Illusions, delusions and the brain. A Ramachandran lecture on body image and mind body interactions.

This lecture by Prof. V.S. Ramachandran (University of California, San Diego) will focus on body image and mind body interactions.

This year’s prestigious University of Glasgow Gifford Lecture Series will feature three talks from V.S. Ramachandran, the Director of the Centre for Brain and Cognition and Distinguished Professor with the Psychology Department and Neurosciences Program at the University of California.

Founded in 1887 by the bequest of Lord Gifford, the annual Gifford Lecture Series was established to promote, advance and diffuse the study of Natural Theology in the widest sense of that term. The focus of this series will be ‘Body and Mind; Insights from Neuroscience.’

Ramachandran said: “Monday’s lecture will focus on body image and mind body interactions, while Wednesday’s lecture will deal with understanding higher brain functions through studies of synesthesia and other types of intersensory interactions, including discoveries of mirror neurons. I will also touch on the important deeper philosophical implications that surround these subject areas.”

Dr Susan Stuart, Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Glasgow said: “It is our great pleasure that Vilayanur S. Ramachandran has agreed to present the 2012 Gifford lectures at the University of Glasgow. Ramachandran is one of the world’s leading neuroscientists; he has been responsible for groundbreaking work in the fields of behavioural neurology and psychophysics.

“His work on autism, visual processing, and synaesthesia is truly pioneering and during his career he has carried out marvellous work on understanding and treating phantom limb disorders as well as linking between temporal lobe epilepsy and hyper-religiosity, a field now known as ‘neurotheology’ or ‘spiritual neuroscience’.”

V.S. Ramachandran is Director of the Center for Brain and Cognition and Distinguished Professor with the Psychology Department and Neurosciences Program at the University of California, San Diego, and Adjunct Professor of Biology at the Salk Institute. Ramachandran initially trained as a doctor and subsequently obtained a Ph.D. from Trinity College at the University of Cambridge. Ramachandran’s early work was on visual perception but he is best known for his experiments in behavioral neurology which, despite their apparent simplicity, have had a profound impact on the way we think about the brain. He has been called “The Marco Polo of neuroscience” by Richard Dawkins and “The modern Paul Broca” by Eric Kandel.
In 2005 he was awarded the Henry Dale Medal and elected to an honorary life membership by the Royal Instituion of Great Britain, where he also gave a Friday evening discourse (joining the ranks of Michael Faraday, Thomas Huxley, Humphry Davy, and dozens of Nobel Laureates). His other honours and awards include fellowships from All Souls College, Oxford, and from Stanford University (Hilgard Visiting Professor); the Presidential Lecture Award from the American Academy of Neurology, two honorary doctorates, the annual Ramon Y Cajal award from the International Neuropsychiatry Society, and the Ariens-Kappers medal from the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences. In 2003 he gave the annual BBC Reith lectures and was the first physician/psychologist to give the lectures since they were begun by Bertrand Russel in 1949. In 1995 he gave the Decade of the Brain lecture at the 25th annual (Silver Jubilee) meeting of the Society for Neuroscience. In 2010 he delivered the annual Jawaharlal Nehru memorial lecture in New Delhi, India. Most recently the President of India conferred on him the second highest civilian award and honorific title in India, the Padma Bhushan. And TIME magazine named him on their list of the 100 most influential people in the world.

Ramachandran has published over 180 papers in scientific journals (including five invited review articles in the Scientific American). He is author of the acclaimed book “Phantoms in the Brain” that has been translated into nine languages and formed the basis for a two part series on Channel Four TV (UK) and a 1 hour PBS special in USA. NEWSWEEK magazine has named him a member of “The Century Club” — one of the “hundred most prominent people to watch in the next century.” He has been profiled in the New Yorker Magazine and appeared on the Charlie Rose Show. His new book, “The Tell Tale Brain” was on the New York Times best-seller list.

In addition, Ramachandran has an interest in history and archaeology (see his article on the Indus Valley Code).

“Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers: Stress and Health” by Dr. Robert Sapolsky

Science writer, biologist, neuroscientist, and stress expert Dr. Robert Sapolsky presents the inaugural Fenton-Rhodes Lecture on Proactve Wellness.

Sapolsky states that our bodies’ stress response evolved to help us get out of short-term physical emergencies – if a lion is chasing you, you run. But such reactions, he points out, compromise long-term physical health in favor of immediate self-preservation. Unfortunately, when confronted with purely psychological stressors, such as troubleshooting the fax machine, modern humans turn on the same stress response. “If you turn it on for too long,” notes Sapolsky, “you get sick.” Sapolsky regards this sobering news with characteristic good humor, finding hope in “our own capacity to prevent some of these problems… in the small steps with which we live our everyday lives.”

This lecture was recorded on September 22, 2016 at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts’ Colwell Playhouse as part of the Pygmalion TechFest

The truth about mobile phone and wireless radiation

“The truth about mobile phone and wireless radiation: what we know, what we need to find out, and what you can do now”
Presented by Dr Devra Davis, Visiting Professor of Medicine at the Hebrew University Hadassah Medical School, and Visiting Professor of Medicine at Ondokuz Mayis University, Turkey.

The Lecture
What are the health effects of mobile phones and wireless radiation? While Australia has led the world in safety standards, including compulsory seat-belt legislation, plain packaging on cigarettes, and product and food disclosure legislation, it falls behind in addressing the significant issues associated with mobile phone use. In this Dean’s Lecture, epidemiologist and electromagnetic radiation expert, Dr Devra Davis, will outline the evolution of the mobile phone and smartphone, and provide a background to the current 19 year old radiation safety standards (SAR), policy developments and international legislation. New global studies on the health consequences of mobile/wireless radiation will be presented, including children’s exposure and risks.

The Speaker
Dr Devra Davis is an internationally recognised expert on electromagnetic radiation from mobile phones and other wireless transmitting devices. She is currently the Visiting Professor of Medicine at the Hebrew University Hadassah Medical School, and Visiting Professor of Medicine at Ondokuz Mayis University, Turkey. Dr Davis was Founding Director of the Center for Environmental Oncology at The University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute —­ the first institute of its kind in the world, to examine the environmental factors that contribute to the majority of cases of cancer.

In 2007, Dr Devra Davis founded non­profit Environmental Health Trust to provide basic research and education about environmental health hazards. Dr Davis served as the President Clinton appointee to the Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board in the U.S.A. from 1994–­1999, an independent executive branch agency that investigates, prevents and mitigates chemical accidents.
As the former Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary for Health in the Department of Health and Human Services, she has counseled leading officials in the United States, United Nations, European Environment Agency, Pan American Health Organization, World Health Organization, and World Bank.

Dr Davis holds a B.S. in physiological psychology and an M.A. in sociology from the University of Pittsburgh, 1967. She completed a PhD in science studies at the University of Chicago as a Danforth Foundation Graduate Fellow, 1972 and a M.P.H. in epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins University as a Senior National Cancer Institute Post-­Doctoral Fellow, 1982. She has authored more than 200 publications and has been published in Lancet and Journal of the American Medical Association as well as the Scientific American and the New York Times.

Dr Devra Davis is an internationally recognised expert on electromagnetic radiation from mobile phones and other wireless transmitting devices.

Coping With Stress – The Truth About Psycho Neuro Immunology

Stress is ubiquitous and on the rise. How we learn to manage it can have profound effects on our health and well being. This series explains how our bodies experience stress and demonstrates effective strategies to help you thrive in a fast-paced world. On this edition, Margaret Kemeny, UCSF professor of psychiatry, focuses on identifying the links between psychological factors, the immune system and health and illness. Series: UCSF Mini Medical School for the Public [2/2008] [Health and Medicine] [Show ID: 13722]

Data Science Insights – The Improbability Principle

In this second Data Science Insights event Professor David Hand, Emeritus Professor of Mathematics at Imperial College London, spoke on the subject of his book, The Improbability Principle, about why incredibly unlikely things keep happening.
Axel Threlfall, Lead Anchor for Reuters Television, chaired. This event was held at the Clore Lecture Theatre at Imperial’s South Kensington Campus on March 11 2015.
To find out more about Data Science Insights, visit

Learning and Memory: How it Works and When it Fails

Frank Longo, MD, PhD, George and Lucy Becker Professor, discusses the intricacy human mind and how different types of memory and memory loss function.

Stanford Mini Med School is a series arranged and directed by Stanford’s School of Medicine, and presented by the Stanford Continuing Studies program.

The Neuroscience of Learning and Memory

Jeanette Norden, Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology, Emerita, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, explores how the brain learns and remembers. This video focuses on a discussion of how the brain is organized in general.

These lectures will provide the foundation
information necessary to the understanding
of the lectures which will follow. A special
emphasis will be given to systems in the brain
that underlie learning and memory, attention
and awareness. These introductory lectures
will be followed by a lecture on how different
areas of the brain encode different, specific
types of information—from the phone number
we need only remember for a few minutes or
less to the childhood memories we retain for
a lifetime. We will also address the “mistakes
of memory” which give insight as to how the
brain actually encodes our life experiences.
The last group of lectures in this series will
focus on the many clinical conditions that can
affect different types of learning and memory.
Lastly, we will focus our discussion on the
accumulating evidence that aging need not be
associated with significant memory loss. We
will discuss advancements in neuroscience that
indicate ways to keep your brain healthy as
you age.

To learn more about Vanderbilt, visit

Alan Alda’s Flame Challenge presents: “What Is Color?”

What is color? It seems like a simple question at first, but when you think about it, the reality of what we’re seeing is a pretty complex situation. Our human eyes sift through a small piece of the vast electromagnetic spectrum and translate it into every color of the rainbow. But there are other animals that see these same wavelengths in different ways, or even see colors beyond what we can perceive! And not all color is dependent on wavelengths of light: the brains of certain people, called synesthetes, work in ways that let them see colors tied to music, words, or other stimuli. Watch as host Alan Alda takes you on a surreal, scientific tour of the spectrum with the help of vision researcher Jay Neitz, along with neuroscientists David Eagleman, Kaitlyn Hova, and Bevil Conway.