Part biography, part scientific-adventure into the human brain; our upcoming documentary is an exploration of how Dr. Marian Diamond, a pioneering woman scientist and Univeristy of California professor, has transformed all of our lives, from child-rearing to aging, through her paradigm-breaking research and teaching.
Described by the New York Times as “one of the tweedy super-stars of cyberspace,” the 1.8 million views of her lecture series on youtube is eloquent testimony to the power of what she has to teach; a hopeful vision about the beauty and complexity of human anatomy and how to enrich our brains and our lives at any age.
The central dramatic arc of the film is curiosity – the eternal, burning questions that we all want answers to: who we are, how we think, how the brain works.
The secondary dramatic arc is the story of what it means to be a woman in science. She is a role model who inspires her female and male students. Despite the gender discrimination she has faced in her career (e.g. on Marian’s first ground-breaking paper, the most senior researcher suggested her name be put in parenthesis – he’d never had to put a woman’s name on a paper before), she remains characteristically modest and positive. ”Never become bitter,” she says, “the only person you hurt will be yourself.”
The third dramatic arc … we can’t tell you yet! You’ll have to see the film. No spoilers here.
What if love helps you live longer?
Why does playing bridge make you healthier?
How could an anatomy lecture series attract
2 million hits on YouTube?
These questions come from the work of Dr. Marian Diamond, who has studied the structure of the human body – and especially the brain – over a lifetime in science as teacher and researcher. At 80+ years of age, Dr. Diamond is the living embodiment of her own theories about brain growth and longevity: teaching full-time, swimming five days a week, and looking forward to each new semester with the enthusiasm of a freshman. Like a magician with a rabbit, Dr. Diamond delights in awakening the incoming freshman class by opening her flowered hatbox and pulling out a real human brain, intent on sparking curiosity about the three-pound organ that she considers “the most remarkable structure on Earth.”
We are documenting the story of one woman’s groundbreaking life in science and the landmark achievements (ongoing) she has logged over 50 years in research, in the academy, and in the public sphere. Marian Diamond is the history of “Use-It-Or-Lose-It” brain research and the beginnings of neuroscience. Her path changed history for women in science and academia – and her lifetime of research is helping to change all our lives for the better.
But most importantly, hers is a story about understanding and improving human life. Dr. Diamond’s research into how the brain works – and what helps it grow – has untold applications in our lives. From how we respond to illness to how long we live, from how we learn to what we teach our children, Dr. Diamond’s findings are helping us live longer, happier, and healthier lives. Always teaching by example, Marian Diamond’s story is a clarion call to understand, protect, and grow the miracle of anatomy we each carry around inside our own heads.