The Handshake Experiment

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More than 50 years ago, Robert Krulwich met President John F. Kennedy and shook his hand. For decades, Robert wondered how much of President Kennedy might have stayed with him. Now, thanks to the new science of the microbiome, he can find out.

We partnered with Radiolab and Dr. Jack Gilbert, a microbial ecologist and author of the upcoming book, "Dirt is Good," for an experiment. President Kennedy is no longer with us, so we recruited a stand-in: astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. Together, we tried to find an answer to this question: when we touch greatness, how much of it stays with us?