Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Books and Ideas #24: Second Interview with Frank Wilczek

wilczek Episode 24 of Books and Ideas is a follow-up interview with Nobel Prize winning physicist. Dr. Frank Wilczek. We discuss the questions that we didn’t get around to in Episode 23, including the 2008 Nobel Prize in Physics, String Theory, and dark matter and dark energy. Dr. Wilczek also answers some questions from listeners and tells us a little about his current work.

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Click here if you missed Dr. Wilczek’s first interview

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Please visit my website for detailed show notes and links.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Brain Science Podcast #52: Annual Review

gin-bud08-100 Brain Science Podcast #52 is our Second Annual Review Episode. We review some of the highlights from 2008. I also discuss the various other on-line resources that I have created for listeners. Then we look ahead to what I have planned for 2009. This episode is aimed at all listeners, including those who are new to the show.

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Sunday, December 7, 2008

Brain Science Podcast #51: Seth Grant on Synapse Evolution

Episode 51 of the Brain Science Podcast is an interview with Dr. Seth Grant from Cambridge University, UK. Dr. Grant's work focuses on the proteins that make up the receptors within synapses. (Synapses are the key structures by which neurons send and receive signals.) By comparing the proteins that are present in the synapses in different species Dr. Grant has come to some surprising conclusions about the evolution of the synapse and the evolution of the brain. (Read more...)

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Show notes and Links for Episode 51

Monday, November 24, 2008

Brain Science Podcast #50: Neuroscience 2008

Episode 50 of the Brain Science Podcast is a change of pace from our usual format. In this episode I share a few highlights from this year's Neuroscience 2008, the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, which just concluded in Washington, DC.

Listen to Episode 50

Go to Brain Science Podcast website for links and show notes

Friday, November 7, 2008

Brain Science Podcast #49: Brenda Milner

Brain Science Podcast #49 is an interview with pioneering neuroscientist, Brenda Milner, PhD. Dr. Milner is known for her contributions to understanding memory and her work with split-brain patients. Her work as an experimental psychologist has been fundamental to the emergence of the field of cognitive neuroscience.

This interview is a follow-up of Dr. Milner's recent interview with Dr. Marc Pelletier on Futures in Biotech. I highly recommend listening to both interviews.

Listen to Episode 49 of the Brain Science Podcast

Listen to Dr. Milner on Futures in Biotech (Episode33)

Click here for detailed show notes and links.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

FINAL TAXI: Michael Crichton Writer of "ER & Jurassic Park

Michael Crichton has taken his Final Taxi.

Crichton is best known for his books, penning classics such as The Andromeda Strain, Congo, Sphere, and Jurassic Park among many others. On top of writing these books, he also directed some little-known films in the 70s and early 80s( Westworld, Looker, Coma) and then went on to help write the screenplays for Jurassic Park and Twister and co-create mega-show ER.


FINAL TAXI: Remembering Batman Creator- Bob Kane

Bob Kane was an American comic book artist and writer, credited as the creator of the DC Comics superhero Batman. He died November 3, 1998.


FINAL TAXI: Who is the highest earning dead person?

Who is dead and made the most money in 2007??
The Final Taxi has the answer....

Download :

Final Taxi : Ray Ellis- Composer


An arranger and composer, Ray Ellis, worked on such classics as "Chances Are" by Johnny Mathis, "Splish Splash" by Bobby Darin and "Standing on the Corner" by the Four Lads, Brook Benton "There Goes My Baby", Ben E. King "Spanish Harlem" and Etta James "C.C. Ride

Monday, November 3, 2008

Books and Ideas #23: Nobel Physicist, Frank Wilczek

Episode 23 of Books and Ideas is an interview with Frank Wilczek, PhD from MIT. Dr. Wilczek won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2004 and recently published an excellent book aimed at general readers: Lightness of Being: Mass, Ether, and the Unification of Forces. This book provides an excellent review of current ideas about the meaning of both matter and space.

In his interview Dr. Wilczek helps us understand the current evidence that matter is actually made of particles that are massless. He says “I jokingly say that the more important law is Einstein’s Second Law m=E/c² (which is of course just a rearrangement of E=mc²) but this suggests that what we really should be doing is not explaining energy in terms of mass, but explaining mass in terms of energy.”

The second surprisingly concept that Dr. Wilczek helps us tackle in this interview is the idea that space is not empty. “Space is a medium with a variety of properties that make it, not only an important component of reality, but really the primary component of reality.”

These ideas are supported by experimental evidence, but the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) near Geneva, Switzerland is expected to expand knowledge even further. The purpose of the LHC is a main focus of this interview. Dr. Wilczek has agreed to come back on Books and Ideas to answer questions about dark matter and string theory.

Listen to Episode 23 of Books and Ideas

Click here for detail show note and links

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Brain Science Podcast #48: Our Big Brains

Episode 48 of the Brain Science Podcast is an interview with Gary Lynch, PhD, co-author of Big Brain: The Origins and Future of Human Intelligence. While it is generally agreed that one of the most striking features of the human brain is its large size, not everyone agrees about how and why our brains came to be so large. In this interview Dr. Lynch presents some rather radical theories about how the human brain evolved. We discuss the pros and cons of his theories as well as the challenges faced by researchers trying to work in this field.

Listen to Episode 48

Visit the Brain Science Podcast website for detailed Show Notes and Links.

The next episode of the Brain Science Podcast will be an interview with Dr. Brenda Milner. This interview will is a follow-up to Marc Pelletier's excellent interview of Dr. Milner on Futures in Biotech: http://www.twit.tv/fib33

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Brain Science Podcast #47: Brain Evolution

Episode 47 of the Brain Science Podcast is a discussion of Principles of Brain Evolution by Georg F. Striedter. My goal is to highlight the main ideas of this complicated, and often controversial subject. Understanding the principles of brain evolution is an important element in our multidisciplinary attempt to understand how our brains make us who we are.

Listen to Episode 47 of the Brain Science Podcast

Click here for detailed Show Notes and Links

Share your comments on the Discussion Forum

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Books and Ideas Podcast #22: Dragon*Con 2008

Episode 22 of Books and Ideas is my summary of my recent trip to Dragon*Con 2008 in Atlanta, Georgia. It was a great opportunity to spend time with other podcasters, but the highlight of the weekend was our late night performances of Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. I had a non-singing part in Act 3 (as the mayor).

Listen to Episode 22 of Books and Ideas

Click here for detailed Show Notes and Links

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Live from Dragon*Con 2008: Brain Science Podcast #46

Dragon*Con 2008
Dragon*Con 2008

Brain Science Podcast #46 is a discussion of brain imaging with Dr. Shella Keilholz and Dr. Jason Schneiderman. The focus of our discussion is functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), which is revolutionizing neuroscience. We talked about both the strengths and weaknesses of this technique. Both of my guests agree that mainstream coverage of this technique tends to exaggerate what we can actually tell from this kind of brain scan. An important principle is that the scan of any single individual can vary greatly from day-to-day, which means that valid conclusions require data from a large number of people.

Listen to Episode 46 of the Brain Science Podcast

Click here for links and detailed show notes

Send email feedback to Ginger Campbell, MD at docartemis at gmail.com

Share your comments on the Discussion Forum

Monday, September 8, 2008

Brain Science Podcast #45: Dr. John Ratey explains ADD

Have you ever wondered why a child with ADD can play videos games for hours but can’t concentrate on his homework for a few minutes? This is one of the paradoxes of attention-deficit disorder that John J Ratey, MD, co-author of Driven To Distraction : Recognizing and Coping with Attention Deficit Disorder from Childhood Through Adulthood, explains in Episode 45 of the Brain Science Podcast.

During this interview Dr. Ratey discusses the latest findings about the biological basis of what he calls “attention variability disorder.” He also offers practical advice for patients and parents dealing with ADD/ADHD. One very important, and somewhat surprising, fact that he shares is that patients who are treated with medications during adolescence have a significantly lower risk of developing problems with addiction and drug abuse later on compared to those who are not treated. Also, successful “ADDers” like Michael Phelps show that “having a mission” makes a huge difference.

Dr. Ratey’s most recent book is Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, which he discussed with me (Dr. Campbell) in Episode 33.

Listen to Episode 45 of the Brain Science Podcast

Links and Show Notes for Episode 45

Friday, August 22, 2008

Brain Science Podcast #44: Meditation and the Brain

Daniel Siegel, MD

In Episode 44 of the Brain Science Podcast I talk with Daniel Siegel, MD about meditation and the brain. Dr. Siegel is the author of several books including The Mindful Brain: Reflection and Attunement in the Cultivation of Well-Being. In this interview we review the scientific evidence about how mindfulness meditation changes the brain, both in terms of short term activity and in terms of long-term structural changes. The evidence is convincing that a regular mindfulness practice can be an important element of brain health.

Listen to Episode 44 of the Brain Science Podcast

Click here for detailed show notes and links

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Brain Science Podcast #43: Part 2 of "On Being Certain" with Robert Burton, MD

Episode 43 of the Brain Science Podcast is an interview with Robert A Burton, MD, author of On Being Certain: Believing You Are Right Even When You’re Not, which I discussed in Episode 42. Dr. Burton tells us what inspired him to write this book and we explore some of the implications of the fact that what he calls the “feeling of knowing” comes from our unconscious, including the fact that it is not as reliable as it feels.

Listen to Episode 43 of the Brain Science Podcast

Click Here for Links, Show Notes, and information about subscribing to the Brain Science Podcast

Friday, July 25, 2008

Brain Science Podcast #42: "On Being Certain" Part 1

Episode 42 of the Brain Science Podcast is a discussion of On Being Certain: Believing You Are Right Even When You're Not by Robert Burton, MD. This part 1 of a two part discussion of the unconscious origins of what Dr. Burton calls "the feeling of knowing." In Episode 43 I will interview Dr. Burton. Today's episode provides an overview of Dr. Burton's key ideas.

In past episodes I have discussed the role of unconscious decision-making. On Being Certain: Believing You Are Right Even When You're Not by Robert Burton, MD takes this topic to a new level. First, Dr. Burton discusses the evidence that the "feeling of knowing" arises from parts of our brain that we can neither access or control. Then he discusses the implications of this finding, including the fact that it challenges long-held assumptions about the possibility of purely rational thought.

Listen to Episode 42 of the Brain Science Podcast

Please visit my website at http://brainsciencepodcast.com to learn more.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Brain Science Podcast #41: Interview with Linguist Alice Gaby

Episode 41 of the Brain Science Podcast is an interview with Alice Gaby, PhD, from the University of California-Berkeley. Dr. Gaby is a linguist who studies the role of language in cognition as well as the aboriginal languages of Australia. In this episode Dr. Gaby introduces some of the basic areas of linguistics. We also talk about why linguistics is important to understanding brain function, as well as the importance of interdisciplinary communication to advancement in both fields. Dr. Gaby's infectious enthusiasm makes this potentially intimidating subject accessible to everyone.

Listen to Episode 41 of the Brain Science Podcast

Visit the Brain Science Podcast website for more information, including detailed show notes and links.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Books and Ideas Podcast #21: Interview with Eugenie Scott

Eugenie Scott, the Executive Director of the National Center for Science Education, was interviewed in Episode 21 of Books and Ideas. The focus of our conversation was the importance of teaching evolution in the public schools. Dr. Scott and the NCSE have worked for over 20 years to promote the teaching of evolution because it is an essential component of a modern education in the life sciences. Unfortunately, nearly 150 years after Darwin's On the Origin of Species (1859) many Americans still reject this fundamental idea and much of Scott's work is focused on trying to keep creationism and so-called Intelligent Design out of school curriculum.

Recently the NCSE launched a very valuable site called Expelled Exposed, which focuses on exposing the many inaccuracies presented in Ben Stein's recent pro-intelligent design "documentary" Expelled. One of the things that has come out in numerous interviews is that the producers of the film mislead all the pro-evolution guests that appear in the film. We discuss this briefly near the end of the interview, but it was not the focus of our discussion. (see below for more links regarding Expelled)

Since Dr. Scott has been interviewed about Expelled and Expelled Exposed on several other podcasts, I wanted to focus our interview more on the importance of accurate science education. Also, we discussed the fact that despite the claims of right-wing fundamentalists there are many Christians and people of other faiths who accept the theory of evolution as scientifically valid. Accepting evolution does not mean one is choosing atheism. I think this is a very important distinction because while atheists are outspoken in their support of evolution they represent a small minority. I was encouraged to learn from Dr. Scott that the NCSE is working closely with religious leaders and scientists of faith to try to educate their members.

Since Books and Ideas reaches an international audience I thought that it was important that we discuss the origins of the evolution versus creationism controversy, which is unique to the United States. Scott does an excellent job of explaining how our unique religious heritage along with our locally controlled school systems combine to create a situation that most of the world find's rather mystifying. Her book Evolution vs. Creationism: An Introduction also provides an excellent overview of the subject from both an historical and scientific prospective.

Finally, we talk about the importance of evolution as a basic idea in modern biology. While we didn't dwell on this, I think we are both concerned about the implications for the future if a majority of young Americans are reaching college without a solid foundation in the principles of evolution. We also talked about why intelligent design fails to meet the basic definition of a scientific theory since it provides no testable hypotheses. Dr. Scott also provides a excellent review of the basic writings for those who want to learn more.

Listen to Dr. Scott’s Interview

Visit the Books and Ideas website for links and references.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Brain Science Podcast #40: Third Semi-annual Review

Episode 40 of the Brain Science Podcast is a look back at the highlights from the last six months. We have talked about numerous topics including brain plasticity, mirror neurons, language, brain rhythms, and the sense of smell. We talked with 9 guests and we have also explored the practical implications of neuroscience, including the importance of sleep and exercise to brain health. This brief review episode is intended for both new listeners and long-time subscribers.

Listen to Episode 40

For detailed show notes including links to all the resources discussed in the episode

please visit the Brain Science Podcast website

Friday, June 13, 2008

Brain Science Podcast #39: Michael Arbib on Mirror Neurons

Episode 39 of the Brain Science Podcast is an interview with Dr. Michael Arbib from the University of Southern California. Dr. Arbib's work with functional brain imaging has established the presence of mirror neurons in the human brain. In our interview we focused on the role of mirror neurons in imitation and language. In particular I questioned Dr. Arbib about the Mirror System Hypothesis (MSH) of Language Evolution that he proposed in 1998 with Giacomo Rizzolatti. We also explored how this hypothesis diverges from the universal grammar proposed by Noam Chomsky. Dr. Arbib also shared his enthusiasm for future research and we talked about the special challenges caused by the interdisciplinary nature of modern neuroscience.

Listen to the Brain Science Podcast

Related Episodes:

Click here for detailed show notes including links and references

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

FINAL TAXI: Harvey Korman- Burnett Show and Blazing Saddles Star

Download MP3 of Podcast- Click Here

Harvey Korman, the comic actor who won four Emmys for his work on ``The Carol Burnett Show'' and appeared in the movie ``Blazing Saddles,'' took his Final Taxi at age 81.

Korman won the Emmy awards for his television comedy roles on ``The Carol Burnett Show,'' where he performed from 1967 to 1977 in a cast led by Burnett and including comedian Tim Conway.

His film roles included playing Hedley Lamarr in ``Blazing Saddles,'' a 1974 spoof Western directed by Mel Brooks. He also performed in Brooks's film ``High Anxiety'' in 1977. In 1983 he appeared in ``Curse of the Pink Panther.''

Friday, May 30, 2008

Brain Science Podcast #38: Interview with Jeff Hawkins

Episode 38 of the Brain Science Podcast is an interview with Jeff Hawkins, author of On Intelligence. Hawkins is well-known for founding Palm Computing and Handspring. He invented the Grafitti handwriting recognition system and helped develop the Palm Trio SmartPhone. Since he published his bestseller On Intelligence, he has devoted his work to his passion for neuroscience. His current company Numenta is developing software that models the hierarchal structure of the neocortex. In this interview we talk about the ideas in Hawkins book and how he is applying them to develop a computer model of cortical function. This is a follow-up to Episode 2, which first aired in December of 2006.

Listen to Dr. Campbell interview Jeff Hawkins.

Click here for detailed show notes including links and references.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Delany DeanEpisode 20 of Books and Ideas is an interview with forensic psychologist Delany Dean, PhD. Dr. Dean began her career as a criminal lawyer but his interest in the mind and the brain lead her to a second career as a clinical psychologist. Besides forensic psyschology she has extensive experience with therapies based on the use of mindfulness meditation. In this interview, Dr. Campbell and Dr. Dean share there personal experiences with meditation, and Dr. Dean explains why she feels mindfulness meditation provides a extremely valuable tool for helping people deal with a wide range of problems, including the stress that we all face from time to time. They also give practical advise for listeners interested in beginning a mindfulness practice.

Listen to Delany Dean's Interview.

Links and References:

Mind Expressions: Delany's Dean's blog

Teachers and Scientists mentioned in the interview:

Books and Other Resources for Beginners:

You can find more references at the Brain Science Podcast Discussion Forum where there is on-going thread devoted to meditation and the Brain. There is also a section for discussing episodes of Books and Ideas.

Listen to Episode 20

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Friday, May 16, 2008

Brain Science Podcast #37: Brain Rules with John Medina

Episode 37 of the Brain Science Podcast an interview with Dr. John Medina, author of Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School. We talk about how exercise, sleep, and stress effect our brains with an emphasis on practical advice for healthier brain function. We also look at how research on memory, vision and the brain's attention system suggests how we can improve our ability to learn and our ability to share ideas with others.

Dr. Medina's focus is on considering real world examples of how our schools and work environments could be reformed to utilize the growing knowledge of neuroscience. But he also stresses the importance of compiling sufficient experimental data before embarking on new programs.

Listen to Episode 37 now (left click to listen, right click to download mp3).

Visit the Brain Science Podcast website to learn more.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Brain Science Podcast #36: Embodied Cognition with Art Glenberg

Art Glenberg, PhD

Episode 36 of the Brain Science Podcast is an interview with Arthur Glenberg, PhD about embodied cognition. Dr. Glenberg recently moved to Arizona State University after over 30 years at the University of Wisconsin's Laboratory of Embodied Cognition. His research focuses on the relationship between embodiment and language. In this interview we explore the experimental evidence for a theory of language that embraces the concept that our language abilities are actually rooted in our perceptual and motor abilities. Dr. Glenberg also explains how his work has practical implications in helping children learn how to read.

Since Dr. Glenberg has had a long career as a working research scientist, this interview also provided an opportunity to explore how scientific hypotheses are formed and how experiments are designed to test these hypothesis. I think this interview will give you a fascinating look into the real world of cognitive psychology.

Listen to Dr. Glenberg's Interview (left click to listen, right click to download)

Links and References:

Arthur Glenberg, PhD

Other Scientists Mentioned in the Episode:

  • George Lakoff: pioneering linguist
  • James Gibson-known for his ideas about affordances
  • William Epstein-emeritus professor at the University of Wisconsin
  • Joseph Campos: University of California (Berkelely)
  • Amy Needham and Amanda Woodard-experiments with velcro mits and infant cognition
  • David A Havas: graduate student and co-author with Dr. Glenberg
  • Mike Kashak: Florida State University
  • Mike Rinck: German co-author-see paper under Glenberg (more papers)
  • Vittorio Gallese, Dept of Neuroscience, University of Parma, Italy (where mirror neurons were discovered): extensive experimental with motor neurons in monkeys
  • Fritz Stack (Germany): experiments showing that facial experiments affect mood and cognition


Listen to Dr. Glenberg's Interview (left click to listen, right click to download)

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