The Pulse – June 19, 2015


    Today’s show is about moments. Life-changing moments, moments that offered new insights into age-old questions, and “a ha!” moments. If you’re a regular listener, you may have heard some of these stories before, but we think listening to them as a series of important moments casts them in a new, insightful light.

    Scientific discoveries are often fueled by sudden insights—when the light bulb goes on in your head. Or in this case, a blue LED light bulb. In 2014, a group of researchers won a Nobel prize for developing blue LED lights, out it turns out the blue LED was much older. We return to the moment it was actually discovered.

    That lightbulb going off in our heads, that’s been the recent focus of Drexel University psychology professor John Kounios. In his new book, he explores that “eureka moment” phenomenon. He joins us to discuss how and why we get sudden bursts of insight.

    When Kounios talked about forcing “a ha” moments to happen in our brains, he mentioned factors like mood, sleep, and distance from a problem. But is there a way to hack our brain to make creative thinking happen…perhaps through brain stimulation? Pulse contributor Avir Mitra volunteers to have his brain hot-wired.

    Sometimes asking simple questions is an effective way to achieve “a ha” moments, and this week we reflect on stories inspired by queries like: “‘Should scrubs be worn outside the hospital?’ ‘Why do we love round numbers?’ And, ‘What exactly is a doctor listening for when they place a stethoscope on your chest?'”

    Also on this week’s show, we look at the moment a deadly overdose is reversed by the drug Narcan, the birth of a son that one couple will never forget, and a lovely musical moment caught in the strangest of places…a hospital lobby.

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