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Mapping the Brain:  A Grand Challenge

Date & Time

Saturday, June 1, 2013
1:00 PM - 2:30 PM
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Lipton Hall - D'Agostino Hall

Join leading neuroscientists, psychologists, philosophers, biologists, and computer scientists in a discussion on the colossal challenges that must be overcome to understand, record, and analyze our neural wetware. What will it take to understand the human brain? President Obama’s new BRAIN (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) Initiative aims to provide an unprecedented window into the internal life of the brain, which could lead to revolutionary changes in science, medicine, and technology.

The World Science Festival’s annual salon series offers in-depth conversations with leading scientists, extending the discussion of the Festival’s premiere public programs to graduate students, postdocs, faculty and well-informed members of the general public.


  • Gary Marcus

    Gary Marcus studies evolution, language, and cognitive development at New York University, where he is professor of psychology and director of the NYU Center for Child Language. Marcus received his Ph.D. from MIT at the age of 23. More »


  • Arthur Caplan

    Professor Arthur L. Caplan is the Drs. William F and Virginia Connolly Mitty Professor and head of the Division of Bioethics at New York University Langone Medical Center in New York City. More »
  • Miyoung Chun

    Molecular Biologist Miyoung Chun is vice president of science programs at The Kavli Foundation in Oxnard, California. Prior to her current role, Chun was an assistant dean of science and engineering at University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB), in particular serving for the California Nanosystems Institute. More »
  • George Church

    Molecular geneticist George Church is professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School, director of, providing the world's only open-access information on human Genomic, Environmental, and Trait data (GET). His 1984 Harvard Ph.D. included the first methods for direct genome sequencing, molecular multiplexing, and barcoding. More »
  • R. Douglas Fields

    Neurologist, Author R. Douglas Fields is a developmental neurobiologist and author of The Other Brain, a popular book about the discovery of brain cells (called glia) that communicate without using electricity. More »
  • Kristen Harris

    Neuroscientist Kristen Harris is one of the world’s leading neuroscientists investigating synapse structure and function. She has been a professor of neuroscience at Harvard, Boston University, Georgia Health Sciences University, and since 2006 in the Center for Learning and Memory at the University of Texas at Austin. More »
  • Christof Koch

    Neuroscientist Born in the American Midwest, Christof Koch grew up in Holland, Germany, Canada, and Morocco. He studied physics and philosophy at the University of Tübingen in Germany and was awarded his Ph.D. in biophysics in 1982. More »
  • Philip Rubin

    Cognitive scientist, technologist, and science administrator Philip Rubin is the principal assistant director for science at the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) in the Executive Office of the President of the United States, where he also leads the White House Neuroscience Initiative. More »
  • Murray Shanahan

    Cognitive Roboticist Murray Shanahan is a professor of cognitive robotics at Imperial College London. In the 1980s, he studied computer science as an undergraduate at Imperial College, and then obtained his Ph.D. from Cambridge University (King's College). More »
  • Rafael Yuste

    Neuroscientist Rafael Yuste is professor of biological sciences and neuroscience at Columbia University. Yuste has pioneered the application of optical imaging techniques to study the structure and function of the cerebral cortex. More »