Posted by: grokscience | November 9, 2016

Lawrence of India

brilliantA cure was beyond reach. Death seemed inevitable. How did one man’s search for meaning lead to the eradication of a 10,000-year old disease? On this episode, Larry Brilliant discusses how his quest to find himself lead to the disappearance of one of mankind’s most virulent diseases, smallpox.

Larry’s excellent adventure… 😉




  1. Are these episodes not showing up in Itunes for some reason or is it on my end? Feel free to delete comment if it’s just me.

  2. I woke up at 3am unable to sleep, and got intrigued by a podcast I’d like to share with you. I have an unusual way of falling asleep and usually of getting back tyo sleep should I wake up too early… I listen to an online radio channel called Science 360.
    Ever since I was little I had a shortwave radio next to the bed and fell asleep to something like Radio Havana Cuba or Radio Moscow or HCJB in Quito, Ecuador. I can’t fall asleep to music, but I like to fall asleep to people talking about things that I find interesting, but not too. As I engage with the discussion my monkey mind shuts down and I drift off to sleep.
    This channel is a 24 hour mix of science podcasts from ‘This Week in Virology” to “Groks Science Radio Show”, which I woke up to this morning. I’d never heard it before and was surprised at how young the host sounded. From his manner of speech it sounded as though he was the school geek, at least a bit, maybe 20 years old and from my ripe old age he sound as though he was going on 15. Yet he was, as they used to say in a broadcast seminar, “an authentic broadcast personality”.. he was all him, and “him” was engaged, and laughing, very engaging in his own way, and clearly a sponge wanting to soak up all he could learn… and share.
    Better yet, he was talking with a man who was the “unique mother load”, Dr. Larry Brilliant, a 60’s hippie from “the Monkey Temple in the Himilayas” which led to him becoming the youngest scientist in the NIH effort to kill the smallpox virus in India.
    It struck me as very important when he said something to the effect of, “the world seems a challenging place today, especially here in America where we are so divided. But I’ve been to India and seen thousands of babies die from smallpox.. and eventually saw the last case of it, a little girl who when she gave her last cough, her disease spread to no one, and with that, the disease was gone.”
    We can, he says, make a difference, even in the face of absolute horror and seemingly impossible odds. “I’ve seen it”, he says, and as a result, he is always optimistic that change can happen, and we can play a part it making it so.
    There is so much else they shared that resonated with me, there in the dark in bed unable to sleep. It may be that as I listen to it again during my waking hours it will feel less impactful and important, but given what I felt as I listened, I hope not. This is a time where optimism and a belief in the power of people to affect change, could be so very important.

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