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Science and Story Café

Saturday, May 30, 2015
11:00 am - 2:30 pm

Books on the Brain

11 AM
Scientists offered insights into the mind-body connection, presenting new techniques to boost brainpower. Neuroscientist Wendy Suzuki examined the biological link between exercise, mindfulness, and action. Psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman challenged the conventional wisdom about childhood predictors of later success. And philosopher Alfred Mele investigated the existence of free will, its meaning and ramifications.

Brave New Word

12:30 PM
Journalist Rick Karr took us behind the scenes with authors of new books making big waves. Author and theoretical physicist Leonard Mlodinow recounted the key historical moments and colorful characters behind our quest to understand the universe. Celebrated science writer Laura Snyder transported us to 17th-century Holland, where an artist and a scientist transformed how we see the world. And environmental journalist and author Bob Reiss journeyed to the Arctic for a fictional thriller steeped in real-world peril.

Steven Pinker’s Sense of Style

1:45 PM
World-renowned linguist and cognitive scientist Steven Pinker delivered his take on the modern art of writing well. Using insights from his studies of language and the mind, the best-selling author offered practical advice for crafting clear, coherent and stylish prose – and made us laugh along the way.

Photograph: Jon Smith


Rick KarrPublic Broadcast Journalist

Rick Karr’s been reporting for NPR’s news magazines for more than 20 years and for various PBS shows for more than a decade. Much of his work examines the intersection of technology, culture, and law.

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Scott Barry KaufmanPsychologist, Author

Scott Barry Kaufman is scientific director of the Imagination Institute in the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania. He conducts research on the measurement and development of imagination, creativity, and play.

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Alfred MelePhilosopher

Alfred Mele is the William H. and Lucyle T. Werkmeister Professor of Philosophy at Florida State University. He is the author of 10 books, including Free Will and Luck, Effective Intentions, A Dialogue on Free Will and Science, and Free: Why Science Hasn’t Disproved Free Will.

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Leonard MlodinowPhysicist, Author

Leonard Mlodinow is a theoretical physicist. He received his Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley and taught at the California Institute of Technology. He is a popular international speaker and the author of numerous academic papers in physics and eight popular science books, including four best sellers.

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Steven PinkerExperimental Psychologist, Psycholinguist, Author

Steven Pinker is an experimental psychologist who conducts research in visual cognition, psycholinguistics, and social relations. Currently Johnstone Professor of Psychology at Harvard, he has won numerous prizes for his research, teaching, and books.

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Bob ReissAuthor, Journalist

Bob Reiss is a best-selling author of 20 books, as well as a journalist, a former Chicago Tribune reporter, and former correspondent for Outside Magazine. His work has been published in The Washington Post, Smithsonian, Parade, Rolling Stone, and other national publications.

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John RennieScience Writer

John Rennie is a deputy editor at Quanta Magazine, overseeing its coverage of biology topics. Previously, he was the editor in chief of Scientific American for 15 years and the editorial director of McGraw-Hill’s AccessScience.

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Laura J. SnyderHistorian, Science Writer

Laura J. Snyder is a historian, philosopher, and science writer. Oliver Sacks has called her “both a masterly scholar and a powerful storyteller.” Snyder is the author of Eye of the Beholder: Johannes Vermeer, Antoni Van Leeuwenhoek and the Reinvention of Seeing.

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Wendy SuzukiNeuroscientist

Wendy Suzuki is a professor of Neural Science and Psychology at New York University where she studies the effects of physical aerobic exercise on brain function.

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