Growing Up & Growing Old

"It is sad to go to pieces like this but we all have to do it," said Mark Twain. But do we, really? Our crack team of Garden Fellows are thinking differently about growing up and growing old, and they're here to help you do the same.

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Talks structure30 minute lecture20 minute Q&A

3 talks in this Garden Series



Human Biology & Medicine
Philosophy & Religion
At what age do you become responsible for your actions?

48 mins

The law has to decide at what age someone should be held accountable for their actions. What does neuroscience tell us about when that should be? Read more

Prof. Leah Somerville

Harvard University

Leah Somerville is a Professor of Psychology and Director of the Affective Neuroscience and Development Laboratory at Harvard University.

Leah's research explores how brain development through adolescence shapes the changes we see in how teenagers behave, think, make decisions and manage their emotions. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, the BBC and over 70 academic papers.

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Psychology & Behaviour
Geography & the World
How does where you grow up impact who you become?

51 mins

We often hear about nature vs nurture, but did you know that science can pinpoint specific personality traits that can be traced to the environment we grew up in? How much of our adult personality has its roots in not who we were born, but where? Read more

Dr. Dorsa Amir

University of California, Berkeley

Dorsa has always been interested in the origins of ideas and behaviours. So much so that her friends describe her as "the person most likely to interrupt what you're saying to tell you the etymology of the word you just used".

Dorsa's boundless curiosity has led to her fascinating speciality, which sits at the intersection of psychology and anthropology. Her work focuses on how children develop and behave across diverse societies. Her primary fieldwork has been with the Shuar people of Amazonian Ecuador.

When she's not exploring the impact of culture on the developing mind, Dorsa can be found going down Wikipedia rabbit-holes into a huge range of questions, from how ancient cultures understood astronomy and prehistoric examples of children's art to whether the placebo effect is influenced by our history of shamanism.

I think you'll agree, Dorsa has found the perfect home in The Garden, as part of the community for the curious!

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Literature & Language
Does love get better with age?

52 mins

Romeo and Juliet are often held up as the romantic ideal, willing to risk it all for their one great love. But if Shakespeare really agreed that this is what true love looks like, why are so many of his favourite couples distinctly... middle-aged? Read more

Dr. Jessica Riddell

There aren't many people in the world who are as passionate about what we can learn from Shakespeare as Jessica Riddell. She bubbles over with excitement and enthusiasm for the 'dead white guys' she spends her time talking and teaching about as an academic and educator. Jessica uses Shakespeare and other early modern writers as guides to understand the messy, challenging problems we see every day in the world, and believes deeply that we can learn a lot about how to engage with these challenges through exploring these great literary and theatrical works.

As well as being a Professor of Early Modern Literature at Bishop's University, Canada, Jessica Riddell is a runner, a parent and a passionate educator. In 2015, she was awarded the 3M National Teaching Fellowship -- the highest recognition in Canada for educational leadership -- as well as the Jarislowsky Chairship for Undergraduate Teaching Excellence.

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About talks

What are Garden series?

Garden series are hand curated by us, and are designed to take an in-depth look at a particular theme or topic. You can sign up to join us for the whole series, or just parts of it. You can start watching talks by starting a free trial or a subscription with us.

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All live talks are hosted online, and typically take place on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Each talk has it's date and time listed.

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For talks that you're registered for, you'll be sent a link 30 minutes before the talk starts via email. You can also visit where you'll be prompted to join a talk 15 minutes before the start.

What if I can't make it to a talk?

No problem! All of our talks are available to watch on-demand, so you can catch up on any talks that you miss.

Popular Garden SeriesGarden Series explore topics that fascinate us, and will take you on journeys into the unexpected. Past series are all available to watch at your leisure.

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