Overcoming Grief With Lord Tennyson

Imagine life losing all semblance of stability and becoming subject to a series of occasionally terrifying hallucinations where you streak across the solar system. For Big Think's recent guest, Kay Redfield Jamison, a professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins, these intense flares of consciousness were a matter of everyday life.


Dr. Jamison struggled from manic depression and, without treatment, was slowly ‘losing her humanity’ to the point of waking up in a coma after a failed suicide attempt. Coming to grips with the fact that her only options were medication or death, she sought treatment and eventually gained her footing. Jamison has since become one of the foremost experts on suicide, depression, mood disorders and temperament. She discussed some of her research with Big Think including her argument against 'over-romanticizing' the link between madness and creativity, reminding us that while many of history’s most revered artists surely led miserable and often short lives, they were far from reveling in their own dementia, and generally sought clinical help...

Jamison also discusses the intensely human and ultimately powerful topic of grief, the topic of her new book, “Nothing Was The Same: A Memoir.” Highlighting how, contrary to depression, one can still encounter solace and a sense of the world while grieving, she explains how literature helped her through the process.

​There are two kinds of failure – but only one is honorable

Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.

Big Think Edge
  • Learn to recognize failure and know the big difference between panicking and choking.
  • At Big Think Edge, Malcolm Gladwell teaches how to check your inner critic and get clear on what failure is.
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Why is 18 the age of adulthood if the brain can take 30 years to mature?

Neuroscience research suggests it might be time to rethink our ideas about when exactly a child becomes an adult.

Mind & Brain
  • Research suggests that most human brains take about 25 years to develop, though these rates can vary among men and women, and among individuals.
  • Although the human brain matures in size during adolescence, important developments within the prefrontal cortex and other regions still take pace well into one's 20s.
  • The findings raise complex ethical questions about the way our criminal justice systems punishes criminals in their late teens and early 20s.
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Apparently even NASA is wrong about which planet is closest to Earth

Three scientists publish a paper proving that Mercury, not Venus, is the closest planet to Earth.

Strange Maps
  • Earth is the third planet from the Sun, so our closest neighbor must be planet two or four, right?
  • Wrong! Neither Venus nor Mars is the right answer.
  • Three scientists ran the numbers. In this YouTube video, one of them explains why our nearest neighbor is... Mercury!
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Mini-brains attach to spinal cord and twitch muscles

A new method of growing mini-brains produces some startling results.

(Lancaster, et al)
Surprising Science
  • Researchers find a new and inexpensive way to keep organoids growing for a year.
  • Axons from the study's organoids attached themselves to embryonic mouse spinal cord cells.
  • The mini-brains took control of muscles connected to the spinal cords.
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