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The Weekest Link


“If you can design one thing, you can design everything.”
— Massimo Vignelli

TWL is making a comeback! After a couple month hiatus, I am restarting the newsletter. The goal is still the same: share thought-provoking reads. If the week's topic interests you, please share! If not, skip it!

This week's focus is a sweet introduction into the mind from one of the most talented neuroscientists today: Vilayanur S. Ramachandran. If you are familiar with the Reith Lectures, a popular annual lecture series by BBC Radio, we will be digging into the archives back to 2003, when Ramachandran was the guest speaker.

What unfolds is a 5-part lecture series delivered in audio format. I think a quick google search will also yield transcripts in PDF, if you (like me) enjoy both at the same time.

Here's a quote that summarizes Ramachandran's teaching style:

“The human brain, it has been said, is the most complexly organised structure in the universe and to appreciate this you just have to look at some numbers. The brain is made up of one hundred billion nerve cells or "neurons" which is the basic structural and functional units of the nervous system. Each neuron makes something like a thousand to ten thousand contacts with other neurons and these points of contact are called synapses where exchange of information occurs. And based on this information, someone has calculated that the number of possible permutations and combinations of brain activity, in other words the numbers of brain states, exceeds the number of elementary particles in the known universe.” 

― V.S. Ramachandran


The Reith Lectures 2003 - Vilayanur S. Ramachandran

1. Phantoms in the Brain (BBC) (Spotify)

2. Synapses and the Self (BBC) (Spotify)

3. The Artful Brain (BBC) (Spotify)

4. Purple Numbers and Sharp Cheese (BBC) (Spotify)

5. Neuroscience - The New Philosophy (BBC) (Spotify)

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