The Great Courses: Biology

13 books in series
4.5 out of 5 stars 4,688 ratings

Being Human: Life Lessons from the Frontiers of Science Publisher's Summary

Understanding our humanity - the essence of who we are - is one of the deepest mysteries and biggest challenges in modern science. Why do we have bad moods? Why are we capable of having such strange dreams? How can metaphors in our language hold such sway on our actions?

As we learn more about the mechanisms of human behavior through evolutionary biology, neuroscience, anthropology, and other related fields, we're discovering just how intriguing the human species is. And while scientists are continually uncovering similarities between our behavior and that of other animals, they're also finding insights into everything that makes us unique from any other species.

Join an acclaimed neurobiologist, award-winning teacher, and MacArthur Foundation "genius grant" recipient in a series of 12 invigorating lectures that offer a surprising and undeniably fascinating study of what makes you you, journeying to the front lines of scientific research to gain a new perspective on the quirky nature of being ourselves. Professor Sapolsky explores our humanity by investigating mysterious and sometimes even mundane aspects of human behavior, including bad moods, nostalgia, and dreams, packing the lectures with stories of bold experiments and case studies that illuminate the intricacies of our behavior.

Thought-provoking, witty, and sometimes myth-shattering, this course is sure to have you thinking about and appreciating your life in novel ways.

©2012 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2012 The Great Courses
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    • Being Human: Life Lessons from the Frontiers of Science

    • By: Robert Sapolsky, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: The Great Courses
    • Length: 5 hrs and 57 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 1,061
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 931
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 926

    Understanding our humanity - the essence of who we are - is one of the deepest mysteries and biggest challenges in modern science. Why do we have bad moods? Why are we capable of having such strange dreams? How can metaphors in our language hold such sway on our actions? As we learn more about the mechanisms of human behavior through evolutionary biology, neuroscience, anthropology, and other related fields, we're discovering just how intriguing the human species is.

    • 4 out of 5 stars
    • Human And Loving It!

    • By Gillian on 07-28-15

    Regular price: $9.95

    • Understanding Genetics: DNA, Genes, and Their Real-World Applications

    • By: David Sadava, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: David Sadava
    • Length: 12 hrs and 3 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 621
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 543
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 544

    We use DNA routinely - to cure diseases, solve crimes, and reunite families. Yet we've known about it for only 60 years. And what we're continuing to learn about it every day has the potential to transform our health, our nutrition, our society, and our future. But what, exactly is DNA, the self-replicating material present in nearly all living organisms?

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Very good book on genetics

    • By Chris on 12-15-13

    Regular price: $34.95

    • Biology and Human Behavior: The Neurological Origins of Individuality, 2nd Edition

    • By: Robert Sapolsky, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Robert Sapolsky
    • Length: 12 hrs and 14 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 489
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 435
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 434

    When are we responsible for our own actions, and when are we in the grip of biological forces beyond our control? What determines who we fall in love with? The intensity of our spiritual lives? The degree of our aggressive impulses? These questions fall into the scientific province of behavioral biology, the field that explores interactions between the brain, mind, body, and environment that have a surprising influence on how we behave.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Perfect Follow Up

    • By Douglas on 08-31-13

    Regular price: $34.95

    • Understanding the Secrets of Human Perception

    • By: Peter M. Vishton, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Peter M. Vishton
    • Length: 12 hrs and 12 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 326
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 286
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 278

    Your senses aren't just a part of you-they define you. Nothing you experience would be possible without the intricate power of your senses. But how much about them do you really know? Your ability to sense and perceive the world around you is so richly detailed and accurate as to be miraculous.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Another Absolutely Marvelous...

    • By Douglas on 08-27-13

    Regular price: $34.95

    • Biology: The Science of Life

    • By: Stephen Nowicki, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Stephen Nowicki
    • Length: 36 hrs and 36 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 720
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 606
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 615

    One of the greatest scientific feats of our era is the astonishing progress made in understanding biology-the intricate machinery of life-a progress to which the period we are living in right now has contributed the most.As you read these words, researchers are delving ever deeper into the workings of living systems, turning their discoveries into new medical treatments, improved methods of growing food, and innovative products that are already changing the world.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Great for starters to biology

    • By Eran on 07-11-13

    Regular price: $59.95

    • Origins of Life

    • By: Robert M. Hazen, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Robert M. Hazen
    • Length: 12 hrs and 23 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 292
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 256
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 255

    Four billion years ago, the infant Earth was a seething cauldron of erupting volcanoes, raining meteors, and hot noxious gases, totally devoid of life. But a relatively short time later-only 100 million to 200 million years-the planet was teeming with primitive organisms.What happened? Now you can find out-in a series of 24 vibrant lectures from a leader of the NASA-supported team studying the origins of life in the universe and also one of the nation's foremost science educators.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • An Excellent Lecture of Life's Origins

    • By Kevin on 07-06-15

    Regular price: $34.95

    • The Darwinian Revolution

    • By: The Great Courses, Frederick Gregory
    • Narrated by: Professor Frederick Gregory Ph.D. Harvard University
    • Length: 12 hrs and 7 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 105
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 97
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 95

    Published 150 years ago, Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species - the text that introduced the world to natural selection - is among a handful of books that have changed the world. But the route to that status has been surprisingly circuitous and uncertain. Now, in 24 absorbing lectures by an award-winning teacher, you'll learn the remarkable story of Darwin's ideas, how scientists and religious leaders reacted to them, and the sea change in human thought that resulted.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Best lecture ever

    • By Bailey on 07-11-15

    Regular price: $34.95

    • Sensation, Perception, and the Aging Process

    • By: The Great Courses, Francis B. Colavita
    • Narrated by: Professor Francis B. Colavita Ph.D. University of Indiana
    • Length: 12 hrs and 12 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 72
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 63
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 66

    In this series of 24 fascinating lectures, an acclaimed teacher and psychologist gives you a bio-psychological perspective on both the way we humans navigate and react to the world around us and an understanding of the ways in which that process is ever-changing.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Another Excellent Selection...

    • By Douglas on 09-17-13

    Regular price: $34.95

    • Biological Anthropology: An Evolutionary Perspective

    • By: Barbara J. King
    • Narrated by: Barbara J. King
    • Length: 12 hrs and 10 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 121
    • Performance
      4 out of 5 stars 115
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 108

    In this series of 24 captivating lectures, an award-winning teacher and acclaimed scholar delves into the story of how, why, where, and when we became human. You'll gain a fresh understanding of the forces that have shaped our species, as Professor King synthesizes the best that more than a century of scientific scholarship has to offer across a variety of disciplines to gain the insights offered by fossils, ancient skeletal remains, and lifestyle information like cave art and stone tools.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Excellent course in human origins

    • By Carolyn on 06-14-14

    Regular price: $34.95

    • The Rise of Humans: Great Scientific Debates

    • By: John Hawks, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: John Hawks
    • Length: 12 hrs and 54 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 213
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 189
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 188

    Trying to understand our human origins has always been a fundamental part of who we are. Today, with the help of dramatic archaeological discoveries and groundbreaking advancements in technology and scientific understanding, we are closer than we've ever been to learning the true story. In recent decades, it has been the science of paleoanthropology that has led the investigation, helping us make sense of this controversial subject and providing us with a richer understanding of our origins.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Current to spring 2014. Good science up to date.

    • By marcus on 06-29-14

    Regular price: $34.95

    • Origins of the Human Mind

    • By: Stephen P. Hinshaw, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Stephen P. Hinshaw
    • Length: 12 hrs and 24 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 277
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 244
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 237

    This 24-lecture series is your guide to the latest information and viewpoints on what scientists know about this fascinating subject. Taught by an award-winning teacher whose training as a clinical psychologist straddles both the science of the mind and its impact on individual lives, their comprehensive approach reveals how that science applies to the life of our species - and to your own life as well. The lectures explore theories about how the mind works on both an evolutionary and individual scale.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Very enlightening...

    • By Douglas on 11-17-13

    Regular price: $34.95

    • Doctors: The History of Scientific Medicine Revealed Through Biography

    • By: Sherwin B. Nuland, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Sherwin B. Nuland
    • Length: 6 hrs and 10 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 291
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 249
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 252

    Discover medical science's extraordinary journey from a time when even the slightest cut held the threat of infection and death to today's era of routine organ transplants and daily headlines about the mysteries of DNA and the human genome. What major discoveries made this transition possible? Who were the fascinating individuals responsible for those discoveries, and what qualities prepared each of them for their unique roles in medical history? These 12 compelling lectures draw on the lives of medicine's greatest contributors to tell the human story behind the development of Western scientific medicine.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Great Review of Medicine's history

    • By Mark E Faith on 05-22-14

    Regular price: $14.95

    • Anthropology and the Study of Humanity

    • By: Scott M. Lacey, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Scott M. Lacey
    • Length: 11 hrs and 55 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 100
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 93
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 95

    What does it mean to be human? Where did we come from? And what unites us in our diversity today? Anthropology and the Study of Humanity is your chance to tackle these big questions as you survey one of the world's most engaging - and human - sciences. Taught by acclaimed professor and field researcher Scott M. Lacy of Fairfield University, these 24 wide-ranging lectures are the ideal guide through the world of anthropology, or the study of humanity across time and space.

    • 2 out of 5 stars
    • Simplistic and unsubstantive

    • By Experienced seminar leader on 09-22-17

    Regular price: $34.95