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Mind-Blowing Science: Season 1

We’ve partnered with Scientific American—the oldest, continuously published monthly magazine in the United States—to bring their most popular articles to life through exciting and engaging video adaptations. The Great Courses Plus and Scientific American have won a National Capital Emmy Award for "Mind-Blowing Science" in the category "Informational/Instructional - Long Form Content (longer than 10 minutes)."

Mind-Blowing Science: Season 1 is rated 4.0 out of 5 by 29.
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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great selection Nice variety of topics chosen. Well planned.fgjhk;dfghjgkl;hfg;fh
Date published: 2022-11-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from mind blowing science What a great concept. From strong scientific articles, and then summarised into digestible sizes with graphics that aide understanding and overing a range of subjects. Love to see more of this. Phil
Date published: 2022-11-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Interesting program! Not a typical Wondrium series! I enjoyed some of the episodes greatly. It is clear this is not a typical lecture series or presenter series we get to watch in this platform. I think some people might find this off putting. In my option, it is a plus for this kind of program where it arranged like a documentary TV series with multiple episodes. These episodes can be selected in random based on your interest. I really like that idea.
Date published: 2022-07-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved These Lectures Really enjoyed these short, accessible overviews of a scientific topic.
Date published: 2022-01-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very interesting I liked how each episode was only ( on average) 15 minutes long. I tend to shy away from movies that are 60 or more minutes because I don't have time to sit for over an hour and watch something! But these where short but not poorly done or rushed. The only reason I gave this a four star review was that the back round music was kind of annoying, but not nerve wrecking as others had stated.
Date published: 2021-12-08
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Give us a little time I would love to give a review of this and many other of the over 130 courses we have gotten from Great Courses. But, we are repeatedly asked to provide reviews of courses we received less that a week earlier. Please have your programmers take the date of receipt into account when sending out a request for a review. I have made this request to people at Great Courses several times.
Date published: 2021-11-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Cool informative lectures These were good, informative presentations. I am really interestd in black holes, and dinosaurs, and it covered those subjects, and it also covered topics I did not know anything about. I learned new things from these series of presentations, which were culled from articles from Scientific America. These presentations were short and easy to fllow. I recommend this.
Date published: 2021-10-24
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Mind-Blowing Science Season 1 Technical content low high school level. Expecting high college level since it was Scientific American. Good narration and graphics. Content of each chapter supposed to be 30 minutes and actually only about 20 minutes. Did not finish the entire course. Returned for refund. Very disappointed with quality of this course.
Date published: 2021-09-18
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We've partnered with "Scientific American"-the oldest, continuously published monthly magazine in the United States-to bring their most popular articles to life through exciting and engaging video adaptations. The Great Courses Plus and Scientific American have won a National Capital Emmy Award for "Mind-Blowing Science" in the category "Informational/Instructional - Long Form Content (longer than 10 minutes)." 


Scientific American

Scientific American publishes work by journalists, scientists, scholars, policy makers and people with lived experience of scientific or social issues.

Scientific American covers the advances in research and discovery that are changing our understanding of the world and shaping our lives. Founded in 1845, it is the oldest continuously published magazine in the United States and now reaches more than 10 million people around the world each month through its website, print and digital editions, newsletters, and app. Authoritative and engaging features, news, and opinion pieces; and multimedia stories from journalists and expert authors—including more than 200 Nobel Prize winners—provide need-to-know coverage, insights, and illumination of the most important developments at the intersection of science and society. Scientific American is published by Springer Nature. As a research publisher, Springer Nature is home to other trusted brands including Springer, Nature Research, BMC, and Palgrave Macmillan.

By This Expert

Mind-Blowing Science: Season 2
How Dinosaurs Grew So Large and So Small

01: How Dinosaurs Grew So Large and So Small

Until recently, paleontologists had no way to measure the age of dinosaurs or to figure out how they grew. So, we assumed dinosaurs had a physiology similar to modern reptiles. But it turns out that the clues we needed were locked in the animals’ bones all along—in growth lines similar to the annual growth rings in trees. John R. Horner, Kevin Padian, and Armand de Ricqlès, who have studied dinosaur bones together for more than 20 years, break down how they helped to determine the growth rates of many dinosaur species.

19 min
Are We the Only Intelligent Life in the Galaxy?

02: Are We the Only Intelligent Life in the Galaxy?

With so many exoplanets out there in the galaxy, it seems reasonable to hope that life may be prevalent. On our planet, it took a series of unusual coincidences to give rise to our intelligent civilization, and it’s quite unlikely such serendipity has taken place elsewhere. Science writer and astrophysicist John R. Gribbin examines how everything had to go just right. Perhaps most unlikely of all, he argues, was the development of our technological species—a feat that is probably unique in the Milky Way.

17 min
Decoding the Puzzle of Human Consciousness

03: Decoding the Puzzle of Human Consciousness

Physiological and behavioral evidence indicates that humans are fundamentally similar to many other animals in terms of their responses to painful and pleasurable stimuli. Even so, scientists disagree on whether other creatures have consciousness or can suffer. Dr. Susan Blackmore, a psychologist researching consciousness and memetics, and author of The Meme Machine, explains the arguments on each side of this great debate and introduces her own concept of the “selfplex.”

19 min
Why Your Brain Needs Exercise

04: Why Your Brain Needs Exercise

Everyone knows that exercise is good for the body. But it’s also been well-established that exercise has positive effects on the brain, especially as we age. Less clear has been why physical activity affects the brain. Doctors David A. Raichlen and Gene E. Alexander explain how key events in the evolutionary history of humans may have forged the link between exercise and brain function. And they show how cognitively challenging exercise may benefit the brain more so than physical activity, which makes fewer cognitive demands.

18 min
The First Monster Black Holes

05: The First Monster Black Holes

In the very distant, ancient universe, astronomers can see quasars—extremely bright objects powered by enormous black holes. Yet it is unclear how black holes this large could have formed so quickly after the big bang. Dr. Priyamvada Natarajan, a theoretical astrophysicist focusing on cosmology, gravitational lensing, and black hole physics, explains how she and her colleagues have tried to solve this mystery by proposing a novel mechanism for black hole formation. Rather than being born in the deaths of massive stars, the seeds of the most ancient, supermassive black holes might have collapsed directly from gas clouds.

18 min
Pets: Why Do We Have Them?

06: Pets: Why Do We Have Them?

For over 50 years, psychologists have been trying to understand the appeal of animal companionship. Two out of three American households keep an animal primarily for companionship and we spent an estimated $95.7 billion on our pets. Examine how scientists are finding some common threads that tie people to their household pets. From goldfish to Golden Retrievers, our attraction to animals may be driven by biological and social forces that we don’t consciously acknowledge.

12 min
The Mysteries of Neandertal Art

07: The Mysteries of Neandertal Art

Until recently, we believed there was still at least one important distinction between Homo sapiens and Neandertals, but then some simple cave paintings changed everything. Kate Wong, a senior editor for evolution and ecology at Scientific American, explains how images dating back 65,000 years have settled a long-running debate over Neandertal cognition.

12 min
Six Ways to Boost Brainpower

08: Six Ways to Boost Brainpower

Previously, scientists thought adult brains couldn’t grow new neurons or change old pathways. But, recent discoveries have revealed how your behavior and environment can substantially rewire your brain—even later in life. Science writer Emily Anthes explores six areas to focus on in order to improve how well your brain functions.

16 min
Mathematical Games: The Enduring Appeal of Tic-Tac-Toe

09: Mathematical Games: The Enduring Appeal of Tic-Tac-Toe

We probably played our first Tic-Tac-Toe game as children, yet the appeal of playing this simple game stayed with us well into our adulthood. Its legacy has endured a long history as well—people have been playing it since ancient days of Rome, China, and Greece. Celebrated mathematician Martin Gardner relates the history of the game and explores its more complex variations, while also delving into the reasons we have been playing for as long as we can remember.

10 min
Earthquakes in the Sky

10: Earthquakes in the Sky

Tens of thousands of people can be killed by a single earthquake. So, it’s no wonder humankind has spent millennia searching for an early warning sign. Japanese geophysicist Kosuke Heki recently presented tantalizing evidence that we may someday be able to anticipate these devastating seismic events. Science writer Erik Vance breaks down Heki’s theory that clumps of electrons form in the ionosphere, sometimes 30 minutes or more before a quake.

20 min
Why Good Thoughts Block Better Ones

11: Why Good Thoughts Block Better Ones

The Einstellung effect is the brain’s tendency to stick with familiar solutions and to ignore other alternatives. You probably know it better as the “confirmation bias.” While psychologists identified this mental phenomenon in the 1940s, they’ve only recently come to truly understand it. Psychologists Merim Bilalić and Peter McLeod explain why we instinctively overlook new solutions and if it is possible to overcome the Einstellung effect.

14 min
Sleep On It

12: Sleep On It

Just like hunger, thirst, and sexual desire, the urge to sleep is a deep physiological drive. A growing number of experiments suggests the quantity and quality of your sleep directly affects many bodily processes, from hormonal balance to immune protection. These discoveries also reveal a strong link between sleep and improved mood, memory, and learning. Based on an article by Robert Stickgold, director of the Center for Sleep and Cognition at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, this video explores the latest research into what happens when we sleep.

17 min
Thinking like Einstein

13: Thinking like Einstein

“Gedankenexperiments” is what Albert Einstein called one of his most enduring contributions to physics. You might know them better as “thought experiments.” Whether daydreaming of riding beams of light or picturing people tumbling into black holes, Einstein used his mind’s eye to explore the natural world and then sought out ways to test his intuitions with real-world experiments. Theoretical physicist Sabine Hossenfelder explores several of the famous physicist’s best-known Gedankenexperiments and shows how influential they’ve been.

16 min
Predicting the Next Pandemic

14: Predicting the Next Pandemic

With global temperatures changing faster than anyone predicted, and altering the regions where animals, viruses, and humans can live, the threat of emerging zoonotic diseases—those that began in animal populations and jump to humans—is expanding. As climatologists strive to model new weather patterns, epidemiologists are realizing how critical it is to incorporate these data if they are to anticipate the next outbreak. Journalist Lois Parshley explores a new, multidisciplinary approach that may be the key to understanding how infectious diseases arise and spread.

21 min
A (Dino) Star Is Born

15: A (Dino) Star Is Born

If you’re a fan of the film Jurassic Park, you may remember the Dilophosaurus, which was portrayed as a golden retriever-sized creature, with a threatening frill around its neck and venomous spit capable of blinding its prey. But what was Dilophosaurus really like? Paleontologists Matthew Brown and Adam Marsh reveal what’s been learned in the decades since Dilophosaurus made its film debut and reconstruct this dinosaur in remarkable detail—including its appearance and behavior, how it evolved, and the world it inhabited. Sometimes, reality can be much more frightening than fiction.

20 min