LIVE- Does the brain’s wiring make us who we are?

Sebastian Seung (MIT)
Professor of Computational Neuroscience, MIT
Author of Connectome: How the Brain’s Wiring Makes Us Who We Are


Anthony Movshon (NYU)
Professor and Director, Center for Neural Science, NYU

Moderators: Robert Krulwich of NPR’s Radiolab and Carl Zimmer, science journalist (NYTimes, Discover, NPR)

What will be the next big breakthrough in neuroscience? What will finally explain how brains work, how they fail in disease, and what makes us each unique? Some neuroscientists believe that research would be radically accelerated by finding and deciphering “connectomes,” maps of connections between neurons. Funding agencies are wagering millions of dollars on the idea that connectomics will be as fundamental to neuroscience as genomics is to molecular biology.

But others disagree, arguing that maps of the brain by themselves cannot offer much insight into how this remarkable organ does its job. Just as a genome by itself is only a blueprint with little power to explain how an organism works, a connectome is at best a framework with little power to explain brain function. Should neuroscience make it a priority to launch a significant connectomics program, diverting human and financial resources from other worthy goals?

Join us as leading “connectomist” Dr. Sebastian Seung defends his position in public against the formidable neurophysiologist Dr. Anthony Movshon. Award-winning science writer Carl Zimmer teams up with co-creator of NPR’s Radiolab, Robert Krulwich, to moderate this debate on neural cartography, guiding the audience through both known and unknown territory as we ask the question: Are brain maps the future of neuroscience or an empty promise?

Date: Monday, April 2, 2012
Time: 6:30 pm, cocktails. 7 pm, program.

If you can’t make it there in person, you can join us in cyberspace by catching the livestream on the Radiolab web site.