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Clear+Vivid with Alan Alda

Bobi NYC

Comedy, Society & Culture, Science

4.83.4K Ratings


Learn to connect better with others in every area of your life. Immerse yourself in spirited conversations with people who know how hard it is, and yet how good it feels, to really connect with other people – whether it’s one person, an audience or a whole country. You'll know many of the people in these conversations – they are luminaries in our culture. Some you may not know. But what links them all is their powerful ability to relate and communicate. It's something we need now more than ever.

317 Episodes

David Charbonneau and Doris Tsao: Looking for Something Familiar

He is searching space for planets that are something like ours. She is searching brains to discover how we recognize things. They are both 2024 Kavli laureates – Charbonneau awarded the prize for astrophysics, Tsao for neuroscience.

Transcribed - Published: 12 June 2024

David Jewitt and Jane Luu: Is Pluto All Alone Out There?

That was the question two determined astronomers set out to answer. A frustrating five-year search revealed that Pluto, long thought to be a small, lonely planet on the outer fringes of the solar system, is in fact part of a huge ring of debris left over from the solar system’s birth.

Transcribed - Published: 4 June 2024

Carla Shatz and Marcus Raichle: Brainwaves

Between them these two neuroscientists changed the way we think of our brains. Their insights are now opening new ways to tackle the problems our brains face as they age, including neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

Transcribed - Published: 28 May 2024

Fred Guttenberg and Joe Walsh: Two Dads Defending Democracy

Once sworn enemies in TV appearances and on social media, Fred Guttenberg and Joe Walsh got together privately and realized there is much that unites them. They are now on a tour of college campuses hoping to share their success in bridge-building with others divided by hate.

Transcribed - Published: 21 May 2024

Craig Venter: Oceans of Genes

Aboard his 100 ft sailboat, the geneticist famed for his work deciphering human genes spent 15 years sailing the world’s oceans, discovering millions of unknown genes in the microbes that live there – genes that could lead to new sources of energy, food and medicine.

Transcribed - Published: 14 May 2024

Adam Moss: What Makes it Art?

After a successful career as an award-winning magazine editor, Adam Moss decided to put it all aside to pursue a passion for painting. He became pretty good; but something was missing. His struggle to understand what that something was led him to his new book, The Work of Art.

Transcribed - Published: 7 May 2024

Kelly and Zach Weinersmith: A Second Home on Mars?

Should we be planning to establish settlements on the moon and Mars? To many, including a couple of billionaires, the idea has become almost an obsession. An unlikely husband and wife duo has spent years digging deeply into plans to colonize space. Their conclusion: not so fast.

Transcribed - Published: 30 April 2024

Rebecca Boyle: Moonstruck

We exist because of the moon. Rebecca Boyle relates the amazing story of how the moon, born of a cataclysmic collision with an infant earth, has shaped our history, our evolution, and even our very existence.

Transcribed - Published: 23 April 2024

Doris Kearns Goodwin: In the Rooms Where it Happened

Her new book tracks the momentous events of the 1960s when her husband, Dick Goodwin, worked closely with both JFK and LBJ, and Doris worked with LBJ, as the two very different presidents shaped the future.

Transcribed - Published: 16 April 2024

Clear+Vivid with Alan Alda - Season 25 trailer

Alan and Executive Producer Graham Chedd chat about and play excerpts from Alan's conversations with some of the guests in the new season, beginning next week. Guests include newspaper editor Adam Moss; science journalist Rebecca Boyle; and writers Kelly and Zach Weinersmith.

Transcribed - Published: 9 April 2024

Stephen Dubner: Feynman on Our Mind

Stephen Dubner, host of Freakonomics Radio, has long been fascinated by the great physicist Richard Feynman. As has Alan. Stephen has devoted a year to making a remarkable podcast series on Feynman, and Alan has played Feynman on the stage for a year. They compare notes on what they’ve come to learn about him.

Transcribed - Published: 2 April 2024

Remembering Frans de Waal

In this special episode of Clear and Vivid we reflect on Frans’ life-long commitment to revealing how much we humans have in common with our primate cousins.

Transcribed - Published: 27 March 2024

Justice Stephen Breyer: Understanding What They Meant

When interpreting the Constitution, the dangers of relying solely on the words and what they meant at the time, without taking into account the purpose and values expressed in those words.

Transcribed - Published: 26 March 2024

Shohini Ghose: Women’s Time and Space

A leading physicist herself, Shohini Ghose has wonderful stories about the trials and triumphs of the many mostly unsung women whose work helped open up the universe.

Transcribed - Published: 19 March 2024

Tali Sharot: Take Another Look

We can get used to things to the point where even something we once thought wonderful can lose its luster. More sinister, we can also get used to the drip, drip of falsehoods till we become dulled to their danger. How to overcome habituation, and even take advantage of it.

Transcribed - Published: 12 March 2024

Keith Houston: There’s More to Writing Than Words.

The intriguing stories behind the often weird and baffling origins of punctuation and other symbols we use to communicate. And it’s not just commas, colons and periods. There are pilcrows, octothorps, interrobangs and a whole menagerie more.

Transcribed - Published: 5 March 2024

Terry Greiss: Acting to Connect

The Irondale Ensemble Project, a theater company rooted in improvisation, created a program to help police and community build trust and mutual understanding through theater games.

Transcribed - Published: 27 February 2024

Robert Sapolsky: You Have No Choice

You may think you were free to choose that chocolate ice cream over the vanilla. But maybe the choice was made for you before you were even born – that the free will you believe you are exercising in your everyday decisions is an illusion.

Transcribed - Published: 20 February 2024

Tom Hanks: Making a Book About Making a Movie

And what a book it is, a rich sprawling novel called The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece, which Tom himself describes as a “primer on the long slog of bringing an idea from somebody’s head to a theater near you.”

Transcribed - Published: 13 February 2024

Paul Bloom: Can AI be Moral?

Why can’t AI bots be made to be good, to be moral, so they’ll help us and not do harmful or terrible things? But just whose moral values would we want them to have? And what if they become too moral?

Transcribed - Published: 6 February 2024

Eric Schmidt: AI: The Good, the Bad and the Scary.

He was for many years the CEO of Google where he had a bird’s eye view of the dramatic evolution of artificial intelligence. And while he is alarmed by the many dangers of AI, especially its ability to create fake people in this election year, he is also enthusiastic about the huge opportunities he sees for AI benefitting medicine, education and the tackling of global problems like climate change.

Transcribed - Published: 30 January 2024

Fei-Fei Li: The Godmother of AI

She earned that unofficial title from her peers through her pioneering work harvesting big data to power AI, leading to the recent breakthroughs such as ChatGPT and its many successors. Her personal story is inspiring, from her childhood in China to risking her scientific career on a research gamble that might well have failed. And like a real godmother she now feels responsible for the revolution she helped launch.

Transcribed - Published: 23 January 2024

Clear+Vivid with Alan Alda - Season 24 trailer

Alan and Executive Producer Graham Chedd chat about and play excerpts from Alan's conversations with some of the guests in the new season, beginning next week. Guests include computer scientist Fei-Fei Li; former CEO of Google Eric Schmidt; and actor Tom Hanks.

Transcribed - Published: 16 January 2024

Cynthia Breazeal: Her Robots Have Warmth!

Their social, communicative and emotional skills allow her robots to seamlessly collaborate with us. A pioneer in the field of social robotics, Cynthia Breazeal is now turning her focus to ensuring we understand the limits and risks of the artificial intelligence that powers those robots – that we become “AI literate.”

Transcribed - Published: 9 January 2024

Abraham Amiri: From Afghanistan to the Stars

An unquenchable passion for astronomy born from gazing at the stars from a rooftop as a child led to his setting up a nationwide program in astronomy in Afghanistan. Escaping the wrath of the Taliban for the sin of teaching young women about the universe, he is now a graduate student at UCLA.

Transcribed - Published: 2 January 2024

Steve Inskeep: Lessons from Lincoln

A new book takes a fresh look at Abraham Lincoln’s life by recounting sixteen face-to-face encounters Lincoln had with people who differed with him, sometimes vehemently. The book not only reveals his skills as a master politician in a deeply divisive time, but also has lessons for today.

Transcribed - Published: 26 December 2023

Leslie Odom Jr: Bursting Out

A Tony winner for his performance as Aaron Burr in Hamilton, he is now starring on Broadway in the hit play Purlie Victorious. One of the secrets to his success: letting go.

Transcribed - Published: 19 December 2023

Kate Cohen: Asks if You Need God to be Good

It took her years to admit to family and friends that she was a non-believer. But she found that pretending to believe wasn’t working. Her book is “We of Little Faith: Why I Stopped Pretending to Believe, And Maybe You Should Too."

Transcribed - Published: 12 December 2023

Peter Hotez: The Deadly Rise of Anti-Science

In his new book, the doctor familiar on TV in his white coat and bow tie tells how his attempts to correct lies about covid vaccines led to death threats; while the lies themselves led to some 200,000 unnecessary deaths among those refusing vaccination.

Transcribed - Published: 5 December 2023

Heather Cox Richardson: She’ll Write You a Letter

Two million of us get a letter in our inboxes every morning with a calm, clarifying take on what happened yesterday— from the perspective of a historian, yet written with the intimacy of a friend.

Transcribed - Published: 28 November 2023

David Brooks: How to Know a Person

Columnist and author David Brooks tells how he’s changed over his 60 something years – in part through the books he’s written exploring how people see themselves and others. He shares the insights he’s gained into truly knowing the people around us.

Transcribed - Published: 21 November 2023

Marcus du Sautoy: Around the World in 80 Games

Enjoy playing games? You’ll enjoy them even more once renowned mathematician, Oxford University professor and avid game player Marcus du Sautoy tells Alan why they so fascinate us. And Alan tells Marcus about his favorite game – one even Marcus didn’t know.

Transcribed - Published: 14 November 2023

How "Maid" Was Made

Stephanie Land’s lifelong passion for writing – along with a college degree she could ill afford – led to a bestselling book and a hit TV series, allowing her to escape the poverty trap ensnaring so many single mothers.

Transcribed - Published: 7 November 2023

Frank Felberbaum: Don’t Forget!

Not only does he have an astonishing memory himself, but Frank Felberbaum has taught thousands of others, including Alan, how to improve their memory skills – especially for putting names to faces.

Transcribed - Published: 31 October 2023

Clear+Vivid with Alan Alda - Season 23 trailer

Alan and Executive Producer Graham Chedd chat about and play excerpts from Alan's conversations with some of the guests in the new season, beginning next week. Guests include astronomer Abraham Amiri; memory expert Frank Felberbaum; and actor Leslie Odom Jr.

Transcribed - Published: 24 October 2023

Walter Isaacson: Shadowing Elon Musk

The acclaimed biographer spent two years in Musk’s company as his subject launched rockets, built electric cars, decided to save humanity by sending us to Mars, became the richest man in the world and bought Twitter – all the while often behaving like an “absolute jerk.”

Transcribed - Published: 17 October 2023

Laurel Braitman: Writing Wrongs

A life full of adventure while struggling with grief led her to what she does so effectively today – helping doctors to level with colleagues and patients through storytelling when things go wrong.

Transcribed - Published: 10 October 2023

Carl Safina: Wisdom from a Baby Owl

Carl tells how rescuing a baby owl helped him and his wife get through the Covid lockdown – and how it renewed their bond with nature. There’s wisdom in it for the rest of us, too, whose relationship with the natural world is increasingly frayed.

Transcribed - Published: 3 October 2023

Joe Henrich: How Culture Has Shaped Our Bodies and Brains

He’s fascinated by how culture has shaped our evolution – not only changing our bodies and expanding our brains but even expanding our ability to cooperate. And the more diverse a culture, the better its ability to innovate.

Transcribed - Published: 26 September 2023

Kashmir Hill: Your Face Belongs to Us

That’s the title of a new book by New York Times technology reporter Kashmir Hill. Her book is both deeply researched and downright scary, as spelled out in the book’s subtitle: A Secretive Start-Up’s Quest to End Privacy As We Know it. A glimpse of your face in any photo you’ve ever uploaded can now lead to anyone discovering details of your life – both on-line and out there in the world.

Transcribed - Published: 19 September 2023

Matthew Walker: Sleep REALLY Matters

Author of a best-selling book called Why We Sleep, and host of the Matt Walker Podcast, he’s become the go-to expert on everything to do with sleep, from how it keeps both mind and body healthy to why we dream.

Transcribed - Published: 12 September 2023

Maya Shankar: Beginning from an Ending

A brilliant violinist in her teens, her world came crashing down when an injury ended her career even as it was beginning. Remarkably, she turned that loss into a PhD in neuroscience, a stint in the White House and a popular podcast about others also navigating drastic changes in their lives.

Transcribed - Published: 5 September 2023

Adam Mastroianni: Why You So Often Get It Wrong

Do you believe people are worse now than they use to be? That smarter people are happier people? That you know when to quit a conversation? Wrong on all counts, according to Adam Mastroianni, a social psychologist. He’s also a professional improv performer and uses those skills teaching business school students.

Transcribed - Published: 29 August 2023

Nancy Kanwisher: Your Brain is a Swiss Army Knife

Nancy Kanwisher has discovered many areas of the brain that are specialized for one particular purpose— like recognizing faces – which is interesting to Alan because of his inability to remember the faces of people he meets. Other specialized areas include identifying food, which Alan so far has no trouble with.

Transcribed - Published: 22 August 2023

Elizabeth Rush: Journey to the Doomsday Glacier

She managed to write a lyrical, moving book about her journey to a massive glacier in Antarctica that, if it collapses into the ocean, would cause a catastrophic rise in sea level. Unexpectedly, it’s also a book about her difficulty in choosing motherhood in a time of radical climate change.

Transcribed - Published: 15 August 2023

Robert Klein: He Observes, We Laugh

The actor/writer/comedian has been an inspiration to comedians like Jay Leno and Jerry Seinfeld. And he’s been inspired himself by greats of the past in the exacting art of finding what’s funny in our daily lives – when observed from just the right angle.

Transcribed - Published: 8 August 2023

Clear+Vivid with Alan Alda - Season 22 trailer

Alan and Executive Producer Graham Chedd chat about and play excerpts from Alan's conversations with some of the guests in the new season, beginning next week. Guests include comedian Robert Klein; writer Elizabeth Rush; and neuroscientist Nancy Kanwisher.

Transcribed - Published: 1 August 2023

Dan Dennett: Fake People Aren’t Funny

Counterfeit people, the seductively appealing Deep Fakes made possible by AI, are just the beginning of what the distinguished philosopher Dan Dennett says is a threat to humanity. This spring, he joined hundreds of other thought leaders in signing a starkly scary statement: AI threatens to make us extinct.

Transcribed - Published: 25 July 2023

Steve Sloman and Phil Fernbach: How Do You Know That?

Most of us don’t know most things. Yet most of us also think we understand a lot (OK, not quantum mechanics or Federal Reserve policy). We are all living with what Sloman and Fernbach argue is an Illusion of how much we know: a knowledge illusion. And this is fueling the fracturing of society.

Transcribed - Published: 18 July 2023

Aomawa Shields: When an Actor is Starstruck

Torn between astronomy and acting, she has landed in the sweet spot: leader of a research team judging other planets for their hospitality for life, while using the skills she learned as an actor to connect with and encourage a new generation of girls to become – as she was – entranced by the stars.

Transcribed - Published: 11 July 2023

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