The Human Brain and What It Has Learned About Itself.

With David Linden and Ariyeh Routenberg

It is not the “opposable thumb” or “bipedal locomotion” that accounts for human superiority over other animals. Rather—and of course—it is the evolved brain of homo sapiens. Two leading brain researchers discuss the role of the brain in “language, love, liberty” and other distinctive human attributes in this conversation from 2007.


Nixon’s Enemies List, a Badge of Honor?

With Tom Wicker

One of the best journalists ever to cover Washington was Tom Wicker of the New York Times. When finally he retired in 2004, having covered all of the regimes from Eisenhower to George W. Bush, he appeared on our program to talk about his many encounters with the Presidents including how he got a prominent place on Nixon’s Enemies List.


The Creation of the Oxford Dictionary

With Simon Winchester

All you need to know about the English language is to be found in the great Oxford dictionary–except the tale of the strange genius who conceived and organized it and the many unusual assistants (including a murderer and a madman) who worked with him. All of that is to be found in Winchester’s book on the subject and/or in this extended conversation from 2003.


The Nature of War

With Donald Kagan

Two great historians covered the great 5th century (BC) war between Athens and Sparta. Thucydides was not available for interview but Kagan, Professor of History at Yale University, was. Our memorable conversation occurred in 2003 and provides a compelling illumination of the nature of war itself.


Lincoln and Darwin: What’s the Connection?

With Adam Gopnick

The immediate connection is that they were borm on the same day–within hours of one another. The further connection is. of course, that each changed the course of history in an irreversible way. Gopnick of the New Yorker magazine did a brilliant book on the subject and here he is in a program from 2009.