Radiolab
Radiolab
Apr 18, 2020
The Cataclysm Sentence
Play • 1 hr 6 min

One day in 1961, the famous physicist Richard Feynman stepped in front of a Caltech lecture hall and posed this question to a group of undergraduate students: “If, in some cataclysm, all of scientific knowledge were to be destroyed, and only one sentence was passed on to the next generation of creatures, what statement would contain the most information in the fewest words?” Now, Feynman had an answer to his own question - a good one. But his question got the entire team at Radiolab wondering, what did his sentence leave out? So we posed Feynman’s cataclysm question to some of our favorite writers, artists, historians, futurists - all kinds of great thinkers. We asked them, “What’s the one sentence you would want to pass on to the next generation that would contain the most information in the fewest words?” What came back was an explosive collage of what it means to be alive right here and now, and what we want to say before we go.

This episode was produced by Matt Kielty and Rachael Cusick, with help from Jeremy Bloom, Zakiya Gibbons, and the entire Radiolab staff. 

Special Thanks to:

Ella Frances Sanders, and her book, "Eating the Sun", for inspiring this whole episode.

Caltech for letting us use original audio of The Feynman Lectures on Physics. The entirety of the lectures are available to read for free online at www.feynmanlectures.caltech.edu.

All the wonderful people we interviewed for sentences but weren’t able to fit in this episode, including: Daniel Abrahm, Julia Alvarez, Aimee Bender, Sandra Cisneros, Stanley Chen, Lewis Dartnell, Ann Druyan, Rose Eveleth, Ty Frank, Julia Galef, Ross Gay, Gary Green, Cesar Harada, Dolores Huerta, Robin Hunicke, Brittany Kamai, Priya Krishna, Ken Liu, Carmen Maria Machado, James Martin, Judith Matloff, Ryan McMahon, Hasan Minhaj, Lorrie Moore, Priya Natarajan, Larry Owens, Sunni Patterson, Amy Pearl, Alison Roman, Domee Shi, Will Shortz, Sam Stein, Sohaib Sultan, Kara Swisher, Jill Tarter, Olive Watkins, Reggie Watts, Deborah Waxman, Alex Wellerstein, Caveh Zahedi.

 

Stuff You Missed in History Class
Stuff You Missed in History Class
iHeartRadio
Olympe de Gouges
Olympe de Gouges is known primarily for her 1791 pamphlet “Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Citizen.” But her writing and political activity went far beyond that one pamphlet, and she was actually executed for a completely different reason. Tracy's Research: Douglas, Allen. "Gouges, Olympe de 1748–1793." Encyclopedia of Sex and Gender, edited by Fedwa Malti-Douglas, vol. 2, Macmillan Reference USA, 2007, pp. 657-658. Gale In Context: Global Issues, link.gale.com/apps/doc/CX2896200277/GPS?u=mlin_n_melpub&sid=GPS&xid=2979d54d. Accessed 5 Jan. 2021. "Marie-Olympe de Gouges." Encyclopedia of World Biography Online, vol. 23, Gale, 2003. Gale In Context: Biography, link.gale.com/apps/doc/K1631008043/GPS?u=mlin_n_melpub&sid=GPS&xid=01a0e821. Accessed 5 Jan. 2021. HESSE, CARLA. "Gouges, Olympe de." Europe 1789-1914: Encyclopedia of the Age of Industry and Empire, edited by John Merriman and Jay Winter, vol. 2, Charles Scribner's Sons, 2006, pp. 993-996. Gale In Context: World History, link.gale.com/apps/doc/CX3446900357/GPS?u=mlin_n_melpub&sid=GPS&xid=a40a2b9c. Accessed 5 Jan. 2021. "Marie-Olympe De Gouges." Historic World Leaders, edited by Anne Commire, Gale, 1994. Gale In Context: Biography, link.gale.com/apps/doc/K1616000246/GPS?u=mlin_n_melpub&sid=GPS&xid=110589b6. Accessed 5 Jan. 2021. Lyons, Matthew. “Execution of a Feminist.” History Today. Vol. 70, Issue 11, November 2020. https://www.historytoday.com/archive/months-past/execution-feminist Columbia College. “Olympe de Gouges.” https://www.college.columbia.edu/core/content/olympe-de-gouges Kuiper, Kathleen et al. “Olympe de Gouges: Additional Information.” Encyclopedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Olympe-de-Gouges/additional-info#content-5 Woolfrey, Joan. “Olympe de Gouges (1748—1793).” Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. https://iep.utm.edu/gouges/ “The Trial of Olympe de Gouges,” LIBERTY, EQUALITY, FRATERNITY: EXPLORING THE FRENCH REVOUTION, accessed January 7, 2021, https://revolution.chnm.org/d/488. Vanpée, Janie. “Performing Justice: The Trials of Olympe de Gouges.” Theatre Journal. Volume 51, Number 1, March 1999. Via Project Muse. https://muse.jhu.edu/article/34586 Diamond, Marie Josephine. “Olympe de Gouges and the French Revolution: Construction of Gender as Critique.” Dialectical Anthropology , 1990, Vol. 15, No. 2/3 (1990). Via JSTOR. https://www.jstor.org/stable/29790339 Nielsen, Wendy C. “Staging Rousseau's Republic: French Revolutionary Festivals and Olympe de Gouges.” The Eighteenth Century , FALL 2002, Vol. 43. Via JSTOR. https://www.jstor.org/stable/41467908 Scott, Joan Wallach. “French Feminists and the Rights of 'Man': Olympe de Gouges's Declarations.” History Workshop , Autumn, 1989, No. 28 (Autumn, 1989). Via JSTOR. https://www.jstor.org/stable/4288921 Brown, Gregory S. “The Self-Fashionings of Olympe de Gouges, 1784-1789.” Eighteenth-Century Studies, Volume 34, Number 3, Spring 2001. Via Project Muse. https://doi.org/10.1353/ecs.2001.0019 Mousset, Sophie. “Women's Rights and the French Revolution: A Biography of Olympe De Gouges.” Routledge; 1st edition, July 2017.   Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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