Exploring the “Secret Lives of Scientists”

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Do you know the web program “Secret Lives of Scientists”? If you’re someone who likes science, and especially if you’re someone who thinks you don’t like science, you should check it out. It aims to bring viewers “the human side of science” through a series of intimate, engaging, and funny videos about scientists and engineers, each of whom has a “secret”—an unexpected interest or habit or background.

This week’s video is about neurobiologist Susan Barry, a professor at Mount Holyoke College. Barry, who studies vision and how we can change our brains to see better, has herself been “stereoblind” since infancy—that is, she could only see in two dimensions. After an intensive course of vision therapy, however, she learned to see in 3D at the age of 48. No wonder she’s interested in neuronal plasticity: she is living proof that the brain can change, well into adulthood. “If we’re stuck in a rut, it’s because we think we’re stuck in a rut,” Barry says. “We can get better at everything.”

Watch her video here, and explore the other videos in the “Secret Lives of Scientists” collection. (My all-time favorite is the one of psycholinguist Jean Berko Gleason. Watch it—it’ll make your day.)

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