The Nitty Gritty Whiz Kids

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Hermain Khan is a first generation Pakistani-American boy, and Ana Cisneros is an Ecuadorian-American young woman. When each was seventeen-years-old, Khan and Cisneros competed in the nation’s oldest, most prestigious science competition, The Science Talent Search. Now they are the stars of a new documentary called Whiz Kids directed by Tom Shepard. The film is a coming-of-age story framed by the competition and the fact that American teens lag far behind other countries in math and science, now ranking 24th in the world. Then, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band has had dozens of incarnations since the group started in 1966, but one constant has been Jeff Hanna. Singer-guitarist Hanna is one the folk super group’s founding members. Hannah talks with Bob about the band’s first studio record in five years, Speed of Life.