Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Siddhartha Mukerjee on NPR's Fresh Air

Environmental & Science Education, STEM, Health, Medicine, History of Science, Nature of Science

Ed Hessler

Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee - oncologist, cell biologist and hematologist - was on Terry Gross's program to discuss his new book The Song of the Cell: An Exploration of Medicine and the New Human. This is a link to Amazon which allows a peek inside the book.

Shots - Health News from NPR includes the interview in a 43-minute listen with some highlights. Terri Gross provides a great introduction to the program and I think it is worth reading before listening to the interview.

Here are the topic titles:

--On using CAR-T cell therapy to treat Emily, a child with leukemia.

--On how the engineered cells target the cancer cells.

--On how (Mukergee's) experience with depression helped him empathize with his seriously ill patients.

--On the anti-science sentiment during the pandemic in the U.S.

I liked what Mukerjee said about science and quote this comment. "There's a difference between uncertainty and authority. Uncertainty is not knowing something. ... False authority is claiming something, even when you don't know it. And I think that those are two different things. And part of the anti-science sentiment that swept through the United States during the pandemic was because of the confusion between uncertainty and false authority or authority."
In this segment, Mukerjee discusses a common complaint about science, one that is uninformed by how science works.  This is that scientists change their minds. He tells us why this is such a characteristic of the scientific enterprise. 

Credits: Sam Briger and Thea Chaloner produced and edited this interview for broadcast. Bridget Bentz, Molly Seavy-Nesper and Deborah Franklin adapted it for the web.


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