The Neural Network: A
TV Channel for Neuroscience Fans
"proposal" (read: sketch) for a science
network with an emphasis on neuroscience, but with shows spotlighting
other areas of science, particularly on the process of research in
Note: I also thought about calling
it "The Ion Channel" (or even something like "The Sodium Channel") for
reasons that are obvious if you know anything about neurons.
However, that name reads as something more like chemistry to an
unformed audience. The point is to bring in fresh viewers and
educate them rather than creating a password that is only accessible to
those in the know.
Biopics of scientists - Einstein,
Watson and Crick, etc. One or two hours, depending on the
of Neuroscience - Working the way through the timeline of
important developments in the history of the field. For example,
Hodgkin and Huxley's work establishing the electrophysiology of
the Prize - Nobel Prize winners' stories: How discoveries were
made and their influence on their respective fields.
Science trivia - Quiz show.
Senses - Mechanisms of transducing the senses, their
limitations, transhumanist approaches to correcting for sensory
deficits (e.g., artificial retinas), the mechanisms of processing
sensory input, etc.
- An exploration of mental functions such as language,
mathematical abilities, etc.
The Debunkers - Exploring
pseudoscience: Faith healing, astrology, "new age" beliefs, etc.
Experimental evidence examining the validity of their claims.
vs. religion - Similar to the above: Challenging the claims and
pointing out the inconsistencies and contradictions, both internal and
when confronted with reality.
with patients, researchers, and physicians.
Book reviews - Reviewing the latest
texts about neuroscience and any science-based discussion of the brain.
Careers - Exploring different jobs: TEM technician, cell culture
tech, research librarian, etc.
Longitudinal documentary about the journey through academia: from
bachelor's to master's to Ph.D. to post-doc to tenured position.
Also explores topics such as setting up your lab, the nature of
sabbaticals, and gives an overview of the publication process.
the Chalkboard - Methods, approaches, and lessons for the lab
and classroom. Theory and practice in science education from
elementary to doctoral.
Through the DSM - Spotlighting
mental illnesses: Symptoms, treatments, etc. Case studies and
interviews of patients with OCD, autism, schizophrenia, etc. and the
specialists researching and treating these disorders.
Study - Neurological cases along the lines of those covered in
Sachs' "The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat" as well as cases of
Parkinson's disease, ALS, etc.
- Updated version of The
Operation from TLC (circa 1993). Segments: Pre-op
discussion with patient, physician, CGI overview of surgery, actually
OR footage, post-op discussion with patient and physician.
Surgeries: Spinal stenosis, tumor removal, neural implants (for
gastroparesis, Parkinson's, etc.).
The Journal of Irreproducible Results -
News magazine program that looks at three or four stories from the
Annals of Improbable Research (AIR) - Similar to the above.
Nobel prizes - Coverage of studies recognized by the annual
The scientific method
Lab methodology - Instrumentation,
techniques, equipment, etc.
design - The best approaches to elucidating problems.
Discusses experimenter bias, different approaches for controls, etc.
- Methods of collecting and testing data. Different tests
examined with example experiments that show designs where each is
Lectures and presentations
Highlights from the TED conference -
Focus on science-oriented presentations.
Prize awards recipients' lectures - For the Physiology and
for Neuroscience - Conference coverage, much like that of C-SPAN.
In the news...
News magazine shows with news/current events reporting
Society for Neuroscience -
Briefings - From the Society for Neuroscience.
Tv series marathons - Six-hour
blocks of the above series.
Week - Non-stop programming on a topic. In the case of
neuroscience, focus will shift daily so that, say, Monday may be about
learning/intelligence, then Tuesday might be about mental illness, and
Most influential discoveries - Which
scientific advances have yielded the greatest benefit? (Sci
American did an issue along similar lines with inventions.)
technology - Which technologies have had the greatest effects on
humanity and how?
equipment - Which instrumentation has produced the most (and
most significant) discoveries? Microscopes, spectrographs, etc.?
Established shows (for re-runs)
Operation (formerly on TLC)
really neuro, just something I'd like to see):
Recycling shows - How stuff is
and Home Improvement - Explains how to green your home in terms
of heat transfer.
notes: Neuroscience topics
A list of topics to be covered as special programs.
- Handedness: A case study on myself
- Candid Camera and science television
- Cellular neuroscience and
- Brain-computer interfacing
- Learning and memory
- Evolution and the brain
- Emotions and other subcortical issues
- Computational neuroscience
- Gender differences
- Sexual orientation
- Bi-polar disorder
- Misc. neurological conditions
- Neuroscience and society