The science writer Brian Switek knows adults aren’t supposed to like dinosaurs. And yet, they’re why he chose to move to Utah from New Jersey. In the decades since Switek’s dino-crazy childhood, dinosaurs have undergone incredible change. Once thought to be scaly reptilian ancestors, scientists now suspect they were warm-blooded avian relatives covered with fuzz. In his new book, Switek attempts to explain that change to casual dinosaur fans and to rectify the animals scientists study with their pop-cultural image. Switek joins us on Monday.
In the early 1980s, Utah anthropologist Kevin Jones was part of a team studying the Aché Indians in eastern Paraguay. The Aché lived as hunter-gatherers until competition for their forests abruptly pushed them from the Stone Age to the 20th century. The shock, Jones says, was unimaginable. Kevin Jones wanted to share their story with an audience beyond his academic community and the result is his first novel. Tuesday, he joins Doug to talk about "The Shrinking Jungle" and to explain what he learned about all of us from some of the last hunter-gatherers.
For scientists, the discovery of the Higgs boson -- dubbed “the God damn particle” by one scientist because it's so elusive -- was one of the most momentous events of the decade. It was also a monumentally difficult task. To find the Higgs, scientists built a 17-mile-long tunnel at a cost of $10 billion in order to smash protons into each other over 300 trillion times. But why? What's the Higgs all about? And why are scientists so excited by its discovery? If there's one scientist who can break this all down so lay people understand, it's the rock star physicist Brian Greene. He joins us on Wednesday to do just that.
Who hasn’t watched a bird soaring on high, swooping through the sky, and wondered what it would feel like to fly on feathered wings? In his book Bird Sense, the behavioral ecologist Tim Birkhead takes an inside look at the life of birds. He details the extraordinary senses, emotions and abilities of robins, finches, ducks, chickens and other avian friends. Birkhead joins Doug on Thursday to examine what it’s like to be a bird and what it's like to share a planet with such utterly different and yet recognizably similar creatures. (Rebroadcast)