playlist

How microbes shape our world

Learn how these microorganisms influence everything from the air we breathe and how healthy we are, to forming life itself.

  1. 17:24
    Rob Knight How our microbes make us who we are

    Rob Knight is a pioneer in studying human microbes, the community of tiny single-cell organisms living inside our bodies that have a huge — and largely unexplored — role in our health. “The three pounds of microbes that you carry around with you might be more important than every single gene you carry around in your genome,” he says. Find out why.

  2. 14:23
    Jonathan Eisen Meet your microbes

    Our bodies are covered in a sea of microbes — both the pathogens that make us sick and the "good" microbes, about which we know less, that might be keeping us healthy. At TEDMED, microbiologist Jonathan Eisen shares what we know, including some surprising ways to put those good microbes to work.

  3. 8:43
    Jessica Green We're covered in germs. Let's design for that.

    Our bodies and homes are covered in microbes — some good for us, some bad for us. As we learn more about the germs and microbes who share our living spaces, TED Fellow Jessica Green asks: Can we design buildings that encourage happy, healthy microbial environments?

  4. 11:37
    Melissa Garren The sea we've hardly seen

    An average teaspoon of ocean water contains five million bacteria and fifty million viruses — and yet we are just starting to discover how these "invisible engineers" control our ocean's chemistry. At TEDxMonterey, Melissa Garren sheds light on marine microbes that provide half the oxygen we breathe, maintain underwater ecosystems, and demonstrate surprising hunting skills. (Apologies for the small audio glitches in this video.)

  5. 13:42
    Dave Brain What a planet needs to sustain life

    "Venus is too hot, Mars is too cold, and Earth is just right," says planetary scientist Dave Brain. But why? In this pleasantly humorous talk, Brain explores the fascinating science behind what it takes for a planet to host life — and why humanity may just be in the right place at the right time when it comes to the timeline of life-sustaining planets.

  6. 17:35
    Siddhartha Mukherjee Soon we'll cure diseases with a cell, not a pill

    Current medical treatment boils down to six words: Have disease, take pill, kill something. But physician Siddhartha Mukherjee points to a future of medicine that will transform the way we heal.