The Moth: Making It - Erich Jarvis | Summary and Q&A

April 10, 2014
World Science Festival
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The Moth: Making It - Erich Jarvis


Eric Jarvis recounts his unconventional upbringing and the influence of his scientist father, highlighting his own journey in science and the impact of his father's legacy.

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Key Insights

  • 🏤 Eric Jarvis comes from a background of economic and psychological poverty, with ancestors who were slaves, Native Americans, and European migrants.
  • 🤕 Eric's father, an unconventional scientist, played a significant role in sparking Eric's interest in science and pushing him academically from a young age.
  • 💨 Despite family struggles and his father's unconventional ways, Eric pursued a career in science, making significant discoveries, publishing papers, and receiving recognition.


Eric [Applause] Jarvis yes uh when I go to places I can't recognize everybody so uh when I was 19 years old uh my father came back to live with me me and my grandfather for the first time in 10 years um basically he was living in uh caves doing some experiments uh you have to understand my father was a scientist of some sorts uh and he had some unc... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: How did Eric's father's unconventional ways shape his upbringing and interest in science?

Eric's father's experiments, including taking drugs like LSD, sparked Eric's fascination with the brain and science as a means to explore other dimensions of time and space.

Q: What led Eric to choose science as his career path?

Eric's mother's encouragement to make a positive impact on society and his realization that he could pursue this through science influenced his decision to enter the field.

Q: How did Eric's experiences with his father and family struggles impact his determination to succeed in science?

Eric's father's untimely death, along with other family deaths, fueled Eric's drive to overcome adversity and make a meaningful contribution in science, proving himself and overcoming expectations.

Q: How did Eric's father's possession of Eric's first scientific publication impact him?

Finding Eric's publication among his father's few possessions touched Eric deeply, reminding him of the connection between their work and inspiring him to continue their shared legacy.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Eric Jarvis shares the struggles and unconventional ways of his father, a scientist, who aimed to uplift their family from generations of economic and psychological poverty.

  • Eric discusses his own path in science, influenced by his father's immersion in his experiments and his mother's push to have a positive impact on society.

  • Despite facing challenges and the untimely death of his father, Eric perseveres and achieves success in science, making significant discoveries and receiving recognition.

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