89 episodes

Educators Academy of Achievement

    • Education

    • video
    Roger Y. Tsien

    Roger Y. Tsien

    Since the 1990s, Roger Tsien has revolutionized the fields of cell biology and neurobiology by designing fluorescent protein molecules to illuminate biochemical processes. The green fluorescent protein GFP, which occurs naturally in the jellyfish Aequorea Victoria, has been used in biochemical research since the 1960s, but work with GFP was long constrained by its single color and unstable light. Tsien was awarded the 2008 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for developing a kaleidoscopic array of fluorescent molecules. When attached to other, less visible proteins, they enable scientists to track multiple biochemical processes simultaneously. As a teenager, the New York-born Tsien won first prize in the Westinghouse Science Talent Search. He graduated summa cum laude from Harvard and earned his Ph.D. in physiology at Cambridge University. Since 1989 he has been a professor at the University of California, San Diego, where he is an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. In 1994, Tsien identified a single-point mutation of the natural GFP molecule that produced a more stable and intense light, with greater variability in color, a discovery he reported in the Journal Nature. Over the next decade, he produced variants of GFP in a full spectrum of colors. His molecules are used in surgery and in Alzheimer's and cancer research. He was a co-founder of Aurora Biosciences Corporation, later acquired by Vertex Pharmaceuticals for roughly $600 million. In this podcast, recorded at the Top of the Hay, Hay-Adams Hotel, in Washington, D.C., during the 2012 International Achievement Summit, Dr. Tsien discusses the role of motivation and creativity in relation to his work building artificial molecules.

    • 12 min
    • video
    Robert S. Langer Part 1

    Robert S. Langer Part 1

    Robert S. Langer is heralded as one of the most prolific inventors in the history of medicine, the father of controlled drug release and tissue engineering. His research laboratory at MIT is the largest biomedical engineering lab in the world, maintaining about $10 million in annual grants and over 100 researchers. His discoveries have saved countless lives and launched a $20 billion-a-year industry. Every year, 6,200 Americans die awaiting transplants of organs like the liver, heart and lung, but Robert Langer is creating a future where spare organs can be grown in the laboratory. IN addition to his endowed chair at MIT, he is a faculty member of the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology and the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research. In this podcast, recorded at the Top of the Hay, in Washington D.C.'s Hay-Adams Hotel, during the 2012 International Achievement Summit, he reflect on his career in science, the importance of the patent system, and his ideas about the treatment of cancer.

    • 16 min
    • video
    Robert S. Langer Part 2

    Robert S. Langer Part 2

    Robert S. Langer is heralded as one of the most prolific inventors in the history of medicine, the father of controlled drug release and tissue engineering. His research laboratory at MIT is the largest biomedical engineering lab in the world, maintaining about $10 million in annual grants and over 100 researchers. His discoveries have saved countless lives and launched a $20 billion-a-year industry. Every year, 6,200 Americans die awaiting transplants of organs like the liver, heart and lung, but Robert Langer is creating a future where spare organs can be grown in the laboratory. IN addition to his endowed chair at MIT, he is a faculty member of the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology and the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research. In this podcast, recorded at the Top of the Hay, in Washington D.C.'s Hay-Adams Hotel, during the 2012 International Achievement Summit, he reflect on his career in science, the importance of the patent system, and his ideas about the treatment of cancer.

    • 8 min
    • video
    Salman Khan

    Salman Khan

    Salman Khan founded the nonprofit Khan Academy with
    the mission of providing free, high-quality education for “anyone, anywhere” in the
    world. Born in Metairie, Louisiana, to immigrant parents from India and
    Bangladesh, Khan graduated from MIT in 1998 with three degrees: one bachelor of
    science in mathematics; another in electrical engineering and computer science;
    and a master's in electrical engineering.
    After MIT, Khan worked in Silicon Valley at the height of the tech boom. When the
    bubble burst in 2000, he enrolled in Harvard Business School. After earning a
    master's in business administration, he became an analyst at a Boston-based
    hedge fund. The following year, as a side project, he began tutoring a young
    cousin in math, communicating by phone and using an interactive notepad. When
    others expressed interest in this method of instruction, he began posting videos of
    his hand-scribbled tutorials on YouTube. Demand took off, and in 2009 he quit his
    day job to commit himself fully to the not-for-profit Khan Academy.
    In October 2010, Khan was listed in Fortune’s annual “40 Under 40,” which
    recognizes business’s hottest rising stars, as well as Fast Company’s list of the
    “100 Most Creative People in Business.” He was recently profiled by 60 Minutes
    and recognized by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the
    world. His first book, The One World Schoolhouse: Education Reimagined, was
    published this month.

    • 14 min
    David Hubel

    David Hubel

    David H. Hubel received the 1981 Nobel Prize in Medicine for his discoveries concerning information processing in the human visual system. His work shed light on one of the mind's darkest mysteries, the process by which the brain interprets the signals it receives from the eyes. Born and raised in Canada, he attended McGill University Medical School and completed his residency in neurology at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. He began his research in the visual cortex of the brain while serving in the U.S. Army at Walter Reed hospital, where he developed the microelectrode and the modern hydraulic microdrive to observe neural activity in the visual cortex. He joined the faculty of Harvard Medical School in 1959. His pioneering studies of the process by which the brain perceives contour, motion, depth and color have enabled treatment and prevention of numerous visual impairments in adults and children. In this podcast, recorded during his appearance before the Academy of Achievement at Coronado, California in 1983, he discusses his experimental process. He explores the role of different areas of the brain, and the physiology of human emotions, as well as the values of freedom and education in the United States. Today he is John Franklin Embers Professor of Neurology, Emeritus, at Harvard University.

    • 16 min
    Harlan Smith

    Harlan Smith

    The astronomer Harlan Smith Ph.D. (1924 - 1991), longtime Director of the McDonald Observatory of the University of Texas, was distinguished for his discovery of the optical variability of small, quasi-stellar objects, and for his efforts to share the wonders of the cosmos with the general public. Smith was born in Wheeling, West Virginia. An outstanding student with a passion for astronomy, he was runner-up in the first Westinghouse National Science Talent Search. After serving in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II, he enrolled at Harvard, where he received his Ph.D. in astronomy. In 1953 he joined the astronomy faculty of Yale University. He moved to the University of Texas in 1963 to direct the McDonald Observatory and chair the University's astronomy department. He oversaw a great expansion of the department, acquiring a massive 2.7-meter telescope, known today as the Harlan Smith Telescope, for the Observatory. In the 1980s, Smith devoted much of his energy to designing a 7.6-meter telescope, nicknamed the Eye of Texas, which would have been the world's largest. The collapse of the Texas economy in 1985 brought an end to this project, but Smith's research contributed to the development of a super-telescope in Japan, and finally to the completion of an even larger (8.5-meter) Spectroscopic Survey Scope at McDonald. In this audio podcast, recorded at the Academy of Achievement's 1981 Summit in Dallas, Texas, Dr. Smith discusses his efforts to build large telescopes and their importance to our understanding of the universe.

    • 15 min

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