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Professor at Johns Hopkins University

Professor at Johns Hopkins University >

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Videos
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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…
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…
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…
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…
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…
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.…
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…
Genetic Engineering
Episode 31 of Redefining Reality
Explore the history of genetic engineering, which has roots in the imaginary hybrid creatures of ancient myth. Learn how real hybrids can be made by splicing genes for desired traits into the genome of an organism. Then discover how this…
General Relativity
Episode 5 of Redefining Reality
Relativity was incomplete until Einstein formulated a general theory of relativity that incorporated gravity. See how this breakthrough demolished the age-old idea of gravity as a force, replacing it with the concept of warped spacetime, leading to strange predictions such…
Games of Chance and Winning Wagers
Episode 2 of The Mathematics of Games and Puzzles
Turn now to games that rely heavily on chance and betting, such as roulette and craps, and learn how to evaluate the fairness (or unfairness) of games using the ever-important concept of expected value. Once you know if a game…
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…
Technology and Death
Episode 29 of Redefining Reality
Reality for the individual ends at death. But medical technology is making that endpoint increasingly hard to define. Consider what it means to die and the complications that would ensue if we developed brain transplants or found the secret of…
The Birth of Psychology
Episode 16 of Redefining Reality
The quest to understand human behavior inspired researchers to study the mind. Investigate the theories of Sigmund Freud, who gave the world a new vocabulary, including concepts like ego, id, and superego. Learn how Freud's legacy has been especially enduring…
Practical Poker Probabilities
Episode 5 of The Mathematics of Games and Puzzles
Investigate the mathematics of Texas Hold'em, one of the most popular traditional poker games. What's the probability your hand will improve before and after more cards are revealed? How do you calculate your "pot odds" to help you determine your…
Exoplanets and Extraterrestrial Life
Episode 28 of Redefining Reality
Fiction writers have led the way in exploring the prospects of life beyond Earth. See how scientists are catching up, looking for extraterrestrial organisms using a variety of ingenious techniques. Learn how they are narrowing the search and which tantalizing…
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…