People, Places, and Ideas to Explore

Join our experts as they consider the singular people, places and ideas that have shaped our world.

image flickr: Fetmano, TokyoLunch

June 10, 2013

Classical Theater

People, Places, and Ideas: Episode #7

In theaters and classrooms around the world, audiences and students experience the stories and emotions behind plays penned thousands of years ago by writers like Euripidies, Plautus, and Terence. But how do these modern encounters compare with original performances, and how are scholars even able to determine what it might have been like to view one of these plays in its original setting? Timothy Moore, professor and chair of classics at Washington University in St. Louis, describes the historical context of Greek tragedies and shares his own research into the music of ancient Roman comedies.

June 3, 2013

Circadian Rhythms

People, Places, and Ideas: Episode #6

We've all been there: staring at the ceiling at 2:43 a.m., unable to fall asleep while the world slumbers around us. How do our internal clocks stay synced to our environment? What exactly do they control? Might future research provide relief for late-night workers or the jet-lagged when the natural rhythms of the body are disturbed? Erik Herzog, professor of biology at Washington University, explains how the brain's "master clock" works and how genetic mutations and natural toxins can influence our daily biological rhythms.

May 6, 2013

The Genetics of Bee-havior

People, Places, and Ideas: Episode #5

In the late 1980s, Marla Sokolowski noticed that if she placed fly larvae on a pile of yeast in a petri dish, some would sit and eat the yeast which they sat upon, while others would move, creating wild trails through the yeast as they ate. What makes some larvae rove around, while others simply sit and eat? And what do these fly larvae have to do with bees? Yehuda Ben-Shahar, assistant professor of biology, returns to continue his discussion on how genes can affect behavior and the various ways the same genes express themselves across species.

February 4, 2013

The Many Lives of Apollonius

People, Places, and Ideas: Episode #4

Following his death some 2,000 years ago, the philosopher Apollonius of Tyana was known as a charlatan and magician. A century later, he was considered the embodiment of Greek culture and religion, particularly for those who opposed Christianity. Join Roshan Abraham, assistant professor of classics and religious studies at Washington University in St. Louis, as he reveals the many lives of Apollonius.

December 3, 2012


People, Places, and Ideas: Episode #3

Join professor Doug Wiens as he describes his explorations of Antarctica. Dr. Wiens studies the physics behind ice movement and explores questions about where and how ice in the western Antarctic ice sheet is melting.

November 5, 2012

Creating a Federal Government

People, Places, and Ideas: Episode #2

In the early years of the United States, how did the federal government operate on a day-to-day basis? What responsibilities did the government take on, how many people did it employ, and what crises did it face? History professor Peter Kastor sheds light on how debates over government have evolved over time, from the country's earliest days to the 2012 presidential election.


October 26, 2012

A Man of Faith and Science: Pope Benedict XIV

People, Places, and Ideas: Episode #1

In April 2012, experts gathered for a conference in St. Louis to discuss the life and legacy of "The Enlightenment Pope": Pope Benedict XIV. Benedict, a startlingly modern figure, used his papacy in the 1700s to advance issues of science, the arts, and women's authority. Explore this fascinating life with the help of scholars, including Washington University professor Rebecca Messbarger.

Created by Tim Lloyd for Hold That Thought 

Inside "La Specola"

La Specola, also known as the Imperial-Royal Museum of Physics and Natural History, is home to the world's most famous wax anatomical collection. Located in Florence, the museum's wax scultures can be traced back to the 18th century.

June 13, 2013

Reading List

Ancient Comedies
Still adding to your summer reading list? Timothy Moore, professor and chair of classics, suggests which ancient comedies should make the cut.