Exclusive Interview With Dr Jack Lewis »
Interview by Jamie Miller
He may be youthful but make no mistake about it: Jack Lewis is a smart man. He has a First class degree in neuroscience and has since earned a PhD for his research in neurobiology.
Starting his TV career behind the camera as a science consultant, Jack Lewis has since made his name in front of the camera: quickly becoming the public's favourite science advisor in a string of successful television shows, including BBC2's 'The People Watchers' and Sky One's 'Body Language Secrets'.
Recently, he was made the face of Faraday's IET 'Technology For Life' scheme - a lecture programme underscoring the importance of science and technology in secondary schools.
Today, Dr Jack Lewis speaks to Quiz Genius about what a person can do to get the most out of their brains...
You must have studied hard to achieve your success. What study techniques do you recommend for people wanting to do well academically?
I would recommend bearing the following mantra in mind throughout your studies: if you've given it your absolute best effort then there is nothing more that you or anyone else can ask from you.
For instance, if you've only got 2 hours left to prepare for an exam, presentation, coursework deadline etc there is absolutely no point in berating yourself for having not started to prepare sooner or saying to yourself that there is no point in trying because it is utterly hopeless. Save that for later. In the meantime give it your best shot given the time that remains i.e. maximising every minute you have left to cover as much of the material as efficiently as possible.
Then 15 minutes before the performance is due to begin concentrate on calming your mind - remind yourself that you gave it your best shot (given the time that remained) and that whatever will be will be. That way - you can maximise your performance by ensuring you are in the right "headspace" to bring the info you need to mind when you need it.
What advice can you give people who want to make their brains healthier?
Go to the gym when Countdown is on the telly. That way you can excercise your body and brain at the same time. We know that exercising is good for the body, but we forget that all that highly oxygenated blood gets pumped round the brain too. Exercise also triggers the release of various hormones that help you to focus and think more clearly. Furthermore exercise increases the rate at which new brain cells are created in the hippocampus, a brain area vital to memory formation and recall. In other words, even if you are not simultaneously playing word and number games whilst you exercise - it is still extremely good for the brain.
Do you have a tip for anyone wanting to improve the way they learn?
It is the act of writing (not typing) notes on what you read that helps the information to stick in your head.
If you've managed to write notes about what you've read then it proves that the information has been properly processed. You should then look over the notes and write notes on the notes, focusing particularly on information that you had forgotten you'd written down. I personally find that this condensing process is a fantastic way to get the information to stick.
For example, roughly speaking, you might be able to condense 100 pages of a book into 10 pages of notes.
Notes on your notes might then condense this down to 3-4 pages.
Notes on the notes of your notes will ultimately get it down to one side of A4.
If you have to remember 5 important words then use mnemonic strategies to ensure you can recall all 5.
My next blog is going to be on mnemonic strategies so watch this space: www.drjack.co.uk.
If you ever appeared on Celebrity Mastermind, what would your fun specialist topic be?!
The life and times of Richard Sharpe (fictitious character dreamt up by Bernard Cornwell).
Richard Sharpe is a gutter snipe who rose up through the ranks of the British army in various real life battles in India, Spain, Portugal and Chile. I spent so much time learning about science that my knowledge of history suffered as a direct consequence. I find the Bernard Cornwell novels, which are based as much as possible on historical fact, a great way of learning whilst simultaneously reminding me how lucky I am to live in an age where most of us no longer have to kill or be killed on the battlefield. Many of our ancestors weren't so lucky and yet against the odds managed to pass their genes on before they snuffed it. These books make me feel grateful and proud that an unbroken line of my ancestors managed to fight for their own survival so that I could get a chance at life.
Carol Voderman and Konnie Huq have been praised for showing that females can be smart and good-looking. What would you say to those who credit you with being the male equivalent?!
The geek shall inherit the earth!