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Latif Nasser

Technically, Latif is still enrolled as a grad student in Harvard's rocking History of Science department -- a discipline most people have never heard of but is in fact brimming with tales stranger than fiction. He spent the last two years spelunking in dusty archives and interviewing nonagenarians in rural Tanzania and Sweden, all in service of his dissertation on the Tanganyika Laughter Epidemic of 1962. In a previous life, Latif wrote plays about science-y things, and he is proud to return to his storytelling roots blogging at Radiolab.

Latif Nasser appears in the following:

The Meter: The Measure of a Man

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

About six and a half billion people use the metric system every single day.  That's more than the citizens of any single nation, the followers of any single religion or the speakers of any single language.  Sociologist Hector Vera has called the metric system “more popular than Jesus.”

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≤ kg

Friday, June 13, 2014

A plum-sized lump of metal takes us from the French Revolution to an underground bunker in Maryland as we try to weigh the way we weigh the world around us.

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Crystal Bliss

You know those stunningly symmetrical, glittery snowflakes you see everywhere at a certain time of year -- hanging from streetlights, stitched on sweaters, and sprinkled all over tv? Those perfectly-etched pictures are all a big lie. Latif Nasser explains how it all began in a cold, snowy ...

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Revenge of the Caterpillars: A Footnote to “Contagious Laughter”

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A seemingly cuddly caterpillar becomes the Terminator in Latif Nasser's story about a not-so-distant epidemic in America's bluegrass country...



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If These Walls Could Talk

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Pipes get metaphysical when a historian (of medicine) and a plumber meet inside one tiny midtown Manhattan apartment...

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Ringmaster to the Rainbow

Friday, July 27, 2012

Latif Nasser introduces us to a pioneering figure with a complicated legacy -- a woman named Natalie Kalmus who made her mark in Hollywood by  doing everything in her power to become the "ringmaster to the rainbow."

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Pigeons Have Magnets...Right?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

There have been at least two major shake-ups in the world of pigeon navigation since we first tried to wrap our brains around the subject in our Lost & Found episode. Blogger Latif Nasser follows up on the ever-puzzling question of how pigeons do what they do.

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Ghost in the machine

When the 17-year-old crown prince of Spain, Don Carlos, fell down a set of stairs in 1562, he threw his whole country into a state of uncertainty about the future. Especially his father, King Philip II, who despite being the most powerful man in the world, was helpless in the ...

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Ghost Stories

Friday, June 29, 2012

Real-life people try to pin down, and make peace with, mysterious figures that haunt them, prod them, and fade out of existence.

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Butterflies in the Belfry

Monday, April 23, 2012

Latif Nasser makes an unexpected discovery in a psych ward in Denmark--an unusual museum full of stunning artifacts. Read more, and check out a ton of photos.

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Linnaeus Had No Spam Filter

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

While visiting Sweden, Latif Nasser encountered the spirit of a long-dead legend of taxonomy. And he found himself wondering about an age-old puzzle: how do you savor the mystery of new-found oddities while you're uncovering the facts behind the weirdness?

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How do you solve a problem like Fritz Haber?

How do you square the idea of a bad person who does great good? Or a good person who does terrible harm? Sam Kean introduces us to the confusing life story of Fritz Haber. Around 1900, Haber was a young chemist in Germany, intent on solving the biggest problem facing ...

Comments [73]

The Bad Show

Monday, January 09, 2012

We wrestle with the dark side of human nature, and ask whether it's something we can ever really understand, or fully escape.

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A Clockwork Miracle

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

In 1562, King Philip II needed a miracle. So he commissioned one from a highly-skilled clockmaker. In this short, a king's deal with God leads to an intricate mechanical creation, and Jad heads to the Smithsonian to investigate. 

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