Friday, November 21, 2008

Howard Hughes Medical Institute Holiday Lectures on Science

Each year in early December the Howard Hughes Medical Institute presents their Holiday Lectures on Science. Not sure you can make it to Chevy Chase, Maryland for this year’s lectures? Don’t worry, all the lectures are webcast live, and then are available as on-demand webcasts and on DVD.

This year the live webcast is December 4 and 5, starting at 10:00 A.M. each day. The topic is “Making Your Mind: Molecules, Motion, and Memory,” presented by Eric Kandel and Thomas Jessell.

Eric R. Kandel, M.D. and Thomas M. Jessell, Ph.D. of Columbia University will help us understand how the nervous system turns an idea into action—from the complex processing that takes place in the brain to the direct marching orders the spinal cord gives to the muscles. Modern neuroscience equates mind with the organ we call the brain, an astounding network more than 100 billion neurons connected in a vast complicated web. The presenters will help us puzzle out how the brain is organized and identify the seat of human memory. The question of understanding how the brain functions is rivaled by the question of how such a complex network of cells develops in the first place.
I have watched these Holiday Lectures the last couple years, and they are extremely well done. They are aimed at high school students interested in careers in science or medicine. I think that readers of the 4th edition of Intermediate Physics for Medicine and Biology will find them very informative and inspirational.

Topics from previous years (all available as free on-demand webcasts) are

plus many others. Also at the HHMI website are other lectures, animations, videos, virtual labs, and a virtual museum. It is all cool science. The website is ideal for someone trying to get up-to-date on hot topics in medicine and biology. Enjoy.

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