Rumor has it you’ve traveled the world. Where have you been?
I’ve been to the Middle East, like Cairo and Israel. I’ve traveled to England, Switzerland, Copenhagen and Italy.

What are your favorite classes to teach?
There’s an old expression: ‘If you can’t be with the one you love; love the one you’re with. I guess I love every course I teach! They’re different and I deliberately try to pace them so they don’t get stale. I think the worst thing that can happen is if a faculty member just teaches the same thing by routine because its easy.

Who is your greatest influence?
Once I got to graduate school, I had the great fortune of working with Thomas S. Kuhn. He was one of the most brilliant figures in the field and one of the greatest shapers of 20th century intellectual life.

If there was one thing you could change about life in general what would it be?

My wife is a genius. She gave me a jar with seeds of Thyme, the spice, one birthday and said, ‘The gift that you value most is “time.'” So if I could change my life, I would declare that every week should have 14 days, and every day should have 48 hours so I can get everything done that I want to get done.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

I would eliminate the human need for sleep. The concept would be a commercial success. I could sell it to college students.

Venkateswaran is a member of the class of 2011.

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