TED Talks Science and Medicine


  • 11 minutes 56 seconds
    Are life-saving medicines hiding in the world's coldest places? | Normand Voyer
    Could the next wonder drug be somewhere in Canada's snowy north? Take a trip to this beautiful, frigid landscape as chemist Normand Voyer explores the mysterious molecular treasures found in plants thriving in the cold. These scarcely investigated organisms could hold immense medical promise, he says – so long as we work quickly enough to discover them.
    25 May 2023, 2:51 pm
  • 10 minutes 33 seconds
    What to do when there's a polar bear in your backyard | Alysa McCall
    As Arctic ice melts, polar bears are being forced on land -- and they're hungry. With the apex predators frequently turning to human junkyards for a snack, northern towns have had to get creative in order to keep both their people and wildlife safe. Biologist and conservationist Alysa McCall shares lessons from the field on how to safely navigate contact with these magnificent animals and plan for a future where climate change forces us all a little closer.
    11 April 2023, 2:58 pm
  • 12 minutes 41 seconds
    The fantastically weird world of photosynthetic sea slugs | Michael Middlebrooks
    Meet the fantastically colorful and astonishingly adaptable sea slugs that found a way to photosynthesize (or create energy from sunlight) like plants. Diving deep into these often overlooked creatures, invertebrate zoologist Michael Middlebrooks introduces the solar-powered slugs that lost their shells -- but gained the ability to directly harness the power of the sun.
    6 March 2023, 3:45 pm
  • 12 minutes 28 seconds
    Where does your sense of self come from? A scientific look | Anil Ananthaswamy
    Our memories and bodies give us clues about who we are, but what happens when this guidance shifts? In this mind-bending talk, science writer Anil Ananthaswamy shares how the experiences of "altered selves" -- resulting from schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, foreign limb syndrome or other conditions -- shed light on the constructed nature of identity. He breaks down where our sense of self comes from and invites us to challenge our assumptions about who we are, with the aim of building a better you and a better world.
    19 January 2023, 3:59 pm
  • 15 minutes 38 seconds
    Can we feed ourselves without devouring the planet? | George Monbiot
    Farming is the worst thing humanity has ever done to the planet, says journalist George Monbiot. What's more: the global food system could be heading toward collapse. Detailing the technological solutions we need to radically reshape food production -- from lab-grown, protein-rich foods to crops that don't require plowing -- Monbiot shares a future-focused vision of how humanity could feed itself without destroying the planet.
    18 January 2023, 3:49 pm
  • 11 minutes 59 seconds
    How to harness the ancient partnership between forests and fungi | Colin Averill
    If we want to better understand the environment and combat climate change, we need to look deep underground, where diverse microscopic fungal networks mingle with tree roots to form symbiotic partnerships, says microbiologist Colin Averill. As we learn more about which of these fungi are most beneficial to forest health, we can reintroduce them into the soil -- potentially enhancing the growth and resilience of carbon-trapping trees and plants. Hear more about the emerging science aiming to supercharge forest ecosystems, one handful of soil at a time.
    6 January 2023, 3:59 pm
  • 10 minutes 48 seconds
    The wheat field that could change the world | Guntur V. Subbarao
    Crop physiologist Guntur V. Subbarao and his team have developed an antibiotic-infused strain of wheat that naturally combats harmful, fertilizer-eating bacteria -- a "monster" contributor to climate change. Learn more about how this breakthrough could once again revolutionize agriculture, increasing crop yields and protecting our planet at the same time.
    14 November 2022, 3:55 pm
  • 11 minutes 3 seconds
    A virus-resistant organism -- and what it could mean for the future | Jason W. Chin
    What if we could use the power of DNA to create a sustainable, circular economy? In a talk about breakthrough science, synthetic biologist Jason W. Chin describes his team's work rewriting the genetic blueprint of cells to create a virus-resistant organism -- the largest synthetic genome ever made and a first step towards reimagining what life can become. Learn more about how this advancement could lay the groundwork for the sustainable factories of the future, capable of producing plastics, antibiotics and more.
    28 October 2022, 2:52 pm
  • 9 minutes 11 seconds
    How green hydrogen could end the fossil fuel era | Vaitea Cowan
    As climate change accelerates, finding clean alternatives to fossil fuels is more urgent than ever. Social entrepreneur Vaitea Cowan believes green hydrogen is the answer. Watch as she shares her team's work mass producing electrolyzers -- devices that separate water into its molecular components: hydrogen and oxygen -- and shows how they could help make green, carbon-free fuel affordable and accessible for everyone. "This is how we end the fossil fuel era," Cowan says.
    8 September 2022, 2:35 pm
  • 14 minutes 56 seconds
    A giant Jurassic sea dragon, unearthed | Dean R. Lomax
    Among the dinosaurs, giant sea dragons roamed the ancient ocean. Millions of years later, paleontologist Dean R. Lomax and his team freed the remains of one of these colossal creatures from the Earth. Settle in to learn about the once-in-a-lifetime discovery of the 10-meter-long Rutland ichthyosaur: the largest and most complete ichthyosaur ever unearthed in Britain and one of the greatest finds in the country's paleontological history.
    6 September 2022, 3:11 pm
  • 12 minutes 32 seconds
    How we're reverse engineering the human brain in the lab | Sergiu P. Pasca
    Neuroscientist Sergiu P. Pasca has made it his life's work to understand how the human brain builds itself -- and what makes it susceptible to disease. In a mind-blowing talk laden with breakthrough science, he shows how his team figured out how to grow "organoids" and what they call brain "assembloids" -- self-organizing clumps of neural tissue derived from stem cells that have shown the ability to form circuits -- and explains how these miniature parts of the nervous system are bringing us closer to demystifying the brain.
    24 August 2022, 2:51 pm
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