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Art Woods, Marty Martin
What is the role of chance in biology? How has it shaped the history of life on Earth? How do scientists incorporate chance in their experiments? Do scientists have something to learn from comedians?
On this episode, we talk with Sean Carroll, an award-winning scientist, author, educator, and film-producer. We discuss his latest book, A Series of Fortunate Events, where Sean argues how chance has shaped life on Earth. For instance, 66 million years ago, an asteroid hit the Earth and lead to the demise of dinosaurs and rise of mammals. This asteroid could have missed our planet altogether, or it could have hit 30 minutes earlier or later and had effects that were much less severe.
Sean also argues that chance is not limited to biology but plays a big role in society including the entertainment industry. The common theme between thinkers and comedians is that they tell the truth but in a very different way. How do comedians get away with bold statements while scientists run into a controversy for the same ideas?
Length of Episode
57 minutes, 56 seconds
Digital File Format
Woods, Art and Martin, Marty, "Episode 051: A Series of Fortunate Events: Chance and Contingency" (2020). BigBiology Podcasts. 52.