Semester 1: Memory

I made a list of a bunch of topics I'd be interested in learning about last week and, boy, was that list long. It covered things from "Meat" to "Basic Economics" to "Hiking/wilderness survival" to "The American President" to "The Moon."
Photo by mrkvm via Flickr.

So how did I choose? I kept in mind that some of these topics would fare better during a particular time of year (hiking in the spring!) and some of them feel too lofty to start with (Basic Economics or Simple Physics, for example). I wanted to choose something a little fluid for the first topic, something that would allow me some flexibility while Project Learn goes through its initial formation pains.

I had just typed "Neuroscience" on the list when I realized that was too broad. Then it hit me: MEMORY! How amazing is the topic of memory? From Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind to Proust to Alzheimer's to the way technology tries to help us organize our lives so we don't forget to buy milk.

I'm so excited to learn more about this topic.

As part of the syllabus, I'll identify some key questions I'd like to be able to answer after the semester is over. When does memory begin? Do men and women remember differently? And so on.

I have an initial brain dump of sources (films, podcasts, books, etc.) that I could use as material for this semester, but I'd love to hear ideas from all of you. Obviously you could spend 25 years studying this topic (and some neuroscientists do!), but I'd like to cut it down to a manageable list of stuff to absorb in 13 weeks.

So have at it! What sources can you recommend? What novels or short stories make you think about memory? What relevant articles or TED talks or films have you encountered? Any music? Have you ever tried one of those books that help you remember long sets of numbers? What foods are supposed to help you remember better?

I've talked with only 2 or 3 people about the topic so far and they've already given me a bunch of ideas... I can't wait to hear what you would all suggest. Here comes the power of the Internet, a bunch of people whose exposure to topics are cumulatively greater than my own.

So let's do this. All ideas welcome... even if you have no interest in following along!


Anonymous said...

Hi Jen, I can't believe your eagerness for life!!! My suggestion would be to look into memory places which is a memory technique to help you remember things. I had to read up on it for my PhD which is looking at teaching in virtual worlds. I want to argue that the 3D nature helps students learn languages as they remember things better. Memory places goes some way to explaining that and lots of reader friendly articles are available on the internet. You can learn something interesting and perhaps a new skills for memory things so that you don't need the 'remember the milk' application! good luck with your project,

LK said...

Hi Jen - We did a simple yoga pose in class the other day that my instructor said aids in memory...Let me look into it and get back to you!

Jen said...

Tra la! Thanks, ladies for the crazy interesting memory ideas!

Edith said...

what i found amazing/interesting is amnesia (mostly after an accident). i will do a little bit of research and let you know!