Sean Carroll's Mindscape: Science, Society, Philosophy, Culture, Arts, and Ideas

Science #23Physics #1

Ever wanted to know how music affects your brain, what quantum mechanics really is, or how black holes work? Do you wonder why you get emotional each time you see a certain movie, or how on earth video games are designed? Then you’ve come to the right place. Each week, Sean Carroll will host conversations with some of the most interesting thinkers in the world. From neuroscientists and engineers to authors and television producers, Sean and his guests talk about the biggest ideas in science, philosophy, culture and much more.

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Recent Episodes
  • 79 | Sara Imari Walker on Information and the Origin of Life
    Jan 13, 2020 – 01:23:23
  • 78 | Daniel Dennett on Minds, Patterns, and the Scientific Image
    Jan 6, 2020 – 02:01:35
  • Holiday Message 2019: On Publishing Books
    Dec 22, 2019 – 01:06:08
  • 77 | Azra Raza on The Way We Should Fight Cancer
    Dec 16, 2019 – 01:22:05
  • 76 | Ned Hall on Possible Worlds and the Laws of Nature
    Dec 9, 2019 – 01:25:32
  • 75 | Max Tegmark on Reality, Simulation, and the Multiverse
    Dec 2, 2019 – 01:11:34
  • 74 | Stephen Greenblatt on Stories, History, and Cultural Poetics
    Nov 25, 2019 – 01:06:01
  • 73 | Grimes (c) on Music, Creativity, and Digital Personae
    Nov 18, 2019 – 01:18:10
  • 72 | César Hidalgo on Information in Societies, Economies, and the Universe
    Nov 11, 2019 – 01:16:35
  • 71 | Philip Goff on Consciousness Everywhere
    Nov 4, 2019 – 01:34:34
  • 70 | Katie Mack on How the Universe Will End
    Oct 28, 2019 – 01:23:11
  • 69 | Cory Doctorow on Technology, Monopoly, and the Future of the Internet
    Oct 21, 2019 – 01:17:50
  • 68 | Melanie Mitchell on Artificial Intelligence and the Challenge of Common Sense
    Oct 14, 2019 – 01:22:16
  • 67 | Kate Jeffery on Entropy, Complexity, and Evolution
    Oct 7, 2019 – 01:12:58
  • 66 | Will Wilkinson on Partisan Polarization and the Urban/Rural Divide
    Sep 30, 2019 – 01:52:51
  • 65 | Michael Mann on Why Our Climate Is Changing and How We Know
    Sep 23, 2019 – 01:17:24
  • 64 | Ramez Naam on Renewable Energy and an Optimistic Future
    Sep 16, 2019 – 01:16:48
  • 63 | Solo -- Finding Gravity Within Quantum Mechanics
    Sep 9, 2019 – 01:50:26
  • 62 | Michele Gelfand on Tight and Loose Societies and People
    Sep 2, 2019 – 01:12:16
  • 61 | Quassim Cassam on Intellectual Vices and What to Do About Them
    Aug 26, 2019 – 01:10:12
  • 60 | Lynne Kelly on Memory Palaces, Ancient and Modern
    Aug 19, 2019 – 01:15:38
  • 59 | Adam Becker on the Curious History of Quantum Mechanics
    Aug 12, 2019 – 01:40:09
  • 58 | Seth MacFarlane on Using Science Fiction to Explore Humanity
    Aug 5, 2019 – 01:12:14
  • 57 | Astra Taylor on the Promise and Challenge of Democracy
    Jul 29, 2019 – 01:23:53
  • 56 | Kate Adamala on Creating Synthetic Life
    Jul 22, 2019 – 01:12:02
  • 55 | A Conversation with Rob Reid on Quantum Mechanics and Many Worlds
    Jul 15, 2019 – 01:26:16
  • 54 | Indre Viskontas on Music and the Brain
    Jul 8, 2019 – 01:15:11
  • 53 | Solo -- On Morality and Rationality
    Jul 1, 2019 – 02:05:18
  • 52 | Frank Lantz on the Logic and Emotion of Games
    Jun 24, 2019 – 01:04:39
  • 51 | Anthony Aguirre on Cosmology, Zen, Entropy, and Information
    Jun 17, 2019 – 01:31:52
  • 50 | Patricia Churchland on Conscience, Morality, and the Brain
    Jun 10, 2019 – 01:12:08
  • 49 | Nicholas Christakis on Humanity, Biology, and What Makes Us Good
    Jun 3, 2019 – 01:54:29
  • 48 | Marq de Villiers on Hell and Damnation
    May 27, 2019 – 01:11:04
  • 47 | Adam Rutherford on Humans, Animals, and Life in General
    May 20, 2019 – 01:38:15
  • 46 | Kate Darling on Our Connections with Robots
    May 13, 2019 – 01:06:44
  • 45 | Leonard Susskind on Quantum Information, Quantum Gravity, and Holography
    May 6, 2019 – 01:13:35
  • 44 | Antonio Damasio on Feelings, Thoughts, and the Evolution of Humanity
    Apr 29, 2019 – 01:12:26
  • 43 | Matthew Luczy on the Pleasures of Wine
    Apr 22, 2019 – 01:46:20
  • 42 | Natalya Bailey on Navigating Earth Orbit and Beyond
    Apr 15, 2019 – 00:59:37
  • 41 | Steven Strogatz on Synchronization, Networks, and the Emergence of Complex Behavior
    Apr 8, 2019 – 01:14:35
  • 40 | Adrienne Mayor on Gods and Robots in Ancient Mythology
    Apr 1, 2019 – 01:03:19
  • 39 | Malcolm MacIver on Sensing, Consciousness, and Imagination
    Mar 25, 2019 – 01:19:33
  • 38 | Alan Lightman on Transcendence, Science, and a Naturalist’s Sense of Meaning
    Mar 18, 2019 – 01:16:35
  • 37 | Edward Watts on the End of the Roman Republic and Lessons for Democracy
    Mar 11, 2019 – 01:31:27
  • 36 | David Albert on Quantum Measurement and the Problems with Many-Worlds
    Mar 4, 2019 – 01:42:32
  • 35 | Jessica Yellin on The Changing Ways We Get Our News
    Feb 25, 2019 – 01:08:52
  • 34 | Paul Bloom on Empathy, Rationality, Morality, and Cruelty
    Feb 18, 2019 – 01:10:43
  • 33 | James Ladyman on Reality, Metaphysics, and Complexity
    Feb 11, 2019 – 01:07:03
  • 32 | Naomi Oreskes on Climate Change and the Distortion of Scientific Facts
    Feb 4, 2019 – 01:10:24
  • 31 | Brian Greene on the Multiverse, Inflation, and the String Theory Landscape
    Jan 28, 2019 – 01:11:38
Recent Reviews
  • Jfrank644
    One of my favorite science-focused interview style podcasts
    I’ve been a listener of Mindscape since the old brain logo days and I have to say Sean continues to improve the show and bring knowledgeable guests to the Mindscape audience. It’s Physics and Quantum world leaning but not overly so, with a good mix of popular culture topics (like wine, music) and other science topics, such as the new origin and search for life theme for 2020. Sean, if you’re reading, get Nick Lane on the show to talk about the origins of life. Love his work, particularly his more recent book The Vital Question, and I think it would mesh well with the life theme you recently queued up for the new year. Keep up the great work! Jim Frank Pittsburgh, PA
  • Random_Precision
    Daniel Dennett still struggles to even talk about consciousness
    Sean Carrol, according to himself, subscribers to Daniel Dennett’s ideas. That is unfortunate. Daniel Dennett simply represents a dogmatic scientific view and clearly he has gotten worse now in older age. Terence McKenna once said about his book “Conciseness explained” should be titled “Conciseness explained away’. Dear Sean Carrol, please interview forward thinking scientists such as Donald Hoffman.
  • 111342
    Science Episodes Are The Best
    A really great podcast. The science-based ones are the best; fascinating and educational. I find the philosophy ones to be tedious navel gazing but I suspect most will find these interesting too. The BBC’s “In Our Time” really sets the standard for this kind of content. They don’t post as much anymore so it’s great to have another podcast as interesting to listen to.
  • Jeff the tander
    New listener
    Ever since Sam Harris put his podcast behind a paywall, I’ve started listening to Mindscape, and it’s been very enjoyable and informative. I highly recommend it.
  • StevenEtien
    Intriguing, engaging
    Insightful and approachable. Thank you!
  • tigherj
    Absolutely awesome podcast series
    I first heard about Sean Carroll when I bought one his Great Courses on the nature of time. Sean is a fantastic science communicator. I have a very limited science background - having studied engineering and ended up with a bachelors degree in computer science; Sean Carroll doesn't talk down to his audience and listening to him - to me - feels like having a (decidedly one way) conversation with an incredibly gifted friend. I just discovered this podcast series in which Sean Carroll talks to people in other disciplines - which feels almost like sitting down with a couple of gifted friends and as they talk about amazing things. I just finished listening to the podcast in which Sean interviews another fantastic science communicator- Steven Strogatz - who's also written a couple books that I have read along with a fantastic GreatCourses on Chaos. Awesomely interesting. I will be listening to many more of these podcasts.
  • Cmgknight
    One of the best science communicators of our time
    Plus, Dr. Carroll strikes a nice balance in the variety of guests and topics on his podcast, while consistently coming across as an eminently reasonable and likeable person. I could not recommend this podcast more highly.
  • Josh_HG
    More citations in show notes please!
    Very good podcast for those curious about modern theoretical physics, as well as important topics touching this area. I especially enjoyed Sean’s solo episode 63, which included some spectacular papers in the show notes. Please continue this citation trend for those who are interested in reading further!
  • Bellinater
    Excellent interview style podcast
    I came to this after listening to almost all of the BBC’s In Our Time podcast. I’m not a big science person, and I was pretty intimidated when I saw some of Mindscape’s episode topics, but Sean and his guests speak clearly, and are generally great at making metaphors when it would get too mathematical for me. There is a general vibe of warmth and generosity even in the conversations where there are serious disagreements between Sean and his guests, which is nice. Some of the guests are better than others, but the best episodes of this show are some of the best podcasts I’ve heard. Guest request: Tarn Adams creator of the video game Dwarf Fortress
  • Javarilla
    Thank you!
    Your podcast with Grimes was off-the-charts fun. Great way to expand the Universe!
  • darthcookiejar
    Great Listening
    I love Mindscape. I have listened to every single one since the beginning. I have recommended it to all my friends and family. I live the variety of content. I can’t wait to see where this is going in the future.
  • Jamie G.
    Great Podcast
    Dr. Carroll puts out a fantastic podcast on two my favorite topics... philosophy and physics. I appreciate his objective perspective and both his solo and interview podcasts. His books are also great. Personally I think he took up the mantle from Sagan as this generations great communicator of science. I hope he continues throwing in a lot of philosophy. Well done, sir!
  • VANDY40
    Brilliant brain food
    Listening to this podcast is like fine dining. When I push away from this table my brain is stuffed full of true, researched information relayed in a way all can comprehend. Simply put, brilliant!
  • budsalinger
    Thought provoking
    My new favorite.
  • Beach Dweller31
    Look forward to listening every week
    I eagerly await every new podcast. It’s the best thing about Mondays! The opening theme music and “Let’s go” makes me happy and eager for what’s to come. The depth and breadth of the topics Sean covers is endlessly fascinating. He is a clear thinker and a patient and masterful interviewer. He skillfully and politely keeps his guests on topic and also lets them speak. He also does his research and brings that to the conversation along with his obviously big brain! I’m really perplexed by the frankly overly sensitive reviewers who hear a political point of view occasionally (this happens such a small percentage of the time) and just can’t deal with that in the midst of so much good information. Honestly, how did we get to the place where this is so triggering for people and causes them to not listen to one of the best minds in podcast land?! Anyway, Sean please keep up the good work. We are lucky that you’ve chosen to do this podcast.
    Fantastic Listening
    In depth, well guided conversations about interesting topics with subject matter experts. Thought provoking and substantive, approachable but not overly reductive. Forget the reviews throwing shade for supposed politicization and give it a listen - it's really terrific.
  • FX Bergen
    Love his intellect and hate his dishonesty around being apolitical
    What a cool and smart guy who could be a unifier but instead he chooses lefty ideology at every turn. So disappointing, you could have been the one to take the high road to educate instead of hating on those who are fact based only.
  • bucklukingham
    Great episodes on cosmology
    I’ve only listened to a few episodes so far. Great conversation on cosmology. Accessible to anyone with interest. Looking forward to hearing more on other topics.
  • dmckgbear
    Political? Really?
    I’m flabbergasted that people are accusing Sean of making this a politicized podcast, when more than once I have heard him bend over backwards to be neutral. That said, certain illiterate views about science do seem to be correlated with political ideologies. With people on one end of the political spectrum so invested in denying the reality of global warming and even Earth’s evolutionary history, their side is bound to take a hit on a science podcast, even with no explicit reference to left or right.
  • AriReed
    Content Very Good. Sound Quality Annoying.
    Intelligent and varied interviews where there’s a lot to learn. But the sound engineering from podcast to podcast is often borderline primitive. And sneaking A promo with Gladwell in it was disappointing.
  • Wheres My Towel
    DNC with a side of science
    I gave the podcast 2 stars because it is great about 40% of the time. It is increasingly becoming a mouthpiece for leftist (as opposed to actual liberal) points of view. Democrats are always right, Republicans are always nazis. White people are always racists. Men are always jerks. Wealth is evil. You know the drill. Science should be the place where ideas are analyzed, not where ideologies are promoted. At least that’s my opinion.
  • bradyglennhickingbottom
    Many worlds interpretation
    I attempted suicide and my method of choice was to hang. To me life and death seems to be 50/50 especially with that method. So theres one world in that instant where I died and everyone I know is sad that I’m dead and another instant where I survived and everyone I know is happy I’m alive. That universe where I died must continue on just as the one where I survived continues on. I only experience the one where I survive though this case should imply that I die daily or even every single moment in reality but my conscious mind only experiences the worlds in which I survive which implies I am always in a state of superposition and the wave function never collapses and my consciousness is a division of a more complex collective conscious.
  • Person12636388383
    Great scientific information...but contradicting in some aspects.
    The talks of science information are worth the listen and are explained well. But as for the politics and philosophy it can be contradicting and biased.
  • Dligs00
    Mind frick
    For the people who are hungry for the meaning of the universe and for extra curious people wanting an answer they can’t find
  • Hamburger dad
    Exactly what’s needed in the world
    Really happy to see some thoughtful, informative, and real content that isn’t a big steaming pile of hot garbage.
  • paullllllpaul
    Had to stop
    I listened to many episodes of this podcast and thought it was decent, but I had to stop after the episode 53, a solo episode on morality. Near the beginning he claims that all arguments for pro-life are based on a Christian idea of a soul entering a zygote at conception. At that moment I had to shut it off and delete it from library. I don’t know exactly what to make of it, it’s either an extreme case of straw-manning or Mr. Carroll is too stupid understand the real arguments, but I couldn’t bear listening to someone who made that claim any longer.
  • The dude from moon
    Great Podcast but...
    I started to listen to Mindscape since it first came out. An amazing podcast with an amazing host. That being said why not 5 starts but 4? I’d like to see a more politically objective podcast especially if it’s scientific. Be ready to listen to a left leaning podcast and guests.
  • PLZnoPolitics
    Why politics
    Typically a very enlightening podcasts. But unfortunately it is regularly muddied with politics. It is disappointing when I look forward to what Monday’s podcast may discuss, only to see a politically based topic once again. There are numerous political podcasts to choose from. I wish this wasn’t one of them.
  • cloacadrinker777
    Great and educational
    It really makes you think about the topics being discussed. I have greatly differing political ideologies, but I can still listen to most of the episodes and find it interesting to hear another point of view. I don’t understand everyone’s issues with the political orientation of Sean, and hardly doubt they warrant such low reviews. If it gets to the point you hate what you’re hearing, pick another episode or find another podcast. If you go into this with an open mind and embrace this for what it is, it’s a great way to get your mental muscles flexing. I got into this from 2 other podcasts, hardcore history and greetings, adventurers.
  • A. Teske
    Brilliant, Educational, and Influential
    This podcast strikes true wonder and and awe to the listener as it contemplates some of the most mind bending known unknowns of our universe!
  • rhartz
    Interesting but...
    I really enjoy listening to Sean’s podcast most of the time. I have no background in science but as someone who dabbles in astrophotography I’m predisposed to science based documentaries and podcasts. That also implies I struggle as a lay person to comprehend a lot of topics and ideas but Sean does his best to keep it simple. Thanks for that! Having said this I’m sensing politics does tend (as with most things in life) to creep into the narrative every so often and the host, in my opinion does his best to keep his own comments somewhat neutral though his sarcasm might betray that at times. Some of the guests who most often are his fellow scientists or peers do seem so inclined to vaguely push an ‘agenda’ at time. Case in point, the most recent climate change episode. The guest was quite articulate and knowledgeable and provided data points and mathematical models, etc. However by end, he was injecting more of his personal though somewhat ‘disguised’ political views which overwhelmed the conversation to the point that it seemed to devolve into ‘political science’. Valid or not this makes him appear less impartial about his own work. I’d much rather they stick to the science so that by the end I can reach my own conclusions based on their work instead of repeatedly skipping ahead 30 seconds at a time.
  • The Evelone
    Best podcast
    Interesting, clear and at times mind blowing. Not only have I gotten hours of entertainment but I’ve also learned some things about quantum mechanics. I can’t recommend enough. This is my favorite podcast hands down and Sean Carrol is my favorite educator.
  • cmyreview
    Intelligent dialogue
    Guests interesting, discussions comprehensive, worth ones time
  • Its all BS anyway
    Just another obviously biased podcast. Always throws his political agenda into the mix. Kind of sad. Could be worth listening to except for the constant politics.
  • Save the Forests
    Thoughtful conversations!
    Too bad the majority of Americans aren’t as sensible as Sean. He is very knowledgable and inquisitive, the perfect mix for a podcast interviewer. I would love more hardcore physics episodes, but I definitely appreciated the recent music-related episode!
  • Og killer
    Fire material.
    Been subscribed since pretty close to the beginning. Was rerouted here through hardcore history. This podcast is very diverse for the average thinker and material is relayed in a manner which those with little to no knowledge will still be able to understand. Sean continues to impress as a multifaceted individual with overlapping knowledge and skills. I came for the neuroscience and have stayed for basically everything else.
  • Nog4
    Physics = Great! Political episodes = not so much.
    Sean's episodes concerning physics are most excellent. He gets beyond a typical news/blog article and is able to discuss the content accurately and intelligently. Sean's political episodes are not worth your time. He seems to have no additional information or insight beyond that of your typical obnoxious fb friend. He makes claims that anyone with even a slight acquaintance with history or journals knows to be false and can't seem to get beyond the basics: conservatives = always bad, progressives = always good. I really recommend just deleting any episode not physics related - listen to pod save america for that instead.
  • Boggyman 716
    Self indulgent bias nonsense.
  • TAIM44
    Thank you
    I came across Mr. Carrol on the JRE and in my opinion he is an interesting individual and offers a great podcast.
  • hitthebarre
    Always interesting and informative
    I listen now every week to this brilliant podcast. Sometimes I listen a couple of times to certain shows that I couldn’t begin to process in just one airing. I love the variety of topics, the distinguished guests, and that there is a new one every week. Thank you for this excellent show.
  • NicolasAJD
    Great guests
    But I wish Carroll would try less to push his views (we don’t care).
  • David in Honolulu
    Courageous stimulating deep conversations about physics and so much more
    I was so impressed, challenged and stimulated by Sean Carroll's book The Big Picture that I sought out his podcast. At first I selected his physics conversations and enjoyed them immensely. I value his spending the time to dig deeply into each topic with world-class remarkable people. Then I stopped picking and choosing and listened to each podcast as it came along. Conversations about sexuality, chemical forensics, racial identity and so much more are constructively challenging, moving and authentic. Above all, Sean Carroll's values of openness, fact-based inquiry and kindness make his podcasts unique, engaging and valuable. May he never lose interest in sharing through his podcasts!
  • Mark Papallo
    Worthy of Your Ears
    Sean Carroll is brilliant! An extraordinary podcast host with a diverse range of knowledge, Professor Carroll is able to not only articulate his own take on various aspects of current physics (and sometimes philosophy) but, also, to ask the best questions and respond intelligently in discourse that is unrivaled anywhere else I have found. I am looking forward, with great anticipation, to the publication of his next book! September 10, 2019!
  • aMereMortal
    Music, God, Wine, history, and Physics
    Only Sean can bring it all together. I loved the conversations on Hip Hop and Jazz. I love the highly educated female guests. I love the low conflict conversations... I’m in love with this Podcast!
  • stixx2371
    Best explanation of quantum mechanics!
    I love this podcast. It (along with Tea With Alice) provides thought-provoking, grown-up conversations on a wide range of topics. I can’t say enough about Episode 55: A Conversation with Rob Reid. It’s the best explanation of quantum mechanics I’ve ever heard. I listen to a lot of science podcasts with hosts like NDT, Brian Cox and Bill Nye. But none of them have done this good of a job of explaining quantum mechanics. It goes over the basics and extends into higher concepts like the various theories that result from it. Give this one a listen and then go back for the discussions of wine, Roman history and everything else!
  • Vanmorrissey
    One of the best out there
    Truly one of the best podcasts out there. Some topics not to my taste but that’s what great podcasters do, cover a broad range so that they may also learn what the listeners do. It helps when the podcaster is one of the brightest people on the planet but he’s a very down to earth non condescending individual. Although not nearly as bright, I love learning about quantum physics so I’m looking forward to his upcoming pods. Thank you Sean for being able to present listeners with these geniuses.
  • Bowanta
    Pass on this one.
    Some great topics but very poorly researched full of ideological bias.
  • Chooky Fuzzbang
    The topics this podcast covers are just too varied. Once Sean ventures outside his core competency he tends to have guests on who I don’t find to be high quality and the interview questions also tend to be softball and uninspired. I’d prefer Sean stick to a more physics-focused podcast as such a thing is woefully lacking. I listened for 3 months but have decided to unsubscribe.
  • Michael Mast
    Fantastic! A treasure trove of ideas and a clearly argued path for morality. Loved every minute of it!
  • grimz69
    Great info dump
    Great host
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