Richard Dawkins Oxford University The universe is queerer than we can suppose on: TedTalks Biologist Richard Dawkins makes a case for 'thinking the improbable' by looking at how our human frame of reference -- the things we can perceive with our five senses, and understand with our eight-pound brain -- limits our understanding of the universe. Think of it: We can't see atoms, we can't see infrared light, we can't hear ultrasonic frequencies, but we know without a doubt that they exist. What else is out there that we can't yet perceive -- what dimensions of space, what aspects of time, what forms of life? Dawkins calls the human-size frame of reference 'Middle World': between the microcosmos of atoms and the macrocosmos of the universe. Middle World thinking limits our ability to see the universe in terms of the improbable, whereas 'in the vastness of astronomical space and geological time, that which seems impossible in Middle World might turn out to be inevitable.'
Peter Naish Open University Hypnosis- myth or miracle on: sciencelive Peter Naish, a lecturer in psychology for the Open University, joins Greg in the studio to talk about one of his research interests: hypnosis. He is an experienced hypnotist and has served and an expert witness in court for cases involving hypnosis. Here he talks about the science behind it - satisfy your curiousity once and for all, and see two willing volunteers being hypnotised on camera, and thier reactions to the expereince.
Anat Biegon Brookhaven National Laboratory Of Boys and Girls and Bumps on the Head - 414th Brookhaven Lecture, by Anat Biegon on: Brookhaven National Laboratory Although it has been well documented that gender affects the prevalence of disorders such as depression and Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder, recent head injury trials suggest that both age and sex affect the likelihood and degree of recovery from injuries to the brain. While girls are more likely to die following a traumatic brain injury than boys, that result is reversed after the age of 50, when men die twice as often. April 19, 2006
Briefing: Documenting Endangered Languages on: National Science Foundation Linguistics experts estimate that almost half of the world's 6,000-7,000 existing languages--and the cultural, linguistic and cognitive information they encapsulate--are headed for oblivion. The National Science Foundation, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Humanities, has launched a multi-year 'rescue mission' to document and preserve key languages before they become extinct. More than 70 at-risk languages will be digitally archived as part of the new Documenting Endangered Languages (DEL) program.
Chris Budd Bath University Card tricks on: After an excellent lecture, Professor Chris Budd of Bath University joins Greg in the studio for a bit of light-hearted relief. Beware when playing cards with a mathematician...all is not as it seems!
Mark Lythgoe the Institute of Child Health Sci-art on: As a neurophysiologist and lecturer in Radiology and Physics and the Institute of Child Health and Great Ormond Street Hospital, Mark Lythgoe uses Magnetic resonance Imaging (MRI) on a regular basis. He is also particularly interested in communicating science to the public, and combines these two in some of the images in his 'sci art' collection. Here he explains the concept of sci art and shows us some of his work in this area.
Einstein's brain: The search for genius on: sciencelive Jim Al-Khali and Mark Lythgoe take us on a road trip to California in search of Einstein's brain. But will getting hold of his brain really solve the mystery of his genius? Jim and Mark have some different ideas about genius which they share with us here. This lecture is part of the BA Physics and Astronomy Section webcasting programme at the BA Festival 2005.
Richard Dawkins Oxford University An atheist's call to arms on: TedTalks The session was titled 'The Design of Life,' and the TED audience was probably expecting remarks about evolution's role in our history from biologist Richard Dawkins. Instead, he launched into a full-on appeal for atheists to make public their beliefs and to aggressively fight the incursion of religion into politics and education. Scientists and intellectuals hold very different beliefs about God from the American public, he says, yet they are cowed by the overall political environment. Dawkins' scornful tone drew strongly mixed reactions from the audience; some stood and applauded his courage. Others wondered whether his strident approach could do more harm than good. Dawkins went on to publish The God Delusion and become perhaps the world's best-known atheist.
J. Subramani Brookhaven National Laboratory Managing Depression on: Brookhaven National Laboratory Dr. Subramani covers signs and symptoms of depression, depression in special populations, the role of antidepressant medications in treatment, and knowing where and how to get help.
David Deutsch Oxford University David Deutsch: What is our Place in the Cosmos? on: TED Talks Legendary physicist David Deutsch back-burners the work for which he's best known -- quantum physics, quantum computing, the many-worlds theory -- to discuss a more basic topic: how to think about our species' significance in the universe. Far from being simply "chemical scum," we have the ability to gain knowledge, the importance of which he illustrates in spectacular manner. As a result, he says, we are always equipped to solve problems (including global warming). The brain contains the tools we need: knowledge, reason and creativity. It's a thrilling, and profoundly optimistic argument.
William Gosling University of Bath Intuition and emotion in science on: sciencelive Elizabeth Connor dives into the philosophy of science with Prof. William Gosling, treasurer of the British Association and Emeritus Professor of communications engineering at the University of Bath and Helen Haste, a vice president of the BA and psychology lecturer also at Bath. They question the place of emotion and intuition in science. Is science an exclusively rational affair? Are women really more in touch with their emotions? Does this make them better at science? Do we need to rethiink our definition of science? The two Professors share their challenging and insightful views.
Cracking the real daVinci code on: sciencelive Liz talks to Prof. John Onians from the School of World Art Studies at the University of East Anglier - the first neuro-art historian in history. He shares his theory for how neuroscience solves some of the major art history mysteries. Why were the prehistoric cave drawings more life-like than drawings for thousands of years to come? Why does the style of painting change from era to era when the world looks much the same? How do our brains shape our art? What makes an artists brain different from a lawyer's, a banker's or a scientist's? Neuroscience goes places where art history has never had access before and both disciplines are richer for the meeting.
Jamie Ward University College London Synaesthesia on: sciencelive Liz Connor talks to Jamie Ward, psychology lecturer from University College London, about synaesthesia, a condition that leads to a peculiar mixing up of the senses. Because of the way their brains are wired, people with synaesthesia find shapes and colour in music, aromas in pictures and symphanies in works of art. Many famous artists have been diagnosed with synaesthesia but is it the cause of creativity? Can it be learnt? Is there such a thing as a perfect piece of art? They discuss these questions and many more.
Bob White University of Cambridge Is it possible to be a scientist and religious? on: sciencelive Michael Marshall hosted a studio debate on the question 'Is it possible to be a scientist and religious?' He was joined by Dr Denis Alexander and Professor Bob White from the University of Cambridge, and Professor John Durant, head of the MIT Museum, all of whom combine careers in science with Christianity. They discussed whether science and religion contradict each other, whether they involve fundamentally different ways of thinking and why it is that they so often seem to be at each other's throats. The panellists dealt with Mike's questions very well, but he remains a devout atheist.
Helen Fisher Rutgers University The evolution of human emotions on: TEDtalks Helen Fisher is an anthropologist with Rutgers University, specializing in gender differences and the evolution of human emotions. (Recorded February 2006 in Monterey, CA. Duration: 24:13
Barry Schwartz Swarthmore College The Paradox of Choice on: TEDtalks Barry Schwartz is a sociology professor at Swarthmore College and author of The Paradox of Choice. (Recorded July 2005 in Oxford, UK. Duration: 20:22)
Einstein made simple on: sciencelive What has relativity got to do with real life? How can you make time run slowly? Is Brownian motion any use to anyone? And what has the photoelectric effect done for the world at large? This 45 minute show celebrates 100 years since Einstein wrote his three most famous papers in 1905, and changed scientific thinking.