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Ask a Harvard Professor

Education • Science • Society-and-culture

A podcast presented by Harvard Magazine. Managing editor Jonathan Shaw sits down with some of the world’s most thoughtful scholars to discuss everything from academic ethics – to hip hop music and medical marijuana.

Popular episodes

Jerrold Rosenbaum: Are Psychedelics an Effective Treatment for Mood Disorders?

Nov 29 • 44:46

Jerrold Rosenbaum, director of Massachusetts General Hospital’s Center for the Neuroscience of Psychedelics, discusses the potential of using psychedelics, such as MDMA and magic mushrooms, to treat treatment-resistant mood disorders like depression and anxiety. Topics include the effect of psychedelics on the brain, how psychedelic therapy is conducted, the legality of me...

Nicholas Stephanopoulos: Why Does Gerrymandering Matter So Much?

Nov 22 • 27:38

Nicholas Stephanopoulos, a political scientist and legal scholar whose research focuses on gerrymandering, explains its effect on American democracy and how it might be stopped. Topics include recent state laws that limit voting, the voting-rights bills being debated in Congress, and the current state of “alignment” between voters’ wishes and government actions....

Emily Broad Leib: What Can be Done About Food Waste?

Nov 15 • 30:32

Emily Broad Leib, founder and director of Harvard’s Food Law and Policy Clinic, discusses how to reduce food waste in the United States and abroad. Topics include the confusion caused by misleading date labels, the impact of COVID-19 on food waste, and the FLPC’s collaborations with governments and non-profit organizations to enact better food laws....

Sandeep Robert Datta and Venkatesh Murthy: Why is Smell Such a Mystery to Scientists?

Nov 8 • 36:14

Neurobiologists Venkatesh Murthy and Sandeep Robert Datta discuss what scientists know about our sense of smell, and what big mysteries remain. Topics include smell loss from COVID-19, experimental approaches to understanding olfaction, and the role of artificial intelligence in olfactory research....

Michael Mina: Why Do We Still Need Rapid Tests?

Nov 1 • 32:22

For more information about Harvard Magazine and this podcast, visit and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram....

Preview: Ask a Harvard Professor, Season Four

Oct 28 • 01:49

For more information about Harvard Magazine and this podcast, visit and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram....

Carrie Lambert-Beatty: What Happens When an Artwork Deceives its Audience?

Nov 30 • 36:07

The term “parafiction” refers to an artistic performance or presentation that depicts fiction as fact. This idea has particular relevance for our current post-truth moment, in which Americans find themselves overrun with conspiracy theories, misinformation, and fake news....

Francesca Dominici: How Does Air Pollution Affect COVID-19?

Nov 23 • 25:43

Discussing the link between air pollution and effects of COVID-19, and the importance of data for rapid public-health responses —with Francesca Dominici, professor of biostatistics at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health....

Rebecca Henderson: Does Capitalism Need to be Reimagined?

Nov 16 • 39:37

How to reform capitalism to confront climate change and extreme inequality, with economist and McArthur University Professor Rebecca Henderson...

Jeannie Suk Gersen: Do Elite Colleges Discriminate Against Asian Americans?

Nov 9 • 37:17

Harvard Law School professor Jeannie Suk Gersen breaks down the use of race in college admissions and the future of affirmative action at the Supreme Court. ...

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