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From Physics to Finance

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Monday, October 03, 2011

Lisa Randall explains how scientific thought has influenced our popular thinking on everything from creativity to risk to beauty. Ceramicist Edmund de Waal talks about his work and his efforts to trace the origins and history of a collection of 264 tiny Japanese carvings. Michael Ondaatje on his new novel, called The Cat’s Table. And Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi on bankers, politicians, and the Wall Street protests!

How Physics and Scientific Thinking Illuminate the Universe and the Modern World

Lisa Randall explains the latest developments in physics that have the potential to radically change our understanding of the world—its makeup, its evolution, and the fundamental forces that drive it. In Knocking on Heaven's Door: How Physics and Scientific Thinking Illuminate the Universe and the Modern World she explores the role of risk, creativity, uncertainty, beauty, and truth in scientific thinking through conversations with leading figures in other fields (such as the chef David Chang, the forecaster Nate Silver, and the screenwriter Scott Derrickson). She also explains the latest ideas in physics and cosmology.

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Edmund de Waal on The Hare with Amber Eyes

Edmund de Waal, a world-famous ceramicist who inherited a collection of 264 tiny Japanese wood and ivory carvings, called netsuke. He describes his quest to find out who had touched and held them, and how the collection had managed to survive. The Hare with Amber Eyes is part-memoir and part detective story of his discovery both the story of the netsuke and of his family over five generations.

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Michael Ondaatje Talks about The Cat’s Table

Michael Ondaatje talks about his new novel, The Cat’s Table. Set in the early 1950s, it tells the story of an 11-year-old boy from Colombo on a ship bound for England who meets a ragtag group of adults and two other boys at the “cat’s table” in the ship’s dining room. It’s a tale about the magical, often forbidden, discoveries of childhood and a lifelong journey that begins with a spectacular sea voyage.

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Matt Taibbi on Griftopia, Wall Street, and the Financial Crisis

Matt Taibbi, a contributing editor for Rolling Stone, talks about the ongoing American financial crisis, the Wall Street protests, and the commodities bubble that transferred billions of dollars to Wall Street while creating food shortages around the world. His book Griftopia: A Story of Bankers, Politicians, and the Most Audacious Power Grab in American History, newly released in paperback, looks at the biggest players in the financial industry and the politicians who do their bidding.

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Guest Picks: Michael Ondaatje

Novelist Michael Ondaatje was here to discuss his new novel, The Cat's Table, and he also shared what he's been reading recently.

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