About Matthew Jordan

My name is Matthew Jordan, and I'm a university instructor, science communicator, and funk musician. My central belief is that everyone should have access to important ideas, presented in a simple and unpretentious way. I teach courses at McMaster University and run Interact, a Fellowship program for young technologists. I spend the rest of my time zooming through audiobooks, doing improv comedy, watching basketball, solving crosswords, playing chess, and doing long bike rides.

Matthew Jordan is a university instructor, funk musician, and clear writing enthusiast. He studies the history of science and technology, driven by the belief that we must understand the past in order to improve the future.

Matthew's website

NBN Episodes hosted by Matthew:

David Kaiser, "Well, Doc, You're In: Freeman Dyson’s Journey through the Universe" (MIT Press, 2022)

November 2, 2022

"Well, Doc, You're In"

David Kaiser
Hosted by Matthew Jordan

Freeman Dyson (1923–2020)—renowned scientist, visionary, and iconoclast—helped invent modern physics. Not bound by disciplinary divisions, he went on …

Kate Crawford, "The Atlas of AI: Power, Politics, and the Planetary Costs of Artificial Intelligence" (Yale UP, 2021)

March 21, 2022

The Atlas of AI

Kate Crawford
Hosted by Matthew Jordan

What happens when artificial intelligence saturates political life and depletes the planet? How is AI shaping our understanding of ourselves and our s…

Jay J. Van Bavel and Dominic J. Packer, "The Power of Us: Harnessing Our Shared Identities" (Little, Brown Spark, 2021)

March 3, 2022

The Power of Us

Jay J. Van Bavel and Dominic J. Packer
Hosted by Matthew Jordan

If you're like most people, you probably believe that your identity is stable. But in fact, your identity is constantly changing—often outside your co…

Mary Beth Meehan and Fred Turner, "Seeing Silicon Valley: Life Inside a Fraying America" (U Chicago Press, 2021)

July 20, 2021

Seeing Silicon Valley

Mary Beth Meehan and Fred Turner
Hosted by Matthew Jordan

It’s hard to imagine a place more central to American mythology today than Silicon Valley. To outsiders, the region glitters with the promise of extra…

Nichola Raihani, "The Social Instinct: How Cooperation Shaped the World" (St. Martin's Press, 2021)

July 12, 2021

The Social Instinct

Nichola Raihani
Hosted by Matthew Jordan

Cooperation is the means by which life arose in the first place. It’s how we progressed through scale and complexity, from free-floating strands of ge…

Thomas D. Mullaney et al., "Your Computer Is on Fire" (MIT Press, 2021)

July 9, 2021

Your Computer Is on Fire

Thomas D. Mullaney, Benjamin Peters, Mar Hicks, and Kavita Philip
Hosted by Matthew Jordan

This book sounds an alarm: after decades of being lulled into complacency by narratives of technological utopianism and neutrality, people are waking …

W. Patrick Mccray, "Making Art Work: How Cold War Engineers and Artists Forged a New Creative Culture" (MIT Press, 2020)

June 9, 2021

Making Art Work

W. Patrick Mccray
Hosted by Matthew Jordan

Artwork as opposed to experiment? Engineer versus artist? We often see two different cultural realms separated by impervious walls. But some fifty yea…

L. Vinsel and A. L. Russell, "The Innovation Delusion: How Our Obsession with the New Has Disrupted the Work That Matters Most" (Currency, 2020)

February 24, 2021

The Innovation Delusion

Lee Vinsel and Andrew L. Russell
Hosted by Matthew Jordan

It’s hard to avoid innovation these days. Nearly every product gets marketed as being disruptive, whether it’s genuinely a new invention or just a new…

Kat Arney, "Rebel Cell: Cancer, Evolution, and the New Science of Life's Oldest Betrayal" (Benbella Books, 2020)

October 9, 2020

Rebel Cell

Kat Arney
Hosted by Matthew Jordan

Cancer exists in nearly every animal and has afflicted humans as long as our species has walked the earth. In Rebel Cell: Cancer, Evolution, and the N…

Katherine Kinzler, "How You Say It: Why You Talk the Way You Do - And What It Says About You" (HMH, 2020)

September 11, 2020

How You Say It

Katherine Kinzler
Hosted by Matthew Jordan

We gravitate toward people like us; it's human nature. Race, class, and gender shape our social identities, and thus who we perceive as "like us" or "…

Adam Rutherford, "How to Argue With a Racist" (The Experiment, 2020)

August 27, 2020

How to Argue With a Racist

Adam Rutherford
Hosted by Matthew Jordan

Racist pseudoscience has become so commonplace that it can be hard to spot. But its toxic effects on society are plain to see—feeding nationalism, fue…

Nadia Eghbal, "Working in Public: The Making and Maintenance of Open Source Software" (Stripe Press, 2020)

August 12, 2020

Working in Public

Nadia Eghbal
Hosted by Matthew Jordan

Open source is the once-radical idea that code should be freely available to everyone. Open-source software was once an optimistic model for public co…

Stuart Ritchie, "Science Fictions: Exposing Fraud, Bias, Negligence, and Hype in Science" (Penguin Books, 2020)

August 10, 2020

Science Fictions

Stuart Ritchie
Hosted by Matthew Jordan

So much relies on science. But what if science itself can’t be relied on? In Science Fictions: Exposing Fraud, Bias, Negligence, and Hype in Science (…

Anton Howes, "Arts and Minds: How the Royal Society of Arts Changed a Nation" (Princeton UP, 2020)

August 4, 2020

Arts and Minds

Anton Howes
Hosted by Matthew Jordan

Over the past 300 years, The Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce has tried to improve British life in every way ima…

Solomon Goldstein-Rose, "The 100% Solution: A Plan for Solving Climate Change" (Melville House, 2020)

July 29, 2020

The 100% Solution

Solomon Goldstein-Rose
Hosted by Matthew Jordan

At age 26, Solomon Goldstein-Rose has already spent more time thinking about climate change than most of us will in our lifetimes. He’s been a climate…

Marc Zimmer, "The State of Science" (Prometheus Books, 2020)

July 21, 2020

The State of Science

Marc Zimmer
Hosted by Matthew Jordan

New research and innovations in the field of science are leading to life-changing and world-altering discoveries like never before. What does the hori…

David Kaiser, "Quantum Legacies: Dispatches from an Uncertain World" (U Chicago Press, 2020)

July 13, 2020

Quantum Legacies

David Kaiser
Hosted by Matthew Jordan

David Kaiser is a truly unique scholar: he is simultaneously a physics researcher and a historian of science whose writing beautifully melds the past …