"What Is This Thing Called Love?" One-Hour Special Leads Off Public Radio Series THE REALLY BIG QUESTIONS For Valentine's Day

New Multi-Media Collaboration Between SoundVision Productions®, Public Radio International® and The Exploratorium Takes Scientific Look at What Makes Us Human

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 4, 2014 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- Why do human beings feel romantic love?  Is there such a thing as "true love" or is there a more rational reason we couple up?  What advice would you give your younger self about love? 

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140204/MN58270)

With Valentine's Day looming, Peabody Award-winning SoundVision Productions, The Exploratorium in San Francisco and Public Radio International (PRI) are joining forces to engage the public with The Really Big Questions (TRBQ), a new series of multi-media conversations about what makes us human. The first episode, scheduled for broadcast the week of Valentine's Day (February 14) and beyond, is titled "What Is This Thing Called Love?" and takes a philosophical and sometimes playful look at "the science of love." 

The Really Big Questions is hosted by writer, composer and broadcast veteran Dean Olsher, who also is composing and performing all the music on the program.  TRBQ will include five, one-hour radio specials to be broadcast nationwide over the PRI network, each of which will explore a universal question about the human experience.   Other episodes will include: "Why Do We Share?," "Why Does Music Move Us?," "What is a Good Death?," and "What is Your Story?"  The project is funded by the National Science Foundation

SoundVision and PRI are extending and amplifying the reach of the broadcasts with ongoing podcasts, unique social media content and a vibrant, interactive website, all designed to encourage people to join the conversation and share their insights and experiences.   They also are offering a collection of funny and thought-provoking "rational" Valentine cards on their websites, and on February 11, TRBQ and the Exploratorium are hosting a live Twitter confab on romantic love (see details below).

Listen to short TRBQ podcasts on "The Science of Love"  and "Love in Shanghai."

Check out the Valentines for rational lovers on TRBQ Facebook too.

In the "Love" episode and a podcast now available on the TRBQ website, Olsher ponders the key questions behind humans' drive to pair up.  How and why do we fall in love?  What happens to the brains of people who are in love?  How does romantic love differ from other forms of love?  Why is it so devastating when our relationships fall apart?  

TRBQ brings together a fascinating cast of scientists, philosophers and regular folks to tackle these questions head-on:

  • Neurologist Lucy Brown, who says the brain of a person head over heels in love resembles the brain of a person high on cocaine.
  • Anthropologist Helen Fisher, who believes romantic love is a basic human drive that evolved to keep people together long enough to raise babies.
  • Chris Johnson, a former artist-in-resident at The Exploratorium, who created an installation called "The Wisdom Arc Time Machine" that asks people what advice they'd give themselves if they could go back in time.  Participants can write about any topic, but love is among the most common. "There's a lot of regret for lost love," Johnson says.
  • Esquire writer and editor A.J. Jacobs, who had Lucy Brown put him through an MRI several years ago to see how he would react to looking at pictures of his wife versus pictures of Angelina Jolie.  He says he has now scientifically proven that he loves his wife.

On the digital front, TRBQ is teaming up with the Exploratorium to host a live Twitter conversation about romantic love on Tuesday, February 11, from 2pm to 3pm EST (11am to 12 noon PST).   Joining the discourse will be historian, writer and frequent media commentator Stephanie Coontz (professor of family studies at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA, author of Marriage: A History: How Love Conquered Marriage).   Also, Esquire's Jacobs has created a collection of "rational" Valentine's Day cards (e.g. "You light up my prefrontal cortex" and "The pros of being married to you outweigh the cons."), which can be viewed, personalized and sent out to significant others on the TRBQ websitePRI also is launching a slideshow of the cards on its website, tied to an article about the brain science behind them.  That web post will invite readers to submit their own lines for a "rational Valentine."

In addition, SoundVision is partnering with the Exploratorium – a world-renown, hands-on museum of science, art and human perception – to create engaging public events, including exhibits and conversations via Facebook and Twitter.

The Really Big Questions is created by Peabody Award-winning producers Bari Scott, Mary Beth Kirchner and Catherine Winter for SoundVision Productions.   Public Radio International's content is available on almost 900 public radio stations nationwide, at www.pri.org, and through podcasts and digital platforms. 

For more information about The Really Big Questions and to preview upcoming episodes, visit the TRBQ website.  For media inquiries, contact The Busby Group, 310.475.2914, scottb@thebusbygroup.com.

Media Contact: Scott Busby, The Busby Group, 310.600.7645, scottb@thebusbygroup.com

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SOURCE The Busby Group

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