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Studying the Work of Radiolab Founder Jad Abumrad

United States of Jad class

The United States of Jad class. From left, Indermohan Virk, Jad Abumrad, Prof. Brenda Weber, Violet Lampey, Laura Eaken, Alexandra Weiss, and Anoushka Jha. Prof. Gardiner Bovington is seated. (Brenda Weber)

Radiolab founder Jad Abumrad will be visiting the Indiana University campus the week of April 1, through the Patten Foundation and the College Arts and Humanities Institute. Radiolab showed how radio could be a form for the exploration of big ideas as rigorous and engaging as film or print.

In preparation for his visit, a class on the IU campus has been studying Jad’s work.

Whiteboard notes from class on Jad AbumradI visited the class recently. The class had just listened to the Radiolab episode “Cities,” which is about what gives a city its character. Early in the episode, Jad and Robert talk with a psychologist who measured talking and walking speed in different cities, then a couple physicists who’ve found a strong correlation between walking speed and the size of the city, average wages, number of libraries. Much more than you’d expect. The class talked about that episode, and what they’ve gotten from listening to Radiolab for the past few months. Here are a few excerpts from that conversation, which I think gives a sense of the richness of what Radiolab can spark.

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