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Friday, March 30, 2012

Ten free TED science lectures to live your life by

To those readers that have never come across TED.com before, the site is an amazing resource of free online lectures and videos on a huge range of topics. TED's database spans everything from media to science and it is easy to find a wealth of great content using its search facility. All TED's lectures are provided by vetted, qualified experts and at present there are over 1,200 of them registered on the site – with 348 of them being specifically science lecturers. Below are a selection of some not-to-be-missed lectures available through TED.

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David Gallo: Deep ocean mysteries and wonders

Deep ocean mysteries and wonders video

David Gallo is a marine biologist specialising in “pushing the boundaries of oceanic discovery”. In this lecture, David takes the viewer on a journey into the deepest depths of the ocean, showing the extent of what is still yet to be discovered by man; he states that humans have explored just five per cent of what is in our waters. His lecture explains volcanic eruptions that happen at the ocean’s deepest points, and how these can create ecosystems “with more diversity than a tropical rainforest.”


Sheila Nirenberg: A Prosthetic Eye to Treat Blindness

A Prosthetic Eye to Treat Blindness video

Sheila Nirenberg is a neuroscientist specialising in neural coding; how the brain takes information from the outside world and identifies it through electrical activity. Sheila’s revolutionary lecture in creating vision in blind people could have amazing consequences. Sheila explains how people with blindness are not able to respond to drug treatment. However, they could be helped through the use of prosthetic eye devices, which work by connecting to the eye’s optic nerve and sending signals to the brain through a camera. In this lecture, Sheila explains how this works.


Dean Kamen: The emotion behind invention

The emotion behind invention video

Dean Kamen is an inventor, and in his videos he lets the viewer into some of his invaluable secrets. The Emotion Behind Invention is a unique insight into the thought process of a man who boasts 150 patents. This video shows the passion that goes into inventing and how his latest invention – a unique prosthetic arm – was influenced by a meeting with army servicemen. He found that men who had lost arms fighting were previously given just a plastic stick with a hook on the end. Dean was so moved, he invented a new prosthetic arm with full motor capabilities. The Emotion Behind Invention is a moving and sincere video sure to leave any inventor inspired.


Edith Widder: The weird, wonderful world of bioluminescence

The weird, wonderful world of bioluminescence video

Another deep sea expert, Edith specialists in bioluminescence; helping to design and invent new submersible equipment to enable the study of deep sea environments. The Weird, Wonderful World of Bioluminescence is a brilliant insight into the practice and her passion for it. She tells her personal story of how she first experienced deep sea diving and the “fireworks” she saw below the surface. She shows various videos throughout her lecture of the amazing light displays exhibited by mysterious deep sea creatures.


James Watson: How He Discovered DNA

How He Discovered DNA video

James Watson, biologist and Nobel laureate, is one of the most prolific scientists of his day; fifty years ago he played a pivotal role in the discovery of the formation of DNA. His current passion is the quest to identify genetic bases for major illnesses. This lecture is fascinating home cinema; he gives a highly inspiring, amusing and educational insight into how he discovered the structure of DNA all those years ago – and what he has done since making one of the most important scientific discoveries of all time.


Garik Israelian: How spectroscopy could reveal alien life

How spectroscopy could reveal alien life video

Garik Israelian is an astrophysicist who has made some extremely significant discoveries about the biggest disasters ever to have taken place in space – including finding evidence that supernova explosions make black holes. This video is a massive hit, as it explains that star activity could create alien life.


Aubrey de Grey: Aubrey de Grey says we can avoid aging

Aubrey de Grey says we can avoid aging video

Aubrey de Grey is a “Seeker of immortality” and claims to have found a solution to combat the effects of ageing. This video argues that ageing is avoidable, and that it is a disease acquired by humans through mistreatment of their bodies. De Grey claims that humans are capable of living to 1,000 years old and that these humans have already been born.


Marcus de Sautoy: Symmetry, Reality’s Riddle

Symmetry, Reality’s Riddle video

Marcus de Sautoy has a passion for maths; he writes The Times’ Sexy Maths column. In this lecture he explains the science behind symmetry and how there is a complicated theory behind it. In an easy-to-follow and humorous way, Marcus de Sautoy explains the theory of “the invisible numbers that marry all symmetrical objects.”


Jeremy Rifkin: "the empathic civilization"

the empathic civilization video

"The Empathic Civilization is emerging. A younger generation is fast extending its empathic embrace beyond religious affiliations and national identification to include the whole of humanity and the vast project of life that envelops the Earth,” says Jeremy Rifkin; a writer and social thinker. His video explores the theory and science behind empathy; why we feel it, how we develop it, and how humanity relies on it.


Kristen Ashburn: Kristen Ashburn's photos of AIDS

Kristen Ashburn's photos of AIDS video

Kristen Ashburn’s photography brings a fascinating, never-seen-before look at those in unimaginable hardship, bringing to light the struggle that so many people throughout the world endure for various reasons. This video concentrates on the turmoil behind AIDS – with images that will bring the viewer a lot closer to the distresses of people with the disease. 35% of people in Zimbabwe have AIDS and Kristen’s moving photos show some of the most distressing cases she came across on a recent trip to the country.

Enjoy!

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