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Quantum Life: How Physics Can Revolutionize Biology

Professor Jim Al-Khalili explores how the mysteries of quantum theory might be observable at the biological level. 

Although many examples can be found in the scientific literature dating back half a century, there is still no widespread acceptance that quantum mechanics -- that baffling yet powerful theory of the subatomic world -- might play an important role in biological processes. Biology is, at its most basic, chemistry, and chemistry is built on the rules of quantum mechanics in the way atoms and molecules behave and fit together. 

As Jim explains, biologists have until recently been dismissive of counter-intuitive aspects of the theory and feel it to be unnecessary, preferring their traditional ball-and-stick models of the molecular structures of life. Likewise, physicists have been reluctant to venture into the messy and complex world of the living cell - why should they when they can test their theories far more cleanly in the controlled environment of the physics lab?

But now, experimental techniques in biology have become so sophisticated that the time is ripe for testing ideas familiar to quantum physicists. Can quantum phenomena in the subatomic world impact the biological level and be present in living cells or processes - from the way proteins fold or genes mutate and the way plants harness light in photosynthesis to the way some birds navigate using the Earth's magnetic field? All appear to utilise what Jim terms "the weirdness of the quantum world".

The discourse explores multiple theories of quantum mechanics, from superposition to quantum tunnelling, and reveals why "the most powerful theory in the whole of science" remains incredibly mysterious. Plus, watch out for a fantastic explanation of the famous double slit experiment. 

Watch this video on the Ri Channel with additional learning materials:
http://bit.ly/X826sE

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25 Lectures on Virology from Columbia University

Columbia University undergraduate virology course from 2012. In this lecture we define viruses, explore their origins, and summarize their functions and components.

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IBM Watson for Healthcare

Dr. Martin Kohn, Chief Medical Scientist, Care Delivery Systems, IBM Research

Abstract: We have solid ideas about the flawed state of healthcare, the critical need for change and the future we want. Improving health outcomes while controlling costs and personalizing healthcare are among the objectives. It is clear that enabling the transformation of healthcare will require making better decisions. At the same time we are dealing with huge and expanding volumes of data. We will need tools to help us gather and analyze data to bring relevant information to decision makers so that it easier to obtain evidence-supported choices. Unstructured, text-like content is a large fraction of the data we rely on for decisions. Up until recently we have had limited ability to use unstructured material effectively. IBM's Watson, with its ability to understand the nature of a question being addressed and to read and understand huge volumes of literature, makes such material more approachable. However, making medicine more precise mandates the use of other forms of data, and population observational techniques. Predictive analytics, to identify people that need specific attention, and comparative analytics to elicit evidence from populations that can be applied to individuals, are part of the process. IBM has developed robust resources that provide such information.

Speakers Biography: Dr. Kohn is Chief Medical Scientist for Care Delivery Systems in IBM Research. He is a leader in IBM's support for the transformation of healthcare, including development of personalized care, outcomes-based models and payment reform. His research work includes healthcare population analytics and the role of expert systems in the clinical decision process, including the use of the Watson supercomputer in healthcare. He speaks frequently on the issues on healthcare transformation, the role of information technology, the Patient Centered Medical Home and clinical decision support. Dr. Kohn is a co-author of IBM's white paper "Patient-Centered Medical Home -- What, Why and How." He is on the editorial board of the Journal of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Kohn was previously in IBM Healthcare Strategy and Change which helped healthcare systems and clinicians optimize process and make best use of health information technology. He has published multiple articles and book chapters on clinical, technical and management subjects. Dr. Kohn is an emergency physician with over 30 years of hospital-based practice and management experience. He is an alumnus of MIT, Harvard Medical School and NYU, and is a Fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians and the American College of Physician Executives.


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Szabolcs Kósa's curator insight, January 30, 2013 5:35 PM

fascinating technology!

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Brian Schmidt (Nobel Prize Winner): The accelerating Universe

ANU Nobel Laureate Professor Brian Schmidt gives a Vice-Chancellor's Public Lecture. The talk is titled 'The accelerating Universe'.

In 1998 two teams traced back the expansion of the universe over billions of years and discovered that it was accelerating. It was a startling discovery that suggests that more than 70 per cent of the cosmos is contained in a previously unknown form of matter, called Dark Energy. 

In this talk, Brian Schmidt, leader of the High-Redshift Supernova Search Team, describes this discovery and explains how astronomers have used observations to trace our universe's history back more than 13 billion years, leading them to ponder the ultimate fate of the cosmos.

Professor Brian Schmidt joined the staff of The Australian National University in 1995, and was awarded the Australian Government's inaugural Malcolm McIntosh award for achievement in the Physical Sciences in 2000, The Australian Academy of Sciences Pawsey Medal in 2001, the Astronomical Society of India's Vainu Bappu Medal in 2002, and an Australian Research Council Federation Fellowship in 2005. In 2008 he was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Sciences, a Fellow of the United States National Academy, and Foreign Member of the Spanish Royal Academy of Sciences.

Brian's work on the accelerating universe was awarded the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics, jointly with Adam Riess and Saul Perlmutter.

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Ray Jayawardhana on Alien Planets and Strange New Worlds

Author and astronomer Ray Jayawardhana discusses Alien Planets and his latest book Strange New Worlds. The lecture focuses on techniques for detecting planets orbiting distant stars.

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Dark Matter, Dark Energy and Inflation: The Big Mysteries of Cosmology

Dr. Michael S. Turner, Professor, Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics, University of Chicago. Presented Feb. 15, 2011 Our current cosmological model des...
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Self-Improving Artificial Intelligence

Lecture by Steve Omohundro for the Stanford University Computer Systems Colloquium (EE 380). Steve presents fundamental principles that underlie the operation of "self-improving systems," i.e., computer software and hardware that improve themselves by learning from their own operations.

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The Space Shuttle's Last Flight - a 4HD documentary

As Atlantis completes its 135th and final mission, this definitive documentary charts the rise and fall of the most ambitious space programme ever undertaken: the space shuttle. For the three decades since its first launch in 1981, the shuttle has become an iconic symbol of America's technological dominance and has rewritten the rules of space travel. It's a reusable vehicle that could lift off like a rocket, carry people and cargo into Earth's orbit, then land on a runway like a plane, and do it time after time. But two disasters, in 1986 and 2003, and the tragic loss of 14 astronauts shocked the World, and signalled the end of the programme and of an era. However, its legacy has been extraordinary.

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WIRED: Amazing Time-Lapse Video Features Ever-Changing Earth and Sky

WIRED: Amazing Time-Lapse Video Features Ever-Changing Earth and Sky | Science-Videos | Scoop.it

Heaven meets the Earth in this moving time-lapse video showing gorgeous landscapes underneath an ever-changing night sky.

 

“Within Two Worlds” was created by photographer Brad Goldpaint. The film features shooting comets, a giant tilting Milky Way, and glowing purple and pink auroras peeking over the horizon. Stunning sequences watch day turn to night and night to day, as overhead stars shine their beautiful light above mountains, forests, and waterfalls.

 

“This time-lapse video is my visual representation of how the night sky and landscapes co-exist within a world of contradictions. I hope this connection between heaven and earth inspires you to discover and create your own opportunities, to reach your rightful place within two worlds,” Goldpaint wrote on his Vimeo page.

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Gareth Harris's curator insight, February 20, 2013 9:01 AM

Heaven meets the Earth in this moving time-lapse video

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Steven Pinker, Noam Chomsky, Marvin Minsky and others discuss the roots of Artificial Intelligence, Cognitive Science, and Neuroscience

Steven Pinker, Noam Chomsky, Marvin Minsky and others discuss the roots of Artificial Intelligence, Cognitive Science, and Neuroscience | Science-Videos | Scoop.it

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Google presents: Ray Kurzweil "How to Create a Mind"

Ray Kurzweil is arguably today's most influential—and often controversial—futurist. In "How to Create a Mind", Kurzweil presents a provocative exploration of the most important project in human-machine civilization—reverse engineering the brain to understand precisely how it works and using that knowledge to create even more intelligent machines. Kurzweil discusses how the brain functions, how the mind emerges from the brain, and the implications of vastly increasing the powers of our intelligence in addressing the world's problems. He thoughtfully examines emotional and moral intelligence and the origins of consciousness and envisions the radical possibilities of our merging with the intelligent technology we are creating. Certain to be one of the most widely discussed and debated science books of the year, How to Create a Mind is sure to take its place alongside Kurzweil's previous classics.
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World Science Festival - Webcasts

World Science Festival - Webcasts | Science-Videos | Scoop.it

The World Science Festival is a production of the Science Festival Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization headquartered in New York City. The Foundation’s 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.

 

The World Science Festival’s signature event is an annual celebration and exploration of science that launched in 2008. Hailed a “new cultural institution,” by the New York Times, the Festival has featured such luminaries as: Stephen Hawking, E.O. Wilson, Sir Paul Nurse, Harold Varmus, Daniel Dennett, Eric Lander, Steven Chu, Richard Leakey, Sylvia Earle, Yo-Yo Ma, Oliver Sacks, Mary-Claire King, Chuck Close, Philip Glass, Charlie Kaufman, Glenn Close, Anna Deavere Smith, Bobby McFerrin, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Liev Schreiber, John Lithgow, Bill T. Jones, Charlie Rose, John Hockenberry, Elizabeth Vargas and Walter Isaacson.

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The Universe As A Hologram (by Leonard Susskind, Stanford)

Leonard Susskind of the Stanford Institute for Theoretical Physics discusses the indestructability of information and the nature of black holes in a lecture ...
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iBioSeminars - Free University Graduate Program Level Lectures

iBioSeminars - Free University Graduate Program Level Lectures | Science-Videos | Scoop.it

Free biology talks by the world's leading scientists. Our mission is to produce a library of outstanding science lectures. We will add 15-20 seminars per year in a wide-range of biology topics. Access, through web streaming or download, is completely free-of-charge. Also check out our iBioMagazine channel, where you can watch ~10 minute talks about the human-side of science.

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NOVA: Deep Dive Into Einstein's Brain

NOVA: Deep Dive Into Einstein's Brain | Science-Videos | Scoop.it

What made Einstein Einstein? With access to rare medical slides and photographs of the great scientist’s brain, researchers seek out the biological roots of genius in Einstein’s brain. What might Einstein’s brain have in common with young math whizzes today? How does the anatomy of David Pogue’s brain measure up to one of the greatest brains of all time? And can we discern whether peculiarities in Einstein’s brain are gifts of nature, fruits of nurture, or both?

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The Life on Super-Earth Explanets - Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics [Video Seminar]

Lecture is given by by Dimitar Sasselov, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

 

In 1543 Copernicus showed that our planet isn't the center of the universe. Centuries later, we know that just as Earth is not the center of things, the life on it is probably not unique either. Or is it? Tonight, learn how the search for "super-Earths" - rocky planets larger than our own that orbit other stars - may provide the key to answering essential questions about the origins of life here and elsewhere. You'll also hear how we face a moment of unprecedented potential - a convergence of pioneering efforts in astronomy and biology to peer into the unknown and determine how unique Earth life truly is.

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Ben Goertzel: General Artificial Intelligence and the Global Brain

At first glance, the emergence of a Global Brain and the engineering of advanced Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) systems might seem to be two orthogonal approaches to the origination of intelligence beyond the human level. But closer inspection reveals great synergetic potential. An AGI or community thereof, studying content and activity on the Internet, could serve as the “central conscious theater” of a distributed global brain, allowing a global brain with a more unified and explicitly goal-directed form of cognition.

 

This would also benefit the AGI, allowing it to increase its own intelligence via leveraging its interactions with the content, software and humans on the Net. Existing proto-AGI architectures such as OpenCog (http://opencog.org) may have potential for use in this sort of way. Eventually such an AGI could serve as a sort of “global AI nanny”, helping society to monitor its own behavior with global safety in mind (although, the caveats as well as the benefits of this sort of application are clear).” - GlobalBrainInstitute

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The Cancer Genome Atlas (2012) - 18 talks from the 2nd Annual Scientific Symposium

November 27-28, 2012 - The Cancer Genome Atlas' 2nd Annual Scientific Symposium: Enabling Cancer Research Through TCGA More: http://www.genome.gov/27551851
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Particle Physics Gravity and the Standard Model

Lawrence Berkeley Lab Scientist Andre Walker-Loud presents to high-school students and teachers, explaining the nature of the four fundamental forces, and how the standard model of particle physics relates to cosmology. He also talks about Quantum Chromodynamics (QCD) and why his profession is both important and rewarding

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Dog with a perfect pitch plays piano [VIDEO]

Dog with perfect pitch plays piano pretty proficiently.

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Jayne Fenton Keane's comment, January 8, 2013 5:55 AM
cute
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Earth from Space: Water and ice [59 VIDEOS from the European Space Agency]

Earth from Space is presented by Kelsea Brennan-Wessels from the ESA Web-TV virtual studios.

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The Holographic Principle [30 VIDEOS]

The Holographic Principle [30 VIDEOS] | Science-Videos | Scoop.it

The holographic principle is a property of quantum gravity and string theories which states that the description of a volume of space can be thought of as encoded on a boundary to the region—preferably a light-like boundary like a gravitational horizon. First proposed by Gerard 't Hooft, it was given a precise string-theory interpretation by Leonard Susskind who combined his ideas with previous ones of 't Hooft and Charles Thorn. As pointed out by Raphael Bousso, Thorn observed in 1978 that string theory admits a lower dimensional description in which gravity emerges from it in what would now be called a holographic way.


In a larger and more speculative sense, the theory suggests that the entire universe can be seen as a two-dimensional information structure "painted" on the cosmological horizon, such that the three dimensions we observe are only an effective description at macroscopic scales and at low energies.

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The future of data, technology and the Internet

Everybody is talking about 'data is the new oil' aka big-data. SoLoMo (social local mobile) is the battle cry of the day. Human-machine interfaces are rapidly evolving and may quickly become commonplace (think Google Glasses, MSFT Kinect), artificial intelligence is the geek-phrase-of-the-day, and Kurzweil says the singularity is near/here. So how will our world really change in the next 5 years, i.e. the way we communicate, get information, create, buy and sell, travel, live and learn? What are the biggest threats and the hottest opportunities - not just in financial terms, but also in societal and human terms? Futurist Gerd Leonhard will share his foresights and explore the key 'networked society' scenarios"
Via Szabolcs Kósa
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Chanelle Savich's curator insight, December 18, 2012 1:00 PM

Gerd is easy to listen to, and he talks about data as a resource that has to be refined in order to be useful (just like you can't take crude oil out of the ground and put it in your car).

 

He talks about inferred data that Google gets about you through your searches--you're looking for info on a disease or certain symptoms? Bet you've got it, even if you haven't told anyone yet. Google knows.  

 

Gerd says that we should create an ecosystem so that data pays for itself--if you take out more than you put in, the ecosystem eventually fails. Create an ecosystem around data that takes care of itself and keeps itself replenished. Big oil never takes care of fixing the atmosphere; it keeps sucking the money out of oil without taking care of the world, and so the movement is away from oil use. 

 

There needs to be an information economy. Think globally.

olsen jay nelson's comment, December 18, 2012 6:04 PM
Thanks for your insight into that. Reality forces us to self-correct ... hopefully in time....
Sworoba OyetKep's curator insight, March 18, 2013 12:10 AM

In this video futurist shares his thoughts on the technologies that will impact humanity the most within the next five years. His presentation discusses the future of data, communication, artifical intelligence and the most influential which is the internet. Its worth watching the video in order to be aware of the rapid technological changes happening around the world. Mr.Leonhard presents his foresights clearly and in doing so  successfully engages the audience.

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EMBO 2012 - International workshop on Evolution in the Time of Genomics

EMBO 2012 - International workshop on Evolution in the Time of Genomics | Science-Videos | Scoop.it

Molecular evolution was born fifty years before the planned Conference, with a seminal paper by Zuckerkandl and Pauling (1962) which demonstrated that aminoacid changes in the globins followed a molecular clock and could provide information on the phylogeny of vertebrates and on the timing of their appearance on earth.

Principal themes and objectives of the event From changes in aminoacids to changes in nucleotides, the molecular level has provided an essential input into evolutionary investigations for the past decades. More recently, the molecular level has moved from the genes to the genome, so far mainly in the case of vertebrates (in which the coding sequences only represent about 2% of the total). The availability of full genome sequences has provided new possibilities for investigators in the field and major problems can now be tackled in a very precise way using bioinformatic tools. Indeed, an example of this approach has been the recent solution (Bernardi, 2007)of a twenty-year-old debate, that between neutralists and selectionists.
One of the major current debates concerns adaptive vs. non-adaptive evolution. Random events in evolution were originally raised as a fundamental problem by Jacques Monod in his famous book "Chance and necessity". The problem has now been shifted to the genome level. A preliminary discussion took place in October 2010 in a Meeting "Chance and Necessity in Evolution" (Ravello, Italy; papers are in press in a special issue of Genome Biology and Evolution). The proposed meeting should go deeper into such a basic issue. While this will be one of the main subject of the meeting in which different views will confront each other (with Bernardi, Jarosz, Koonin, Ohta, Ptashne), other basic topics in Genome Evolution will be addressed. Werner Arber, Hamilton Smith (two Nobel Laureates) and George Church will discuss in depth the results obtained so far "directing" evolution in microbial systems, their interpretation and even the ethical issues raised. Davidson, Gehring and Gojobori will deal with the evolution of developmental processes; Martin, Saccone and Wallace with the evolution of mitochondrial genomes; Okada and Shapiro with the impact of mobile elements on genome evolution; Jeffreys and Saitou with recombination and biased gene conversion; Bustamante, Felsenfeld, Hartl and Haussler with regulation of gene expression and copy number variation in the human genome. Last but not least, Emile Zuckerkandl will recollect the beginning of Molecular Evolution.


7 — 9 May 2012 | Venice, Italy
Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti
Palazzo Franchetti

 

http://events.embo.org/12-evolution/

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Marcus Chown talks about the top 10 strangest things about the Universe

Marcus Chown of New Scientist Magazine on his Top 10 Bonkers Things About the Universe.

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