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How do experiences of wonder and awe affect us?

tree and sun
Credit: Melissa Gerr

Remember the buzz about--and from!-- Brood X cicadas last summer? That phenomenon prompted On the Record producer Melissa Gerr to explore the powerful feelings associated with awe and wonder, and how they affect us.*

She talked with an astrophysicist, a naturalist, a spirituality researcher and also with David B. Yaden, Assistant Professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine working in ‘The Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research’. One of his experiences of awe, he said, came from thinking about vastness:

“That vastness can be perceptual, like looking out on a large expanse like the Grand Canyon, or it can be conceptual, like when you imagine the magnitude of the size of the galaxy.”

Links: The Goethe Institut's Big Ponder listening series.
*Originally produced for the Goethe Institut's The Big Ponder transatlantic listening series.

Melissa Gerr is a Senior Producer for On the Record. She started in public media at Twin Cities Public Television in St. Paul, Minn., where she is from, and then worked as a field producer for Oregon Public Broadcasting in Portland. She made the jump to audio-lover in Baltimore as a digital media editor at Mid-Atlantic Media and Laureate Education, Inc. and as a field producer for "Out of the Blocks." Her beat is typically the off-beat with an emphasis on science, culture and things that make you say, 'Wait, what?'
Sheilah Kast is the host of On The Record, Monday-Friday, 9:30-10:00 am.