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TED Talks Science and Medicine
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TED Talks Science and Medicine

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Some of the world's greatest scientists, doctors and medical researchers share their discoveries and visions onstage at the TED conference, TEDx events and partner events around the world. You can also download these and many other videos free on TED.com, with an interactive English transcript and subtitles in up to 80 languages. TED is a nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading.
325 Episodes
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Your closet is likely full of all kinds of materials -- leather, cotton, nylon and polyester, to name a few -- that contribute to fashion's sustainability crisis. Biomaterials investigator Dan Widmaier explains how we could look to nature for sustainable replacements for these much-used materials and introduces a leather alternative made from mushrooms that looks great and doesn't harm the environment. "We can make fashion sustainable, and we're going to do it with science," Widmaier says.
The universe that we know, with its luminous stars and orbiting planets, is largely made up of elements we can't actually see -- like dark energy and dark matter -- and therefore don't fully understand. Theoretical physicist Chanda Prescod-Weinstein takes us inside the search for this cosmos-shaping invisible matter and explains how, with the help of a new generation of telescopes, we could be closer to demystifying it than ever before. "The universe is more queer and fantastical than it looks to the naked eye," she says. (If you want to hear more from Prescod-Weinstein, check out her episode on "The TED Interview" podcast.)
A curious, quiet revolution of sound has taken over the internet. Physiologist Craig Richard explains the soothing brain science of Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR), tracking its rise in popularity and why this fascinating phenomenon is so relaxing to millions of people around the world.
Linking together the histories of Henrietta Swan Leavitt, Edwin Hubble and Tracy K. Smith, poet and thinker Maria Popova crafts an astonishing story of how humanity came to see the edge of the observable universe. (Followed by an animated excerpt of "My God, It's Full of Stars," by Tracy K. Smith)
The secret behind medicine that uses messenger RNA (or mRNA) is that it "teaches" our bodies how to fight diseases on our own, leading to groundbreaking treatments for COVID-19 and, potentially one day, cancer, the flu and other ailments that have haunted humanity for millennia. RNA researcher Melissa J. Moore -- Moderna's chief scientific officer and one of the many people responsible for the rapid creation and deployment of their COVID-19 vaccine -- takes us down to the molecular level, unraveling how mRNA helps our bodies' proteins maintain health, prevent disease and correct errors in our genetic code. "We have entered an entirely new era of medicine," Moore says.
Building a pandemic-free future won't be easy, but Bill Gates believes that we have the tools and strategies to make it possible -- now we just have to fund them. In this forward-looking talk, he proposes a multi-specialty Global Epidemic Response and Mobilization (GERM) team that would detect potential outbreaks and stop them from becoming pandemics. By investing in disease monitoring, research and development as well as improved health systems, Gates believes we can "create a world where everyone has a chance to live a healthy and productive life -- a life free from the fear of the next COVID-19."
Given the scale of the challenge, the conversation around climate change is often tinged with doom and gloom. But climate tech investor Gabriel Kra thinks we need to reframe the crisis as a source of tremendous opportunity. He offers five big reasons to be optimistic about climate -- starting with the fact that many of the world's best minds are focused and working on building a clean future for all.
Under the sea, untold wonders await in the form of untapped medicinal potential. Chemist Sam Afoullouss dives into the science behind natural remedies, explaining why the ocean's great (and still largely unexplored) biodiversity is ideal for deriving and inspiring future treatments -- if we protect its waters and the marine life within them.
Scientists have long known that cows are a huge source of the greenhouse gas methane, contributing up to four percent of emissions globally. But could there be a way to make cattle less -- ahem -- gassy? Animal scientist Ermias Kebreab talks through an ingenious solution to reduce methane-rich cow burps by feeding cattle something growing below the surface of the ocean: seaweed.
Could we use the energy from light and sound to detect disease? TED Fellow Lei Li shares the exciting promise of photoacoustic imaging: an affordable, painless and accurate method of converting light into sound in order to create high-resolution images of what's going on inside our bodies. From early detection of breast cancer to steering medicine-delivering micro-robots, learn how this cutting-edge technology could open up a new world of possibility when it comes to seeing, tracking and diagnosing disease.
What if we could use brain waves to treat Alzheimer's? Professor and neuroscientist Li-Huei Tsai details a promising new approach to artificially stimulate gamma brain waves using light and sound therapy, to increase connectivity and synchrony and delay the onset of this deadly disease. This non-invasive therapy has already been shown to work in mice -- now it's on to human clinical trials, with the potential to usher in a brighter future for everyone. (Followed by a Q&A with head of TED Chris Anderson)
Biochar is a kind of charcoal that removes CO2 from the atmosphere, helping yield healthy crops and even producing abundant renewable energy in the form of electricity as it's made. This exciting climate change fighter is ready for scaling now. Entrepreneur Axel Reinaud outlines three ways to make this material more accessible to farmers -- so that our food system, energy grid and the climate can all reap the benefits.
A king cobra has enough venom to kill 10 people in a single bite. Recounting his near-death experience after being bitten by one of these majestic yet deadly snakes, conservationist and TED Fellow Gowri Shankar shares the epiphany he had when the antivenom failed: there's more than one unique species of king cobra.
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Comments (24)

Rouhollah Abdolvahab

Awesome

Jan 17th
Reply

Ikechukwu Frederick Opara

electrolysis

Dec 22nd
Reply

Katie Hone

we shall wait and see how the covid jabs worked. so far not so hot.

Oct 18th
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Tom Rooney

Why does everything have to be about sexual deviance? I'm tired of having it shoved in my face!

Aug 31st
Reply

Katayoun Vahdat

I really enjoyed this talk. It is time to do something for saving nature and respect to other creatures.

Feb 25th
Reply

Sogand Jamshidi

You're a such a beautiful,strong and also awesome woman i personally proud of you❤

Feb 10th
Reply

fatemeh shahmohammad

ok so to me that was the most horrifying thing, saying effect individuals positively was like a joke

Jan 18th
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shaii

this guys humor is gold.

Aug 17th
Reply

dave lehti

It's just a figure of speech, way to take the fun out of it.

May 29th
Reply

Sporty Sport

" the power of the absence can't help us if it just leads to nostalgia and despair" that quote hit my guts like a ton of bricks and is so profound to me beautifully said.

Jul 17th
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Keith Betton

Very important. While patent protections are not only cause for high drug prices, they are a very big concern. Especially with the Coronavirus spread and future drug treatments. I recommend listening and share any personal stories involving drug access to others (friends, family, etc), so people can see the human factor involved and not just the financial.

Mar 6th
Reply

Nargiza Z

This man is so smart and devout on what he is doing! I love the speech. It inspires in me a feeling of personal responsibility for our planet Earth.

Jan 29th
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Matt Bowen

really good, except the part of trying to tie it into climate change

Nov 11th
Reply (1)

Rock78 Rock78

I wonder if you could make a heartless serial killer feel remorse?

Oct 23rd
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Grant

WOW!

Jan 27th
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Tyler Janzen

SX

Oct 23rd
Reply

Holland Stuart

this was amazing! so eye opening

Oct 19th
Reply

Rachel V K

A fascinating way to look at this question.

Oct 12th
Reply

Emmer Kee

it's a. shame these are all videos! I can't download them because of no internet!

Mar 9th
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iTunes User

One of the best presentations I have ever seen! She's magnetic, hypnotizing, and invigorating!!! Her experience is absolutely remarkable! She's an amazing woman!!! And scientist !!!!

Aug 31st
Reply (1)
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