“For 11 years, I was the host of the public television series Scientific American Frontiers.” That’s the familiar voice of Alan Alda, star of stage, screen and science. Now Alda is hosting a three-part public TV series about you. And me, and all of us. “We’ll be trying to get to the bottom of what makes us human. Trying to find that thing we’re calling the ‘human spark’.”
One way to examine us is by looking at what’s almost us. “We’ll be checking in with our closest living relatives, the chimpanzees, to find out how the tiny difference in our genes, just 1 percent, makes such a huge difference to who we are and what we can do. Chimps are smart as a whip, but they’re not us. Why aren’t they?”
The Human Spark debuts on PBS Wednesday, January 6th, with episodes two and three on the following Wednesdays, the 13th and 20th. “We can’t promise we’ll find the human spark, but we can promise that looking for it will be fascinating. And it may change the way you think about who you are.”
[The above text is an exact transcript of this podcast.]
We have an interview scheduled with Alan Alda at our Scientific American offices Wednesday afternoon. We’ll play that conversation on the Science Talk podcast later this week.