Dr. Rob Dunn is the Senior Vice Provost of University Interdisciplinary Programs and a Reynolds Professor in Applied Ecology at North Carolina State University. As Senior Vice Provost he oversees efforts to spur interdisciplinary scholarship, education, and public engagement at NC State. As a scholar, he studies the ecology and evolution of societies and the species with which they interact. This has included projects on the global ecology of sourdough bread, the evolution of sour taste, and the origin of yogurt microbes, among many others.
Dunn has published more than two hundred peer-reviewed articles and more than a hundred magazine and newspaper articles. He has published seven books, including, most recently, A Natural History of the Future and, with Monica Sanchez, Delicious, the Evolution of Flavor and How it Made Us Human
In this episode, we talk about:
1. How Rob’s love for art and biology often intersect and interact with each other
2. The distinction between elegance and beauty in ecology
3. The value of art-science collaboration
4. How can we better communicate important scientific discoveries to the general public?
5. Rob’s interest in the interplay between speculative fiction and the future of science
6. The adaptability of nature
7. Is the scientific pursuit beautiful or violent? Or both?
8. How can we make the funding for science endeavors more just?
9. His new book on the origin of flavor and why pleasure matters
10. The biology and psychology behind our cultural preferences for food
To learn more about his work, visit:
Delicious: The Evolution of Flavor and How It Made Us Human by Rob Dunn and Monica Sanchez- https://www.amazon.com/Delicious-Evolution-Flavor-Made-Human/dp/0691199477
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