Hold That Thought



Hold That Thought brings you research and ideas from Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis. Throughout the year we select a few topics to explore and then bring together thoughtful commentary on those topics from a variety of experts and sources. Be sure to subscribe!


  • Mud cores, rain gauges, and the hunt for climate data

    17/10/2019 Duración: 11min

    Climate scientist Bronwen Konecky travels to tropical regions around the world gathering evidence of the geologic past. Using data from rain samples and sediments deep at the bottom of lakes, she is piecing together a story about Earth's climatic history – and what it can tell us about our planet's future.

  • Reading revelation

    29/03/2019 Duración: 25min

    Religious studies scholars Elaine Pagels and Laurie Maffly-Kipp discuss the Book of Revelation and how it has been interpreted across time, as well as the personal side of their writing and research.

  • Diva Nation

    31/01/2019 Duración: 21min

    Rebecca Copeland and Laura Miller, coeditors of "Diva Nation: Female Icons from Japanese Cultural History," discuss queens, goddesses, and the nature of “diva-hood.”

  • How good is the US economy, really?

    25/10/2018 Duración: 16min

    Ahead of the midterm elections, Steve Fazzari explores the current state of the economy and explains why widely cited unemployment and growth numbers don't give a full picture.

  • Materials through the ages

    27/09/2018 Duración: 08min

    Over thousands of years, by trial and error, humankind has learned how to produce superior materials for different types of processing. Physicist Ken Kelton talks about materials through the ages.

  • The Southwick Broadside

    25/06/2018 Duración: 18min

    This Fourth of July, visitors to Washington University's Olin Library will have the chance to see a rare piece of history - an early copy of the Declaration of Independence known as the Southwick Broadside. Historian David Konig and curator Cassie Brand discuss the historical significance of the broadside, the process of conserving and displaying the document, and their hopes for the exhibition.

  • Saint Peter, According to Mark

    04/06/2018 Duración: 19min

    The apostle Peter was a leader and role model in early Christianity - or was he? According to Lance Jenott, a lecturer of classics and religious studies at Washington University in St. Louis, how we understand Peter depends on who is telling the story.

  • The Secret Lives of Plants

    01/03/2018 Duración: 14min

    Biologist Elizabeth Haswell wants to change the way that people think about plants. What do we know about how plants sense their environment, and what remains a mystery? The answers may surprise you. Haswell teaches biology at Washington University in St. Louis and is host of The Taproot podcast.

  • Frog love and the decoy effect

    13/02/2018 Duración: 15min

    This Valentine's Day, we bring you a story of frog romance and economics - with a side of math and 1960s game shows. Which mate will the frog bachelorette choose, and how does her choice relate to human decision-making? Economist Paulo Natenzon connects the dots.

  • Becoming a Biotech Explorer

    22/01/2018 Duración: 14min

    A competition for a million-dollar grant leads biologist Joe Jez to creative an innovative program for first-year and sophomore students.

  • Amazing Creatures: Cyanobacteria

    19/12/2017 Duración: 15min

    Biologist Himadri Pakrasi, director of Washington University's International Center for Energy, Environment, and Sustainability, has been studying tiny creatures called cyanobacteria for more than 25 years. He shares what we know about cyanobacteria, and how they may hold clues to understanding our world's environment and creating a more sustainable future.

  • Would you be my neighbor?

    16/11/2017 Duración: 12min

    Using survey data, sociologist Ariela Schachter has investigated how Americans think about race, immigration status, assimilation, and what it means to be ‘similar.’ She discusses her process and findings.

  • How to Create a Musical Monster

    26/10/2017 Duración: 12min

    It’s been 200 years since Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein, the classic tale of creation gone wrong. In honor of the novel’s anniversary – and just in time for Halloween – three undergraduates at Washington University in St. Louis were each invited to bring his own brainchild into being: a piece of music, inspired by Frankenstein, to be performed by WashU’s symphony orchestra.

  • Ira Flatow on Climate Change and Science Communication

    11/10/2017 Duración: 08min

    Ira Flatow, host of public radio's Science Friday, describes how and why conversations about global warming have changed over time. Flatow visited Washington University in St. Louis as part of Arts & Sciences' new "Science Matters" lecture series.

  • Creators and Copycats: The Business of Fashion in Guatemala

    28/09/2017 Duración: 18min

    In an indigenous Maya community in highland Guatemala, sociocultural anthropologist Kedron Thomas noticed a trend. Despite companies' increased efforts to protect their brands against "piracy," knock-off clothing fashion was everywhere. In her book Regulating Style: Intellectual Property Law and the Business of Fashion in Guatemala, Thomas takes a deep dive into this style scene. What do brands mean for the Maya people of Guatemala? What are the goals and effects of intellectual property laws? Who is a fashion creator, and who is a copycat? And who gets to decide?

  • Moms at Work: Policies and Perspectives in Europe and the US

    06/09/2017 Duración: 16min

    Sociologist Caitlyn Collins frequently remembers a familiar phrase from her childhood. Collins’ mom, a successful sales director, often said with a sigh: “If we were in Europe, this would be so much easier!” So, was Collins’ mom correct? Are the lives of working mothers that much easier in Europe? Collins now investigates how public policies affect family life in both Europe and the US. She shares some of her findings on the laws and cultural attitudes that shape women's careers and lives.

  • How to Sit on the Iron Throne: Power and Violence in "Game of Thrones" and History

    26/07/2017 Duración: 16min

    Rival families fight for the throne by racking up the body count through political maneuvers, murders, battles, and betrayals. This summation is true as much for the hit HBO series "Game of Thrones" as it is for history, specifically the Atlantic world of early modern era. Historian Alex Dubé examines how our understandings of power and violence have fundamentally changed over time, and what modern day shows like "Game of Thrones" tell us about the present. Does absolute power corrupt absolutely? Tune in.

  • Charter School Myths

    28/04/2017 Duración: 15min

    Do charter schools perform better than traditional public schools? Does competition between schools really help students? Ebony Duncan Shippy, a sociologist of education at Washington University in St. Louis, breaks down some common myths about charter schools and offers her advice for newly appointed education secretary Betsy DeVos.

  • High-School Students Should Study Earth Science. Here's Why.

    20/04/2017 Duración: 11min

    Ever wonder why some subjects are taught in high school while others are not, or why students spend so much time memorizing facts? According to geophysicist Michael Wysession, science curricula in the US are based on standards that are more than 120 years old, and being stuck in the past has had serious consequences. This Earth Day, learn why Wysession believes in a new approach to science education.

  • Making Sense of Klansville

    06/04/2017 Duración: 16min

    During the civil rights era, North Carolina was home to more dues-paying Klan members than the rest of the South combined. When conducting research on this chapter of history for his acclaimed book Klansville, USA, sociologist David Cunningham encountered the work of a journalist named Pete Young, who in the 1960s attempted to understand what was happening in North Carolina. Cunningham shares some of this history and describes how Young's insights could hold lessons for today.

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