Last updated
Hosted byJenny Attiyeh
Genre Talk, Education

ThoughtCast is a podcast and public radio interview program with authors and academics. The interviews are conducted by Jenny Attiyeh, [1] a former public radio and TV reporter from Manhattan and elsewhere whose previous work focused on covering the arts and ideas. ThoughtCast aims to offer a "bridge between the publications and pursuits of the intellectual world and a curious, informed, mainstream audience." [2]

Podcast Type of digital media

A podcast or generically netcast, is an episodic series of digital audio files which a user can download in order to listen. Alternatively, the word "podcast" may refer to the individual component of such a series or to an individual media file. Compare "pod".



ThoughtCast has a strong New England emphasis, with a majority of the interviewees being Harvard professors. Guests have included Lisa Randall, [3] a Harvard theoretical physicist; Nobel laureate Amartya Sen; [4] Alan Dershowitz; [5] Sam Huntington [6] of Clash of Civilizations ; public radio program directors; biographers Megan Marshall [7] and Carol Bundy; [8] philosopher Simon Blackburn; [9] David Weinberger; and others. [10]

New England Region of the United States

New England is a region composed of six states in the northeastern United States: Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. It does not contain New York. It is bordered by the state of New York to the west and by the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Quebec to the northeast and north, respectively. The Atlantic Ocean is to the east and southeast, and Long Island Sound is to the south. Boston is New England's largest city as well as the capital of Massachusetts. The largest metropolitan area is Greater Boston with nearly a third of the entire region's population, which also includes Worcester, Massachusetts, Manchester, New Hampshire, and Providence, Rhode Island.

Lisa Randall American theoretical physicist and an expert on particle physics and cosmology

Lisa Randall is an American theoretical physicist working in particle physics and cosmology. She is the Frank B. Baird, Jr. Professor of Science on the physics faculty of Harvard University. Her research includes elementary particles, fundamental forces and dimensions of space. She studies the Standard Model, supersymmetry, possible solutions to the hierarchy problem concerning the relative weakness of gravity, cosmology of dimensions, baryogenesis, cosmological inflation, and dark matter. She contributed to the Randall–Sundrum model, first published in 1999 with Raman Sundrum.

Amartya Sen Indian economist

Amartya Kumar Sen, is an Indian economist and philosopher, who since 1972 has taught and worked in the India, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Sen has made contributions to welfare economics, social choice theory, economic and social justice, economic theories of famines, and indices of the measure of well-being of citizens of developing countries.

In summer 2008, ThoughtCast introduced video to its lineup. [11] The video includes interviews with Scottish historian Niall Ferguson on the "American Empire", [12] Internet gurus on neologisms gleaned from life online, and Joshua Micah Marshall, [13] the creator of Talking Points Memo. [14] A conversation on Steve Reich's Different Trains with the Borromeo String Quartet was also picked up by New Hampshire Public Radio. [15] The program examines how Reich, in this challenging composition, compares the train trips he took as a child to the very different train trips Jews were forced to take during the Holocaust. [16]

Niall Ferguson British historian

Niall Campbell Ferguson is a British historian and works as a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. Previously, he was a senior research fellow at Jesus College, Oxford, a visiting professor at the New College of the Humanities, and also taught at Harvard University.

Steve Reich American composer

Stephen Michael Reich is an American composer who, along with La Monte Young, Terry Riley, and Philip Glass, pioneered minimal music in the mid to late 1960s.

Different Trains is a three-movement piece for string quartet and tape written by Steve Reich in 1988. Its original release was performed by the Kronos Quartet and won the Grammy Award for Best Classical Contemporary Composition in 1989.


ThoughtCast is released on its website and iTunes. The program is also available through the Public Radio Exchange. [17] WGBH, an arts and culture public radio station in Boston, has broadcast many ThoughtCast interviews, and has featured the program on its Forum Network. [18] [19]

The Public Radio Exchange (PRX) is a nonprofit web-based platform for digital distribution, review, and licensing of radio programs. The organization claims to be the largest on-demand catalog of public radio programs available for broadcast and Internet use.

WGBH (FM) public radio station in Boston

WGBH is a public radio station located in Boston, Massachusetts. WGBH is a member station of National Public Radio (NPR) and an affiliate of Public Radio International (PRI), which itself is owned by WGBH Educational Foundation, and American Public Media (APM). The license-holder is WGBH Educational Foundation, which also owns company flagship WGBH-TV and WGBX-TV, along with WGBY-TV in Springfield.

Further reading

PRX reviews

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  1. "About Jenny Attiyeh". ThoughtCast.
  2. "About ThoughtCast".
  3. "Lisa Randall, Harvard physicist". ThoughtCast.
  4. "Amartya Sen talks about identity and violence". ThoughtCast.
  5. "Alan Dershowitz on Preemption and the Hezbollah". ThoughtCast.
  6. "Sam Huntington discusses immigration and American identity". ThoughtCast.
  7. "The Peabody Sisters — with biographer Megan Marshall". ThoughtCast.
  8. "Carol Bundy, Civil War biographer". ThoughtCast.
  9. "Faith and Philosophy with Harvey Cox and Simon Blackburn". ThoughtCast.
  10. "The Web 2.0 and beyond — a conversation". ThoughtCast.
  11. "ThoughtCast channel on".
  12. "Our American "Empire" with Niall Ferguson". ThoughtCast.
  13. "More Neologisms with TPM's Josh Marshall". ThoughtCast.
  14. Talking Points Memo
  15. "Taking on 'Different Trains'". NHPR.
  16. "Steve Reich Meets The Borromeo String Quartet". ThoughtCast.
  17. "Thoughtcast host Jenny Attiyeh's profile". PRX.
  18. "Arts & Ideas archive". WGBH.