Professor at Johns Hopkins University

Professor at Johns Hopkins University >

76
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Math in Your Head!
Episode 1 of Secrets of Mental Math
Dive right into the joys of mental math. First, learn the fundamental strategies of mental arithmetic (including the value of adding from left to right, unlike what you do on paper). Then, discover how a variety of shortcuts hold the…
Artificial Intelligence
Episode 34 of Redefining Reality
Trace the evolution of artificial intelligence (AI) from simple calculating machines to computers that can vanquish chess masters. Learn the distinction between weak AI, such as a chess-playing machine, and strong AI, which is a machine that has a truly…
Metaphysics and the Nature of Science
Episode 1 of Redefining Reality
Start with the metaphysical concept of reality and how it led to a scientific worldview. Then see how the scientific picture of reality changes as theories are refined or overthrown. Explore examples such as the germ theory of disease and…
Mastering Rubik’s Cube
Episode 9 of The Mathematics of Games and Puzzles
It's one of the most famous puzzles ever invented. But Professor Benjamin has an easy-to-learn, eight-step method for solving this mind-bending puzzle quickly and accurately--every time. After examining the mathematics behind the cube, you'll follow him step-by-step through an algorithm…
Jung and the Behaviorists
Episode 17 of Redefining Reality
Trace the different directions psychology took before World War II. Carl Jung extended Freud's ideas to encompass a universal collective unconscious. Meanwhile, the behaviorists rejected the mind to focus on observable behavior, an approach that had profound influence on advertising…
Quantum Consciousness
Episode 13 of Redefining Reality
Can physics explain consciousness? Start with Descartes, who held the dualistic view that the mind and body are separate, and see how materialists countered that brain processes produce the mind. Then discover what physics has to say about free will,…
Chaos Theory
Episode 10 of Redefining Reality
Traditional attempts to understand the world assumed that it was regular, simple, periodic, and predictable. But nature surprised scientists, giving them a richer picture of reality through chaos theory, which includes fractal structures. Learn how chaos is not randomness but…
The Constellations and Their Stars
Episode 1 of Our Night Sky Series
Begin your study of the night sky by investigating the origin of the constellations: the traditional groupings of stars that mostly date to antiquity. The well-known constellation Orion illustrates the fascinating mix of beauty, mythology, and scientific knowledge to be…
The Birth of Sociology
Episode 22 of Redefining Reality
Culture imprints itself on our brains through the process of socialization. Investigate the insights that sociology provides--from the 19th-century founder of the discipline, Auguste Comte, to Herbert Spencer, Karl Marx, and Emile Durkheim, who suggested that crime has an unappreciated…
Genes and Identity
Episode 15 of Redefining Reality
The mechanism that drives evolution was not discovered until long after Darwin's death. Follow the clues that led researchers first to the cell nucleus, then to chromosomes and genes, and finally to the DNA molecule as the agent of heredity.…
Let the Games Begin!
Episode 1 of The Mathematics of Games and Puzzles
Explore some general strategies for successfully solving simple games and puzzles. As you hone your skills at games and puzzles, including 20 Questions, Mastermind, Ghost, The Tower of Hanoi, variations of Tic Tac Toe, and Cram (a cross between checkers…
The Rediscovery of the Mind
Episode 18 of Redefining Reality
The Holocaust raised troubling questions about the mind and its relation to authority. Examine three landmark experiments that tested the limits of human autonomy and came to shocking conclusions: Solomon Asch's group think study, Stanley Milgram's obedience study, and Philip…
Evolutionary Psychology
Episode 21 of Redefining Reality
If the human brain is the result of evolutionary processes, then many shared psychological traits must have adaptive advantages. Explore this intriguing view, known as evolutionary psychology. See how it can be illustrated by a simple logic problem, which perplexes…
Solving Sudoku
Episode 10 of The Mathematics of Games and Puzzles
What's the key to solving Sudoku problems when you're at your wits' end? Training your mind to look for patterns and to use careful logic, just like mathematicians. This episode is packed with helpful techniques and strategies for overcoming even…
Data Analytics
Episode 36 of Redefining Reality
Today's networked culture is a dream come true for researchers in fields from marketing to sociology to epidemiology. Learn how big data puts potentially everyone and everything under the microscope of analysis, creating a comprehensive view of the intricate reality…
Race and Reality
Episode 24 of Redefining Reality
What differences between groups are real, and what differences are as arbitrary as a political boundary? Address this question regarding race, which less than a century ago was considered firmly rooted in biological reality. Trace the evidence that led this…
Seeing and Navigating the Sky
Episode 2 of Our Night Sky Series
The naked eye is a powerful instrument: if you know how to use it. Learn the best times and conditions for observing, how to identify the positions and magnitudes of stars and planets, how the sky changes over the course…
Mathematics in Crisis
Episode 3 of Redefining Reality
The most secure science, mathematics, hit the rocks of uncertainty in the 19th and 20th centuries. Trace the shocking discoveries of non-Euclidean geometries, Cantor's paradoxes of infinite sets, and the incompleteness theorem of Kurt Godel. See how Alice in Wonderland…
Transhumans: Making Living Gods
Episode 33 of Redefining Reality
Prosthetics, eyeglasses, and other aids were once seen as less-than-ideal substitutes for normal human abilities. But now technology can enhance us well beyond what's considered normal. Examine the superhuman traits currently available and those on the drawing board. Has the…
Quantum Mechanics
Episode 8 of Redefining Reality
Delve into the paradoxical subject of quantum mechanics, which was pioneered by scientists probing atomic structure in the early 20th century. Learn about Max Planck, Niels Bohr, Werner Heisenberg, and Erwin Schrodinger. Focus on the Heisenberg uncertainty principle and the…