Werner von Braun and Fritz Haber

It’s German scientists week here on Exploration, where Michio Kaku meets with Michael Neufeld to discuss Werner von Braun. Was he a hero or a war criminal? Then, Dan Charles chats to Dr. Kaku about Fritz Haber. How did a good German scientist invent poison gas warfare?
Featured guests/speakers:

Dr. Michael J. Neufeld is a historian and author. He chaired the Space History Division at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum from 2007 to 2011, and continues to be a curator there. Neufeld was born in Edmonton, Alberta, in 1951. He received a bachelors degree from the University of Calgary, and an M.A. from the University of British Columbia in 1976 with a thesis on “He Who Will Not Work, Neither Shall He Eat : German Social Democratic Attitudes to Labor, 1890-1914”. He received his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University in 1984 with a thesis on “From Artisans to Workers : The Transformation of the Skilled Metalworkers of Nuremberg, 1835-1905”


Dan Charles is NPR’s food and agriculture correspondent.

Primarily responsible for covering farming and the food industry, Charles focuses on the stories of culture, business, and the science behind what arrives on your dinner plate.

This is his second time working for NPR; from 1993 to 1999, Charles was a technology correspondent at NPR. He returned in 2011.

During his time away from NPR, Charles was an independent writer and radio producer and occasionally filled in at NPR on the Science and National desks, and at Weekend Edition. Over the course of his career Charles has reported on software engineers in India, fertilizer use in China, dengue fever in Peru, alternative medicine in Germany, and efforts to turn around a troubled school in Washington, DC.

In 2009-2010, he taught journalism in Ukraine through the Fulbright program. He has been guest researcher at the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy at the University of Hamburg, Germany, and a Knight Science Journalism fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

From 1990 to 1993, Charles was a U.S. correspondent for New Scientist, a major British science magazine.

The author of two books, Charles wrote Master Mind: The Rise and Fall of Fritz Haber, The Nobel Laureate Who Launched the Age of Chemical Warfare (Ecco, 2005) and Lords of the Harvest: Biotech, Big Money, and the Future of Food (Perseus, 2001) about the making of genetically engineered crops.

Charles graduated magna cum laude from American University with a degree in economics and international affairs. After graduation Charles spent a year studying in Bonn, which was then part of West Germany, through the German Academic Exchange Service.

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