Dragana Rogulja is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurobiology at Harvard Medical School. Her lab studies circadian rhythms and sleep.
Artificial light is all around us, and it’s changing the world we live in. What is this doing to our biology? In this talk at TEDxYouth@BeaconStreet, Dragana Rogulja answers this question.
In case you didn’t know, 2015 is the International Year of Light. So, I thought I’d tell you just a little bit about the impact of light on our health.
My lab uses fruit flies to study sleep and wake patterns, but what I want to talk today is primarily light and its impact on health.
So, of course, we live on this planet that spins around its axis as it’s orbiting the Sun. As a consequence of that, one of the basic facts of life on Earth is that you’re exposed to light-dark cycles every single day.
Here you see the side of the Earth that’s facing the Sun, is light, and the other one is dark, and actually, I think we have so much light here that the dark side is kind of washed-out.
But if the light was a little bit lower, you could see that there are lights all over the places on Earth, at least where there’s solid ground, just not above water. And that’s maybe a little bit more clear from this picture which is a composite Google image of Earth from above, at night, and I think that this is a really stunning image.
It’s stunningly beautiful, but it’s also stunning to think about the amount of light that we’re enveloping the Earth on. And at the time of day when, for pretty much all of our evolutionary history, the Earth has been dark.