“Agriculture changes the landscape more than anything else we do. It alters the composition of species. We don’t realise it when we sit down to eat, but that is our most profound engagement with the rest of nature.”

Finding the best agricultural practice is also multi-objective. However, the only parameter being optimised with organic agriculture is “reduction in soil pollution”, ignoring parameters such as “use of land”, “use of water” and even “CO2 emissions”. And like we have seen for solar and wind energy, organic farming is going against the prevalent historic trend of intensification.

Since the 70’s the world’s population ha doubled, but the land allocated to agriculture only increased by 15%.  How was this achieved? Intensification. The synthetic nitrogen fertiliser is estimated to be the single invention that saved the most human lives since the beginning of the 20th century. Heap abundant nuclear energy will be used to decarbonise the atmosphere and to desalinate water.

Episode Features

Matin Qaim, PhD

Professor of Agricultural Economics

Matin Qaim is a professor of International Food Economics and Rural Development at the University of Goettingen and a leading researcher on food security and sustainable development.

Bob Reiter, PhD

Head of Research & Development/Crop Science

Bob Reiter serves as a member of the Executive Leadership Team at Bayer and is Head of Research and Development for Crop Science.

Hannes Dempewolf, PhD

Director of External Affairs/Senior Scientist

Hannes Dempewolf is the Director of External Affairs and a Senior Scientist at The Crop Trust and earned a PhD in Botany from the University of British Columbia.

Dr. Andrew Smith

Chief Operating Officer/Chief Scientist

Andrew Smith is the Chief Operating Officer for Rodale Institute and responsible for administrating research activities and leading the research team’s global impact.

Your host

Your host

Pietro Boselli, PhD, is a mechanical engineer and teacher, specialising in Mathematical Modelling and Analysis.

He began modelling when he was discovered by Giorgi Armani at age 6, and since then has been featured by brands and magazines including GQ, Equinox Fitness, Emporio Armani EA7, Attitude, Vouge Hommes, Abercrombie & Fitch, and has been shot by photographers including Bruce Weber, Giampalo Sgura, and Ollie Ali.

Pietro’s interests in fitness led to his innovative YouTube strength training channel being viewed millions of times, and the launch of his own fitness-oriented fashion line Pietra Design.

A Facebook post by one his University of London engineering students went viral in 2015 and led to his being dubbed “the world’s sexiest math teacher”, to which Pietro replies, “I model the fluid thermodynamics of wet steam flow”.

Rational mind is the continuation of that philosophy: using the global platform he has been gifted to help millions of curious people discover more about how their world works, and how to think about it.

For RATIONAL MIND, Pietro chose to collaborate with ATOMIC ENTERTAINMENT, the Emmy-nominated creators & executive producers of BRAIN GAMES, BRAINCHILD and the WHO SMARTED? podcast. Pietro And Atomic's founders, Jerry Kolber and Adam Davis, all share the belief that critical thinking, science and enabling discovery are the keys to making the world a better place.

Critical Thinking

Learn what the future really holds and how to think critically about the truth

Download our introduction to critical thinking and learn the framework for how to think in a way that can lead to progress and cooperation.