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.'
Craig Venter Geneticist A voyage of DNA, genes and the sea on: TedTalks Genomics pioneer Craig Venter takes a break from his epic round-the-world expedition to talk about the millions of genes his team has discovered so far, in their quest to map the ocean's hidden biodiversity. (Quite a task, when you consider that there are tens of millions of microbes in a single drop of sea water.) He updates the TED audience on his discoveries, from the 2,000 photoreceptor genes found in the Sargasso Sea to the thrill of being under house arrest in French waters. After touching on the potential of environmental genomics to monitor the safety of air, water and offshore drilling, Venter ends with his vision for engineered species that can replace the petrochemical industry by creating clean energy.
Chelsey Juarez UC Santa Cruz Forensic Identification on: KQED-Quest QUEST visits the lab of Chelsey Juarez, a UC Santa Cruz doctoral candidate in forensic anthropology, who has developed a novel technique using chemical isotopes to help identify the remains of migrants who die crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. Use this educator guide to incorporate this story into your chemistry class and find resources for additional lessons on forensic science.
David Kelly IDEO David Kelly: The future of design is human-centered on: TED Talks Low-key and thoughtful, IDEO founder David Kelley seems the antithesis of the 'design star' -- and indeed, he says that product design, within the past two decades, has become much less about the design and more about the user who'll be experiencing it. In this classic 2002 talk, he shares some video of products coming out of IDEO, including Prada's famous high-tech dressing rooms, 'Dilbert's ultimate cubicle,' and a gotta-have-it gadget called Spyfish. He finishes by discussing a project he's passionate about: ApproTEC -- now called KickStart -- offering designs that give Kenyans the means to end poverty.
Henry Avila enXco wind company Fatal Attraction: Birds and Wind Turbines on: KQED-Quest California's largest wind farm cluster at Altamont Pass unintentionally kills golden eagles, burrowing owls and other threatened birds. Now, wind companies, scientists and environmentalists are working to bird-proof these massive wind farms.
Emily Hager New York Times Tidal Turbines on: New York Times Tide-powered underwater turbines are a new kind of renewable energy technology. They look like windmills, but use tidal currents to make electricity.
Sean Carroll California Institute of Technology Cosmology at YearlyKos Science Panel, Part 1 on: YouTube The first half of Sean Carroll's talk on Dark Matter, Dark Energy, and the meaning of science at the YearlyKos Science Panel, August 2007.
Edmund Phelps Columbia University 2006 Nobel Prize in Economics on: New York Times Edmund S. Phelps won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for explaining the relationship between inflation and unemployment, profoundly impacting macroeconomic policy.
Robert Wright Journalist Destiny has an arrow on: TEDtalks Author Robert Wright argues that history has an arrow: That humans have continued to evolve -- if not biologically, than culturally and technologically -- toward greater complexity and intelligence. (Recorded February 2006 in Monterey, CA. Duration: 19:54)
Donald McNeil New York Times The Search for a Cancer Vaccine on: New York Times Science Reporter Donald G. McNeil Jr. explores the unusual research used to find a blood test for human papillomavirus, which causes cervical cancer.
E. O. Wilson Harvard University Charlie Rose - Lisa Randall / Edward O. Wilson on: Google Video Segment 1: A discussion about theoretical physics with Harvard professor Lisa Randall. Her book is called 'Warped Passages: Unraveling the Mysteries of The Universe's Hidden Dimensions'. Segment 2: We conclude with Harvard biology professor Edward O. Wilson. His latest book is 'The Creation: An Appeal to Save Life on Earth'.
Andy Revkin New York Times Making a Case for Nuclear Power on: New York Times Science reporter Andrew C. Revkin sits down with environmental scientist and author James Lovelock to discuss the benefits of nuclear power.