Aspen tree

Aspen Ideas Festival 2009

The 2009 Ideas Festival, sponsored by the Aspen Institute and Atlantic Magazine, gathered scientists, artists, politicians, historians, educators, activists, and other great thinkers for a week in early July. MPR's Midday broadcast several of the presentations.

  • Decoding brain development
    Three scientists sat down together at the 2009 Aspen Ideas Festival in Aspen, Colo. to discuss how our brains develop over the course of our lives.Midday, August 21, 2009
  • The Evolution of God
    Award-winning journalist and author Robert Wright is out with a new book about how our conceptions of God have changed over the centuries. Wright spoke about his book, "The Evolution of God" at the 2009 Aspen Ideas Festival in Aspen, Colorado.Midday, August 18, 2009
  • The Tyranny of Dead Ideas
    Award-winning journalist Matt Miller argues that many of our current ideas about economic and social well-being need to change. He spoke at the 2009 Aspen Ideas Festival about his latest book, "The Tyranny of Dead Ideas: Letting Go of the Old Ways of Thinking to Unleash a New Prosperity."Midday, August 17, 2009
  • The biology of love
    Helen Fisher, an anthropology professor and human behavior researcher at Rutgers University, discusses her research into why we fall in love with the people we do, and what happens to our brains when we are in love. Fisher spoke at the 2009 Aspen Ideas Festival.Midday, August 14, 2009
  • What makes us happy?
    Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert spoke at the 2009 Aspen Ideas Festival about his research on what makes us happy, and why happiness often eludes us. Gilbert is the author of "Stumbling on Happiness."Midday, August 10, 2009
  • The fate of wildlife in Africa
    Two leading voices in wildlife conservation discuss their work, and the future of animals on the African continent.Midday, August 7, 2009
  • Catching viruses before they become pandemics
    Nathan Wolfe, visiting professor of human biology at Stanford University and director of the Global Viral Forecasting Initiative, spoke at the 2009 Aspen Ideas Festival about his research into how viruses move from animals to humans -- and how to slow their spread.Midday, August 5, 2009
  • Chimerica: The economic relationship between China and America
    Harvard professor Niall Ferguson and journalist James Fallows discuss the economic relationship between China and the United States.Midday, July 28, 2009
  • Moving toward peace in the Middle East
    At this year's Aspen Ideas Festival, Ambassador Michael Oren of Israel and Ambassador Imad Moustapha of Syria discussed the relationship between the U.S. and their countries, and the chances for peace in their region.Midday, July 20, 2009
  • Justice Breyer discusses his work on the Supreme Court
    U.S. Supreme Court justice Stephen Breyer recently spoke at the 2009 Aspen Ideas Festival about his work on the U.S. Supreme Court. He talked with Harvard Law School professor Charles Ogletree.Midday, July 15, 2009
  • How do we choose our judges?
    Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, sitting Justice Stephen Breyer, and Georgetown Law Professor Viet Dinh sat down recently for a discussion about how the U.S. selects its judges. They spoke at the 2009 Aspen Ideas Festival in Aspen, Colorado.Midday, July 15, 2009
  • The impact of social networks explored at Aspen
    Three journalists on an Aspen Ideas Festival panel titled, "Tweeting the Revolution: Will Social Networking and Journalism Drive Democracy?"Midday, July 9, 2009
  • Gov. Pawlenty at Aspen Ideas Festival
    Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty spoke Friday as part of the "Life in America" series at the 2009 Aspen Ideas Festival in Aspen, Colo.Midday, July 6, 2009
  • U.S Ambassador to United Nations at Aspen Ideas Festival
    Susan Rice, the new U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, reflects on key issues facing the nation and the world, in conversation with James Bennet, editor of The Atlantic magazine.Midday, July 3, 2009
  • Google CEO says culture of America will save its economy
    Eric Schmidt of Google speaks at the Aspen Ideas Festival with APM's Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal about his company, the economy and key global issues.Midday, July 1, 2009
  • 'What's the Big Idea?' at the Aspen Ideas Festival
    Nine speakers from a variety of fields give short presentations on their big ideas, at the opening of the 2009 Aspen Ideas Festival in Aspen, Colo.Midday, June 30, 2009
  • Aspen highlights--1959 and Darwin
    Two speeches from journalists at the Aspen Ideas Festival: Fred Kaplan on his new book "1959" and David Quammen on his book "The Reluctant Mr. Darwin."Midday, August 24, 2009
  • Why is it so hard to learn how to read?
    Three education experts -- a brain scientist, a former U.S. secretary of education, and the head of a reading institute -- discuss why it's so difficult to learn to read, and how we can help kids master the skill. They spoke at the 2009 Aspen Ideas Festival.Midday, September 7, 2009

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