Video lectures by distinguished scientists in the fields of neuroscience,
genetics, psychology, physics, philosophy, etc…
…contributing to the understanding of the integral paradigm.
Thanks to the exciting new field of neuroscience, we can chart the workings of the brain and the rest of the nervous system in remarkable detail to explain how neurons, synapses, neurotransmitters, and other biological processes produce all the experiences of everyday life, in every stage of life. From the spectacular growth of the brain in infancy to the act of learning a skill, falling in love, getting a joke, revising an opinion, or even forgetting a name, something very intriguing is going on behind the scenes.
No feature of the mind is as important, controversial, and mysterious as intelligence. It is one of the brain's highest-order activities, allowing us to navigate the complexities of everyday life—thinking, remembering, planning, learning, organizing, solving problems, making snap judgments, and pondering difficult decisions. It is the epitome of brain function, and it has a powerful influence on success in life. And thanks to decades of research, we are closer than ever before to understanding it.
Redefining Reality: The Intellectual Implications of Modern Science by Professor Steven Gimbel, Ph.D.
No subject is bigger than reality itself, and nothing is more challenging to understand, since what counts as reality is undergoing continual revision and has been for centuries. For example, the matter that comprises all stars, planets, and living things turns out to be just a fraction of what actually exists. Moreover, we think that we control our actions, but data gathering systems can predict, with astonishing accuracy, when we will get up in the morning, what items we will buy, and even whom we will marry. The quest to pin down what's real and what's illusory is both philosophical and scientific. At its core, it is nothing less than the metaphysical search for the ultimate reality that goes back to the ancient Greeks. And for the last 400 years, this search has been increasingly guided by scientists, who create theories and test them in order to define reality and then redefine it as new theories replace old.
Understanding the Secrets of Human Perception by Professor Peter M. Vishton, Ph.D
Your senses aren't just a part of you—they define you. Nothing that you experience in your life, from the most important to the most mundane, would be possible without the intricate power of your senses. But how much about them do you really know? Your ability to sense and perceive the world around you is so richly detailed and accurate as to be miraculous. No other animal, no expertly designed supercomputer—nothing in the entire universe of scientific exploration can even come close to matching the ability of your brain to use information sensed by your eyes, ears, skin, tongue, and nose to produce a rich sensory experience in a matter of milliseconds. And in recent years, neurobiologists and other scientists have uncovered new insights into how your senses work and all the amazingly complex and fascinating things they can do, whether you're aware of them or not. Knowing how your senses work and the ways they shape how you see, interact with, and understand your life will help you think more critically about everything you sense and perceive, strengthen your appreciation for the everyday marvels of your senses, prepare you to be active consumers of new scientific evidence on how our senses work, and much more.
Brain Myths Exploded: Lessons from Neuroscience is an eye-opening, rewarding course in which Dr. Viskontas guides you through the neuroscience of everyday life, separating myth from reality, fact from fiction, and truth from falsehood. Each of these 24 lectures focuses on a single powerful, prevalent brain myth, and uses it as a launch pad from which to explore myriad topics in neuroscience: decision making, memory, dreams, emotions, neuroplasticity, consciousness, mental illness, and much more. How has neuroscience helped us conquer the human mind like never before? What uncharted territory still remains to be mapped? This course, whether you choose to experience the lectures in order or by your interests, is the perfect place to find the answers.
Einstein's Relativity and the Quantum Revolution: Modern Physics for Non-Scientists, 2nd Edition by Professor Richard Wolfson, Ph.D.
"It doesn't take an Einstein to understand modern physics," says Professor Richard Wolfson at the outset of this course on what may be the most important subject in the universe. Relativity and quantum physics touch the very basis of physical reality, altering our commonsense notions of space and time, cause and effect. Both have reputations for complexity. But the basic ideas behind relativity and quantum physics are, in fact, simple and comprehensible by anyone. As Professor Wolfson points out, the essence of relativity can be summed up in a single sentence: The laws of physics are the same for all observers in uniform motion. The same goes for quantum theory, which is based on the principle that the "stuff " of the universe—matter and energy—is not infinitely divisible but comes in discrete chunks called "quanta."
He was the quintessential genius whose brainpower rewrote the laws of the universe. Albert Einstein may have died decades ago, but his immense legacy continues. Who has not heard of Einstein’s theory of relativity, which revolutionized our understanding of space, time, and matter? His other discoveries are themselves titanic achievements that on their own would have made him a famous scientist. But Einstein was not infallible. He rejected the possibility of black holes, and he was reluctant to accept the concept of an expanding universe or that gravity waves might exist. All are predicted by his general theory of relativity, and all have been well confirmed by observations. Furthermore, he was practically alone among his peers in resisting the startling implications of quantum mechanics—a theory that he helped found and whose strange picture of reality has been verified in experiment after experiment. In other words, what Einstein got wrong includes some of the most exciting science of our time.
Understanding Genetics: DNA, Genes, and Their Real-World Applications by Professor David Sadava, Ph.D.
We use it routinely to cure diseases, solve crimes, and reunite families. Yet we've known about it for only 60 years. And what we're continuing to learn about it every day has the potential to transform our health, our nutrition, our society, and our future. What is this powerful mystery?
It is DNA—deoxyribonucleic acid, the self-replicating material present in nearly all living organisms. Award-winning teacher, author, and cancer researcher Dr. David Sadava unlocks its mysteries in his new course, Understanding Genetics: DNA, Genes, and Their Real-World Applications. He guides us through decades of scientific discovery and the weighty implications for us, as individuals and as a society.
Genetics: The Science of Heredity How are the traits of an organism—be it a fern or a human father—passed on to its offspring? This course outlines the history of the science of genetics and explains in detail what we have learned in recent decades about the building blocks—DNA.
Does God exist? Do we have a soul? Is it possible to make contact with a spiritual realm? How should we respond to the divine? Will life continue beyond death? Whether you are a deeply religious person, a spiritual seeker, or one who has come to doubt or disbelieve in a spiritual power, you have probably pondered these questions and at least begun to answer them for yourself. In fact, archaeological and historical records show that even the earliest humans were aware of a spiritual realm and developed religious practices as a result. One of humanity’s most awesome forces, the spread and practice of religion has exerted a profoundly outsized effect on individuals and entire civilizations, altering the course of history. The religious impulse is so powerfully pervasive that neuroscience has posed a provocative question: Are our brains wired to worship? In The Spiritual Brain: Science and Religious Experience, award-winning scholar and practicing neuroscientist Dr. Andrew Newberg, Director of Research at the Myrna Brind Center of Integrative Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, offers you 24 riveting lectures that explore the new and exciting field of neurotheology, a discipline aimed at understanding the connections between our brains and different kinds of religious phenomena. Using an academic, experimental approach into what he calls “objective measures of spirituality,” Dr. Newberg attempts to explain what others have previously only guessed at: the neuroscientific basis for why religion and spirituality have played such a prominent role in human life.
What if you aren’t as in control of your actions as you think you are? What if your subconscious is driving your decisions without your approval? Is there a way to “hack” your brain to perform better, live healthier, and break your bad habits? We all can think of things about ourselves we’d like to change, but as neuroscientists are coming to realize, changing our behaviors isn’t as straightforward as you might think. Many of our everyday decisions are rooted in the subconscious, which means we have to “outsmart” our own brains to see results. Outsmart Yourself: Brain-Based Strategies to a Better You will give you insights into how your mind works and the tools you need to make lasting change. Taught by Professor Peter M. Vishton, Associate Professor of Psychology at William & Mary, these 24 exciting lectures give you a wealth of practical strategies for enhancing your thinking and improving your well-being. You’ll see how the subconscious guides much of our behavior, leading to a kind of autopilot through much of life, including when it comes to making important decisions. The brain is an amazing instrument, and neuroscientists today have more information than ever about how it works—as well as strategies for helping us live better every day. The surprising thing is just how counterintuitive some of these strategies can be. For instance, the best way to combat procrastination is often to…do nothing for 20 minutes. By forcing yourself to do nothing, you won’t get caught up in time-sucking avoidance behaviors like checking email. After 20 minutes, you’ll find yourself focused and ready to get to work.
The Science of Mindfulness: A Research-Based Path to Well-Being by Professor Ronald D. Siegel, Psy.D.
A surprising number of such difficulties stem from an inherited propensity of the human brain—our automatic, hardwired tendency to seek pleasure and to anticipate and avoid pain. Modern science demonstrates that this mental hardwiring, traceable to the survival needs of our earliest ancestors, is at the root of many of the psychological and behavioral problems that we face today. For thousands of years, people have used mindfulness practices—techniques to develop an awareness of present experience with acceptance—to deal effectively with a wide range of life challenges. And, a large and fascinating body of scientific research now validates the remarkable benefits of mindfulness practice for psychological as well as physical health.
In the 21st century, the Western paradigm for healthcare is changing. Notwithstanding the great strengths of medical science, many people now have concerns about key features of our health-care system—among them, the widespread use of medical drugs and a relative deemphasis on preventive care.
What is meditation? For thousands of years, human beings have practiced refined techniques of mental focusing, designed to change the habitual conditioning of the mind. Central to many spiritual and philosophical traditions and known in English as "meditation," these practices are considered a major means for enhanced awareness and self-mastery.
It’s a universal truth: Everyone—including you—will eventually die. Other forms of life on our planet will also die, but we might be the only living creatures who cannot help but contemplate our own mortality. After thousands of years of pondering it, we still find death one of life’s most perplexing mysteries—yet it doesn’t have to be the most frightening.