World Science Festival: Series 2
The World Science Festival is an annual highlight, bringing together a just-right mix of star power from various scientific disciplines and further-flung fields. Our mission is to cultivate a general public informed by science, inspired by its wonder, convinced of its value, and prepared to engage with its implications for the future.
Part 1: Engineering Immortality the End of Aging
Are there limits to the human lifespan? Is it possible to stop the process of aging? On average, humans now live far longer than at any point in our history thanks to science and technology. On the horizon, advances in new drugs and medical techniques promise a revolution in how we live, age and die. But these advances may come at a steep cost. In this program, experts explore future challenges while debating the ramifications of an immortal society.
Part 2: Cartographers of the Brain Mapping the Connectome
Scientists are attempting to map the wiring of the nearly 100 billion neurons in the human brain. Are we close to uncovering the mysteries of the mind or are we only at the beginning of a new frontier?
Part 3: Harnessing the Power of Neuroplasticity the Nuts and Bolts of Better Brains
What if your brain at 77 were as plastic as it was at 7? What if you could learn Mandarin with the ease of a toddler or play Rachmaninoff without breaking a sweat? A growing understanding of neuroplasticity suggests these fantasies could one day become reality. Neuroplasticity may also be the key to solving diseases like Alzheimers, depression, and autism. In this program, leading neuroscientists discuss their most recent findings and both the tantalizing possibilities and pitfalls for our future cognitive selves.
Part 4: Is Alien Life Weirder Than We Imagine who is Out there
If we want to discover alien life out there in the universe, we first need to figure out where to look-and what we’re even looking for. Will it be biological like us? Could it be artificial, or take some other form we haven’t yet considered? And how do we find something so fundamentally different from ourselves? In this program, scientists devise plans for searching for beings beyond Earth while they grapple with the very definition of life.
Part 5: My Neurons, My Self
With ever more refined techniques for measuring complex brain activity, scientists are challenging the understanding of thought, memory and emotion-what we have traditionally called “the self.” How do electrical and chemical currents translate to self-awareness? And why does the brain produce consciousness at all? Join a discussion among eminent neuroscientists, philosophers and psychologists who are redefining what it means to be human.
Part 6: Neuroscience and the Roots of Human Connections the Social Synapse
Humans work together on enormous scales to build complex tools as large as cities and create social networks that span the globe. What is the key to our success? This program examines the development of the human brain – and the brains of other animals – asking how neurons orchestrate communal behavior and guide group interactions, demonstrating how our social nature is key to our humanity.
Part 7: The Believing Brain Evolution Neuroscience and the Spiritual Instinct
God, they say, is in the details. But could God also be in our frontal lobes? Every culture from the dawn of humankind has imagined planes of existence beyond the reach of our senses, spiritual domains that shape our Earthly experiences. Why do beliefs of the fantastic hold such powerful sway over our species? Is there something in our evolutionary history that points to an answer? Does neuroscience hold the key? Straddling the gap between science and religion, Brian Greene is joined by renowned neuroscientists, anthropologists, and evolutionary biologists, to explore one of the most profound mysteries of our existence.
Part 8: The End of Antibiotics and the Future of Fighting Infections
We have fallen woefully behind in the race to keep up with harmful bacteria as they continually evolve to outsmart our antibiotics; in fact, there are already superbugs we cannot defeat. Predictions are by 2050 there will be more deaths from infections than from cancer if we dont solve this crisis. Join immunologists, biologists, and infectious disease specialists to explore some exciting new tools that may be our salvation in the battle against superbugs.
Part 9: The Future of Augmented Intelligence If You Cant Beat em Join em
Computers are getting smarter and more creative, offering spectacular possibilities to improve the human condition. Theres a call to redefine Artificial Intelligence as Augmented Intelligence, to emphasize the potential of humans working with AI as opposed to being replaced by AI. In this program, AI experts, data scientists, engineers, and ethicists explore how we can work alongside machines, when we should trust machines to make cognitive decisions, and how all of society can benefit from the productive and financial gains promised by advances in AI.
Part 10: The Promise of Human Regeneration Forever Young
From lab-grown organs to tissue engineering, regenerative medicine holds the potential to deliver eternal life. How close are we to this new future of human health? Developmental biologists, biomedical engineers, regenerative scientists, and physicians for a riveting exploration of the current and future state of regenerative medicine.
Part 11: The Roots of Extremism in Your Brain
Nearly every group has its extreme outliers. Where does fundamentalism come from? How does the most powerful organ in the known universe, the human brain, make emotionally driven decisions that ignore reason and fact? In this program, scientists look for answers to why our species may have evolved to accommodate the set of behaviors we associate with zealotry.
Part 12: The Vital Cells of Existence the Science of Your Microbiome
For every cell in your body, theres another tiny single-celled creature that also calls your body home. Far from being germs we should eradicate, these ancient friends allow us to digest food, breathe air, and fight off disease. They were here long before us and will undoubtedly remain long after were gone. They are our microbiome, and after eons of cohabitation, we are finally getting to know one another better. Of course, we arent always the best of neighbors. Autoimmune diseases, allergies, depression, and Alzheimers may be diseases of an unhappy microbiome.