In all of our exploration of our Earth and the Universe, of quantum particles and the mysteries of the creation of life, one thing stands out as the most complex thing we’ve yet discovered: the human brain. The Brain with David Eagleman, a multi-part series soon to debut on Public Television, delves into that organ to explore what we know and wonder about what we don’t.
Eagleman is a neuroscientist who’s studied the brain for over twenty years, yet he keeps this series grounded and understandable to those with little or no scientific background. He does this by raising questions that challenge our assumptions, and exploring what answers we’ve found and chronicling the search for what we don’t yet know.
Each episode follows a theme. One dives into our experience of reality, and reveals it as a construct of our brains. We find out what happens when these processes are interrupted, and see the world through the eyes of those whose experience of reality is much different than ours. We meet a man whose sight was lost then restored again after twenty years. We see how he struggled to interact with the world using a brain that was no longer capable of processing visual input. We meet synesthetics, who hear color and see sound.
Another episode looks at our sense of self, and details how it is constructed by the brain. We come to understand the concepts of how the personal self is created, and the processes by which we can come, like Alzheimer’s patients, to lose it, or like the children in Romania orphanages given little contact or stimuli, never come to properly develop it.
Far from being dry research, these stories are told as the tales of human beings seeking to understand the world. We are exposed to cutting-edge science, as well as the old understandings that have stayed with us.
Above all, we learn that we do not know as much about ourselves as we think we do, and that’s a fascinating series of discoveries.
The Brain with David Eagleman debuts Wednesday, October 14th at 10:00 p.m. on KIXE Channel 9.