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Out of This World Science TED Talks

These TED Talks put the strangest science into focus, and explain that, yes, while our universe is a weird place, it is not beyond our understanding.

As Bill Nye (who needs to make TED Talks) once told us, "Science rules!" Everything runs on science, for it programs the universe around us to follow a set order and logic. But what if there are rules and concepts that we do not yet understand? What if, at the bottom of the ocean and the apex of existence, there are things so other-worldly that they sound as though they emerged straight from a phantasmic dreamscape? Too crazy to be real. Too insane. But they are. The ordinary person may go mad trying to wrap their mind around these mind-screwy concepts and ideas. But rest assured; your existential dread and horror need not overwhelm you. There are experts willing to explain it all. These TED Talks put the strangest science into focus, and explain that, yes, while our universe is a weird place, it is not beyond our understanding.

Ed Yong - Zombie Roaches and Other Parasite Tales

Humanity has an inherent fear of roaches and other creepy-crawlies. The kinds that burrow under our skin and invade our bodies. This TED Talk really takes a scientific look at the crazier roaches and parasites–the kind that not only invade the flesh, but also the mind. These creatures can turn their host into zombie slaves to better facilitate their life functions. But, obviously, these things only invade animals. Right...?

For more information on Ed Yong, click here.

Edith Widder - The Weird and Wonderful World of Bioluminescence

Life thrives at the bottom of the sea. The kind of life that can survive in absolute darkness, with the sea pressing down on all sides, must be, at the very least, unique. Edith Widder sheds light on these creatures in this explorative TED Talk about bioluminescence–the ability of creatures to generate light–and the creatures that create it. Not only does Edith discuss them–she also shows bewildering footage of real-life aquatic creatures. Life deep below the sea can be both exciting and bizarre, but science is sometimes stranger than even our most eldritch imaginings.

For more information on Edith Widder, click here.

Brian Greene - Is Our Universe the Only Universe?

The cosmos bewilders. A continually growing, yet infinite expanse. Its paradoxical existence can leave most people reeling and confused, but Brian Greene is about to make the bizarre dimensions we exist in get weirder. In this scientific TED Talk about the stars, Brian Greene proposes and discusses the possibility of parallel universes. With tons of visuals to make the whole matter easier to digest, Greene brings this scientific theory of our cosmos down to earth.

For more information on Brian Greene, click here.

Paula Hammond - A New Superweapon in the Fight Against Cancer

Cancer takes lives without discrimination. Doesn't matter if you're a grandfather, a little girl, David Bowie, Alan Rickman, John Hurt–cancer will kill you. But the future is not so bleak. This TED Talk presents the future of our battle against cancer. And, according to Paula Hammond, we may be able to take the fight to cancer. And it's smaller than the tip of a human hair. A nano-partical, designed for one sole purpose: saving humanity from our own flesh.

To learn more about Paula Hammond, click here.

Tan Le - A Headset that Reads Your Brainwaves

Video games advance on a continual streak. From the 8-bit NES to the cutting edge games coming out right now, it seems as though gaming and computer interfaces couldn't get any better–but then this TED Talk came along to say that science has the means to revolutionize computer interfaces all together. Enter Tan Le, who has a headset that can register your brainwaves, and use the sparkling energies of your mind to trigger computer commands! But before you get ready to shell out thousands to live your Sword Art Online fantasies, get ready for a dose of reality, since this headset has some fantastic real-world applications you need to hear about, first.

For more information about Tan Le, click here.

Patricia Burchat - Shedding Light on Dark Matter

Dark matter–the enigmatic substance that occupies most of the known universe, yet we know next to nothing about it. This abstract physics concept may appear too perplexing for those not involved in science to understand, but, for the layman, this TED Talk explains it all. What is Dark Matter? Where is it? How does it work? How do we know it exists? Patricia Burchat sheds light on the universe's most intangible substance.

For more information on Patricia Burchat, click here.

Phil Plait - How to Defend Earth from Asteroids

Armageddon is not a guidebook on how to stop asteroids from eradicating life on Earth. No, putting oil drillers on an asteroid is not a good solution. But if blowing it up won't solve it, then what will? This TED Talk addresses Earth's best chance to defend itself through a scientific, practical lens. How many asteroids can kill us? What would they do to us upon impact? And how can we fight back?

For more information on Phil Plait, click here.

George Dyson - The Story of Project Orion

Saturn–a beautiful sphere ever floating in the sky. It has stood in the night sky for eons as one of the solar system's most beautiful planets. But what if there was a plan to travel there? What if a spaceship had been blueprinted to take man to the rings of Saturn? George Dyson, in this revolutionary TED Talk, discusses Project Orion–the plan for a spaceship that could have taken us to the one of our largest, most beautiful planets.

For more information on George Dyson, click here.

Freeman Dyson - Let's Look for Life in the Outer Solar System

Civilization remains entranced by the prospect of life beyond our little blue and green ball. For years, many speculated that Mars may hold the secret, but what if we were just looking at the wrong planet? Freeman Dyson proposes that there might be life in the spheres within our outer solar system. In this TED Talk, he proposes scientific evidence that life may exist on the moons around the gas giants, in the asteroid belts, in the Oort Cloud, and the distant places where the sun shines. What sort of thing can survive in those conditions? Freeman Dyson may have a few ideas...

For more information on Freeman Dyson, click here.

Stephen Hawking - Questioning the Universe

Stephen Hawking needs no introduction. In many ways, he stands apart as one of the greatest scientific minds of our time. In this stunning, intense TED Talk, Hawking asks the great questions about the cosmos that science is struggling to answer. How did it all start? The universe? Life? Us? And how can science manage to answer these questions?

For more information about Stephen Hawking, buy his books. Seriously, how have you not heard about Stephen Hawking yet? For everyone else, click here.