TED (Technology Entertainment Design) is an annual conference that features some fascinating lectures on a broad range of topics, including science. All the talks are videotaped and available for free (as audio or video) at their Web site, and they’re definitely worth checking out.
There’s one particularly compelling video given by neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor. Taylor has a deep, visceral understanding of the brain that few neuroscientists have achieved: A blood vessel exploded in her brain in 1996. In her talk, she recounts the experience of witnessing her body and mind deteriorate, as over the course of 4 hours she lost her ability to walk, talk, read, write, and recall any memories. Well aware that she was having a stroke, she managed to study and remember every moment, thinking “Wow, this is so cool, how many brain scientists have the chance to study that from the inside?”