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Origins are conversations with thought-leaders across an eclectic mix of disciplines (science, engineering, art, and design), crafted specifically for the category-defying society that we live in. We explore the thoughts, passions, and stories that defined these pioneers’ fascinating trajectories, arriving at the origins of the pivotal moments across their lives. Draw inspiration for your own trajectory from the intellectual and spiritual electricity of these eclectic conversations.
 
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Poetry comes up so often in my conversations these days. Our society in crisis seems to be desperate for it, without being able to name that desperation until a poem calls it out of us. For years, award-winning Poet David Hassler has been defining and redefining how poetry enters and moves people and communities. Show Notes: Jane Hirshfield (04:30)…
 
Alicia Juarrero is Professor Emerita of Philosophy at Prince George’s Community College and the author of Dynamics in Action, a text that many consider to have laid the foundation for how we think about complexity in our society. So Alicia is a philosopher for this moment in human history. Show Notes: Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke (…
 
Brandon Ballengée has a unique quality of attention, one that is not constrained by traditional distinctions between art & science and working & living. He wants to share that capacity to witness to liberate everyone's imagination of what this world can be, a world we are of rather than just in. This ecological consciousness informs his work as a v…
 
Welcome back to Origins, listeners. After a few month hiatus, we're back with an exhilarating, generative, spacious season of the show--the hiatus was in part so that I could focus on research, to launch a new series of 'salons' with the Cultural Program for the National Academy of Science (see here for an example), help ignite a new initiative tow…
 
Subscribe to The Flourishing Commons - a newsletter to accompany Origins episodes and to build a community around a rich forum for exchange. Sara Hendren is a humanist in tech. This may seem like a strange statement, but it may be a perfect place to pick up Sara's trajectory. She is a brilliant designer, an affecting educator, and just might be the…
 
Michael Hochberg is Distinguished Research Director with the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (the French National Centre for Scientific Research) and based at the University of Montpellier, France. His research has for many years spanned fields from ecology to epidemiology to biodiversity to innovation to the communication of science a…
 
For years Dave Snowden has helped me understand how to navigate a complex world better than perhaps any other thinker. He draws so widely from all schools of thought in forming frameworks for sensemaking. This episode is expanding. It will be with me for a long time and I hope it stays with you, too. Read more at: https://www.originspodcast.co/epis…
 
Katy Börner is one of the great mappers of our age. Her maps tell the history of science, trace how communication has evolved from the stone age to modern day, and reveal the connections across our society. In her work, all of these things become visual and interactive. That is to say she is the perfect person to talk to in this age when complexity…
 
This episode originally aired on June 4, 2020. There are new episodes coming to you soon, so stay tuned. But now is a good time to revisit wise words from one of my favorite previous guests, Cecilia Conrad, Managing Director of the MacArthur ('Genius') Fellows Program and the 100&Change program. The 2021 class of MacArthur Fellows was announced in …
 
Dr. and professor Jessica Flack has been a dream guest for Origins since the beginning - the kind of generous intellect and polymath whose words and work expand everyone around her. She also might be the person we can place our trust in to help us learn how to make sense of an increasingly complex world. Show Notes: Josh Epstein - agent-based model…
 
JoAnn Kuchera-Morin is a composer. But the music she writes is more than mere notes; it embraces art and science and engineering and finds new frontiers at the intersection of them all. Her 'music' is both song and her research into new modes of immersive, interactive scientific and artistic investigation. Through art as with science, her work seek…
 
I have trouble wrapping any adequate labels around this episode’s guest, Paco Nathan. Paco is a technologist, data scientist and an evangelist of a brighter data and technology future. He has an uncommon ability to synthesize the gaps and trends in this complex and evolving space, and gives me hope that we can create a more flourishing future withi…
 
Caitlin McShea is that special kind of curious that you cannot help but be inspired by, and she has the intellect to spread that curiosity over any domain. For the past ten years in roles varying from director of art galleries, curator and coordinator of exhibits, and now as a program manager at the Santa Fe Institute, she has been giving language,…
 
Professor Anima Anandkumar is a meteor in the field of artificial intelligence or AI. Her rise in the space has been a phenomenon to behold and her voice is a refreshing and inviting one that might just alter the trajectory of AI and society. Show Notes: Artificial Intelligence (AI) (01:00) Love of the liminal spaces (03:20) Philosophy and connecti…
 
Dan Goods is a leader among the community of creatives at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, so he's an imaginer among imaginers. A creator among creators. He's one of the most innovative minds I've come across, and someone who embodies selflessness and that most wonderful and contagious quality that is an insatiable curiosity. Show Notes: How he de…
 
During two years spent at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, curiosity-driven coffee conversations every morning with people who surprised and inspired me sparked an endless fascination with the pivotal moments across a life. Travels to leading art, science, engineering, and design institutions around the world nourished my passion and blossomed int…
 
Peter Turchi takes the art and act of writing as an irresistible analog for the art and the act of living. His work is part of a long tradition of fascination with processes of writers and he is among the masters at relating that process in a way that reaches all domains of society. For anyone who has ever thought about writing - the craft of it, i…
 
Ethan Zuckerman is a voice that you need to know. He’s a pioneer for the use of media as a tool for social change, for cultivating international development with technology, and for the activation of new media technologies by activists. Ethan is uncommonly insightful about the currents and trends of our society. In this conversation he helps us und…
 
We find ourselves in a world that feels incongruent and unfamiliar, changing socially and technologically at paces that expose conventional explanations as inadequate. Climate change, pandemics, political unrest have punctuated this new century and feel like clarion calls for new ways of being and being together. Enter Richard D. Bartlett — someone…
 
Tomas Björkman transcends science, business, philosophy, and social and personal change. Founder of the Ekskäret Foundation and coauthor of The Nordic Secret, Tomas’ story is a guide for anyone thinking about the future of society - a confluence of physics, macroeconomics, and entrepreneurship. Show Notes: Ekskäret Foundation; Oak Island Foundation…
 
Show Notes: Storytelling (03:00) Wonder Collaborative (04:30) Jane Goodall (05:00) Human Nature (CRISPR documentary) Nobel Prize Winner Jennifer Doudna Ron Vale (06:00) "Cell Hell” - Cell Biology and Genetics course at Middlebury iBiology (09:00) The power of words (09:45) “Bringing good people to work with you” (10:30) How do you build a team? Cre…
 
Show Notes: Small Arcs of Larger Circles (02:00) Objectivity (05:45) Relationships and interdependencies (07:00) Smiling with your whole system (10:00) Flip side of delight and seeing connections (11:00) Language developed from your own frustration (13:30) Different kinds of teachers Esalen Institute (15:30) Diving more deeply into the arts and an …
 
Show Notes: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) (02:00) Rachel Carson’s words (03:30) Scale of things and perspective Pioneers of oceanography: Rossby and Montgomery (07:30) Global conclusions from small data (09:30) World Ocean Circulation Experiment (10:00) Eye-opening expeditions (12:00) All kinds of ways of ’seeing’ (14:00) E…
 
Show Notes: NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (05:15) Mentors (07:20) Building and leading teams (13:15) Comfort with uncertainty (15:30) Waleed Abdalati Origins episode (18:30) What drew Nash to JPL (19:00) Trajectories to JPL (20:00) Why you need to read sociology books (22:00) Being a Renaissance Person - curiosity across human endeavors (22:40) T-…
 
Show Notes: Spiritual background of his childhood (05:30) Discipline to do good work (06:10) Mentor: Albert-László Barabási (09:30) How do you demand excellence? Musing on the competitive mentality (11:45) Relevance of science is a very social dimension (12:30) What he tells his students (13:30) Adapting as an individual (14:45) MIT Media Lab Colle…
 
Show Notes: Santa Fe Institute (2:00) Alexander Hamilton biography by Ron Chernow (4:30) The Universe and Dr. Einstein by Lincoln Barnett (5:45) Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid by Douglas Hofstadter (7:30) Martin Gardner Scientific American “Mathematical Games" (8:30) Douglas Hofstadter (10:00) John Holland (14:30) Adaptation in Natura…
 
Show Notes: Data-driven design firm Accurat Data humanism When she realized design was going to be a part of her life (07:00) A ’new chapter’ in her life to fuse data and design (07:30) What teachers told her that changed her (08:00) Discovery of information design (09:00) Rules versus limitations (10:15) Rules as catalyzers of creativity Pushing y…
 
Show Notes: Marx Philosophic and Economic manuscript of 1844 (3:30) Changed by exposure to systematic class privilege (7:10) ‘Cubilcle’-ization revolution (8:10) Normative aspects of economics and markets (11:30) The American Economic Journal (15:00) Being intellectually curious (16:00) Hugh Lacey History of Philosophy and Science - Swarthmore (16:…
 
Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) (06:00) One of ten people to be ’NASA Chief Scientist' Being led around by your curiosity ‘Pulls' from our earliest ages in life (07:30) The Arctic from space (10:00) The ’space-based perspective' ’No better compass than your emotions’ (11:30) Constructive emotions Opportunities t…
 
Show Notes: Privilege brings with it a sense of responsibility (4:00) Empowering others - "nurturing, supporting, and uplifting" (5:30) “Talent in unexpected locations" Levels of impact: individual and systems (7:45) Carrying people with you (8:20) POSSE Foundation (8:40) Compensatory and Distributive Justice (9:00) What she tells her students (10:…
 
Show Notes: Human Rights Data Analysis Group (HRDAG) (1:40) The contagious nature of imprisonment paper (1:50) Value of community colleges (6:30) Professor Dan Balaguy at Sierra College (7:20) Professor Richard Stong at Rice University - Combinatorics (8:30) Coming to an understanding of one’s career and curiosity (10:20) How can we make the public…
 
Show Notes: Grew up knowing possibility and that people create things (8:30) Being around art, there was always another reality that could be made (9:00) How do you sit with tension? (10:00) The thing that allows me to maintain balance in the present - keep moving at the pace that feels most fulfilling and productive in the moment Find comfort in t…
 
Show Notes: Cultivate Wit (03:00) New Glarus Spotted Cow Beer (03:40) Lambeau Field - Green Bay, Wisconsin (04:00) Pausing in your activities to recognize what it is you are actually drawing joy from (07:20) Surprising ways to learn about entrepreneurship (11:00) Common experience and connection (20:30) The Onion (21:00) Creative process at The Oni…
 
Show Notes: Institute for Learning Innovation (02:20) Those that have given language and expression to Martin in his life (15:00) Art - Die Brücke impressionists Art - Mid-century modernism Poetry and philosophy - Schopenhauer Poetry vs. Science as forms for expression (17:00) Rainer Maria Rilke (18:00) Questions are a mighty form of words Wellspri…
 
Show Notes: Breakthrough Collaborative (3:10) Education as a vehicle for exploring the edges of social justice (6:00) Passion to give people what they need to be successful (8:20) Teach for America (10:00) Qualities of a good mentor: patience, clarity, guide through learning moments (12:10) Reasons for loving learning (13:20) How Rachel sustains he…
 
Show Notes: Weather in outer space (1:30) Explosive learning through taking advantage of breadth and depth of knowledge (2:20) NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (2:40) Mentors: Ari Viljanen (5:20) Risto Pirjola (5:30) Olaf Amm (5:40) Hannu Koskinen (9:50) Geomagnetically induced currents and effect of space weather on the power grid (5:40) Approach …
 
Show Notes: Christine Atha (10:30) “Dropping bombs on the landscape” (13:30) Land art (14:30) Michael Heizer “Displaced Replaced Mass” (16:10) Is this art? (19:00) Take out the human completely, take out what it means to anybody and try to imagine this thing existing on its own (21:00) Imagine what it means to be the object, to be the force (21:20)…
 
Show Notes: Halıcıoğlu Data Science Institute (2:11) IEEE Computer Society 2019 W. Wallace McDowell Award (3:30) “Trying to do things in the wrong way” and having an internal compass to know when to redirect oneself (4:45) Responding to how you are being seen (5:30) Contradiction a deeply personal experience and growing comfortable with ambiguity (…
 
Show Notes: The SETI Institute (1:15 and 6:10) FDL program (NASA Frontier Development Lab) (4:30 and 36:00) Jesuit thinking (5:00) Brother Guy J. Consolmagno (6:20) Take advantage of the breadth of knowledge available to you and cut across the boundaries of knowledge (7:30) Early mentor, Ken Nill, and how he altered Bill’s trajectory (12:00) Value …
 
Show Notes: Polar mission, Solar-Terrestrial Physics Science Initiative, Van Allen Probes mission, and Parker Solar Probe mission (01:05) NASA Heliophysics Division (01:20) Nicky at South by Southwest (03:20) Nicky on the TEDx stage (03:35) Delta IV Heavy launch vehicle (04:35) Solar energy effects on GNSS (06:50) Idea of assessing your presentatio…
 
Show Notes: Andrés’ first website: “a small trip through Columbian music” (04:10) Cosmos (TV Show and Book) by Carl Sagan (05:50) Jesuit Ignatian spiritual retreats in reference to Ignatius Loyola (08:00 and 11:15) How do you create space to listen to yourself? (13:30) NASA Frontier Development Laboratory - FDL (15:51) ‘Deep Learning’ (17:00) What …
 
Show Notes: Geodesics (12:40) Booz Allen Hamilton (21:00) Kirk ’surprised’ himself through the cognitive ability test at a job interview - the idea of surprising ourselves through exposing ourselves to new ideas (25:00) "Cognitive view of the whole, and not just a narrow silo’ed view - the bias buster” - systems thinking (26:40) Underfitting and Ov…
 
Show Notes: Matt’s bands (1:30): Tiny Danza and RVNNERS Being singularly focused versus pursuing multiple curiosities. Tim Ferriss blog on one way to think about this: Push vs. Pull Processes Sonification (9:03) TEDx talk University of Toronto (10:12) Matt’s interaction with the six-year old fan of his work (11:00) Matt discusses acting almost unco…
 
Show Notes: Apache Open Source Software Foundation (4:00) Apache projects: Tika (26:30), Nutch (15:10), Hadoop (36:05) Chris’ resume and the ‘web of activities’ (7:15) “It’s all got to relate to one another”-Chris (7:15) Tim Ferriss’ scratch your own itch “JPL” (8:05) NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory USC ’systems perspective’ (8:25) ‘Architect softwa…
 
Show Notes: Kerry’s quilt kickstarter (~3:00) Vipassanā mediation/retreats (~5:30) Sitting practice meditation (~12:55) We discuss morning routines and I’m a complete nerd for people’s routines - here are a few examples of morning routines from other thought-leaders (~14:40) Sam Harris morning guided meditation (~17:05) Julia Cameron The Artist’s W…
 
Show Notes: The Canadian High Arctic Ionospheric Network (CHAIN) - http://chain.physics.unb.ca/chain/ Jay’s research group: http://radio.physics.unb.ca/jayachandran/ Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thumba_Equatorial_Rocket_Launching_Station Books mentioned: Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societie…
 
Show Notes: Work-Life balance vs. alignment (7:00) Link to follow-up on: https://bit.ly/2SnMPIz TED talk about the silent man (31:30): John Francis (https://www.ted.com/talks/john_francis_walks_the_earth?language=en) We talk a lot about being quiet and the various forms and meanings of that. Here’s a link to a TED Radio Hour episode about ‘Quiet’: …
 
Show Notes: STEREO (Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory) mission: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/stereo/main/index.html Living With a Star Program: https://lws.gsfc.nasa.gov/ Jack Eddy: https://aas.org/obituaries/john-allen-eddy-1931-2009 The Jack Eddy Fellowship: https://cpaess.ucar.edu/heliophysics/jack-eddy What is Heliophysics? (4:45 & …
 
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