Support The World's Smartest Network

Help the New York Academy of Sciences bring late-breaking scientific information about the COVID-19 pandemic to global audiences. Please make a tax-deductible gift today.

This site uses cookies.
Learn more.


This website uses cookies. Some of the cookies we use are essential for parts of the website to operate while others offer you a better browsing experience. You give us your permission to use cookies, by continuing to use our website after you have received the cookie notification. To find out more about cookies on this website and how to change your cookie settings, see our Privacy policy and Terms of Use.

We encourage you to learn more about cookies on our site in our Privacy policy and Terms of Use.

Consciousness: Confessions of a Romantic Reductionist

Consciousness: Confessions of a Romantic Reductionist

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Aspen Meadows Resort

Presented By

Presented by The New York Academy of Sciences and The Aspen Brain Forum Foundation


Join us for a public lecture by Christof Koch, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer of the Allen Institute for Brain Science, Seattle and Professor of Biology and Engineering, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena. Dr. Koch will discuss his life-long quest to solve the mysterious neurobiology of consciousness and his recently published book: "Consciousness: Confessions of a Romantic Reductionist."

Open to the public. Registration is required.

Registration Pricing

Student / Postdoc / Fellow$25

Registration is only for the opening Keynote Lecture of the conference. Please visit the Cracking the Neural Code: Third Annual Aspen Brain Forum website to register for the full event.

Presented by

  • New York Academy of Sciences


* Presentation times are subject to change.

5:00 PM


5:30 PM

Welcome Remarks

5:45 PM

Consciousness: Confessions of a Romantic Reductionist
Christof Koch, PhD, Allen Institute for Brain Science

6:30 PM

Networking Reception

7:30 PM



Christof Koch, PhD

Allen Institute for Brain Science

Born in the American Midwest, Christof Koch grew up in Holland, Germany, Canada, and Morocco, where he graduated from the Lycèe Descartes. He studied Physics and Philosophy at the University of Tübingen in Germany and was awarded his Ph.D. in Biophysics. After four years at MIT, Dr. Koch joined Caltech in 1986, where he is the Lois and Victor Troendle Professor of Cognitive and Behavioral Biology. In 2011, he became the CSO of the Allen Institute of Brain Science in Seattle to lead a large scale, focused and high-throughput, ten year effort to understand coding in the visual neocortex. He loves dogs, Apple Computers, rock-climbing, trailing running in the mountains and biking.

The author of more than three hundred scientific papers and journal articles, patents and books, Dr. Koch studies the biophysics of computation, and the neuronal basis of visual perception, attention, and consciousness. Together with Francis Crick, with whom he worked for 16 years, he is one of the pioneers of the neurobiological approach to consciousness.

His latest book is Consciousness: Confessions of a Romantic Reductionist (MIT Press, 2012).


Presented by

  • New York Academy of Sciences


Consciousness: Confessions of a Romantic Reductionist
Christof Koch, PhD, Allen Institute for Brain Science

What links the conscious experience of joy, color, lust and smell to bioelectrical activity in the brain? How can anything physical give rise to nonphysical, subjective, conscious states? Neuroscientist Christof Koch has devoted much of his career to bridging the seemingly unbridgeable gap between the physics of the brain and phenomenal experience. Koch recounts not only the birth of the modern science of consciousness but also the subterranean motivation for his quest—his instinctual (if "romantic") belief that life is meaningful. Koch describes his own groundbreaking work with Francis Crick in the 1990s and 2000s and the gradual emergence of consciousness (once considered a "fringy" subject) as a legitimate topic for scientific investigation. Koch gives us stories from the front lines of modern research into the neurobiology of consciousness as well as his own reflections on a variety of topics, including the distinction between attention and awareness, the unconscious, how neurons respond to Homer Simpson, the physics and biology of free will, dogs, sentient machines, and Der Ring des Nibelungen.

Travel & Lodging

Event Location

Aspen Meadows Resort
845 Meadows Road
Aspen, CO 81611

Directions to the Aspen Meadows Resort.

Other Suggested Hotel Accommodations in Aspen

Hotel Aspen
110 W. Main Street
Aspen, CO 81611
Phone: 800.527.7369

Molly Gibson Lodge
101 W. Main Street
Aspen, CO 81611
Phone: 888.649.5982

The Annabelle Inn
232 W. Main Street
Aspen, CO 81611
Phone: 970.925.3822

The Limelight Lodge
355 S. Monarch Street
Aspen, CO 81611
Phone: 800.433.0832

St. Moritz Lodge
334 W. Hyman Ave
Aspen, CO 81611
Phone: 800.817.2069

Special Needs and Additional Information

For any additional information and for special needs, including child/family care resources available to conference attendees, please email Crystal Ocampo.