health, and sustainable development were insured.
Conversations host Harry Kreisler welcome Nobel Laureate Carol Greider, Daniel Nathans Professor and Director of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Johns Hopkins University, for a discussion of her intellectual odyssey. Topics covered include her education; her Nobel winning research on telomeres and telomerase; the implications of this research for treatment of disease; science education; and women in science.
Conversations host Harry Kreisler welcomes Karl Eikenberry, who commanded coalition forces in Afghanistan and served as U.S. Ambassador there. Reflecting on his career as soldier and diplomat, Ambassador Eikenberry recalls his formative experiences and compares the skill set and challenges of the two postings. He evaluates the volunteer military force, analyzes the situation in Afghanistan as the US stands down, describes the problems posed by exit strategies after intervention, and reflects on the implications of the rise of China and the US pivot toward Asia.
Conversations host Harry Kreisler welcomes Nobel Laureate Gary S. Becker for a discussion of his intellectual journey. Topics covered in the conversation include: the influence of his parents, his education, Milton Friedman, his early work on discrimination, the skills and temperament required for work in economics, applying economic analysis to social problems, the Chicago school of economics, creativity, rational choice theory, markets vs. government, the impact of ideas on policy, the communications revolution, the lessons of the 2008 economic collapse, and advice for students preparing for the future.
Conversations host Harry Kreisler welcomes environmentalist James Gustave Speth, Professor of Law, Vermont Law School for a discussion of his new book, America The Possible: Manifesto for a New Economy. Speth discusses the systemic failure at the heart of the American crisis highlighting the inadequacy of a motivational system that focuses on economic growth, profits, and power to the detriment of people and the environment. In his view, the American system is broken. He criticizes progressives for not focusing on the big picture and thereby not recognizing the way issues like poverty, education, and environment are linked to the failure of political economy to deliver a quality of life that takes account of human need and values such as equity and justice.