Brain researcher Jill Bolte Taylor studied her own stroke as it happened — and has become a powerful voice for brain recovery.

Why you should listen

One morning, a blood vessel in Jill Bolte Taylor's brain exploded. As a brain scientist, she realized she had a ringside seat to her own stroke. She watched as her brain functions shut down one by one: motion, speech, memory, self-awareness ...

Amazed to find herself alive, Taylor spent eight years recovering her ability to think, walk and talk. She has become a spokesperson for stroke recovery and for the possibility of coming back from brain injury stronger than before. In her case, although the stroke damaged the left side of her brain, her recovery unleashed a torrent of creative energy from her right. From her home base in Indiana, she now travels the country on behalf of the Harvard Brain Bank as the "Singin' Scientist."

What others say

“How many brain scientists have been able to study the brain from the inside out? I've gotten as much out of this experience of losing my left mind as I have in my entire academic career.” — Jill Bolte Taylor

Jill Bolte Taylor’s TED talks

Jill Bolte Taylor on the TED Blog
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Live from TED2014

Nuclear fission reactors, Africa’s Einsteins and the healing power of nature: A recap of “Beauty and the Brain,” All-Stars Session 2 at TED2014

March 19, 2014

By Liz Jacobs and Thu-Huong Ha   Our brains work in mysterious ways. They make us laugh, they make us cry, and sometimes, they make us 19-year old geniuses. The 11 speakers in this All-Stars session specialize in areas of the brain as diverse as personality, trauma and gender, but they all agree: Our minds […]

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Science

TED Weekends wonders: Can you reset your brain?

January 4, 2013

One morning when she woke up, Jill Bolte Taylor felt pain behind her left eye similar to what she’d felt biting into an ice cream cone. Soon, her own appearance — from her hands to her reflection — felt utterly bizarre to her. Next she lost her balance and then her internal chatter simply stopped […]

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Language

Meet Shlomo Adam, TED volunteer translator

November 13, 2009

Since the TED Open Translation Project launched in May of 2009, more than 1,200 translators have joined the effort to make TEDTalks available in non-English languages. One of the very first translators to join the project was Shlomo Adam. Shlomo joined the project before it went public, and contributed both translations and feedback on the […]

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Quotes from Jill Bolte Taylor

I am the life-force power of the universe. I am the life-force power of the 50 trillion beautiful molecular geniuses that make up my form, at one with all that is.
Jill Bolte Taylor
TED2008 • 15M views Mar 2008
Inspiring, Fascinating
I realized, ‘Oh my gosh! I’m having a stroke! I’m having a stroke!’ The next thing my brain says to me is, ‘Wow! This is so cool! How many brain scientists have the opportunity to study their own brain from the inside out?’
Jill Bolte Taylor
TED2008 • 15M views Mar 2008
Inspiring, Fascinating
In the course of four hours, I watched my brain completely deteriorate in its ability to process all information. On the morning of the hemorrhage, I could not walk, talk, read, write or recall any of my life. I essentially became an infant in a woman’s body.
Jill Bolte Taylor
TED2008 • 15M views Mar 2008
Inspiring, Fascinating