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Author seeks to answer life's biggest questions through physics

River to River, hosted by Ben Kieffer

How did the universe begin? How will it end? This episode of River to River tackles those and other big questions.

First off, Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation, or SLAPPs, bring about meritless defamation claims seeking to silence critics. That's pushed the desire for anti-SLAPP legislation in the state. Host Ben Kieffer speaks with retired law professor and Commission on Uniform State Laws Chair David Walker about how these baseless lawsuits seek to limit people's rights to express themselves on matters of public concern.

Iowa Newspaper Association Executive Director Susan Patterson Plank and state Rep. Steven Holt, R-Denison, discuss how a Carroll-based newspaper won against a SLAPP but still incurred $140,000 in legal expenses. An anti-SLAPP bill has passed in the House the last two legislative sessions and has been stalled in the Senate. Proponents say this legislation would help protect the core rights of free speech, press, petition and assembly, guaranteed by the state and federal constitutions.

Later in the episode, Dr. Sabine Hossenfelder is a German theoretical physicist and author whose newest book, Existential Physics: A Scientist's Guide to Life's Biggest Questions, covers aspects of the relationship of science with philosophy.


David Walker, professor emeritus of law, Drake University
Susan Patterson Plank, Iowa Newspaper Association Executive Director
Steven Holt, District 18 state Representative and House Judiciary Committee chair
Dr. Sabine Hossenfelder, physicist, author and content creator

Ben Kieffer is the host of IPR's River to River
Samantha McIntosh is a talk show producer at Iowa Public Radio. Prior to IPR, Samantha worked as a reporter for radio stations in southeast and west central Iowa under M&H Broadcasting, and before that she was a weekend music host for GO 96.3 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.