Cheryl Hayashi: The magnificence of spider silk Cheryl Hayashi studies spider silk, one of nature’s most high-performance materials. Each species of spider can make up to 7 very different kinds of silk. How do they do it? Hayashi explains at the DNA level — then shows us how this super-strong, super-flexible material can inspire.

TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world’s leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes. Featured speakers have included Al Gore on climate change, Philippe Starck on design, Jill Bolte Taylor on observing her own stroke, Nicholas Negroponte on One Laptop per Child, Jane Goodall on chimpanzees, Bill Gates on malaria and mosquitoes, Pattie Maes on the “Sixth Sense” wearable tech, and “Lost” producer JJ Abrams on the allure of mystery. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design, and TEDTalks cover these topics as well as science, business, development and the arts. Closed captions and translated subtitles in a variety of languages are now available on, at

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Comment (217)

  1. @WhichDoctor1 I realized this long ago and honestly could not give a damn. The human race is beyond hope. Still pisses me off to see idiots posting idiotic things, but I'm not suicidal over it.

  2. @finnegon16 Your not the only one thinking that. I usually question those easily bored by science, but holy shit this presentation was painful. I appreciated her efforts and knowledge, but it felt like I was back at school trying to assimilate minutia I will never use for an exam and immediately forget afterwards. So we all just think of porn instead.

  3. It is always a pleasure to listen to someone speak who is passionate about what they do and take great effort in sharing their knowledge and joy with others. I love how she glazed over how spider silk can be useful to humans, she stands in awe of them.

  4. @omegaroyal haha DNA is, but DNA is translated into RNA, and RNA is transcripted into protein, and protein exist of Codons, 1 codon=3 bases. google it 🙂 so Q and S are codenames for peptides.

  5. Very informative video. I didnt know a spiders ass was so complex. Certain silk is stronger than steel,kevlar,carbon fiber. Its also lighter, silk can be used in many applications,they should make bullet proof vest of silk/Kevlar mix. Her shirts leather but the lecture is on silk.hahahahaha wtf.

  6. Never imagined that this very flexible and stunning tool is so old. I think Spiders never developed higher brains because this tool is so perfect.

  7. 11:33 She doesn't seem to know Darwin's bark spider. It is an orb-weaver spider that produces silk with an average toughness of 350 MJ/m3. Some fibres have 520 MJ/m3. Imagine, where the dot for that would be. 🙂

  8. Sorry bro, but there is a GOD and we were created from Adam & Eve; not Adam & steve. I guess will find out once we pass away, whether there is an After-Life or GOD.

  9. Because of their memes they hold so true and unwillingly to change like some other countries who still hold true to their traditions and repeatable ideas. They're stuck in their own little matrix

  10. I'm not in disagreement with what she discusses about spider silk but there are other insects that hold true to their form of ability memes and it is just that right now spiders are getting some attention at research.

  11. The one and only GOD has given us science and knowledge, and created all that exists or will ever exists… Get your small brain to understand that you arrogant unbeliever. Oh I forgot you believe we came from monkey's. LOL. Where did the monkey's come from, and so forth? There was a beginning and the beginning was created by the one and only GOD who has no equal or equivalent. I have warned you of the fire that will engulf you if you insist in your disbelieve in GOD.

  12. Three reasons. One, It only takes her about a minute to mention the Earth is more than 5,000 years old; she basically declared war on religion. Two, she has an actual fossilized spider… HARLOT! The devils eggs are fossils! Three, it is a fact that religious people, because of their close-mindedness and nothing else, are generally less smart than those that are not religious.

  13. A common mis-conception among the close-minded religious. We did not 'come from' monkeys, we have a common ancestor; your attempt at derision against evolution shows your own lack of 'science and knowledge'; gods gifts to you apparently. You see the thing about real science is that it is always only our best guess even when it is considered a 'truth'. So to answer your question, our current best guess is that the Ardipithecus is the ancestor of the monkey and other primates, including us.

  14. And something else… there are a lot of fucking idiots here fucking around…Innovative ideas are ideas that count and make the difference idiots. Some years before everybody thought the earth was flat and stayed comfortable on this. But not this is not true. Do you know spider silk could be used for bandages and open sergury as it can be combatible with human flesh and cells. How about impotence – spiders and medicine. Learn & search before judge and fool around

  15. Wasn't she the Asian chic lecturing in the first spiderman movie in the scene where he gets bit(Tobey Maguire Spiderman)? I just thought of it while watching this.

  16. (in (quran) the holy book of moslems there is part called AL-'ANKABUT (THE SPIDER
    : our god says in aya 41 from this part
    .The example of those who take allies other than Allah is like that of the spider who takes a home.
    And indeed, the weakest of homes is the home of the spider, if they only knew

  17. Rick Owens produced a bomber jacket made of 100% tactile silk weave for his Spring Summer 2015 collection … Wondering if it made of spider silk … ( Pillbug Combo Silk Flight Jacket )

  18. I thought it was intuitive that scytodids would have a very tough drag line because its prey would be bigger and more or less the one chance to capture it's prey.   With a web the smaller prey gets tangled.  It's similar to how people fish- depends what you're fishing for…   With a net you get smaller bodied prey opposed to single line 80lb line used for larger prey.

  19. Look like spiders forgot to evolve. Morons brainwashed by the satanic evolution. I'll tell you the truth. The Earth is approximately 6000 years old. Study the KJV Bible from the author who created this world.

  20. Wonderful Talk! Having walked into many a golden orb spider web in my youth, I can confirm the strength of those silk threads – trying to get them out of my hair and to (hopefully) confirm the spider wasn't captured with the web – YUCK!

  21. Saying 380 million years is like say a gazillion quadrillion years. Its a ridiculous statement. I wish scientists would stop using childs descriptions of the past.

  22. Omg to those people saying you're "arachnophobic", you're not. You won't even be able to click on this video if you were. Goddamn dumbasses

  23. Diamonds are used to check the accuracy of accelerator mass spectrometers for radiometric dating. Diamonds are used because theoretically if they were millions of yrs old they cannot have even one atom of C14 in them. And yet, C14 has been found in diamonds several times. This proves diamonds are only thousands of years old.

    R. E. Taylor and J. Southon, “Use of Natural Diamonds to Monitor 14C AMS Instrument Backgrounds,” Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research B 259 (2007): 282–287.
    AA(Department of Anthropology, University of California, Riverside, CA 92354, USA; Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90024, USA), AB(Keck Accelerator Mass Spectrometry Laboratory, Department of Earth System Science, University of California, Irvine, CA 92697, USA)

    To examine one component of the instrument-based background in the University of California Keck Carbon Cycle AMS spectrometer, we have obtained measurements on a set of natural diamonds pressed into sample holders. Natural diamond samples (N = 14) from different sources within rock formations with geological ages greatly in excess of 100 Ma yielded a range of currents (~110-250 µA 12C- where filamentous graphite typically yields ~150 µA 12C-) and apparent 14C ages (64.9 ± 0.4 ka BP [0.00031 ± 0.00002 fm] to 80.0 ± 1.1 ka BP [0.00005 ± 0.00001 fm]). Six fragments cut from a single diamond exhibited essentially identical 14C values – 69.3 ± 0.5 ka-70.6 ± 0.5 ka BP. The oldest 14C age equivalents were measured on natural diamonds which exhibited the highest current yields.


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