In this deep cut from 2012, we are searching for platonic ideals longing for completion, engaged in epic quests for holy grails in science, linguistics, and world peace. And along the way, we’ll meet the dreamers and measure just how impossible their dreams are.
First: a perfect moment. On day 86 of a 3-month trek to and from the South Pole, adventurer Aleksander Gamme (https://zpr.io/ryaJzt5vaNTZ) discovered something he'd stashed under the ice at the start of his trip. He wasn't expecting such a rush of happiness in that cold, hungry instant, but he hit the bliss jackpot.
Producer Tim Howard (https://zpr.io/bfxEEMYHf5vT) brings us the incredible and tragic story of Charles Bliss -- the man that inspired this show. As Charles's friend Richard Ure and writer Arika Okrent (https://zpr.io/3gjsdSePpQbG) explain, Bliss believed that war was often caused by the misuse of language. Having lived through the hell of Nazi concentration camps, he set about creating the perfect language, based on symbols and logic. Years later, Shirley McNaughton accidentally discovered it, and started using it to communicate with her students -- kids with cerebral palsy who quickly picked up the language and made it their own. At first, Charles was thrilled...until he started to feel his original dream of saving the world was slipping from his fingers.
And finally, co-host Latif Nasser (https://zpr.io/pJsnQSYWJLTe) explains how, on a cold, snowy farm in Vermont in 1880, a kid named Wilson Bentley put a snowflake under a microscope and started a lifelong quest to capture perfection.
Reported by - Tim Howard
Produced by - Tim Howard
Aleksander and his glorious gift to his future self. (https://zpr.io/STUpZqWqrBwy)
- Arika Okrent, In the Land of Invented Language (https://zpr.io/uqBLpYQr7xNT)
- Lorraine Daston and Peter Galison, Objectivity (https://zpr.io/JpdC8rS7Uqjq)
- Duncan C. Blanchard, The Snowflake Man: A Biography of Wilson A Bentley (https://zpr.io/YaqeAw4XucRT)
- Ken Libbrecht, The Secret Life of a Snowflake: An Up-Close Look at the Art and Science of Snowflakes (https://zpr.io/DtZrbyFc3M75), Ken Libbrecht's Field Guide to Snowflakes (https://zpr.io/wg79x4HPCFun)
- W.A. Bentley, Snowflakes in Photographs (https://zpr.io/ccQfy9ZGFDDh)
Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)!
Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.
Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing email@example.com
Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
another rerun, I can go back and listen to the back catalog, it would be better to put NOTHING out than to put the episodes we've already heard.