The Ultimate Geek Road Trip

28:04 minutes

For most people, a road trip means sun, sky, sea, and sand. We at SciFri like those things too, but we’ll take our sightseeing with an extra side of science. Why not jump in the car for a trip to Holmdel, New Jersey’s Horn Antenna, where the detection of cosmic microwave background radiation confirmed the Big Bang? Or maybe you’d prefer to get your nerd on with a trip to Arco, Idaho, the first town ever powered by nuclear energy. The Geek Atlas author John Graham-Cumming joins Ira on-air to help us plot the ultimate geek road trip, spanning sites key to the history of science, technology, and mathematics. Plus, computer scientist Randal Olson weighs in with an algorithm to optimize your road trip route. Read an excerpt from The Geek Atlas here.

We also asked you for your top science and tech destinations—and you delivered! Check out the suggestions on the interactive map above. Randal Olson optimized our road trip route (in blue) using a genetic algorithm. Read about how he did it here.

Route layout by Randal Olson. Map data (c) 2015 Google, INEGI
Route layout by Randal Olson. Map data (c) 2015 Google, INEGI. Explore the interactive version.

Finally, take a peek at one of John Graham-Cumming’s recommended sites, the John M. Mossman Lock Collection in midtown Manhattan, in this SciFri video from 2013:

Segment Guests

John Graham-Cumming

John Graham-Cumming is a programmer and author of The Geek Atlas (O’Reilly, 2009) based in London, England.

Randal Olson

Randal Olson is a computer scientist and postdoctoral researcher at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Meet the Producer

About Annie Minoff

Annie Minoff is a producer for The Journal from Gimlet Media and the Wall Street Journal, and a former co-host and producer of Undiscovered. She also plays the banjo.

Explore More

The Antenna That Detected the Big Bang

An excerpt from "The Geek Atlas: 128 Places Where Science and Technology Come Alive."

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