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In Search of Memory: The Emergence of a New Science of Mind

In Search of Memory: The Emergence of a New Science of Mind

Thursday, March 2, 2006

The New York Academy of Sciences

Presented By

Presented by the Readers and Writers Program


Speaker: Eric Kandel, Columbia University, author
Introductory Remarks: Thomas Jessell, Columbia University; and Torsten Wiesel, The Rockefeller University

Eric Kandel will discuss his latest book In Search of Memory: The Emergence of a New Science of Mind (published by W. W. Norton & Company), which relates the astonishing story of how four different and distinct disciplines—behaviorist psychology, cognitive psychology, neuroscience, and molecular biology—converged into a powerful new science of mind. Through its profound insights into thought, perception, action, recollection, and mental illness, this new science is revolutionizing our understanding of learning and memory while simultaneously showing great promise for more effective healing.

Dr. Kandel will reflect on the past five decades, focusing on Vienna, where he became fascinated with memory, and was captivated first by history and psychoanalysis, then by neurobiology, and finally by the biological processes of memory. His resulting, multifaceted perspective was the foundation for his path-breaking research that is expected to continue to dominate modern thought—not only in science but in culture at large.

Eric Kandel is University Professor at Columbia University and a senior investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Kandel received the Nobel Prize in 2000 for his research on the physiological basis of memory storage in neurons. He shared the prize with fellow recipients, Arvid Carlsson and Paul Greengard. His other honors include the National Medal of Science, the Wolf Prize, the Gairdner International Award, the Charles A. Dana Award, and the Lasker Award. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Thomas Jessell is professor of biochemistry and molecular biophysics and a member of the Center for Neurobiology and Behavior at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City. He is also a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator.

Torsten Wiesel is director of the Shelby White and Leon Levy Center for Mind, Brain and Behavior and president emeritus of The Rockefeller University. He is also secretary general of the Human Frontier Science Program, president of the International Brain Research Organization, and chairman of the Board of the New York Academy of Sciences. Dr. Wiesel was corecipient with David Hubel of the 1981 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

"In Search of Memory engagingly recounts Eric Kandel's bold life at the frontier of brain science, where his molecular biological approach has revolutionized human understanding of how information received by our senses becomes hard-wired."

-James D. Watson, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, and author of Darwin and DNA.