Mind-Blowing Science

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Combo: SCIAM and TGC+ Of all the courses on TGC+ I'd say this is my favorite - video/audio explanations of long form SciAm articles. All I can say here is MORE, PLEASE! Meaning, I hope TGC+ links up with other publications to produce such mind-blowing classes. Great stuff!
Date published: 2021-02-16
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Some of the information is outdated Some of the information in series is outdated or has been proven wrong.
Date published: 2021-02-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from What an amazing eye catching series! Suggestions.. -Seeing the illustrations and text along with the relevant ideas, makes this a captivating video series. -Would love to see these every month from Sci. Am. please! -Having a little music and some change in the reader is definitely helpful you've all done, kudos. -Something to consider, maybe also having TGC professors explain their recent research articles in this same visually appealing fashion. Could be added as extra lectures to current courses too. -Would be interesting to see also other magazine articles (still keep scientific american too, they are great!) done in this visually appealing way, like national geographic, psychology today, popular mechanics, smithsonian, wired, pcgamer, entrepreneur, harvard business review, etc. -Lastly, would be cool idea to make visual summaries of both books and podcasts in this same fashion.
Date published: 2021-01-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Easy going and educational I enjoyed all of the lectures. They are interesting and thought provoking.
Date published: 2020-11-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A little bit of this and a little bit of that. This is a very interesting course that presents a little bit of this and a little bit of that. It is fun to watch and stimulates a wish to dive deeper into some of the subjects.
Date published: 2020-09-28
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Good content. Not good listening experinece This course might have been a good one except for two things that made it utterly annoying: the pointless and irritating background music, and the narrator's mild "vocal fry," which was only slightly less irritating than her manner of reading every sentence in the same sing-songy tone. Scientific American content is usually very good. This might have been, but I could only tolerate about 15 minutes of it between the awful background music and Fake Sales Lady's disengaged parroting of the script. This felt like one of those annoying Mojo Top Ten videos from YouTube.
Date published: 2020-09-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Five Stars! The mystery of consciousness. Black hole formation, LIGO, and the James Webb. The life cycle of dinosaurs. The effect of exercise on the aging brain. The probability of intelligent life in our galaxy. These are five 5-star videos for anyone not completely scientifically challenged. Hats off to the Great Courses!
Date published: 2020-09-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Exercise for the Brain Wow, what an improvement. This subject was very engaging with lots of graphics. A better way to watch & learn than lecture style. The content for this subject was delivered with a suitable pace and easy to understand language and was just long enough. It is an interesting area which i will watch for future gains on. I already knew exercise was good for the brain & body, but wow, if i can increase neurons as I age and prevent or delay age related decline of the brain & memory then sign me up. can we have more of these style of type of informative courses please. Great visuals, and perfect length. (This proves they don't all need to be 30mins long). The background noise of this one was barely noticeable as the content was engaging.
Date published: 2020-09-26
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How Dinosaurs Grew So Large and So Small
1: 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?
2: 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
3: 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
4: 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
5: 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?
6: 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
7: 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
8: 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
9: 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