Filmmaker Penelope Jagessar Chaffer was curious about the chemicals she was exposed to while pregnant: Could they affect her unborn child? So she asked scientist Tyrone Hayes to brief her on one he studied closely: atrazine, a herbicide used on corn. (Hayes, an expert on amphibians, is a critic of atrazine, which displays a disturbing effect on frog development.) Onstage together at TEDWomen, Hayes and Chaffer tell their story.
Penelope Jagessar Chaffer made the film “Toxic Baby,” exploring environmental toxins through interviews and surreal imagery.
Childhood trauma isn’t something you just get over as you grow up. Pediatrician Nadine Burke Harris explains in this talk that the repeated stress of abuse, neglect and parents struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues has real, tangible effects on the development of the brain. This unfolds across a lifetime, to the point where those who’ve experienced high levels of trauma are at triple the risk for heart disease and lung cancer. An impassioned plea for pediatric medicine to confront the prevention and treatment of trauma, head-on.
Nadine Burke Harris’ healthcare practice focuses on a little-understood, yet very common factor in childhood that can profoundly impact adult-onset disease: trauma.
Why you should listen, according to TED
Pediatrician Nadine Burke Harris noticed a disturbing trend as she treated children in an underserved neighborhood in San Francisco: that many of the kids who came to see her had experienced childhood trauma. She began studying how childhood exposure to adverse events affects brain development, as well as a person’s health as an adult.
Understanding this powerful correlation, Burke Harris became the founder and CEO of the Center for Youth Wellness, an initiative at the California Pacific Medical Center Bayview Child Health Center that seeks to create a clinical model that recognizes and effectively treats toxic stress in children. Her work pushes the health establishment to reexamine its relationship to social risk factors, and advocates for medical interventions to counteract the damaging impact of stress. Her goal: to change the standard of pediatric practice, across demographics.
Nobel laureate James Watson opens TED2005 with the frank and funny story of how he and his research partner, Francis Crick, discovered the structure of DNA. Here is his talk.
Nobel laureate James Watson took part in one of the most important scientific breakthroughs of the 20th century: the discovery of the structure of DNA. More than 50 years later, he continues to investigate biology’s deepest secrets.
Why you should listen, according to TED
James Watson has led a long, remarkable life, starting at age 12, when he was one of radio’s high-IQ Quiz Kids. By age 15, he had enrolled in the University of Chicago, and by 25, working with Francis Crick (and drawing, controversially, on the research of Maurice Wilkins and Rosalind Franklin), he had made the discovery that would eventually win the three men the Nobel Prize.
Watson and Crick’s 1953 discovery of DNA’s double-helix structure paved the way forthe astounding breakthroughs in genetics and medicine that marked the second half of the 20th century. And Watson’s classic 1968 memoir of the discovery, The Double Helix, changed the way the public perceives scientists, thanks to its candid account of the personality conflicts on the project.
From 1988 to 1994, he ran the Human Genome Project. His current passion is the quest to identify genetic bases for major illnesses; in 2007 he put his fully sequenced genome online, the second person to do so, in an effort to encourage personalized medicine and early detection and prevention of diseases.
Education scientist Sugata Mitra tackles in this TED talk one of the greatest problems of education — the best teachers and schools don’t exist where they’re needed most. In a series of real-life experiments from New Delhi to South Africa to Italy, he gave kids self-supervised access to the web and saw results that could revolutionize how we think about teaching.
Educational researcher Sugata Mitra is the winner of the 2013 TED Prize. His wish: Build a School in the Cloud, where children can explore and learn from one another.
What others say
“Education-as-usual assumes that kids are empty vessels who need to be sat down in a room and filled with curricular content. Dr. Mitra’s experiments prove that wrong.” — Linux Journal
In this talk, Sarah, looks at why do teenagers seem so much more impulsive, so much less self-aware than grown-ups? Cognitive neuroscientist Sarah-Jayne Blakemore compares the prefrontal cortex in adolescents to that of adults, to show us how typically “teenage” behavior is caused by the growing and developing brain.
Sarah-Jayne studies the social brain — the network of brain regions involved in understanding other people — and how it develops in adolescents
Why you should listen
According to TED: Remember being a teenager? Rocked internally with hormones, outwardly with social pressures, you sometimes wondered what was going on in your head. So does Sarah-Jayne Blakemore. And what she and others in her field are finding is: The adolescent brain really is different.
New brain imaging research and clever experiments are revealing how the cortex develops — the executive part of the brain that handles things like planning, self-awareness, analysis of consequences and behavioral choices. It turns out that these regions develop more slowly during adolescence, and in fascinating ways that relate to risk-taking, peer pressure and learning.
Which leads to a bigger question: How can we better target education to speak to teenagers’ growing, changing brains?
“Sarah-Jayne Blakemore emphasises that learning must be seen as a life-long process.”
It’s August and so I thought time for a more entertaining video. Here we go.
About this TED talk: Despite her best efforts, comedian Julia Sweeney is forced to tell a little white lie when her 8-year-old begins learning about frog reproduction — and starts to ask some very smart questions.
Julia Sweeney creates comedic works that tackle deep issues: cancer, family, faith. Her latest book is “If It’s Not One Thing, It’s Your Mother,” on parenting and being parented. She performs often with Jill Sobule, telling stories alongside Jill’s songs, in their “Jill & Julia Show.”
In this TED talk, Steven Pinker’s book The Blank Slate argues that all humans are born with some innate traits. Here, Pinker talks about his thesis, and why some people found it incredibly upsetting.
Linguist Steven Pinker questions the very nature of our thoughts — the way we use words, how we learn, and how we relate to others. In his best-selling books, he has brought sophisticated language analysis to bear on topics of wide general interest.
Why you should listen
According to TED: Steven Pinker’s books have been like bombs tossed into the eternal nature-versus-nurture debate. Pinker asserts that not only are human minds predisposed to certain kinds of learning, such as language, but that from birth our minds — the patterns in which our brain cells fire — predispose us each to think and behave differently.
McKenna Pope’s younger brother loved to cook, but he worried about using an Easy-Bake Oven — because it was a toy for girls. So at age 13, Pope started an online petition for the American toy company Hasbro to change the pink-and-purple color scheme on the classic toy and incorporate boys into its TV marketing. In a heartening talk, Pope makes the case for gender-neutral toys and gives a rousing call to action to all kids who feel powerless.
Why you should listen
According to TED: If anyone’s still worried about today’s teenagers melting their brains on the Internet, there’s at least one who stands out against the crowd: teen activist McKenna Pope. In 2012 Pope’s four-year-old brother, who had a passion for cooking, was beyond excited to ask for an Easy-Bake Oven for Christmas. But, confused by the pink and purple colors and the television ads that only featured girls using the toy, he became discouraged.
Pope, thirteen at the time, was indignant that her brother should think any less of himself as a boy who liked to cook. Naturally Pope turned to the Internet. She posted a video and written petition urging the CEO of Hasbro to change its marketing and packaging around the Easy-Bake Oven to make it appealing to boys as well as girls. Pope could hardly anticipate what came next: She received 45,000 signatures and a call from Hasbro, inviting her to their headquarters in Pawtucket, Rhode Island to show her their new unisex designs.
Rita Pierson, a teacher for 40 years, once heard a colleague say,
“They don’t pay me to like the kids.”
“Kids don’t learn from people they don’t like.’”
A rousing call to educators to believe in their students and actually connect with them on a real, human, personal level.
Rita F. Pierson spent her entire life in or around the classroom, having followed both her parents and grandparents into a career as an educator.
Why listen to Rita ?
According to TED: A professional educator since 1972, Rita taught elementary school, junior high and special education. She was a counselor, a testing coordinator and an assistant principal. In each of these roles, she brought a special energy to the role — a desire to get to know her students, show them how much they matter and support them in their growth, even if it was modest.
For the past decade, Pierson conducted professional development workshops and seminars for thousands of educators. Focusing on the students who are too often under-served, she lectured on topics like “Helping Under-Resourced Learners,”“Meeting the Educational Needs of African American Boys” and “Engage and Graduate your Secondary Students: Preventing Dropouts.”
Pierson passed away in June 2013.
“Parents make decisions for their children based on what they know, what they feel will make them safe. And it is not our place [as educators] to say what they do is ‘wrong.’ It’s our place to say maybe we can add a set of rules that they don’t know about.”
At this school in Tokyo, five-year-olds cause traffic jams and windows are for Santa to climb into. Meet: the world’s cutest kindergarten, designed by architect Takaharu Tezuka. In this charming TED talk, he walks us through a design process that really lets kids be kids.
According to TED –
Architect Takaharu Tezuka creates imaginative and versatile personal spaces. Takaharu Tezuka and his wife Yui make up Tezuka Architects. Together they have built schools centered on trees, play areas created from interwoven wooden beams and hospitals that offer patients the healing gifts of joyous light and space. It is this same breathtaking light and space, sketched out with clean lines of wood, metal and glass, that are the hallmarks of each of Tezuka’s projects. Since establishing the firm in 1994, Tezuka and his team have created buildings that transform mere walls and windows into living — and livable — art.