Blog Posts


Secret Life Snap Shots #4-6

Click here for Jean’s profile.

As you probably know by now, psycholinguist Jean Berko Gleason has a thing for driving fast cars quickly. What you might not know is that she has a long history of being photographed with them too.

This first picture was taken when Jean was a graduate student in the late ’50s, and her proximity to the car has more to do with the way the car looks than with what’s under the hood.

“The car belonged to a friend,” says Jean. “And I think we took the
picture just because it looked good. I am not a Volkswagen fan, never
owned one, and wouldn’t want one. I could never understand what
people saw in an underpowered little car with no heat. Sorry. I
really don’t like them. But I do usually take pictures of myself with
my cars, and, as you see, with other people’s as well.”

Following the Volkswagen photo (and after the cut), we present a collage of Jean with some of the cars she did actually like over the years.

Jean and the Volkswagen look good, but there was no love between them.

We felt compelled to ask Jean about this photo of herself that we came across while doing research.

Says Jean: “My friends and I in graduate school (late 50’s) went up to Crane Beach in Ipswich, Mass., to have some fun. So they buried me and we took pictures of my head looking chopped off, as you see. Actually, you get a new perspective on yourself when you see your disembodied head like that. The friends all got their degrees and went on to distinguished careers.”

Now, more than ever, it makes sense that Jean's favorite language is Sand-skrit.

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Joshua Seftel

    Executive Producer Joshua Seftel’s love for science started at a young age. He was a Pre-Medical Sciences major in college, and his first job out of school was as a high school physics teacher. Meanwhile, Josh discovered a passion for filmmaking and made his first documentary, the Emmy-nominated “Lost and Found” (1992), about the plight of Romania’s orphaned and abandoned children. He hasn’t stopped making films since, including “Taking on the Kennedys” (1996) and “War, Inc” (2008) starring John Cusack, Marisa Tomei, and Ben Kingsley. Josh also directed the first season of “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” and helped develop the Emmy-nominated PBS children’s show “Fetch! With Ruff Ruffman.” He has long been committed to public broadcasting and is a frequent contributor to “Nova Science Now.”