SftP Videos: Life
It’s still very hard to define life, but science has made great strides toward revealing many of its characteristics and processes. Here are some basics about the most complex phenomenon we know: life’s origin, characteristics, structure, and states of animacy.
07/10/12 In probably the most extreme environmment on Earth, organisms are thriving. Peter Girguis explains how.....
07/14/20 The persistence of the international wildlife trade is destructive for wildlife, ecosystems, environment, and human health. Maria Ivanova and Candace Famiglietti
05/10/10 Two young scientists at the famous Jack Szostak Lab explain research issues, Matthew Powner and Utay Budin
08/10/20 Get the real facts about those about lion's mane jellyfish near Massachusetts beaches, but get the real science about jellyfish in general: their amazing biology and their role in marine ecosystems. Laurence Madin
05/03/21 A warming climate led to the emergence of grasslands, which led to major evolutionary changes. Aly Baumgartner
07/09/13 the unique "antifreeze" blood and skeletal mutations of the Antarctic Icefishes provide insights into both climate change adaptations and human disease.
H. William Detrich, III
08/30/18 Boston-area artists Susan Heideman and Michelle Lougee discuss their fascinating exhibit, "The Life of Forms."
10/08/19 A cell's size and the proportions of its components are strictly determined, but where do the rules come from? Scientists are still trying to figure that out.
04/26/11 Was there a human factor in the Ice Age extinctions of large mammals? ............
12/17/15 The compelling search for entirely new forms of life elsewhere in our solar system and the universe. David Toomey
08/09/16 An investigation of the two major questions about the origin of life, and their relevance in search for life elsewhere in the universe. Zachary Adam
04/22/15 A toxicologist explains why some organisms thrive in an environment that endangers most species.
10/18/16 All life depends on a microbial foundation. So does development of new antibiotics. But 99 percent of microbes are unknown. Slava Epstein
04/19/22 Because of a special biological feature called magnetoreception, migratory birds and other creatures are able to navigate enormous distances without getting lost. How does this capacity to “read” Earth’s magnetic field work, and is that the only map to aid migration? Charles Walcott
02/08/2022 Some species have an exceptional ability to adapt to extreme environmental conditions, an advantage that endowed by unique features of their DNA. Certain Antarctic marine creatures provide hope for climate change adaptations. H. WiIliam Detrich
10/14/14 How DNA is folded in the cell may shed light on cancer and other diseases. Jané Kondev
12/14/20 Ecological systems are the archetypal complex systems. And regardless of scale and diversity --from microbial systems to rain forests -- they share common patterns and dynamics. James O'Dwyer
11/17/15 The science of neural networks reveals the awesome complexity of normal speech production and also brings help for language disorders. Frank Guenther
04/26/21 The evolution of the human language apparatus, comparison of human language and animal communication, and explanation of the Neanderthal language controversy. Philip Lieberman
11/13/13 Ancient infant teeth reveal the importance of weaning patterns in human evolution. Tanya Smith
04/10/18 A collaboration of ocean and space scientists that will advance our understanding of exo-worlds, such as Enceladus and Europa. Peter Girguis
10/10/18 The acquisition of even one language is very complicated. But there are some --called hyperpolyglotals-- who learn dozens of languages. How does the brain do this?
03/18/14 Cells make decisions that turn out to be random. Jané Kondev explains the implications of that surprising discovery.
04/09/19 What caused Earth's five mass extinctions --and most important--are we headed for a sixth? Andrew Knoll
02/12/13 How microbes and their communities evolve and what the process means for us. Christopher Marx
10/05/17 A tour of the fascinating world of mushrooms. This is way beyond the supermarket. David Hibbett
07/10/19 Nectar and pollen are sources of food for bees, but some of these sources may also help to reduce certain pathogens.
02/10/16 The author of "Our Robots, Ourselves" discusses the limits of robot autonomy. David Mindell
02/23/16 Tracing ancient genetic changes through extinctions and speciation events to reconstruct our DNA history.
05/31/22 How do archaeologists reconstruct the far-flung colonies of the ancient seafaring Norsemen/Vikings? Douglas Bolender
08/05/13 A visit to the Barabási Lab at Northeastern University to learn how scale-free complex networks affect scientific perspectives
04/29/15 At the Summons Lab at MIT, scientists probe soil and rock samples from both ancient Earth and --using remote instruments-- Mars for bio-molecules. Roger Summons
12/14/10 The cell's self-defense repair kit against hereditary, environmental, and other threats.
06/07/11 Aaron Bernstein, M.D, MPH and author explains how the unprecedented loss of biodiversity impacts human health.
03/27/18 The "mind" is not an isolated entity; it is connected to a physical-social environment. Alan Jasanoff
03/08/16 Reconstructing the relationship between biological evolution and geology, climate, environment. Andrew Knoll
10/19/10 How photosynthesis --and life-- emerged in Earth's ancient chemical environment.
Tanja Bosak and Alexander Petroff
09/20/11 The challenge for genomic studies today is how to manage the vast collection of data. John Quackenbush
12/09/09 Genetic material in ancient fossils yields an amazing profile of extinct organisms. Chris Organ
09/24/15 A leader in the study of exotic microbes at hydrothermal vents explains the significance and the potential of these life forms. Peter Girguis
04/09/10 Molecules in meteorites met with an optimal chemical environment on Earth. Alonso Ricardo
07/08/16 An explanation of how modern genetics analysis confirms ancient human migrations, such as the Indo-Europeans. Nick Patterson
01/20/15 The decimation of honeybee colonies is also a public health warning about pesticides. Chensheng (Alex) Lu