There are many kinds of islands. There’s your iconic sandy speck of land topped with a palm tree, but there’s also our home planet – an island in the vast seas of space. You might think of yourself as a biological island … until you tally the number of microbes living outside – and inside – your body.
We go island hopping, and consider the Scottish definition of an island – one man, one sheep – as well as the swelling threat of high water to island nations. Also, how species populate islands … and tricks for communicating with extraterrestrial islanders hanging out elsewhere in the cosmos.
• Edward Chamberlin – Professor emeritus of English and comparative literature at the University of Toronto; fellow of the Royal Society of Canada; author of Island: How Islands Transform the World
• Bill McKibben – Writer, activist and professor of environmental studies, Middlebury College, founder of 350.org
• Justin Sonnenburg – Microbiologist, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Stanford University
• Guy Consolmagno – Astronomer, Vatican Observatory
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• Margaret Race – Ecologist, SETI Institute