The Case of the Non-Stuffy Academic, Robert Trivers

Glenn Geher in Psychology Today:

TriversIt’s about 1:00 p.m. on a weekday in December, 2015. I am working with a small team in a radio studio on campus We are about to interview world-renowned scientist, Dr. Robert Trivers, for a potential podcast that we are working on. We are using Skype and have both audio and video channels going. We call him via Skype at exactly the time we’d said we would. He answers. Dr. Trivers’ face and upper body show up on the screen. No shirt. Our team includes veteran media personality and radio host, John Tobin, who has conducted thousands of interviews in his time. John would later report that he’d never had an interview go quite this way before.

And so it begins:

Dr. Trivers: Oh wait – I have to put on a shirt and get a beer – can we wait just a minute? Oh and I have to put this towel away. I just got out of the shower – I wanted to be fresh for this …

Of course we smiled and complied and said it was fine. In a few minutes he settles down into a chair that he describes as “near the fridge,” just in case there’s a need for more beer during this interview.

For about an hour, Dr. Trivers took us on a wild ride – emerging at times as kind of hard to pin down on a particular topic – and emerging at other times as having uniquely interesting personal anecdotes, such as one about the time that he drove a getaway car for renowned Black Panther leader Huey Newton after leaving a bar in Northern California under sketchy terms back in the 1970s.

More here.