Jad Abumrad is a genius. I always suspected as much, but it's always nice to have your suspicions verified by outside sources. Last week, I felt a sort of vicarious and visceral sort of pure joy at hearing that he had been awarded a genius grant by the MacArthur Foundation for his work on the fantastic public radio show, Radiolab.
Anyone who ever chances to ask me to recommend a podcast or even something to listen to on a long drive always gets to hear a long monologue on my love for Radiolab. Tucked in between the parade of famous and fascinating scientists that Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich* bring onto the show on a regular basis and the wonder you feel infused into every second of random sound effects and deftly Jad-composed music, the show seems to fulfill a basic human desire to take big questions and try to find real answers, all the while reminding you that in many cases the journey to the answer is more than half the fun.
To celebrate, I want to share with you one of the program's "shorts," a twenty minute long story of a man called Bob Milne, a ragitme pianist whose uncanny ability to...well, I don't want to completely spoil the program. But I will say that testing the validity of his strange ability involves a neuroscientist and a fMRI scanner. Listen below, or go to the Radiolab site to download for later.
*Lame claim to fame: I got to meet and talk to Robert Krulwich early this year at ScienceOnline 2011. Obviously it was a total fangirl moment.