Attention: Philosophical and Psychological Essays

Attention CoverAlex and I wrote a review of the book Attention: Philosophical and Psychological Essays (Mole, Smithies, & Wu, eds.) for Philosophy in Review, an open access journal. It was published online today here.


Portraits of European Neuroscientists

Karl PearsonPortraits of European Neuroscientists is a lovely new website from perceptual psychologist Nick Wade, visual neurophysiologist Marco Piccolino and web designer Adrian Simmons. The site pairs concise biographies with portraits that reflect a scientist’s contribution to the field. Some of my favourites—which also include this portrait of Pearson—are Wheatstone, Brücke and Panum. This is a particularly good resource for anyone teaching psychology or neuroscience, but it’s worth a good look in any case.

The neuroscience of illusion

In a Smithsonian article currently doing the rounds (Teller reveals his secrets), magician Teller gives his ideas on how magicians manipulate the mind. This led me to another great article that appeared a couple of years ago in Wired on the same theme. And that led me to Stephen Macknik and Susana Martinez-Conde‘s paper in Nature Reviews Neuroscience, which counts among its authors Teller, James Randi, Mac KingApollo Robbins and Johnny ThompsonAttention and awareness in stage magic: turning tricks into research can be found here.

1000000000000 frame-per-second camera

Ramesh Raskar‘s team at MIT Media Lab have built a camera capable of capturing light trajectories at a trillion frames per second. Which is relatively fast. Jared Newman at Time’s Techland points out that if it were slowed to a more conventional frame rate of around 30 fps, you would need an entire lifetime to watch just a tenth of a second of this footage.

Sixty symbols

A family friend put me on to the great Sixty Symbols (cheers, Cam)—a collection of videos featuring academics at the University of Nottingham. Each one is focused on a symbol with some important meaning in physics: γ links to a five-minute explanation of the Lorenz factor and time dilation; ψ to ten minutes on the wave function. Here’s Laurence Eaves and Mark Fromhold on chaos and the butterfly effect.

When you’re done, there’s also a chemistry sister site, The Periodic Table of Videos.